The Montalbán Celebrates Ricardo Montalbán's 100th Birthday with Diversity and Inclusion
In celebration of what would be legendary film and television icon Ricardo Montalbán's 100th birthday in 2020, the historic Hollywood theatre, The Montalbán, whose moniker is "where entertainment begins," is unveiling new plans to fulfill Ricardo Montalbán's dream of diversity and inclusion. This year, the owners of The Montalbán, Ricardo's son in law and President of The Montalbán Company, LLC, Gilbert Smith, and daughter Anita, have plans to expand the theatre's musical performances, beginning with The Company Men on February 21 and 22; and The Soul of Broadway Starring Terron Brooks on February 28 and 29.
Since 1926, The Montalbán has been one of the city's favorite places for Angelenos to enjoy live Broadway-style theatre in the heart of Hollywood. Acquiring the theatre in 1999, Ricardo Montalbán's mission was to create a space where Latino actors and musicians could hone their crafts while celebrating their rich cultural heritage; giving back the opportunities that he was afforded as a young actor on the stage. Now, the venue is including all diverse communities as well as up and coming talent.
Says Smith, "2020 marks what would have been Ricardo Montalbán's milestone birthday, and we as a theatre, felt this is the perfect time to usher in a more diverse side of entertainment, which emulates the core essence of its namesake. With the venue being just under 1,000 seats, our goal is to provide Los Angeles theatre and concert goers with a more intimate venue for headliners of all types, and to include all artistic genres reflecting today's climate. The majority of programming will be family friendly, and will give audiences of all ages access to the highest quality entertainment."
The Montalbán, located at 1615 Vine Street in the heart of Hollywood, just south of the iconic Hollywood & Vine intersection, is known as a unique venue for live concerts, broadcast events, film premieres, comedy shows, and stage plays with limited engagements. The theatre was also home to Nike during the 2009 economic downturn, and now that the venue has been able to sustain itself, the diverse in-house team that runs The Montalbán is partnering with 4 Times Entertainment, creators of The Company Men and The Soul of Broadway - Impossible Dreams, to help cultivate established and emerging artists for its mainstage live performances.
Says newly appointed Programming Director Brian Purcell of The Montalbán, and President of 4 Times Entertainment: "I'm excited and honored to join the Montalbán family. I hold a special place in my heart for this venue, which is where one of the first professional theatrical productions I produced/directed ("The Who's Tommy" starring Tony Award Winner Alice Ripley) premiered in 2008. What a gift it is to return over a decade later in this new capacity."
The Montalbán also celebrates 10 years of rooftop entertainment, entering its fifth year of its ongoing outdoor series titled "Rooftop Movies at The Montalbán." The Montalbán curates films from all eras including Hollywood classics, cult favorites, select current releases, premieres and special presentations with cast and crew.
About The Company Men (performing February 21 & 22):
The Company Men is a throwback feel good vocal group that harkens back to the days of "The Rat Pack" with a modern twist. They are nationally recognized, having performed more than 3,500 shows worldwide at performing arts centers, private events, casinos and festivals. They have appeared on numerous television shows from Hallmark's Home & Family Show to Good Day New York, SoCal PBS Holiday Special, and have appeared in numerous Broadway and national touring productions. The group has also shared stages with legendary artists such as Mariah Carey, Colbie Caillat, Daughtrey, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole and most recently, Billy Idol and Sheena Easton.
The Company Men is unlike any other four man vocal group touring today, as they deliver a high energy theatrical concert experience in which the group "mashes" today's Top 40 hits with reimagined classics of the last six decades, blending artists from Sam Cooke to Sam Smith and The Temptations to The Weeknd, and many more. With their throwback sound, smooth Motown moves and an incredible all-star band, The Company Men bring audiences an unforgettable evening of entertainment.
About The Soul Of Broadway - Impossible Dreams Starring Terron Brooks (performing February 28 & 29):
The Soul of Broadway - Impossible Dreams starring Terron Brooks brings Broadway to audiences in a fresh new way as the two time NAACP Award and Ovation Award nominee reinterprets favorite classic and contemporary Broadway songs. Best known for portraying Eddie Kendricks in NBC's Emmy Award-winning mini-series "The Temptations" and star of Broadway's Lion King as Simba; and Hairspray as Seaweed, Brooks performs an array of newly arranged Broadway favorites by Mark Vogel, Terron Brooks and Sylvia MacCalla such as a 90's R&B take on "Not While I'm Around" from Sweeney Todd, "Something's Coming" from West Side Story, a sonically inspired by a mix of Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars, and a stripped down anthemic rendition of "Tomorrow" from Annie, to name a few.
This night of reimagined hits uses some of Broadway's most famous songs and lyrics to take audiences through a journey of love, loss, and the hope of a new tomorrow.The Soul of Broadway - Impossible Dreams pulls back the curtain for a behind the scenes look at what it takes to live out impossible dreams.
In 1927, the theatre was opened by the Wilkes Brothers (of the John Wilkes Booth stage family) and was named Wilkes Vine Street Theatre, being the first legitimate Broadway-style theatre in Hollywood (built by the same production team who created The Pantages). The premier performance was "An American Tragedy" by Theodore Dreiser. In 1931, it was turned into a cinema called the Mirror Theatre, under the direction of Howard Hughes and Harold B. Franklin, lasting until mid 1933. The theatre was then purchased by CBS for a local affiliate radio station and was used as a live performance radio auditorium for CBS Radio Playhouse' "Lux Radio Theater" hosted by Cecil B. DeMille. Such legends as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Orson Welles and Jack Benny, broadcast from the theatre (to name a few). In 1954, Huntington Hartford purchased the building from CBS, calling it Huntington Hartford Theatre, and extensively remodeled it, streamlining the building from the façade, to the lobby and through the auditorium. In 1964, it became The Doolittle, named after James Doolittle who also owned the Greek Theatre. In 1999, The Ricardo Montalbán Foundation bought the theatre and renamed it in Montalbán's honor in 2004, marking the first major theatre facility in the U.S. to carry the name of a Latino performing artist.
Born on November 25, 1920, Ricardo Montalbán was an Emmy Award winning actor whose career spanned seven decades, during which he became known for many performances in a variety of genres, from drama to crime, to musicals and comedy. He was the first Latino actor to grace the cover of LIFE magazine in 1949. Among his most iconic roles was Mr. Roarke on the television series Fantasy Island (1977-1984), Khan Noonien Singh in both the original Star Trek series (1967) and the filmStar Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) and Armando in the Planet of the Apes film series from the early 1970s wherein he starred in Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971) and Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972). He won an Emmy Award for his role in the miniseries How the West Was Won (1978) and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 1993. In the 1980s, he provided voices for animated films and commercials, including voiceovers in the Spy Kids franchise.
The Ricardo Montalbán Foundation has donated the venue to many community outreach programs. Ricardo Montalbán sought to improve the portrayal of Latinos in film and TV. In 1970, he helped found NOSOTROS, a Latino arts advocacy organization. He believed that the live stage provided the optimal platform for educational and employment opportunities for aspiring artists. In 1999, The Ricardo Montalbán Foundation was formed to advance his vision by purchasing the theatre property, thus providing a home to stage productions with Latino themes, performers, writers and directors. The Ricardo Montalbán Foundation and The Montalbán are dedicated to improving the image of Latinos through the entertainment industry, by providing educational and employment opportunities for artists dedicated to the Performing Arts and to produce, present and support meaningful and world class presentations that emphasize artistic collaboration, diversity and interdisciplinary work with community participation.