The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (or CCPA) is a 154,000-square-foot (14,300 m2) entertainment and performance venue in Cerritos, California’s Cerritos Towne Center. The City of Cerritos owns and operates it, and it first opened its doors to the public on January 9, 1993. It offers opera, cabaret, jazz, dance, magic, theater, musicals, and comedy shows, as well as private functions. Its season lasts from August through May of the following year.
Architecture and history
Since 1986, plans for the development of a community theater in the Cerritos Towne Center have been proposed; nevertheless, there has been disagreement about the size and importance of the theater in comparison to other venues in Southern California. The main concern was having a vast theater with few people in attendance.
The London-based consultants, David Staples and Wally Russell of Theatre Projects Consultants, assuaged anxieties and encouraged city leaders with details of the Derngate Theatre in Northampton, England, where blocks of seats on rollers could be changed or removed completely to suit each show. Nothing like it existed in the United States at the time.
Barton Myers Associates of Los Angeles was commissioned to create a similar masterpiece for Cerritos. After initial concerns were alleviated, it was determined that a big auditorium capable of competing with the Long Beach Terrace Theater, Orange County Performing Arts Center, and Los Angeles Music Center would be a better direction for the community theater’s future. An auditorium with six distinct seating configurations, a 5,100-square-foot (470 m2) conference center, and a 200-seat theater with its own sound and lighting equipment were all planned for in 1987. Construction of a city landmark with glass walls, pink limestone, multicolored ceramic tiles, and angular points and projections began immediately after. The final façade was finished by a glass elevator tower topped with pyramids, slender spires, and pennants. The foyer features a curved grand staircase with etched glass, a gorgeous fireplace, a soaring ceiling, and artwork. The development was originally estimated for $17 million, but the final cost exceeded $60 million.
Following the completion of the CCPA, over 6,000 people attended open house tours. With a $4 million budget for its initial season, the CCPA’s sold-out opening night welcomed vocalist Frank Sinatra for three nights, helping to establish the Cerritos Center as a major facility in the Southland.
The city council recognized that it would take several seasons to build up an audience large enough to finance the Cerritos Center on its own, so a $2 million subsidy or pump-priming fund was established to supplement the annual $3 million from ticket sales and pay operating costs and artists.
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