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State Theatre, Los Angeles

State Theatre, Los Angeles

Formerly known as Loew’s State Theatre

Website: http://www.statetheatre.la/Open website in new window

Telephone: (213) 629-2939Call (213) 629-2939

Address: 703 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014Show address in Google Maps (new window)


Featured Photos Featured Photos

Overview Overview

The State Theatre opened as Loew’s State Theatre in November 1921 and was their west coast showcase movie theatre, later becoming the home for first-run MGM movies in Downtown LA. It is the largest theatre on Broadway by audience capacity (originally 2,450, now 2,387).

The State was designed by Charles Peter Weeks and William Day, of architectural firm Weeks & Day, in a Spanish Renaissance style, and is incorporated into a splendid 12-storey Beaux Arts style office block called the United Building. Situated at the intersection of Downtown Los Angeles’ busiest retail streets of the early 1920s, the building extends half a block along 7th St and one-third of a block along Broadway, and is the city’s largest brick-clad building. The theatre originally boasted two marquees with entrances on both Broadway and 7th. The 7th St entrance was closed in 1936.

At the time of the State’s opening the theatre’s projection booth boasted a feature proclaimed unique across the world: a shower bath, with hot and cold water, for the projectionist!

In 1924 the theatre was taken over by Fox West Coast Theatres and the name changed to the State Theatre. At this time the theatre’s original Moller organ was replaced with a Wurlitzer.

For six years starting in 1929 the Gumm Sisters played at the State, featuring a lead singer who earned the nickname “Leather Lungs” because of her ability to be heard clearly all the way at the rear of the 125ft deep auditorium. Vaudeville ended at the State in 1935 so the Gumm Sisters moved to Culver City to appear in experimental Technicolor musicals. “Leather Lungs” changed her name to Judy Garland.

The State has been seen on the big screen several times, most notably in Bette Midler’s Gypsy (1993). It also appeared in What’s Love Got To Do With It (1993) and Wild Bill (1995), the latter of which involved re-draping the proscenium arch with swags and soft decorations that remain in place to this day.

The auditorium is vast and virtually square in shape. A particular highlight is the seated Billiken figure occupying a niche above the proscenium arch (the Billiken, as a good luck charm, sprang from the height of the “Mind-Cure” craze in the United States at the start of the twentieth century). The State also boasts a quite sensational fire/safety curtain, by Armstrong-Powers, depicting a futuristic fantasy city of onion-domed towers surrounded by planets and comet trails.

The State is currently managed by the Broadway Theatre Group, who also manage the Palace, Los Angeles & Tower theatres. It’s currently leased to the church group Cathedral Of Faith until late 2017.


Visit this theatre How do I visit The State Theatre?

The theatre does not currently offer theatre tours. In the past the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Broadway Historic Theatre and Commercial District Walking Tour Link opens in new window has gained access to the State Theatre however this may not always be the case - check ahead for details.


Further Reading on this theatre Further Reading

  • The Los Angeles Theatres website Link opens in new window has lots of information on The State including a huge number of photographs spanning many years, and a complete history of the theatre since its opening in 1921. This is currently the only way to see what the basement (previously a restaurant) and backstage areas look like.
  • The Cinema Treasures website Link opens in new window covers additional history and photos of The State.
  • The CinemaTour website Link opens in new window features additional photos both interiors and exteriors.
  • The State Theatre’s official website Link opens in new window contains a rich history of the theatre plus some photos not seen elsewhere.

Auditorium

Lobby and Public Areas

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