Location #42:

Mia's Theatre / Playhouse

(The Exterior)

Q.  Where is it supposed to be?

The producers of La La Land have a habit of using one location for the exterior of a place and a totally different location for the interior, often clear across town from each other.

For instance, the exterior of Mia's Apartment House is in Long Beach, while the interior is miles away near downtown L.A.  Likewise, the exterior door to Lipton's is in the heart of Hollywood, while the interior of the restaurant is way over in Burbank.  And later in this film, we'll see that the interior of Seb's club is also in Long Beach, while its exterior is in Hollywood.

And so it is with the fictional "The Del Rio Theater", Mia's small theatre, where she puts on her one-woman play", "So Long, Boulder City". 

We just saw that the actual theatre she performs in is in mid-Wilshire.  But for the exterior of the theatre, they used a completely different building, miles away.

We see the ( supposed ) exterior of her theatre twice in the movie:

1:24:21:  We see a wide-angle shot of the entire theatre building, from across the street, as Mia walks in the front door, carrying a box full of her props.

The camera then cuts to close-ups of bright red posters on the front of the theatre, advertising her one-woman play ( "So Long, Boulder City: A Play By Mia Dolan " ), to which, we can see, she has added taped a hand-written note reading: "Tonight! "  The scene then cuts to the interior of the theatre ( which isn't here ).

and then we see the exterior again at:

1:28:37:  Sebastian is very late to Mia's big night at the theatre, having been forced to attend a lengthy photo shoot with Keith's band.   We Seb arrive outside the theatre in his car.  He speeds up to the curb, literally jumps out, and rushes to the closed theatre door, but can't get in - because her play is over. 

He then spots Mia on the street, carrying away her props from the play.   But she is  heartbroken and angry, over both her seeming failure on stage and the fact that Seb wasn't there to support her.

She tells him that  it's all over, that she's through embarrassing herself, and that she's going "home home" ( by which she means back to Boulder City, Nevada ).

As he desperately tries to make up with her, she gets in her car drives off.

Q.  Where was it really shot?

Perversely, the fake exterior of her theatre is itself a theatre... well, sort of.

This is actually the "Club Fais Do-Do" at 5257 W. Adams Blvd.,
in the West Adams district of Los Angeles.

( That is almost five miles southwest of her actual theatre. )

Here is a matching StreetView of Club Fais Do-Do:

As the camera pulls back to show the entire building again, you can actually see the name "Club Fais Do-Do" on a sign atop the upper left corner of the building.  But the right side of the building ( to the right of the marquee ), which seems to be part of the club when we see it in the screencap, is actually a completely different business space ( a discount store ).

When we see Sebastian drive up, he is heading west on W. Adams Blvd, and pulls up to park on the north side of that street, a few feet east of the club,

Club Fais Do Do  is housed in a former Art Deco bank building that was built in 1930. Inside, you'll find an elevated performance area ( a low wooden stage ) in the corner, a large dance floor, and a balcony above the bar.

Here's a shot of the club's interior ( which we never see in the film ):

The West Adams district is located southwest of downtown L.A., and northeast of Baldwin Hills, a block or two south of the Century (10) Freeway.  It's an old neighborhood with some wonderful old Victorian & Craftsman homes, but which has unfortunately become a bit shabby over the years.  So has this building.

There seem to be a lot of empty storefronts, iron bars and graffiti-covered walls on the blocks around the club, which is never a good sign. 

But the reviews I've read of the place seem to indicate that it's a safe venue.

Pronounced "Fay-Dough-Dough" ( not  "Fize doo-doo" ), the unusual name comes from a French phrase which translates to "Go to Sleep". But in this instance, it refers to a type of Cajun public dance party, held in Louisiana on Sunday afternoons, complete with traditional Cajun music and Louisiana French vocals.
Which honestly makes me wonder why ( as Seb says about tapas & samba) didn't they just pick one and get it right? They might not have been able to use the interior of Fais Do-Do ( since it doesn't have the kind of elevated stage and seating that you'd expect in a playhouse ), but  the exterior of the Fonda building ( the spot used for the actual interior ) is certainly nice enough to play itself. 

But seriously, I'm sure they had good reasons.

This club doesn't have a formal stage, as you would find in a legitimate playhouse, more of just a performing area for bands and other acts, with folding chairs instead of standard theatre seats.

In the past, the club has seen performers such as John Coltrane, Billy Preston and Sam Cooke grace its halls. Nowadays, they present a very eclectic mix of monthly burlesque shows and live music, ranging from jazz to rap, from R&B to salsa, from rock to retro.

Here's a YouTube video of one
"Vaud and The Villains" performance there:

Here is their website.

( So, to recap, at the risk of over-explaining, Mia's theatre/playhouse in the movie is a hybrid of two different places: the interior being a real theatre, and the exterior played by this club building. )

Here is a link to a Google Earth 3-D view of the theatre.


Move on to the next movie location seen in "La La Land".


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