Shrine Auditorium

Shrine Auditorium

The Shrine Auditorium
Location 665 W. Jefferson Blvd
Los Angeles, California
Public transit

 Expo Line  Jefferson/USC
Owner Al Malaikah Auditorium Company
Type Indoor theater
Capacity 6,300
Built 1925
Opened 1926
Renovated 2002
Construction cost $2.7 million
Al Malaikah Temple
Coordinates 34°01′23.55″N 118°16′53.55″W / 34.0232083°N 118.2815417°W / 34.0232083; -118.2815417Coordinates: 34°01′23.55″N 118°16′53.55″W / 34.0232083°N 118.2815417°W / 34.0232083; -118.2815417
Architect John C. Austin
Architectural style Moorish Revival
NRHP Reference # 87000577
LAHCM # 139
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 2, 1987
Designated LAHCM March 5, 1975
The old Shrine Auditorium, 1910.

The Shrine Auditorium is a landmark large-event venue in Los Angeles, California. It is also the headquarters of the Al Malaikah Temple, a division of the Shriners. It was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument (No. 139) in 1975.


Opened in 1926, the current Shrine Auditorium replaced an earlier 1906 Al Malaikah Temple which had been destroyed by a fire on January 11, 1920.[1] The fire gutted the original building in just 30 minutes, and nearly killed six firefighters in the process.[2] The new auditorium was designed in the Moorish Revival style by San Francisco-based theater architect G. Albert Lansburgh, with local architects John C. Austin and A. M. Edelman associated. When built, the auditorium could hold 1,200 people on stage and seat an audience of 6,442. An engineer who consulted on the project said that the steel truss supporting the balcony was the largest ever constructed.[3]

The Shrine Auditorium in 1990, before being repainted in 2002.

In 2002, the auditorium underwent a $15 million renovation that upgraded the stage with state-of-the-art lighting and rigging systems, and included new roofing and air conditioning for both the Auditorium and Expo Center, modernized concession stands, additional restrooms, repainting of the Expo Center, and a new performance plaza and parking garage. The entire complex follows a Moroccan architectural motif.

The Shrine Auditorium seats approximately 6,300 people (reseated during the 2002 renovation from the original 6,700 capacity) and has a stage 194 feet (59 m) wide and 69 feet (21 m) deep.

The Auditorium features two boxes above the orchestra level holding 40 people each and seven loges on the balcony holding between 36 and 47 seats each (total capacity of the loges: 274). Of the remaining seats, 2,964 are on the orchestra level and 2,982 on the balcony level.

Notable events

The Shrine Auditorium has hosted a number of events, mainly for entertainment. The Academy Awards were held at the Shrine from 1947 to 1948 and eight times between 1988 and 2001 until it moved to the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The Shrine hosted several Grammy ceremonies until 2000 when the Grammys moved to the nearby Staples Center. The Primetime Emmy Awards were also held at the venue for a decade beginning in 1998. However, the Primetime ceremony moved to the nearby Microsoft Theater (which is adjacent to the Staples Center).

Other entertainment events the Shrine has hosted include the Grammy Awards, the American Music Awards, the BET Awards, the NAACP Image Awards, the People's Choice Awards, the Soul Train Music Awards, My VH1 Music Awards in 2000 and 2001, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

For 33 years, the Shrine Auditorium was home to the University of Southern California Trojans basketball team. The Trojans' home court was on the Shrine's stage. The Los Angeles Lakers also briefly played some playoff games in the theatre, when the nearby Los Angeles Sports Arena was unavailable. The Shrine Circus, concerts, stage shows and other events are also held here. The Shrine Auditorium was also the venue for the 55th Miss Universe beauty pageant.

The 1933 movie King Kong filmed the audience in the Shrine Auditorium for the scenes where Kong was displayed manacled on stage.

In 1953, segments of Judy Garland's movie classic A Star Is Born were filmed at the Shrine.

In 1955, The Great Shrine Auditorium Concert took place, which is considered a major event in the histories of both American gospel and secular music.[4] The event featured several gospel acts including Dorothy Love Coates & The Original Gospel Harmonettes, Brother Joe May, The Caravans, and James Cleveland who would go on to become a gospel superstar. The event also featured a young Sam Cooke who was at the time performing with the famous gospel group The Soul Stirrers. Cooke would eventually become a legendary pop music star in his own right and would have a career that included over 30 Top 40 hits and an induction, posthumously, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of their inaugural class.[5]

Ray Charles recorded his landmark Live in Concert album at the Shrine in 1964.

In the late 1960s, the Shrine was referred to as "The Pinnacle" by the audiences of rock concerts. On August 24, 1968, The Grateful Dead performed there and recorded their show, which was later released as a live album entitled Two from the Vault.

On January 24, 1975, Genesis, then led by singer Peter Gabriel, gave a live performance of the conceptual progressive rock show, "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" at the Shrine. This concert was considered one of the major rock music events in Los Angeles that year, and an audio recording of it was released in 1998 as part of a box set by the band's label.

On January 27, 1984, Michael Jackson was filming a Pepsi commercial in the auditorium, when the pyrotechnics accidentally set his hair on fire. He suffered second-degree burns on his scalp as a result of the incident.[6]

On November 8–9, 1995, Fugazi performed two sold-out concerts at the venue.

The auditorium has hosted KIIS-FM's Jingle Ball three times, on December 16, 2000, December 19, 2001 and December 6, 2005.

The Shrine is featured in the video game Midnight Club: Los Angeles, part of its "South Central Map Expansion".[7]

The 55th Miss Universe pageant was held there on July 23, 2006.

In 1998, the Shrine held the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas concert, which eventually found a home at the Gibson Amphitheatre. With the announcement in 2013 that the Gibson Amphitheater was being torn down in order to construct a new Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios, the concert returned to the Shrine.[8]

On August 10, 2014, it hosted the 2014 Teen Choice Awards.

During even-numbered years, the Shrine hosts the annual MTV Movie Awards, with different Los Angeles-area venues hosting in odd-numbered years. During the late 1980s and 1990s, it hosted the MTV Video Music Awards, primarily in years when the VMAs' normal host city, New York City, hosted the Grammys.

The Shrine has been used as the venue for Electronic Arts' pre-E3 press conferences since 2012.

Shrine Exposition Hall

Adjacent to the Shrine Auditorium is the Shrine Exposition Hall.

See also


  1. "The Shrine Auditorium Fire". Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Archive. L.A. Fire. 1999. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  2. LAFD Blog: 88 Years Ago: The Shrine Auditorium Fire
  3. William D. Moore (2006), Masonic temples: Freemasonry, Ritual Architecture, and Masculine Archetypes, University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 1-57233-496-7, ISBN 978-1-57233-496-0. Page 107.
  6. Kaufman, Gil (2009-07-16). "Pepsi Questions Why Michael Jackson Accident Video Was Shared". MTV. Retrieved 2014-06-14.
  7. "Midnight Club: Los Angeles South Central". Rockstar Games. Retrieved 2009-05-30.
  8. "KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas At Shrine". Retrieved 2013-11-06.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Shrine Auditorium.
Preceded by
Impact Arena
Miss Universe Venue
Succeeded by
National Auditorium
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