In Los Angeles, a city of illustrious historic landmarks – Brown Derby, Ambassador Hotel, Dutton’s Books, Fox Carthay Circle Theatre, Shubert Theatre – now sadly closed and gone, it’s a true relief and astonishment that the majestic Wilshire Theatre is undergoing renovations. Once a Vaudeville movie house, this elaborate Art Deco structure that sits at the edge of Beverly Hills opened in 1930 as the site of numerous premieres, including Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.

Today, more than three quarters of a century later, phase one of the venue’s restoration is complete; it remains a home to concerts, live theater, comedy and High Holiday services. Most notably, the first event (with many to follow) was a performance entitled, “It’s Magic! A Tribute to Sammy Cahn,” on Sept. 21, which celebrated the life and lyrics of the great songwriter. Proceeds benefited the Wilshire Theatre Revitalization Project.

The stellar cast belted Cahn’s magnificent show tunes and Sinatra classics, ranging from “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “All the Way” to “Come Fly With Me.” Leonard Maltin narrated the show, providing detailed anecdotes of Cahn’s magical career.

Corky Hale Productions, which presented this musical tribute, hopes to showcase and promote the “culture and talents of various people who made music and lyrics popular nationally and internationally.”

Based on the model of the Lyrics and Lyricists series at the 92nd Street Y in N.Y.C., a program that features a line-up of performers sharing their finely crafted tunes and lyrics, the newly remodeled Wilshire Theatre plans to present its own series of entertainment tributes and cabarets, with acclaimed musicians, vocalists and songwriters. The theater’s renovation campaign brings plush carpeting and seats, with future modernizations to include 5.1 surround sound. The project’s goal is “to renovate, modernize, preserve and endow our magnificent venue.”

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