Seeing Stars: Live on Stage

The Microsoft Theatre
777 Chick Hearn Court
(next to the Staples Center)
Los Angeles, CA. / (213) 763-6030


As of 2015, the Nokia Theatre, at L.A. Live, has officially changed its name to the Microsoft Theater.

The former Nokia theatre opened in late 2007, on the southwest edge of downtown L.A., right next to the Staples Center and the L.A. Convention Center.

Since the Staples Center is itself a prime venue for large concerts, one might ask why they wanted to build a smaller theatre right next door. But that smaller size was the key.

While the huge Staples Center, with its 20,000  seats, is fine for giant arena shows, the 250,000-square-foot theatre (with only 7,100 seats) offers a far more intimate concert experience.  And a more upscale one, with posh seats, great acoustics, lots of leg room, and perfect sightlines.  No baseball stadium-style nosebleed seats here...

Although the 180-foot-wide Microsoft stage is the largest in L.A. (and flanked by gigantic LED screens), the farthest seat in the house is just 220 feet away from the stage. Of course, you can expect to pay more for tickets as well... Orchestra seats for the opening night Eagles concert sold for $265.

At first, it might seem odd that someone would invest $120 million to build yet another theatre in the already crowded L.A. market.

The L.A./O.C. region already had a large number of venues for live concerts & shows, besides Staples, we already had the Gibson Amphitheatre, the Honda Center, the Greek Theatre, the Cerritos Center, the Orange County Performing Arts Center , the Shrine Auditorium, the Forum, the Grove of Anaheim and the still new Kodak Theatre - not to mention the Pantages, the Hollywood Bowl and the Music Center.

So why build another theatre?

The answer is that a lot of people are sold on the coming renaissance of downtown Los Angeles.

After decades of languishing as a virtual ghost town on weekends and nights (when the workers go home), riddled with homeless panhandlers from the nearby Skid Row, downtown L.A. is finally starting to make a serious comeback. Disney Hall and the new Cathedral helped renew interest in downtown. And now the old brownstones and warehouses are being transformed into trendy lofts, as downtown becomes more residential. New restaurants are opening, new office towers being built...

To a lot of people, it looks like downtown is about to catch fire. There have been so may false starts in the past that a "Cry Wolf" reaction is normal, but this time the long-heralded downtown rebirth may well be the real thing.

                                  (See the artists rendition of L.A. Live below.)

So, we now have the $2 billion project, on the southern edge of downtown, called L.A. Live.

The Microsoft Theatre is just one part of this huge, 27-acre project, that includes restaurants, nightclubs, an ESPN studio/broadcast center, the Grammy museum, movie theatres, and a 54-floor tower housing both posh Ritz-Carlton condos and a J.W. Marriott hotel (plus the largest ballroom in Southern California). The Conga Room will also move to the new center. All of which seems certain to benefit the adjacent Los Angeles Convention Center.


The Nokia (now Microsoft) Theatre opened on October 18, 2007, with a sold-out concert by The Eagles and the Dixie Chicks. Then, in November, the theatre hosted the 2007 American Music Awards.

A few months later, it was announced that the Emmy Awards show would be moving from the Shrine to the Nokia (Microsoft).

The Microsoft Theater also became home to the People's Choice Awards, the American Music Awards, the BET Awards, the ESPY Awards, and the MTV Music Awards.

Other early concerts booked into the Nokia included John Mayer, Garth Brooks, Neil Young, John Fogerty, Aretha Franklin, Enrique Iglesias, Stevie Wonder, George Lopez and Willie Nelson.

The theatre has also hosted movie premieres, beginning with "Speed Racer", and including the major premieres of "The Hunger Games" and "Twilight" films.

A 40,000 square foot plaza outside the Microsoft Theater, studded with giant-screen monitors (and soon to be ringed with restaurants & clubs), lends a Times Square / bright lights glitz to the area.  (One can easily imagine a New Years Eve celebration here...)  Chick Hearn Court itself can also be closed off to traffic, to allow celebratory crowds to spill out even farther south.

To see a list of upcoming shows at the Microsoft Theater, click here.

 Getting there: The Microsoft Theater is located right next to (north of) the Staples Center (which is just north of the Los Angeles Convention Center), on the southern edge of downtown Los Angeles. It is located just to the east of the Harbor (110) Freeway, just north of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway. It's at the northwest corner of Figueroa & Chick Hearn Court, bounded by Olympic Blvd to the north, Chick Hearn Court (11th Street) on the south, Figueroa on the east, and Georgia Street (and the 110 Freeway) on the west.


For more information on this subject, you can access their official website at:
www.microsofttheater.com



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Copyright © 2015-Gary Wayne
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