Wilshire Ebell Theatre
This historic theater has been around for centuries and been host to many events in the African American community.
When you think of going to a play in Los Angeles, there are many theaters that come to mind, but none as well known at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre (WET). This theater has been a corner piece in Los Angeles and for African American theater for many years. It is known for its 1,300 seating capacity, acoustics and Barton pipe organ and is generally held as one of the most visually striking theaters.
WET is apart of the Ebell of Los Angeles, which was a women’s club formed in 1894. WET has been operating since 1927 hosting numerous performances and lectures from performers to politicians. It was declared a Los Angeles Cultural Historic Monument in 1982, registered as a national site in 1994 and designated an official American treasure.
The lot, where theater stands at the corner of Wilshire Blvd and Lucerne, was purchased in 1925. WET was originally known at the Windsor Square Playhouse and officially opened to the public in 1927. The theater would undergo restoration in 1989. It would receive new sound and lighting systems, a refitted stage and recovered seats.
WET has come to reflect the diverse community that surrounds it. It’s played host to a number of plays from Korean, Persian and Russian communities but none more prominent than the Black community.
WET has featured a great number of African-American plays over the past several years including: Nylons, Beauty Shop, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, The Clean-Up Woman, Woman Thou Art Loosed, Mr. Right Now, Ain’t No Woman Like the One I Got, A Change is Gonna Come, Reap What You Sow and many more.
It has also been the annual site of the “DIVAS SIMPLY SINGING” event presented by the AIDS awareness organization, The Diva Foundation, which was founded by actress and singer, Sheryl Lee Ralph.