Iconic Palm Springs Plaza Theatre signs up Oak View Group

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The Palm Springs Plaza Theatre Foundation has entered into a partnership with Oak View Group that will see the latter provide day-to-day management of the historic theatre.

Renovation work on the California venue – which dates back to the 1930s – is due to commence this March and is expected to be completed in the autumn of 2025. As well as operating the venue, OVG will also provide secure programming and new sponsorship opportunities.

The Plaza Theatre opened in late 1936 with the world premiere of Camille starring Hollywood icon Greta Garbo.

“This agreement between the City, the Palm Springs Plaza Theatre Foundation, and the Oak View Group is an economic game-changer for the Palm Springs destination,” said Palm Springs City manager Scott Stiles.

“The restoration of the historic Plaza Theatre is a major milestone in the Downtown Revitalization Plan and will bring the world’s best artists and culture to our revitalized downtown.

“The City of Palm Springs and the Plaza Theatre Foundation offer our sincere thanks to the Oak View Group for their investment in this historic theatre which is now primed to become an arts and culture mecca for residents and visitors for generations to come.”

The foundation has been raising funds to save the 800-seat theatre from decay, although its mission is far from over. The foundation has already raised around $16m (£12.7m/€14.9m) but still needs to find $10m to cover construction costs.

The Oak View Group committed to a donation of $1m last year towards the restoration of the Plaza Theatre. It then secured the partnership deal following its work with the 11,000-seat Acrisure Arena which is located 14 miles east of the Plaza Theatre.

During the pre-opening period of the theatre restoration, OVG will work with the foundation to make recommendations about the design.

It is expected to remain in keeping with the theatre’s original Spanish style as designed by original architecture firm Schenck & Williams.

In its heyday, the theatre became a venue for a number of world premieres including the musicals My Fair Lady and Music Man.

It then hosted The Fabulous Palm Spring Follies from 1990 to 2014 before shutting down. An official campaign, Save The Plaza Theatre, was launched in 2019 before restoration work was announced with the current partnership.