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Greek Theater (Los Angeles)

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Greek Theatre
The Greek
Greek Theatre 2007
Location2700 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, California
Coordinates34°07′11″N 118°17′46″W / 34.119702°N 118.296065°W / 34.119702; -118.296065Coordinates: 34°07′11″N 118°17′46″W / 34.119702°N 118.296065°W / 34.119702; -118.296065
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OwnerCity of Los Angeles
OpenedSeptember 25, 1930

Greek Theatre is a 5,870-seat music venue located in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California. The theatre is owned by the city of Los Angeles and is operated by SMG. 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 officially 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]


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.[6]

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.[6]

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

See also[edit]

  • List of contemporary amphitheaters


  1. http://pcad.lib.washington.edu/building/1378/
  2. Holliday, Peter J. (July 3, 2016). "When in SoCal, do as the Romans (and the Greeks) do". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The Greek Theatre History". greektheatrela.com. Retrieved 30 May 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 14 September 2015.
  5. Jahad, Shirley (2014). "Live Nation, Nederlander/AEG battle for Greek Theatre to continuet". spcr.org. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  6. 6.0 6.1 About the Greek

External links[edit]