Greek Theatre (Los Angeles)
|Location||2700 North Vermont Avenue
|Owner||City of Los Angeles|
|Opened||September 25, 1930|
The Greek Theatre, nicknamed "The Greek", is a 5,870-seat Greek theatre, located at Griffith Park, in Los Angeles, California. It was built in 1929, opening on September 29 of that year. The Greek Theatre is owned by the city of Los Angeles, and is managed, operated and promoted by the Nederlander Organization. Designed by architect Samuel Tilden Norton, the theatre stage is modeled after a Greek temple. (It is a theatre, not an Amphitheatre, which has "viewing all around".)
The idea for the Greek Theatre originated with wealthy landowner Griffith J. Griffith, who donated 3,000 acres (1,200 ha) of land to the city of Los Angeles in 1896 to create what became Griffith Park. In his will he left money for the construction of a Greek theatre. A canyon site was chosen because of its good acoustics. The cornerstone was laid in 1928 and the building was officially dedicated on September 25, 1930. The first performance took place on June 26, 1931, attended by a capacity crowd of 4,000.
During its first decades the theatre was rarely used, and it was used as a barracks during World War II. In the late 1940s a San Francisco producer brought touring shows to the venue. In the 1950s James Doolittle, a Los Angeles showman, leased the theatre and upgraded it with better seating and backstage equipment. Since 1975 the theatre has been managed by the Nederlander organization, which further improved it and began a regular rotation of contemporary and classical productions and concerts. The theatre underwent an earthquake retrofit in 1995. In 2006 the facade was renovated in celebration of the venue's 75th anniversary.
In 1983, the Greek Theatre's seating capacity was expanded to 6,187, but recent renovations have brought the Greek Theatre's capacity down to 6,162 in 1995 and to 5,700 in 2004. In 2009 the Los Angeles Fire Marshal permitted the addition of two more rows in the pit, bringing full capacity at the Greek to 5,870 seated / 5,900 general admission.
The Greek Theatre is used for concerts, stage shows, and graduation ceremonies for Thomas Starr King Middle School and John Marshall High School, among others.
The Greek Theatre won the Best Small Outdoor Venue award seven times in the past eight years, awarded by Pollstar Magazine, the industry's leading trade publication.
Neil Diamond's 1972 concert album, Hot August Night, was recorded live at the Greek Theatre, as was a second album in 1977, Love at the Greek. Harry Belafonte's 1964 concert album, Belafonte at the Greek Theatre was recorded live at the Greek Theatre. Chicago/Earth Wind & Fire - Live at the Greek Theatre recorded live in 2005. The film Get Him to the Greek starring Russell Brand was filmed in 2010 at the theatre.