8325 Santa Monica Boulevard,
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Architects: Lorand West
Previous Names: Players Ring Gallery Theatre, Gallery & Quickie Theatre, Gary Theatre I & II, Pan Andreas Theatre
The Players Ring Theatre was a live stage theatre which opened on Santa Monica Boulevard by 1949. It moved to a new address on Santa Monica Boulevard on October 13, 1961 and became the Players Ring Gallery Theatre with 200-seats (in the round), designed by Lorand West, opening on October 23, 1961. On May 6, 1972 it became a movie theatre named Gallery & Quickie Theatre, screening gay porn movies. That closed in 1974. It was renamed Gary Theatre I & II screening revivals of Hollywood classic movies and later revival shows through the 1980’s.
From November 22, 1985 it has operated as a live theatre, known as the Coast Playhouse, it often presents plays with a gay theme, complementing its West Hollywood location.
In June 2022 plans were approved to demolished the Coast Playhouse due to safety issues and maintenance costs and built a new theatre to replace it.
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Recent comments (view all 14 comments)
A photograph I took of the Coast Playhouse in January 2005:
A lot of small theaters have 99 seats because 100 or more triggers some kind of payment to the actors' union. These 99 seat places are called “equity waiver” theaters.
The Coast Playhouse was also the Players Ring Theater in the 1950’s and early 60’s. My father Ted Thorpe owned it along with the Gallery Theater just a few blocks away. I have been trying to find info from my past and when many childhood memories have faded its hard. I found this site in my searching and thought you might be interested.
As the Players' Ring Theatre, this house goes back to at least 1949. Players' Ring was one of several professional theater companies that flourished in Los Angeles during the postwar period. I recall seeing the theater’s ads in the L.A. Times into the 1960s. James Arness, Marlo Thomas, Roger Corman, Michael Landon, and Jack Nicholson are among the alumni of the Players' Ring.
I’m not positive, but I think the Gallery Theatre was the name of a second stage in the same building, and it was probably that room which became the second screen of the Gary Theatre when it was a twin movie house.
The building is quite old. The L.A. County Assessor’s office says it was built in 1925, with an effectively built date of 1932. I don’t think it was originally built as a theater.
Also, this theater is located inside the limits of the incorporated City of West Hollywood, not Los Angeles.
Listed as Gallery & Quickie 1972-1974 showing gay adult films and listed as Gary 1974 until the LA Times ban on adult entertainment in 1977.
A Stone-Miller Commercial Property Sales “For Sale” sign was recently posted on the theatre.
The city of West Hollywood has purchased the theatre for $2.5 million; the intent being to ”anchor a potential Center City Arts District in the city”. Per reports, after an extensive remodel, “it will be a venue for dance and possibly small musical/cabaret type performances as well as theatre.”
I acted in the Player’s Ring when it was already “old” and that was in 1957 or ‘58! It was started by Charlie Chaplain, Eugene O'Neil and William Saroyan … and others whom I cannot now remember. Sad that I cannot find this important Hollywood history on the web. I am certain that someone still living knows of this!
While searching for something unrelated, I found a couple of (very tiny) ads in the L.A. Times Calendar section over a couple of weeks in November 1973. What caught my eye was the film titles: a double feature of Ken Russell’s “The Devils” and “The Music Lovers” in the Gary I, and two other main studio releases in the Gary II.
On 6/6/22, citing mounting maintenance/safety issues and “little historical value”, the West Hollywood City Council voted unanimously to raze the existing structure and replace it with a new playhouse. A committee is being formed to select the new design and a $6.5 million budget cap for the project has been set.