Greek Theatre (Los Angeles)

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Greek Theatre
Greek Theatre Logo 2020.png
Amphitheatre during a concert (c.2019)
Address2700 N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90027-1247
LocationGriffith Park
Coordinates34°07′11″N 118°17′46″W / 34.1197°N 118.2961°W / 34.1197; -118.2961Coordinates: 34°07′11″N 118°17′46″W / 34.1197°N 118.2961°W / 34.1197; -118.2961
OwnerCity of Los Angeles
OperatorASM Global
Genre(s)music concerts
Seating typereserved seating
Current useconcerts, stage shows, graduation ceremonies
Broke ground1928
OpenedSeptember 25, 1930
Official website

Greek Theatre is an amphitheatre located in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California. It is owned by the city of Los Angeles and is operated by ASM Global. Designed by architects Samuel Tilden Norton, Frederick Hastings Wallisand, and the Tacoma firm Heath, Gove, & Bell, the theatre stage is modeled after a Greek temple.[1]


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 Griffith Park.[2] 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 dedicated on September 25, 1930. The first performance took place on June 26, 1931, attended by a capacity crowd of 4,000.[3]

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.[4] Between 1975 and 2015, the theatre was 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.[3] In 2015, Live Nation attempted to replace Nederlander in operating the theatre, leading to a joint venture with Live Nation and Nederlander, along with Goldenvoice, programming shows while SMG managed the venue.[5]

The venue cancelled its season in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic which would have been its 90th anniversary and also put up for sale their red chairs that were replaced for renovation in the terrace sections.[6]


In 1983, the Greek Theatre's seating capacity was expanded to 6,187, but renovations 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 and 5,900 general admission.[7]

Current usage[edit]

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.[7]

The annual Bell-Jeff Invitational cross country running event starts adjacent to the theater.

In popular culture[edit]

Several concerts have been filmed at the venue, including concerts by The Go-Go's, Ringo Starr, Joe Bonamassa, Chicago, and Neil Diamond's 1976 televised concert Love at the Greek. Movies that have been filmed at the venue include Get Him to the Greek, Bye Bye Birdie, and the "Shallow" scene from the 2018 film A Star Is Born.[6] Yellow Magic Orchestra's Live at Greek Theater 1979. "Swan Song", Johnny Cash, 24th serie of Columbo in 1974, and Season 1, Episode 24 of The Rockford Files.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks, Griffith Park, Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA". Pacific Coast Architecture Database. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  2. ^ Holliday, Peter J. (July 3, 2016). "When in SoCal, do as the Romans (and the Greeks) do". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "The Greek Theatre History". Retrieved May 30, 2013.
  4. ^ Richard, Joseph (1970). "A History Of The Los Angeles Greek Theatre Under The Management Of James A. Doolittle And The Los Angeles Greek Theater Association, 1952-1969: The Professional Theatre Producer As A Lessee Of City Government". University of Southern California. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  5. ^ Jahad, Shirley (2014). "Live Nation, Nederlander/AEG battle for Greek Theatre to continuet". Southern California Public Radio. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Fadroski, Kelli (August 27, 2020). "LA's Greek Theatre is selling off its iconic red seats, and you can buy a pair". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved October 31, 2020.
  7. ^ a b About the Greek

External links[edit]