At one time, Broadway, one of the oldest streets in Los Angeles, was the center of action and hub of business for decades. On this once magnificent street, theaters were built up and down the thoroughfare, housing vaudeville acts and later movie theaters. After awhile this once grand street fell into disrepair, another victim of the blight that struck downtown Los Angeles. However, things are changing. There is a move to restore the street and its businesses, including its grand theaters, back to their former glory and revitalize the area. Thanks to Bringing Back Broadway progress is being made in the Broadway Theater District and Night on Broadway is an opportunity to tour these theaters and appreciate them in their (to be)restored glory.
While groups like the Los Angeles Conservancy offer tours of the theaters, Night on Broadway is an opportunity to go into several of the Broadway theaters as they were meant to be enjoyed. The theaters, lit in the evening and hosting performances, gleam so that guests may enjoy their beauty to the fullest, not just as stagnant buildings, but as vital, relevant parts of the community. Many of the theaters were built in the 1920s and 1930s and their opulence and over-the-top grandeur are a sight to behold. Seven of the remaining theaters opened their doors so the public, free of charge, could enjoy them and get excited about their preservation.
Marquee outside the Million Dollar Theater, built by Sid Grauman
View down Broadway
Should you choose to go to Night on Broadway next year (it was at the end of January in 2015), my recommendation is to go early. Many of the theaters were filled to the brim for the stage shows and pushing your way past the crowds to get in wasn't my favorite way to experience the evening. It is wonderful the evening generates such excitement in the community. Just go prepared to join thousands of other people who are as excited to experience the theaters as you are.
The Los Angeles Theater. Charlie Chaplin's City Lights premiered here.
The evening was an enchanting experience to step back in time and imagine what life was like back in the day. Next year I'll come prepared (and with flatter shoes!)
The Orpheum Theater
'Bye for Now,