Mark your calendars for January 27th when an anticipated 75,000 Angelenos will hit the Los Angeles Broadway Theatre District for a music and cultural festival to beat all. And yes there will be road closures so check back as we update you on what streets will be closed.
Night on Broadway begins at 3:00 PM and runs until Midnight along the stretch of Broadway from 3rd to Olympic. Several of the historic theatres will host live musical performances and there will be a street festival and more stages between 3rd and Olympic on Broadway. I’ve heard there will be pop up shops and a family friendly kids zone.
The Night on Broadway event is part of an initiative by Councilman Jose Huizar to revitalize the Historic Broadway Theatre District called Bringing Back Broadway started in 2008. This appears to have been quite successful. Examples seen on Broadway are the the restoration of the Orpheum Theatre, followed by an even more high-profile facelift at the Theatre at Ace Hotel. These have marked the start of a renaissance of sorts for Los Angeles’ historic downtown theaters. Down on Broadway today, I saw renovation in progress everywhere I looked.
The Los Angeles Broadway Theatre District holds a very special place in the hearts of generations of Angelenos and evokes the time at and before the Golden Age of Hollywood better than any area of the city.
The Bringing Back Broadway initiative has met many of its goals and now showcases Broadway’s renewed glamour once a year in a free street festival: Night on Broadway. The festival began in 2015 with 35,000 attendees. It saw 60,000 in 2016 and 75,000 in 2017. We will see what 2018 brings.
The Broadway Theatre District in Los Angeles features the largest concentration of historic theatres and movie palaces on one street in the nation, most of which date back to the 1920s and 1930s. The revitalization of Broadway is considered on of LA’s most important projects due to the cultural significance of the street.
The Broadway District boasts block after block of stunning Beaux Arts, Art Deco, and revival-style buildings which bestow the district with historic integrity uncommon in major metropolitan downtowns. Vaudeville stages were all the rage when the theatres were built and famous acts such as the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope, Houdini, Bing Crosby, Jack Benny, Will Rogers, Charlie Chaplin, Eddie Cantor, Lena Horne, George Burns & Gracie Allen, Duke Ellington, Judy Garland, and W.C. Fields all performed to the delight of Broadway audiences.
More impressive than the exteriors are the interiors of the grand old theatres Broadway’s ornate and spectacular theatres feature sweeping marble staircases leading to ornate balconies, plush seats, and soaring, star-sprinkled ceilings, along with spacious, elaborately crafted interiors, gilded rococo designs and a wide range of flamboyant architectural styles. When cinema became in vogue, the theatres were mostly converted to grand movie palaces, and functioned as such for many years before many of them closed their doors.
I will be bringing you a guide to which groups are playing at what theatres tomorrow. You can also get info from the Night on Broadway website. Though as of this writing their site is down. Probably too many people looking for into on the big street party.
Be sure to check it out. I think the Night on Broadway festival and the Bringing Back Broadway Initiative are among the coolest things happening in LA. It’s a “neighborhood” well worth preserving.