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4 Performance Theaters to Visit in Southern California


Creative minds from all different artistic disciplines thrive on the open, nurturing atmosphere of Southern California, making this region the world’s go-to destination for culture and imagination. If you want to take in a live performance of the Broadway show you’ve heard so much about, stand-up comedy from some of the funniest folks working today or musical performances spanning a range of genres and styles, these performance venues are some of the jewels in SoCal’s crown of creativity.

Hollywood Pantages

On the opposite side of the country from Broadway sits the Hollywood Pantages, one of the best places to experience live shows anywhere in the world. The Hollywood Pantages is a landmark theater that was once owned by Howard Hughes and served as the site of the first televised Academy Awards ceremony. Touring the theater is worth a visit alone, but you really get your money’s worth by checking out the shows on deck in its 2019-2020 season, which include hits like “Anastasia,” “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” and, returning in March 2020, “Hamilton.”

Pasadena Playhouse

For over 100 years, the Pasadena Playhouse has earned its stripes as one of America’s most significant and prolific theaters, putting on over 1,200 shows and commissioning over 550 new works of art. The Playhouse continues its history of breaking the mold and providing an outlet for new and beloved stars in 2019 — just this summer, it wrapped “Good Boys,” a new play written by “Riverdale” creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and starring Ben Ahlers (NBC’s “The Village”), Dylan Arnold (2018’s “Halloween”) and Betsy Brant (AMC’s “Breaking Bad”). The 2019-2020 season looks to be incredibly promising with productions of “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Annie Get Your Gun” and a tour-de-force performance by Alfred Molina in “The Father.”

San Diego Civic Theatre

Whether you want to relive the music of your youth, laugh with some of the funniest comedians working today or see a live performance of a Broadway classic, you can experience it at the beautiful San Diego Civic Theatre in the heart of downtown. The SDCT hosted Eddie Izzard, Weird Al Yankovic and performances of “Miss Saigon” and “The Book of Mormon” this summer, drawing exuberant crowds to fill the rich red seats of its massive auditorium. The fall promises to be no less exciting, offering performances of “Aida” and “Jesus Christ Superstar,” live comedy from Jo Koy and the music of Lenny Kravitz. The year wraps up with a New Year’s Eve performance of one of Broadway’s hottest shows, “Dear Evan Hansen.”

South Coast Repertory

You get double the enjoyment at the South Coast Repertory theater in Costa Mesa, thanks to its Segerstrom and Argyros stages, both of which host a variety of exciting and unique plays and musicals in the 2019-2020 season. On the former, you can see the world premiere of Kate Hamill’s “The Scarlet Letter,” the boisterous and beautiful “American Mariachi” and the ingeniousness of Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia.” On the latter, the season kicks off with the world premiere of Adam Bock’s “The Canadians,” dives deep into human emotions with “Fireflies” and “Outside Mullingar” and ends on a high note with the world premiere of Caroline V. McGraw’s “I Get Restless.” Whether you see one or see them all, you’ll enjoy a lovely time and an intimate experience in one of the most-awarded theaters in Orange County.

Amidst the glitz of Hollywood and along the beautiful coast, you’ll find great performance and plenty of inspiration for your own art. Bring your friends and family to the next show on the schedule that speaks to you and craft a memory that will stay with you for a lifetime.

This article is presented by Glenn E. Thomas Dodge Chrysler Jeep.
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