Hollywood Theatre Row is now a Real Place

Hollywood Theatre Row is the heart of the intimate theatre community in Los Angeles, located along Santa Monica Blvd. between McCadden Place & El Centro Ave.

On Monday, June 1, 2015,  the area received official recognition and permanent signage was unveiled.

Hollywood Theatre Row official designation ceremony

Daniel Henning, who spearheaded the Hollywood Theatre Row designation, spoke the following at the event:

“Good afternoon. I am Daniel Henning, The Founding Artistic Director of The Blank Theatre. We have been in Hollywood since 1990, and in this building right there since 1996. I am so excited for this amazing recognition of Hollywood Theatre Row today. I and my colleagues are deeply moved by the city’s support. I especially want to thank Mitch O’Farrell and Tom LaBonge for being such amazing champions of live theatre in Los Angeles and for making this historic day happen.

It’s literally a dream come true for me.

The current residents of Hollywood Theatre Row include: The Hudson, the Elephant and Lillian, The Blank Theatre at 2nd Stage, Theatre Asylum, McCadden and Lex Theatres, Complex Theatres, Studio C, Lounge Theatre, The LGBT Center Theatres, and the Circle Theatre. Even the Dragonfly and Three Clubs nightclubs are sometimes theatrical venues.

I founded Stayin’ Live! which is a coalition of theatre, business, government and neighborhood leaders to create the assured future of live theatre in Hollywood and all throughout Los Angeles. I thought it would be important to include the entire community in the conversation about how to support live theatre, not just the theatres themselves. And what I found was great.

Every board I went in front of to get support for this official designation was tremendously enthusiastic and wanted to know what else they could do. All of them voted unanimously to support this designation and to become partners in Stayin’ Live! It was heartening every time.

I want to recognize our current partners and thank them for their support. They include: the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Hollywood Arts Council, Hollywood Media District BID, Hollywood Heritage, Hollywood Pantages/Nederlander Ricardo Montalban Theatre and of course, Councilmembers Tom LaBonge and Mitch O’Farrell. And I’d also like to thank Cal Trans and the Department of Transportation for partnering with us to make this a reality.

This whole idea started at the first Stayin’ Live! summit held in November, 2014. Kamilla Blanche, Tom LaBonge’s amazing Senior Director for Arts and Culture, said to me “We should get you some signs!” and she set off to make that happen. We wouldn’t be here today without Kamilla Blanche, that’s for sure! Thank you Kamilla! Then Dan Halden, Mitch O’Farrell’s Hollywood Field Deputy, joined the team and we got this done! Dan has worked tirelessly to make today happen. Thank you, Dan!

But the people who need the most thanks are the thousands of artists that have offered their wares along Hollywood Theatre Row for decades. From Charlie Chaplin who opened the first theatres in this area in the 1940s, to the hundreds of productions that will be playing this month in the Hollywood Fringe Festival. By the way, Charlie Chaplin’s Circle Theatre on El Centro is currently under renovation to reopen as the new home of Black Dahlia and Red Dog Squadron.

Hollywood Theatre Row has been a safe haven from the commercial pressures of larger live theatres, and has allowed us to create new, vibrant and boundary pushing theatrical experiences for the residents of Los Angeles and tourists from around the world.

Los Angeles should be known as a major center of great theatre in the nation. The opportunity exists to put Los Angeles on the map as the “theatre town” that it already is; to show the world that this is a place that nurtures and supports the artists that are the future of the entertainment industry.

Did you know the economic benefits provided by having theatres in your community are astounding? For every 10 jobs in the live theatres they will produce 9 other jobs at outside businesses. For every dollar that is spent at a theatre, seven to twelve additional dollars are spent in the surrounding community: parking, restaurants, bars, shopping etc. We put more money into the pockets of our neighboring businesses than we do our own. Who doesn’t want a neighbor like us?

We can leverage our unique cultural assets in Hollywood and Los Angeles to enrich the quality of life for all residents and visitors from all over the world. But we can’t do that without you.

We need: artists who are willing to give their talent to the community to make something greater than themselves, we need community leaders who have the ability to support us in significant ways, we need audiences who will brave sometimes difficult conditions coming down to see the work. But what we all need to do is become supporters of Hollywood Theatre Row and the rest of live theatre in Los Angeles by showing up: Make plans to see plays and musicals like we do movies. Donate any amount of money we can to our favorite theatres, talk to people about live theatre and introduce friends and colleagues to the excitement that is live theatre and Hollywood Theatre Row. That is how we will survive in challenging times.

I don’t usually think of New York as a yardstick to measure anything in Los Angeles, but in this one way, they have us beat: they support their live theatres as part of the inherent culture of the city. We can do that too. And we can do it even better than they do, because we make better theatre than they do!

This recognition of Hollywood Theatre Row is a wonderful step. Thank you again Mitch and Tom and the rest of the City Council for this exciting designation. We look forward to further support from this amazing city that we have the privilege to live in.

Our movement is growing; the citizens of Los Angeles are starting to take notice of the Intimate Theatres that are the lifeblood of the entertainment industry, and the lifeblood of the communities we serve. We look forward to your continuing support as well. After all, we do theatre for you: the citizens of Los Angeles or as we like to refer to you: our audience.

Thank you.”