Wilshire Ebell Theatre

Wilshire Boulevard at Lucerne / Los Angeles, CA

The Wilshire Ebell Theatre is part of an organization in central LA, the Ebell of Los Angeles Women's Club.
The group was organized in the late 19th century and based on the methods of Adrian Ebell, a pioneer in women's education.
In the minutes of the first meeting the club identified its motto as "I will find a way or make one -- I serve."

In 1923 the group announced plans to build a new clubhouse and in 1925 a lot was purchased at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Lucerne. Architect Sumner P. Hunt of Hunt & Burns designed the complex in an Italian style consisting of multiple structures, including a 1,300-seat theatre, patio area, clubhouse, lounge, art salon, and a dining room which opens into a colonnade walkway and fountain.

The clubhouse opened with a tea in October 1927, and the theater (originally known as the Windsor Square Playhouse) opened to the public in December 1927 with the west coast premiere of Sigmund Romberg's musical The Desert Song.

The 1,300-seat theater is famous for its acoustics and its rare 3/13 Barton pipe organ. (The Barton Organ Company was an American manufacturer during the age of silent movies and only built about 250 theater organs between 1918 and 1931.)

- an example of the 3/13 Barton console from the Michigan Theatre -

Restoration of the Ebell began in 1989. The theater's seats were recovered, the stage refitted, and new sound and lighting systems installed. Renovation work also extended to the main dining room (also known as the Concert Hall), the Grand Salon/Lounge, the Galleria, and the Art Salon.

The Los Angeles Times in 2003 described the theater as "the grande dame of genteel grace," "a cultural centerpiece for Los Angeles," and "one of the area's most striking" auditoriums. The Ebell was declared a Los Angeles Cultural Historic Monument in 1982.

The Ebell complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

It has also been designated an Official American Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

- box office and seating chart -

For more information on LA theatres see Bill Counter's Excellent Website!

Programs available from this theatre:

  • Our Town (1940)

    Return to Index of Theatres