The Music Center’s four theaters were each designed by foremost architects, engineers and experts in the field. Each design element and detail—from exterior design and interior amenities to acoustic quality and staging design—were developed to give audiences a state-of-the-art experience.
The Ahmanson Theatre opened in 1967, three years after the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with a state-of-the-art configuration to provide variable seating capacity and accommodating a diverse selection of performances, from the intimate to the spectacular.
The countless productions by Center Theatre Group have included Hollywood giants such as Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Charlton Heston, among many others. It has been the host of theatrical world premieres, award-winning shows and the ideal stage for musicals and direct-from-Broadway productions.
The Ahmanson Theatre’s proscenium was recently renovated with state-of-the-art staging and sound equipment.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Photo by Tim Street-Porter
The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the first and largest theater of The Music Center, was built in 1964 and designed by Welton Becket using a “Total Design” aesthetic. Everything from the building’s structure and engineering to its interior design—lighting fixtures, carpeting, typography, restaurant china and flatware—were designed by the firm for a unified and integrated look.
The interior of the theater is an elegant five-story space draped in honey-toned onyx and features 78 crystal light fixtures including three stunning chandeliers each made with 24,000 individual pieces of hand-polished crystal from Munich.
The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion has been the site of unparalleled performances by stunning music luminaries and virtuosos. It was the home of the LA Philharmonic for decades and the site for more than 20 Academy Awards presentations between 1969 and 1999. It is now the home of the LA Opera, sharing its stage with Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at the Music Center.
Mark Taper Forum
The Mark Taper Forum also opened in 1967 and is The Music Center’s most intimate theater. Located between the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the Ahmanson Theater, the Mark Taper Forum is a circular building, with an exterior drum that is decorated with an intricate relief-sculpture mural and surrounded by two reflecting pools. The “thrust stage” provides seating on three-sides of the performers giving the audience the opportunity to view the performance from a variety of perspectives. It is the ideal stage for intimate dramatic plays and productions by Center Theatre Group.
The Mark Taper Forum underwent a $30 million renovation in 2007/08. All of the building and theatrical systems were replaced with state-of-the-art designs and improved audience amenities while maintaining the structural integrity of the original design.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Designed by Frank Gehry and considered to be an architectural masterpiece, Walt Disney Concert Hall is a modern marvel and a Los Angeles icon. Completed in 2003, it is the newest of The Music Center’s four venues, and home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Master Chorale. Walt Disney Concert Hall is one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world, providing both visual and aural intimacy for an unparalleled musical experience. The auditorium is configured in a “vineyard” style, which allows for seating on all four sides of the stage.
The Library of Congress/Ira Gershwin Gallery, housed inside Walt Disney Concert Hall, was designed by Hodgetts and Fung Design Associates and made possible by a generous gift from the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Trust for the Benefit of the Library of Congress. The gallery is situated on the second floor of Walt Disney Concert Hall and rotates its collection bi-annually. Visit the gallery when on a tour or when attending a performance inside the Concert Hall.
Although not a part of The Music Center, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) is a multi-media arts center housed within the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex.