Beaux Arts Theatre

1709 W. 8th St.    | map |

Los Angeles, CA 90017

Opened: 1927

Architects:  Stanton Reed & Hibbard, who also did the Hotel Figueroa.

Seating:  542

History: This building erected by Charles Forve was billed as the "Carnegie Hall of the West." In addition to the theatre, there were 220 soundproof music studios.

In the late 30s, the Beaux Arts Theatre was used for Federal Theatre Project productions such as "Hansel and Gretel" (the opera), "Vaudeville" and "Pinocchio."

In 1939 and 1940 the theatre was the site of a controversial production of "White Cargo" starring noted actor John Harvey. Harvey played opposite Patricia Saunders as the partially clad African siren Tondeleyo.

The show ran almost 600 performances and ended in a police bust in December 1940.  The show's run set Los Angeles legit theatre records. "White Cargo" actually dated from 1923. A 1934 revival of it starring its author, Leon Gordon, had played the Hollywood Playhouse. There have been two film versions, including a tame one in 1942 starring Hedy Lamarr.

A program from "White Cargo" that was
discovered by Michelle Gerdes. It was on
 eBay and could have been yours for $8.00.
 full size view

A 1940 ad for a production of "Volpone" at
the Beaux Arts. Thanks to Scott Pitzer on
 Photos of Los Angeles for posting it.

In 1941, the theatre hosted a production of "Dracula" starring Dwight Frye.

In 1952 silent film actress Louise Glaum reopened the dormant theatre as the Louise Glaum Playhouse, also referred to as the Louise Glaum Beaux Arts Theatre.

Status:  It's now the Crescent Arms Senior Housing. The building was reconfigured into 186 senior housing units by Killefer Flammang Architects. 

The theatre has been repurposed as a dining area and social center for the residents and little of architectural interest remains.

More Information: See the page on Louise Glaum for more details about her career.  Wikipedia also has a Louise Glaum article.

F.D. Redding advised us about the "White Cargo" adventure at the Beaux Arts. See the Wikipedia article on actor John Harvey and the "White Cargo" obscenity trial.

A view of the entrance. The only remnants
of the building's musical past are bits of
exterior ornamentation -- such as the
 lyre over the entrance.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

The auditorium in 2010. We're looking back
toward the balcony. The brown paneling
at the ceiling step-down is the balcony front.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

[ click on these photos to enlarge ]

A 2010 view of the repurposed rear
of the main floor and lobby areas. 

You can see these 2 columns in the
photo from the USC Archives.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

An exterior view of the Beaux Arts Building.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

[ click to enlarge ]

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    Killefer Flammang Architects

A view of the rear of the building from the
 website of the firm that did the renovation into
 senior housing. See their Crescent Arms page
for more information about their work. 
full size view

  Federal Theatre Project Materials Collection  

GMU Federal Theatre Project Collection

The government was in the vaudeville business!
Free at the Beaux Arts c. 1938 - 1939.
| larger view | data page |

Also in the collection:
flyer similar to above  |  "Le Berceau"  |

    Library of Congress

A poster for the WPA Federal Theatre Project
 production of "Hansel and Gretel" at the Beaux
 Arts Theatre. The Library dates this as c.1936-41. 
full size view

    USC Archives

A view of the proscenium of the Beaux Arts
Theatre from the Padilla Co. in the USC Archives
Herald Examiner collection. The photo was
taken in January 1927. 
full size view

A view toward the rear of the auditorium.
full size view

Also see:
| exterior view  - 1927 |