Beverly Hills has a new shining star. The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts opened in October in the heart of one of the world’s most desirable zip codes. “It’s going to be a game changer for our city,” says Julie Wagner, executive director of the Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau. “When people think of Beverly Hills, they think celebrities, high-end hotels, and luxury shopping. This will give them something else to think about. We’ve always had arts and culture in the city—this is going to bring that to the forefront.”
The Wallis, as it is called, comprises two buildings: the 1933 Italianate former Beverly Hills Post Office that has been transformed into the 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater, theatre school, café, and gift shop; and the newly built contemporary structure that houses the 500-seat Goldsmith Theater. The inaugural season includes performances by Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, tap-dancing legend Maurice Hines, and a theatrical production of Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter.
The new space opened just months before Beverly Hills commences a year-long centennial celebration in January. Included in the festivities is an interactive experience called Suite 100: Beverly Hills’ top hotels will each redecorate a suite to re-create an iconic period from the past 100 years. Among the themes for the suites, which will be available to book throughout the year, are salutes to Marilyn Monroe, film noir, and the Turbulent Sixties.