Sunday, April 29, 2018

The State Theatre

State Theatre marquee
Opened in 1921, the State Theatre is the latest of L.A.'s many fabulous movie palaces to offer tours and public events after serving as a church for many years. Although not the largest venue on downtown's Broadway Theatre District, the State does boast the greatest number of seats (over 2300), possibly because of its steep and tall balcony. According to legend, Judy Garland regularly performed here with her siblings, the Gumm Sisters, before heading to Culver City in the mid-1930s to star in movies.

The Los Angeles Historic Theater Foundation offered the State's first public tour today and we were there. Still under renovation, the space is nonetheless magnificent as preservationists begin to remove the religious trappings that once obscured its grandeur. For those anxious to see it for themselves, the L.A. Conservancy will be showing Mr. Smith Goes to Washington at the State, on June 2, as part of its annual Last Remaining Seats series.

Looking up from the lobby

Second-story ceiling

Stairway tile work

Former water fountain

Balcony ceiling—chandelier added in 1929

Ceiling vents (detail)

View from the top of the balcony—stained glass on sides of stage
are not original and will be removed

Air vents above first-floor seating—light fixtures not original

Ornamentation detail

And more

Behind the marquee

 As LAHTF members, we were invited to visit an enormous space that housed an ornate restaurant during the 1920s/30s. It's located under the theater, below street-level. Dirty and in desperate need of renovation, the area is still quite breath-taking.

Beautifully painted molding

Ornamental columns

Moorish-inspired murals

More columns