The Awards Ceremony
The premiere of Tron at the El Capitan
The interior of the El Capitan
The historic stage of the El Capitan
Iconic events at the El Capitan
On May 25, 2013, the Gabby Awards will be hosted at the historic El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood
*NOTE: Venue change for 2013 Gabby Awards: Though the Gabby Awards were initially set for the historic Pantages Theater, extenuating circumstances beyond our control led us to consider alternative theaters. The El Capitan - just steps from the headquarter hotel on Hollywood Boulevard topped the list as the perfect venue for Greek America’s top celebration of its best and brightest stars.
A new generation of Greek North American visionaries - the best and brightest stars who have excelled in their respective fields - will be honored at the 2013 Gabby Awards in Hollywood on May 25, 2013. The Gabbys are hosted every two years by the Greek America Foundation. This year’s event promises to be another dazzling, star-studded ceremony at the legendary El Capitan Theater.
At the El Capitan, the Gabby Awards on May 25 will offer guests a unique opportunity to step into Hollywood’s glittering past, while paying tribute to those who are carving out a bright future of the Greek North American community.
Built almost ninety years ago by the “Father of Hollywood” himself, the El Capitan was part of Charles Toberman’s dream to transform Hollywood Boulevard into a thriving theater district. Something of a visionary, Toberman, a real estate developer from Texas, was one of the richest and most influential developers in Tinseltown history. And his El Capitan, located at 6838 Hollywood Boulevard, is to this day the crowning jewel of the local theater district.
Opening night... 1926
When this Hollywood landmark opened its doors in May 1926, it was a legitimate stage theater for vaudeville and live plays. It wasn’t long before the El Capitan became known as Hollywood’s First Home of Spoken Drama.
On opening night, a slew of shiny, chauffeur-driven limousines stuffed with A-list stars pulled up before the elaborate cast-concrete Spanish Colonial exterior of the El Capitan, which is located in the heart of Los Angeles’ star-studded Walk of Fame. Hollywood royalty packed the theater to attend the play Charlot's Revue, starring Jack Buchanan, Gertrude Lawrence and Beatrice Lillie.
Inside, the audience enjoyed one of the most colorful and lavish interiors they had ever seen, featuring a $1.2 million design (one of the most expensive ever created) by San Francisco architect G. Albert Lansburgh.
For a decade, between 1926 and 1936, more than 120 live plays were produced at the El Capitan Theatre, including No, No, Nanette, Anything Goes and Ah, Wilderness. The stage was graced by such legendary stars as Will Rogers, Clark Gable and Joan Fontaine.
But by the 1940's, the entertainment industry had started to change. Live plays and vaudeville acts struggled to keep up with the movies that were growing in popularity and quickly becoming king. It wasn’t long before the movies moved into the El Capitan.
The first film ever to be shown there was Orson Welles’ Academy Award-winning Citizen Kane in 1941. The success of the premiere prompted the owners to remodel and reopen a year later as the Paramount, showing first run movies. Not only had the El Capitan changed its name, it had also transformed into a sleek, new "art moderne" movie house.
But it was not its last transformation. In 1989, The Walt Disney Company joined forces with Pacific Theatres to begin a two-year archeological dig on the site - literally. Not only did the theater get its original name back, but it underwent a remarkable museum-grade renovation, completely restoring it to its former glory.
Nowadays, when a Disney movie opens, it usually premiers at the El Capitan complete with a pre-show concert of Disney tunes and a stage show themed to the feature presentations, not to mention a star-studded red carpet that usually closes traffic on Hollywood Boulevard.
Today, the 1,000-seat El Capitan, with its Spanish Colonial exterior and ornate East Indian interior, has a carved and rounded ceiling that stands nearly six stories tall. While the sound and lights are all state of the art, the theater itself is from a bygone era when Hollywood’s finest would arrive for a show under the sparkling lights of a marquis - long before stars had their names embedded in Hollywood Boulevard.
On May 25 the El Cap - as it is endearingly called in Hollywood, will welcome Greek America's Best and Brightest Stars for a night of celebration, honor and accomplishment at the 2013 Gabby Awards.