BEVERLY HILLS, CA (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Following ten years of planning and development, the Board of Directors of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts took a major step towards realizing their dream with a construction-chic groundbreaking celebration at the historic Beverly Hills Post Office. Adorned with work lights and decorated with an array of construction equipment, the landmark building, which originally opened its doors in 1933, became the site of the festivities as almost 500 community leaders, celebrities, VIPs and politicos celebrated the start of the transition from former postal facility to vibrant performing arts venue.
Guests were welcomed into the elegant Grand Hall by the Beverly Hills High School Drumline, as iconic performing arts characters posing as construction laborers added a touch of theatrical whimsy to the event. The Presidio Brass heralded the commencement of the program that featured Producer/Director Taylor Hackford and actor William H. Macy as guest Master of Ceremonies. Speakers included Philanthropist and Board of Director member Wallis Annenberg, Beverly Hills Mayor Nancy Krasne, Annenberg Board of Directors Chairman Bram Goldsmith, former Beverly Hills Mayor and Board Vice President Vicki Reynolds and Executive Director Lou Moore.
With generous support from sponsors including Matt Construction, Wells Fargo, Paradigm, Platinum Equity, Mercedes Benz of Beverly Hills, Neiman Marcus, Wolfgang Puck Catering and Sterling Vinter's Collection, the event marked the last time that the depression-era post office would be available for public viewing before it closes. The building will be restored and adapted, and the spaces that were once used for mail sorting and postage purchases will be redesigned to become a theater school, a flexible studio theater, sculpture garden, cafe, gift shop and more. Complementing the historic building will be the 500-seat contemporary Goldsmith Theater.
An exhibit featuring contents from the 1933 time capsule, discovered as preparations began for groundbreaking was also on display. The small copper box contained a fascinating collection of documents, indicative of the economic, sociopolitical, and cultural climate of the nation at that time.
The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is dedicated to the preservation and transformation of the Beverly Hills Post Office into a new performing arts destination. Adjoining the registered landmark building will be the contemporary 500-seat Goldsmith Theater. The mission is to provide exceptional professional performing arts in a state-of-the-art venue that will entertain and enrich audiences of all ages. It will serve as a major cultural, artistic, and educational resource for Beverly Hills and Greater Los Angeles, and become home to the finest theater, dance, music, opera and professional children's theater.
Only steps away from the "Golden Triangle" of Beverly Hills, patrons will be able to combine their theater experience with world class dining and shopping at the soon-to-be built Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers