Seeing Stars: Live on Stage


2020 Avenue of the Stars,
Century City (Los Angeles), CA.
(310) 201-1500 or (800) 233-3123 (TeleCharge)


Bad news for L.A. theatre fans. The Shubert will not only be closing for good soon, but the theatre itself will be torn down to make way for a high-rise building now being planned for Century City.

Since Disney's ABC vacated the ABC Entertainment Center for new digs (near Disney Studio) in Burbank, the owners now plan to raze the entire ABC Entertainment Center, including the Shubert, and construct a $280 million office building. The giant twin towers in the back will remain, but the smaller buildings will go, and the current limestone plaza and fountains in the center of the Entertainment Center will be replaced by a park-like area and two new 15-story buildings.

Demolition is likely to begin after leases expire in October of 2002, and the new buildings will be read by 2005.

The Shubert had been experiencing something of a slump in recent years. It stumbled badly when it failed to nab Disney's "The Lion King" (which went to the Pantages instead).

But in the long run, something positive may come out of this grim scenario. There is now speculation that the Shubert may eventually move to downtown Hollywood, into the last of the great Boulevard movie palaces - the Warner Pacific, which has long sat empty and in need of restoration. If so, along with the Kodak Theatre and the Pantages (not to mention the smaller Henry Fonda and the Doolittle theatres), Hollywood could be developing its own theatre district.

I will leave the article below online for those who wish to read about the theatre, but bear in mind that by 2002, it will be gone.



While many stars first found fame on the Broadway stage, other stars found success first in the movies, and later tried their hand at Broadway musicals.

For instance, in 1994, actress Glenn Close (star of "Fatal Attraction" and "The Natural") starred live on stage at the Shubert Theatre in Century City. She sang the lead role of Norma Desmond in "Sunset Blvd.," a musical from the incredibly successful pen of Andrew Lloyd Webber ("Cats," "Evita," "Phantom of the Opera"). She did such a good job, in fact, that when "Sunset Blvd. " moved to Broadway, it was Glenn Close and not Patti LuPone (the star of the original British production) who kept the lead role.

After Glenn Close moved to the Broadway production, she was replaced by none other than actress Faye Dunaway, star of "Bonnie & Clyde" (1967) and "Network" (1976). Ms. Dunaway had to beat out such other Hollywood contenders as Raquel Welch and Diana Ross for the role. Yet, just as Faye Dunaway was about to open as Norma Desmond, the producers decided that she didn't have the vocal range to handle the role and abruptly canceled the show.

Before "Sunset Blvd," the Shubert was home to such major, classic musicals as "Annie," "A Chorus Line," "Cats" and "Les Miserables," each enjoying a healthy run of several years here in Century City. And actor Leonard Nimoy ("Mr. Spock " from TV's "Star Trek"), was on also stage here years ago as "Sherlock Holmes."

Following "Sunset Blvd.," Walt Disney's musical version of "Beauty & the Beast" took the stage and went on to become the longest-running production ever to play the Shubert.

Later, the Shubert was home to the musical "Ragtime," before it made its successful debut Broadway. Then Joel Grey ("Cabaret") took over the lead in the musical "Chicago" at the Shubert.

Following the limited run of the musical "Fosse" in 2000, the Shubert played host to a new musical in early 2001: "Mama Mia!," based on the songs of the pop group Abba.

Other 2001 shows at the Shubert includes "Dame Edna: The Royal Tour" in mid-May, the stage version of "Saturday Night Fever" in late May, and the current revival of "Kiss Me, Kate" in September.

The Shubert is one of L.A.'s finest legitimate theatres, and along with the Music Center, it is the local home to most of the major Broadway musicals visiting the city. It's a large theatre, with some 1,830 seats, and some people complain that the views in the rear balcony are poor.

Alas, the price for Broadway musicals has continued to rise; orchestra seats go for around $70 nowadays. Still, there is almost always a line of cars at the valet stand outside the Shubert when there's a musical playing there there. And the wait to get tickets to a popular show can be long if you don't buy them before the show opens

The Shubert is located in the ABC Entertainment Center in Century City, near 20th Century Fox Studios. You will instantly recognize the ABC Entertainment Center by the twin 44-story, triangular office towers ("The Century Plaza Towers") which stand guard behind the theatre, and by the dramatic fountains in the center of the Avenue of the Stars. (You have seen it all before in the TV series "Remington Steele," where the towers served as the headquarters for the fictional detective's office.). The twin skyscrapers are the two tallest buildings in West L.A., visible from miles away, and a focal point for Century City.

(Also see the separate webpage about theatrical premieres.)

Getting there: From Rodeo Drive, take Santa Monica Boulevard southwest (about one mile) to Avenue of the Stars. Turn left (south) on Avenue of the Stars, and drive south until you reach the fountains. The Shubert will be on your left (east) side, across the street from the Century Plaza Hotel.


[For more information on this subject, you can access seating charts of the Shubert at: http://www.playbill.com/cgi-bin/plb/seating?cmd=show&code=R183 or
http://www.premiumtix.com/Seating/shubert.gif.]



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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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