It's been more than a year since we've heard anything much about the renovation and conversion of Westlake's Playhouse Theatre, which is being turned into a concert venue by the guy behind New York's Bowery Ballroom, but no news was definitely good news in this case. As the New York Times tells it, the century-old theater, which will reopen in March as the Teragram Ballroom, is wrapping up a $2-million makeover that will outfit it with a redone 30-foot-stage, three dressing rooms, a balcony, two bars, and room for 600 people. (For scale, the Echoplex in Echo Park holds about 700.) Not mentioned is the theater's marquee; previous reports suggested that the theater would get a new one as part of the rehab.
The Teragram will be the first West Coast endeavor from Michael Swier, who founded legendary New York music clubs the Bowery Ballroom and the Mercury Lounge. "I just want it to be the best-sounding room and the best experience for people coming to see the music and for how bands are treated when they get here," Swier says.
A few older listing photos revealed that many of the theater's handsomer features—the domed ceiling, the original lobby and stage—weren't in bad shape at all. The 490-seat theater is believed to have opened around 1913, but shut down in the 1950s. It reopened later as a printing shop, then as a violin store. The Quality Cafe restaurant next door (which was included in the venue conversion) has appearances in the films Se7en and Million Dollar Baby.
· A Bowery Titan Puts Down L.A. Roots [NYT]
· NYC's Bowery Ballroom Operators Wants To Revive Westlake's Playhouse Theater [Curbed LA]