A Tour of the Hollywood Pantages Theater 

If you are an avid reader of my blog (hi Mom!) then you already know this about me, but if not, I’ll fill you in on a not-so-well-kept-because-it’s-totally-not-a-secret secret: I sometimes still long for a career in the theater. I have had a love affair with theater, musicals especially, since I was six years old and saw Phantom of the Opera for the first time (note: not a show I would recommend for most kid’s first musical theater experience, but clearly it worked for me). I spent most of my high school and college years working in the theater, and though I learned early on that I wasn’t really willing to make the sacrifices necessary for a career in theater (I like a steady paycheck and health benefits and all that…neither of which I have right now…) there has never been a time in my adult life when theater wasn’t a part of it. A few years ago I started to take advantage of the flexible season ticket packages and deals and sales offered by the Pantages theater in Hollywood, and two years ago I became a full fledged season ticket holder (necessary for this season in particular because Hamilton) and it is honestly one of the best things I have done for myself. Not only does it usually save me money over buying individual tickets to the shows I want to see, but the Pantages occasionally offers some cool perks for season ticket holders, like meet ups and backstage tours. Also, it forces Matt and me to go on a date every once in a while, which is all kinds of good.

A few months ago season ticket holders were invited to an open house and backstage tour, and while it wasn’t my first time going onstage and backstage at the theater, it was one of the cooler times since season ticket holders kind of had free rein and were able to wander wherever our hearts desired (except the orchestra pit, which was up at the time). Whether you are a theater lover or not, the Pantages is an awesome place to visit because it is full of Hollywood history. The theater began as a vaudeville house, opening its doors for the first time in 1930. It was the home of the Oscars for ten years before taking on many different lives as a movie theater and a live performance venue. In 2000, the Panatages underwent a huge multi-million dollar renovation and it has since been home to some of LA’s most successful productions including The Lion King, Wicked, and Book of Mormon. In August, the Panatges will welcome the first national tour of Hamilton for a limited run. It’s definitely my favorite LA theater and definitely a place everyone should visit.

Enough history, on to the fun stuff! Here are some of my favorite architectural details at the Pantages:

This is the front entrance of the theater…

This is inside the waiting area of the ladies room. I am obsessed with this bathroom…

This is the ceiling inside the main theater, which is absolutely breathtaking…

Inside the incredible lobby. If you are visiting for the first time, make sure you arrive early so you can spend some time looking around the inside of the theater!

This is a framed medicine cabinet that is hanging in one of the backstage dressing rooms. It’s tradition for touring actors to sign the medicine cabinet while they are performing at the Pantages. The most notable names on here are Megan Hilty (from the tour of Wicked) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (of Hamilton fame, signed when he was touring with In the Heights).

This area is in one of the backstage corners and it lists all the productions of the theater’s longtime technical director. As you can see, the Pantages has been home to some pretty stellar productions.

I recently renewed my season tickets at the Pantages for next year, and I am so excited to see what the new season has in store for us. I am particularly excited about Waitress and Aladdin (not so excited about Love Never Dies, but you get what you get). I hope I have the opportunity to remain a season ticket holder for many years to come. I always leave the theater feeling inspired and ready to create. Are you a musical theater fan? What is your favorite show?

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