Miguel Ayala adjusts a accomplishments at the Bob Baker Baby Theater. Photo credit: Derrick Deblasis
The Bob Baker Baby Amphitheater is the oldest children’s amphitheater in Los Angeles, and has been admirable kids and adults with hand-made puppets aback 1963. But the backward architect and namesake of the company, Bob Baker, awash the architecture bristles years ago to a absolute acreage developer.
The theater’s owners now say the amphitheater will aing its accepted area in beneath than two months. There will be a closing anniversary on Nov. 23, the aforementioned date it opened 55 years ago, that will be chargeless and accessible to the public.
The Bob Baker Baby Theatre is housed in an backward ample white cube, aloof a mile west of burghal at Glendale Boulevard and 1st Street. A ample antic bronze greets you as you access the courtyard, blooming acrylic covers the ground, and corrective daisies dot the landscape.
Bob Baker congenital a career as a puppeteer and action adviser to Disney and added studios. On top of founding the theater, Baker’s marionettes graced the argent screen. His assignment can be apparent in Judy Garland’s “A Star is Born,” Elvis Presley’s “G.I. Blues,” “Star Trek” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
Alex Evans restrings a skeleton, in alertness for the Halloween Spooktacular. Photo credit: Derrick DeBlasis
Over 55 years, the Bob Baker Baby Amphitheater grew into an LA academy with one bearing bringing the aing to boob performances. The burghal of LA clearly accustomed the actuality that the Bob Baker Baby Amphitheater is the oldest baby amphitheater in the U.S. and in 2009 appointed it a actual cultural monument.
But the amphitheater struggled financially. In a last-ditch accomplishment to accumulate the amphitheater afloat financially, Baker awash the acreage for $1.3 actor to absolute acreage developer called Eli Elimelech. While Baker was on auberge care, Elimelech appear affairs to body 102 apartments in its place. Baker died a the end of 2014, at the age of 90.
Along with the apartments, Elimelech affairs to body 2,700 aboveboard anxiety of bartering amplitude — which he said would accommodate the theater.
“I appetite them there. I appetite them to break there, that’s my goal. And I’m aggravating to do my best to accumulate them there,” Elimelech said.
Under Elimelech’s proposal, the amphitheater would compress to about 40 percent of its accepted size. But their approaching affairs accommodate a architecture and library, forth with a amphitheater space. And to apprehend this plan, they say, they charge a bigger space, not clasp into a abate venue. The administration at Bob Baker say Elimelech listened to their concerns, but wouldn’t affiance them the amplitude they needed.
“In L.A. to Stay!” The ambulatory cry of the Bob Baker Baby Amphitheater as it looks for a new abiding venue. Photo credit: Derrick DeBlasis
Winona Bechtle, the theater’s Administrator of Development and Community Outreach, said abrogation their accepted area may be the best solution.
“Throughout this accomplished process, the affair that was underscored best to us, is that, to absolutely accomplish it work, there’s not some bewitched article that is activity to appear bottomward from the sky and assure you. What it took for us to adhesive our approaching is for us to absolutely get in gear, to amount out area we capital to be and to assignment absolutely adamantine to ascertain what this amphitheater is, which is the spirit of acuteness in Los Angeles,” Bechtle said.
Alex Evans, the controlling administrator and arch puppeteer for the Bob Baker Baby Theater, says that admitting the theater’s troubles, he’s aflame about its future.
“Things accept never looked brighter. I’ve never had such admirable bodies about and anybody from bodies in the burghal allowance us, to Winona and non-profit people, to artisan and technicians,” Evans said.
Even as the amphitheater prepares to move to a new location, Elimelech has offered the amphitheater to move aback in if administration chooses to. Nothing has been signed, so Bechtle and Evans are afraid to say area they achievement to go. What they do say is that they are actively analytic for locations in northeast Los Angeles.
“You can get sad about the brick and adhesive of this architecture disappearing. But truly, the brick and adhesive is alone a atom of what we are about,” Evans said.
The boob appearance will go on until Nov. 23 at the aboriginal Bob Baker Baby Amphitheater space. On Nov. 24, “Bob Baker’s Nutcracker” will accessible at the Pasadena Playhouse and run for bristles weeks. What happens to the amphitheater amplitude aing is still to be determined.
Guests:Tom Carroll, journalist, biographer and host of “Tom Explores Los Angeles” (@Tomexploresla)
More:DnA blog: Bob Baker Baby Amphitheater looks to the futureBob Baker Baby Amphitheater is closing anon but will alive on at new location, its administrator saysBeloved Bob Baker Baby Amphitheater will leave its longtime home, accessible in new location
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