The Pantages Theatre is an Art Deco masterpiece. Opened in 1930, this theatre is filled with geometric sunbursts, Egyptian statues, and all the golden flare of that era. I think of Art Deco as the ultimate in Hollywood glamour and if you are visiting this little showbiz town, you shouldn’t miss it.
As my uncle says, the cost of your ticket (roughly $100 to $200+) includes a fantastic view of the interior architecture, making it a great value. Within its historic walls, I have seen Movin’ Out, Wicked, The Book of Mormon, and this spring, I saw Beauty and the Beast. Every time I step into the lobby, I am in awe of the décor. The high ceilings, the grand staircases, and the general glow of this space make me feel like I am a part of what makes Hollywood so darn amazing. And all Hollywood hotspots include a bit of drama.
Art Deco came just before The Great Depression. This expensive design mixed with a population pinched for its pennies, meant Alexander Pantages couldn’t hold on to his beautiful stage. It eventually fell into the hands of Howard Hughes who set up his office on the second floor. I like to think of his tortured spirit wandering the upper level, looking down on the modern crowds. While live performances were the ultimate goal, due to the economy the theatre primarily ran movies for quite some time. It changed hands a few times over the years and during the 1950’s, the Academy Awards were held here. Very fitting. Finally in the 1970’s, the theatre returned to live stage productions and this is the Pantages we all know. You can also see music concerts here so you don’t have to be a theatre geek to get inside.
The location of the Pantages is ideal. Perched at the end of Hollywood Boulevard, there are plenty of places to eat before or after your show. My latest favorite is Wood & Vine located directly across the street from the theatre. With a classy bar-like atmosphere, Wood & Vine serves high-end comfort food tapas style. It’s fun to share a variety of items, testing out the latest in organic fare. The chicken and waffles are excellent. I also like the flatbread, the beet salad, and the cheese platter. The French fries are fresh, hearty, and seasoned just right. They have a wide menu, so you are bound to find something that sounds good. You can also hit up Dillon’s Irish Pub for general pub food, Drai’s Hollywood for steaks, Cleo for Mediterranean cuisine or Katsuya for Sushi.
Aside from The Pantages, there are several great places to check out on Hollywood Boulevard. More theatres, restaurants, and nightlife await you. Ooh, I feel another article coming on. Stay tuned for more adventures in this little town of big dreams. For now, buy some tickets and see a great show in a gorgeous theatre.