UCLA Nimoy Theatre

Los Angeles, CA

The UCLA Nimoy Theatre, located in the Westwood area of Los Angeles, California, was opened in 1940. It was the brainchild of Frances Seymour Fonda, Henry Fonda’s second wife and mother to Jane and Peter Fonda. It was originally known as the UCLAN Theatre, but has since undergone numerous ownership and name changes, including names such as the the Metro Theatre, Pacific Crest Theatre, the Loew’s Crest Theatre, the Crest Westwood Theatre, the Majestic Crest Theatre, and the Bigfoot Crest Theatre. The original building was designed in a more modern style by architect Arthur W. Hawes as a 500 seat theatre, showing both live performances and film. Hawes was trained as an architect and civil engineer in England, and was an assistant architect to the notable Pasadena architect Elmer Gray. Works of note by Hawks include the 1934 Pomona Tile & Manufacturing Company Building and the 1930s Hollywood Reporter Building.

The building was completely remodeled between 1987 and 1988 by the Walt Disney Corporation and Pacific Theatres under the direction of the Disney Imagineer Joseph Musil. Musil was a theatre designer and artist, who was under contract for Disney at the time. He created Art Deco style entrance for Euro Disney in Paris, as well as consulted upon the creation of the Art Deco-style theatre within Euro Disney. The space was revamped in the Art Deco Revival style, which included the stepped façade, the auditorium cyclorama with a blacklight mural (glows in the dark under black light) depicting 1930s Hollywood painted by scenic artist Bill Anderson, elaborate cast plaster accents, a hand painted mural in the lobby ceiling painted by master scenic artist Bruce Tunis, etched glass lobby doors, and neon signage by the renowned Raul Rodriguez. Some of the only original features include the original brick substructure and the stage at the rear of the theatre.

In March, 2008 the theatre was designated a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission. In 2018 the theatre was purchased by UCLA with the intention of transforming it into a flexible state-of-the-art performance center for their school of performing arts. The purchase was made possible by a donation from Susan Bay Nimoy, wife of Leonard Nimoy. Philanthropy had been a joint cornerstone in their life’s work; the theatre was renamed the Nimoy Theatre honor of Leonard Nimoy’s work, as well as his and his wife’s commitment to supporting and championing the arts.

Between 2021 and 2023, EverGreene was contracted to perform restoration work on numerous interior decorative features in the lobby and auditorium of the Nimoy Theatre. Work included the deinstallation of the auditorium cyclorama during construction, as well as its subsequent reinstallation and treatment; conservation and restoration of the lobby ceiling mural; selective demo, salvage, and reinstallation of the Art Deco cast plaster elements to aid with meeting ADA guidelines for the space; touching up and replicating plaster features as needed; uninstalling, restoring and/or painting, and reinstalling historic light fixtures; and instituting decorative paint schemes as specified.