Since opening just two years ago, the Theatre at Ace Hotel has quickly become one of the most beloved entertainment venues in downtown Los Angeles. The beautifully restored space, which first opened in 1927 as the flagship theater for Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford's United Artists film studio, has hosted live performances and film screenings for the likes of Spiritualized (who inaugurated the venue with a full orchestra in 2014), Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Lykki Li, Smashing Pumpkins, Ken Burns and Paul Thomas Anderson.
The Ace Hotel Group's chief brand officer, Kelly Sawdon, gave L.A. Weekly an exclusive tour of the theater, which you can see in the above video. Among the many fascinating details she points out are the stage's original United Artists fire curtain, which includes the motto “The Picture's the Thing,” and the jaw-dropping domed ceiling, made up of 3,000 glass discs. She also notes that, remarkably, the theater sat virtually unused from 1989 until the building was purchased by Ace Hotel in 2010.
Sawdon says the theater has sold more than 200,000 tickets since it reopened and hosts about 120 events a year, from concerts to film premieres to author readings to a drag ball. “We saw programming as an opportunity to have a dialogue with a lot of different creative communities within Los Angeles,” she says.
The Los Angeles Conservancy offers a walking tour of DTLA's Broadway theater district, which sometimes (subject to availability) offers an interior visit to the Theatre at Ace Hotel, the Los Angeles Theatre or the Orpheum Theatre. The Conservancy also will present two shows in its Last Remaining Seats series at the theater. For more information, visit laconservancy.org.
Among the shows coming up at the Theatre at Ace Hotel are Radiotopia Live (May 4), Explosions in the Sky (May 5-6), the Drag Queens of Comedy (May 7), Charles Bradley (May 13) and Andrew Bird (May 14-15). For a complete schedule of upcoming events, visit acehotel.com.