North Hollywood : Event Raises $12,000 for Theater Renewal

More than $12,000 has been raised, leaving about $1.49 million more to go to pay for full restoration of the historic El Portal Theatre in the heart of the NoHo Arts District to its Depression-era stature.

The funds were raised at a “builder’s bash” Saturday at the three-venue theater center, said Bob Caine, managing director of the Actors Alley performance company.

The bash, which included food, stars and music, drew about 350 visitors to the theater center that was once a silent-movie house.

“It was just what we needed to get the ball rolling again,” Caine said.


But Actors Alley is still awaiting more than $1 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to jump-start the construction at the earthquake-ravaged building, which has been stalled since late July. With any luck, Caine said, construction on the 350-seat Pavilion Center and the 99-seat Circle Forum should begin in January if FEMA funds come through.

Meanwhile, all Actors Alley shows are being performed at the 49-seat Storefront Theater, repaired with a $1.25-million loan from the Small Business Administration. The SBA money also was used to renovate the building’s gilded facade.

“The next step is to be sure that FEMA monies are lined up,” Caine said.

If all the fund raising and grant applications fall into place, the 69-year-old building could be fully operational by late 1996.