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Nimoy Theater (photo credit Franck Bohbot)

Nimoy Theater

Los Angeles, California, United States

Original Theatre Opened: 25th December 1940 (83 years ago)

Reopened as an Atmospheric Theatre: 10th June 1988 (35 years ago)

Reopened as the Nimoy Theater: 17th September 2023

Atmospheric Style: Revival Atmospheric

Architect: Arthur W. Hawes

Former Names: UCLAN Theatre, Crest Theatre, Loew’s Crest, Metro Theatre, Pacific’s Crest, Crest Westwood

Website: cap.ucla.edu/The_Nimoy Link opens in new window

Address: 1262 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024 Link opens in new window


Overview

The UCLAN Theatre opened in late 1940 as a single screen neighborhood movie theatre. It was a project of Frances Seymour Fonda, the second wife of Henry and mother of Peter and Jane Fonda. The theatre was popular during the 1940s due to it featuring newsreels in addition to the main program.

The “Hollywood Revival” atmospheric auditorium sidewalls
The “Hollywood Revival” atmospheric auditorium sidewalls

The theatre had many names and operators over the years. In 1985 the theatre came under the control of Pacific Theatres and was renamed Pacific’s Crest. In 1888 Pacific Theatres, in conjunction with Disney, renovated the theatre in a project led by theatre designer Joe Musil. The façade received a deco treatment and the auditorium was re-styled in “Hollywood Revival” atmospheric style.

The atmospheric auditorium featured a deco-style proscenium arch. The auditorium sidewalls featured murals of Hollywood and Los Angeles buildings, icons, and streetscapes, with highlights picked-out in fluorescent paints excited by hidden black (ultraviolet) lighting. The auditorium ceiling was painted blue to look like the sky and featured twinkling stars. Musil also designed a shooting star light effect whereby a shooting star would fly across the ceiling of the theatre and explode in a shimmer of stardust as the title curtain opened.

The renovation of the Crest was a precursor to Pacific and Disney collaborating to renovate the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, again with Musil running the project.

The Crest was operated as an independent house from 2003 to 2010, then sold to Bigfoot Entertainment in late 2010 who put it back on the market just over a year later in late 2011. Some shows were presented in the theatre under lease from Bigfoot from 2013 to 2016.

Renovation rendering for CAP UCLA
Renovation rendering for CAP UCLA

In October 2018 it was announced that the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Link opens in new window had acquired the theatre. A project to renovate the entire building and bring it up to current standards was expected to cost around $11 million and be completed in late 2022.

UCLA’s plan for the theatre was to use it as an off-campus intimate performance venue for their Center for the Art of Performance Link opens in new window (CAP UCLA). The theatre was renamed as the Nimoy Theater in honor of the late Leonard Nimoy, whose widow Susan Bay Nimoy initially funded the project.

The renovated and restored Nimoy Theater opened in mid-September 2023.

Further Reading

Online

Historic Photos & Documents
Façade rendering by Joe Musil in preparation for the 1988 renovation, courtesy <i>Ronald W. Mahan Collection</i> (JPG)
Façade rendering by Joe Musil in preparation for the 1988 renovation, courtesy Ronald W. Mahan Collection (JPG)
Exterior in 2007, courtesy <i>Los Angeles Theatres</i> (JPG)
Exterior in 2007, courtesy Los Angeles Theatres (JPG)
Auditorium in 2010, courtesy <i>Mark Peacock</i> (JPG)
Auditorium in 2010, courtesy Mark Peacock (JPG)
Auditorium in 2010, courtesy <i>Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation</i> (JPG)
Auditorium in 2010, courtesy Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation (JPG)
Auditorium Sidewall, courtesy <i>Martha Boswell</i> (JPG)
Auditorium Sidewall, courtesy Martha Boswell (JPG)
Auditorium rendering for the UCLA renovation project, courtesy <i>BAR Architects</i> (JPG)
Auditorium rendering for the UCLA renovation project, courtesy BAR Architects (JPG)
News of the theatre’s purchase by UCLA, as printed in the 25th October 2018 edition of the <i>Los Angeles Times</i> (220KB PDF)
News of the theatre’s purchase by UCLA, as printed in the 25th October 2018 edition of the Los Angeles Times (220KB PDF)
News of the theatre’s upcoming reopening, as printed in the 1st September 2023 edition of the <i>Los Angeles Times</i> (250KB PDF)
News of the theatre’s upcoming reopening, as printed in the 1st September 2023 edition of the Los Angeles Times (250KB PDF)
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Text copyright © 2017-2024 Mike Hume / Historic Theatre Photos.

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