The Saban Theatre is a historic theatre in Beverly Hills, California, formerly known as the Fox Wilshire Theater. It is an Art Deco structure at the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Hamilton Drive designed by architect S. Charles Lee and is considered a classic Los Angeles landmark. Located on Wilshire Boulevard, the exterior of the building with its simple Art Deco ornamentation is one of the first buildings seen by pedestrians and drivers entering the eastern boundary of the city of Beverly Hills.
The Saban Theatre has been both a significant cultural and architectural landmark for Los Angeles and Beverly Hills since its opening as the Fox Wilshire Theatre on September 19, 1930. It was originally designed with 2500 seats by noted theatre architect S. Charles Lee to be a major film presentation house, even including a stage for Vaudeville acts before the films.
Over its 85-year history, the Saban has been the site of numerous film premieres, exclusive first-run film engagements, live concerts and touring Broadway shows. Despite several renovations, the interior remains mostly intact with its columned two-story rotunda lobby, spacious orchestra and balcony level seating for 2,000, and its silver, gold and black proscenium and organ screens. The connection with architect S. Charles Lee, a long-time resident of the city of Beverly Hills, makes the Saban significant also as an example of Lee’s transition from the French Regency style of the Tower Theatre and other Los Angeles Theatres to the nascent Art Deco style that would come to dominate movie palace architecture in the 1930s.
The Saban Theatre opened as the Fox Wilshire Theatre and for several decades was one of 20th Century Fox’s premiere theaters, serving as a movie palace until a 1981 renovation converted it into a stage venue. It was operated by the Nederlander Organization from 1981 to 1989. It is now regularly used as a live performance venue for comedy, music, television, film shoots, screenings, and community intercultural events such as PaleyFest. Temple of the Arts has owned and operated the theatre since 2005.In March 2009, owners announced that the Wilshire would be renamed the Saban Theatre in recognition of a $5 million grant from Haim and Cheryl Saban. The funds have been used to further restoration efforts on the orchestra,
In March 2009, owners announced that the Wilshire would be renamed the Saban Theatre in recognition of a $5 million grant from Haim and Cheryl Saban. The funds have been used to further restoration efforts on the orchestra, proscenium, and marquee. It also houses programs by Temple of the Arts, which aims to integrate the arts and Judaism.
Beverly Hills Performing Arts Center led the movement to have the city of Beverly Hills create a Historic Preservation Ordinance passing the Mills Act, which supports historic theatres. BHPAC secured placement of the venue on The Federal and State Registry of Historic Places and designation of the theatre as a Beverly Hills landmark. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 3, 2012.