Experience a unique combination of the classic and modern at the stunning Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. The 70,000-square-foot center incorporates the city’s landmark 1933 Italian Renaissance post office into a contemporary complex with a boldly striking building housing the main theatre. Enter through the post office building and view the marble lobby’s eight murals, created as part of the federal Works Project Administration, that portray Depression-era scenes. Then descend a grand staircase into the Bram Goldsmith Theater, where the design creates an intimate setting for performances by such artists as Tony Award-winner Patti LuPone, as well as theatre and dance productions. The beautiful space features sound treatments in American walnut, resulting in an enveloping, sculptural ambience as well as excellent acoustics. The smaller venue at The Wallis is the 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater, which is central to the educational part of the public-private center’s community-oriented mission—it’s often used for children’s programming, classes, and workshops.
But the center’s impressive facilities aren’t what make it one of the most esteemed cultural institutions in the state. It’s eclectic programming that is their true calling card—over 275 dance, theater, opera, classical music, family-oriented programs, and cinema works have been produced here, with audiences in mind that range from children to those who love challenging works. The result is a calendar full of a vibrant, take-you-by-surprise experiences.
Slated to open in the winter of 2021–2022 is the Wallis Annenberg GenSpace, an innovative community space for older adults that will offer classes in horticultural therapy, seated fitness, cooking, and more. Audrey Irmas Pavilion, the home of the new undertaking, is located about six miles from The Wallis in Koreatown, and is designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Rem Koolhaas.
Insider tip: Don’t miss the sunken Jamie Tisch Sculpture Garden, which displays works by celebrated artists and offers a good look at the center’s exterior.