Old Globe Theatre shows off new additions

This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre this morning unveiled a $22-million theater and education center on its 3-acre campus in Balboa Park.

The new complex, which also includes an outdoor restaurant and a plaza, came in “on time and on budget,” said Globe board President Donald Cohn during a tour of the four-story facility with Louis G. Spisto, Globe’s executive producer.


Its centerpiece is the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, a 250-seat in-the-round space that replaces the Cassius Carter Centre Stage as the Globe’s second stage. The White Theatre is intimate, “with no seat more than 12 feet from the stage,” Spisto said. It joins two 600-seat theaters — the Old Globe main stage and the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre — where the Globe produces 16 plays and musicals annually on a $20.5-million budget.

The new facility, designed in a sleek, Tudoresque style by LMN Architects of Seattle, features 6,200 square feet of classroom space and a multipurpose performance hall, the Globe’s first dedicated space for educational programs. The building completes the construction phase of a $75-million capital campaign Spisto launched five years ago, ahead of the Globe’s 75th anniversary in June 2010. The Whites, for whom the theater is named, gave $6 million to the building project. Five other families accounted for $42 million more -- businessman Conrad Prebys, Donald and Darlene Shiley, former board President Kathryn Hattox, and Cohn, founder of DataQuick Information Systems, and his wife, Karen.

‘As wonderful as opening a new theater and completing a capital campaign is, it’s even more remarkable to find such generosity in the economy we find ourselves in,’ Spisto said.

Special events marking completion of the facility kick off Monday with a concert featuring Kelli O’Hara and Paulo Szot, who play Nellie Forbush and Emile de Becque in the Tony Award-winning revival of “South Pacific” at New York’s Lincoln Center. The first full production in the White Theatre will be a revival of Neil Simon’s “Lost in Yonkers” opening Jan. 23.

-- Anne Marie Welsh

Above, top: The exterior of the new facility at the Old Globe that houses the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. Bottom: the interior of the White Theatre. Credit: Photos courtesy of the Old Globe