11301 Wilshire Boulevard,
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Functions: Live Theater
Styles: Mission Revival
Previous Names: Veterans' Theater
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The Los Angeles Times in January 1940 reported on construction at the Soldiers' Home at Sawtelle. Among the new buildings was a $162,000 theater seating 1,500. Located on the grounds of what is now the Los Angeles Department of Veterans Affairs, the theater was used for theatrical productions and movies for the veterans.
In 1976 it began to be referred to in the press as the Wadsworth Theatre, named after Maj. James W. Wadsworth, a Civil War officer and advocate for disabled veterans. More information can be found at The National Register Of Historic Places, which lists the theater as being in the Mission Revival style.
Highlights of its film activity include a May 1983 presentation of the 1928 classic film “The Passion of Joan of Arc”, backed up by a 30-piece orchestra. Continuing into the 1980’s was a June 11, 1984, Esther Williams retrospective sponsored by the UCLA Film Archives, and a December 7, 1985, Dan Akroyd and Chevy Chase appearance for a benefit screening of “Spies Like Us”. In May 2000 Woody Allen made a rare public appearance when he screened his new film “Small Time Crooks”.
As reported in the LA Times, in March 1992 while the theater was being leased by UCLA , Stephen Farber’s film class planned a screening of the the comedy satire “Article 99”. There was only one problem. The film concerned doctors dealing with a bureaucracy and a doctor-patients revolt in a veterans hospital, a kind of peacetime “Mash”. The terms of the lease required 40 tickets a week be made available for patients to attend the films. The hospital was concerned it might give the psychiatric patients the idea of taking over the building so after much controversy the film was moved to UCLA’s Royce Hall.
Today the Wadsworth Theatre presents Broadway productions and is operated by Richmark Entertainment who finished a renovation of the theater in late-2002 and now has 942 seats.
The Wadsworth Theatre can be found within the VA campus on Eisenhower Avenue, building 226.
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