Ahmanson Theatre
Ahmanson Theatre
Location135 North Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, California
Coordinates34°3′29″N 118°14′50″W / 34.05806°N 118.24722°W / 34.05806; -118.24722
Public transit B Line  B Line D Line J Line  Civic Ctr
A Line E Line J Line  Grand Av
OwnerLos Angeles Music Center
TypeIndoor Theatre
Seating typeReserved
Broke groundMarch 9, 1962
OpenedApril 12, 1967
RenovatedJanuary 25, 1995
ArchitectWelton Becket & Associates (1967), Ellerbe Becket (1995)
Main contractorsPeter Kiewit & Sons (1967), Robert F. Mahoney & Associates (1995)
Official Website

The Ahmanson Theatre is one of the four main venues that compose the Los Angeles Music Center.


The theatre was built as a result of a donation from Howard F. Ahmanson Sr, the founder of H.F. Ahmanson & Co., an insurance and savings and loans company. It was named for his second wife, businesswoman and philanthropist Caroline Leonetti Ahmanson.[1]

Inaugural Program 1967

Welton Becket & Associates was the architect. Construction began on March 9, 1962 and was undertaken by Peter Kiewit & Sons (now Kiewit Corporation).[2] The theatre's inaugural event was held on April 12, 1967, with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera Association sponsoring the national cast production of Man of La Mancha, starring Richard Kiley and Joan Diener.[3] The theatre also was the U.S. premiere of More Stately Mansions starring Ingrid Bergman, Arthur Hill, and Colleen Dewhurst, which opened September 12 of that same year.[4] Since then, it has presented a wide variety of dramas, musicals, comedies and revivals of the classics, including six world premieres of Neil Simon plays and works by Wendy Wasserstein, August Wilson, A.R. Gurney, Terrence McNally, John Guare and Edward Albee. The Ahmanson also has served in the capacity of co-producer for a number of Broadway productions, including Amadeus, Smokey Joe's Cafe, The Most Happy Fella, and The Drowsy Chaperone.

The theater was also home to the Los Angeles production of The Phantom of the Opera which ran at the theater from 1989 to 1993. It opened with the original London and Broadway Phantom Michael Crawford as the Phantom. He was later replaced with actor Robert Guillaume, and then Davis Gaines.

The Ahmanson has the largest theatrical season-ticket subscription base on the West Coast. Its year-round season begins in early fall and lasts through late summer.

1990s renovation

Throughout 1994, a major $17 million renovation moved the mezzanine and balcony closer to the stage, reduced the width of the auditorium, lowered the ceiling and significantly improved the acoustics, which had long been criticized since the theater's opening. It also allowed the theatre's seating capacity to be reconfigured from 1,600 seats for an intimate play to 2,084 for a major Broadway-sized musical.[5]

Designed by Ellerbe Becket Architects[6][7][8] and constructed by Robert F. Mahoney & Associates, the renovation took eighteen months to complete. During this time, the Ahmanson's season-ticket subscriptions were presented at the UCLA James A. Doolittle Theatre (now known as Ricardo Montalbán Theatre) in Hollywood. The Ahmanson reopened on January 25, 1995, with an 8+12-month-long run of Miss Saigon.

World premieres

The Ahmanson served as the world premiere venue for the following plays and musicals:

Awards and nominations

Awards Production Nominations Wins Notes
2009 Ovation Awards 9 to 5: The Musical 7 0
2009 Ovation Awards Minsky's 5 0
2011 Ovation Awards Leap of Faith 1 1 Won for Lead Actor (Raúl Esparza)
2012 Ovation Awards War Horse 1 1 Won for Best Presented Production
2012 Ovation Awards Follies 1 0
2013 Ovation Awards The Scottsboro Boys 1 1 Won for Best Presented Production
2013 Ovation Awards Anything Goes 1 0


  1. ^ David Wise, Tiger Trap: America's Secret Spy War with China, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011, p. 38 [1]
  2. ^ "8 Feb 1966, 17 - Valley Times at Newspapers.com". Newspapers.com. Retrieved July 6, 2022.
  3. ^ "More Stately Mansions". Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  4. ^ "The Ahmanson All-Star Stage". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 7, 2017.
  5. ^ "Ahmanson Theatre Renovation, Los Angeles, California". Boulder, Colorado: Robert F. Mahoney & Associates. Archived from the original on August 9, 2011. Retrieved June 20, 2012.
  6. ^ "PCAD - County of Los Angeles, Music Center, Ahmanson Theatre, Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, CA". pcad.lib.washington.edu. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  7. ^ "Music Center of Los Angeles County | Los Angeles Conservancy". www.laconservancy.org. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  8. ^ "Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County". SAH ARCHIPEDIA. Retrieved June 10, 2020.

34°3′29″N 118°14′50″W / 34.05806°N 118.24722°W / 34.05806; -118.24722