Harry Potter to flatten Gibson Amphitheatre, Curious George playland

Universal Studios in Hollywood will raze the 41-year-old Gibson Amphitheatre to make way for its coming Harry Potter attraction, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Like the Wizarding World in Orlando, the Hollywood Harry Potter will be a theme park based on J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books and the films made from them.

Also slated to fall under the advancing march of the boy wizard is Universal‘s Adventures of Curious George. The playland’s current features include a 500-gallon water dump and flying foam balls.

In Potter’s world, kids can expect to ride through Hogwarts castle, listen to a frog choir, drink nonalcoholic butterbeer and browse for gear at Ollivanders Wand Shop. At least, those are adventures offered by Florida’s Wizarding World, which opened in June 2010. The park there is still being expanded, with a new Gringotts Ride and  Diagon Alley in the works.

The Gibson Amphitheatre, which seats more than 6,100, has hosted events including the MTV Music Awards, the Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards, VH1 Honors, the Academy of Country Music Awards, HBO’s Comic Relief, the NAACP Image Awards and KROQ-FM’s annual “Almost Acoustic Christmas” show, Variety reports.


The luminaries who have appeared on its stage include musicians, politicians and even a pope (John Paul II). A partial list from Variety: the Beach Boys, Tony Blair, Mary J. Blige, David Bowie, George H.W. Bush, Louis C.K., Mariah Carey, George Carlin, Jimmy Carter, Johnny Cash, Cheech & Chong, Eric Clapton, Bill Clinton, Billy Crystal, the Dalai Lama, Miles Davis, Ellen DeGeneres, Bob Dylan, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Gerald Ford, the Grateful Dead, Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, Steve Harvey, Elton John, BB King, Jay Leno, George Lopez, Madonna, Bob Marley, Joni Mitchell, Eddie Murphy, Conan O’Brien, Barack Obama, Tom Petty, Chris Rock, Shakira, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Roger Waters, Lil’ Wayne, Kanye West, Robin Williams and Stevie Wonder.

While the amphitheater’s fate has been expected since the 2011 announcement that Harry Potter was coming to Universal Studios Hollywood, the date for its closure was not known. Shows scheduled there this fall will have to be moved to other venues. The plan for its demise was solidified after proposals for the expansion were approved by the L.A. City Council and the county Board of Supervisors.

The date for the opening of Universal Hollywood’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter has not yet been announced.



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