The beautiful and intimate Samueli Theater
As part of our 35th anniversary of Segerstrom Center for the Arts, we also celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Center’s expansion with the opening of the 2,000-seat Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, and the smaller yet intimate 300-seat Samueli Theater.
Located on the southeastern side of our concert hall behind the Leatherby’s Cafe Rouge restaurant, you will find the entrance to the lobby and box office with its frosted glass paneling. Opened in the fall of 2006, Samueli Theater became the primary home of the Center’s Music Series (Cabaret, Jazz, Chamber Music performances) and Family Series.
Prior to the Concert Hall and Samueli Theater opening, the Center’s Music Series and Family Series performances took place in the former Founders Hall, located on the north side of Segerstrom Hall. This versatile 250-seat black box theater allowed different seating configurations: seats on elevated risers on three sides of the stage for Chamber Music concerts and Family Series performances, and table seating with 2 or 4 seats along the floor for Cabaret and Jazz performances. Although the space was still intimate and functional, Founders Hall was still lacking in many features including:
- A dedicated box office
- Limited seating capacity
- Easily accessible restrooms for guests
- Indoor lobby
- Concession stand for food and beverages
- Comfortable seating
- Proper acoustics for elite sound.
Once Samueli Theater was complete, it solved a lot of problems that the old Founders Hall faced. A sunning lobby made of marble floors and limestone walls contained a dedicated box office with two windows, restrooms, and a concession stand. Inside, the theater’s capacity expanded to 300 people and proper acoustics were installed to achieve the highest quality of sound the theater can offer. And just like the old Founders Hall (rebranded as the Judy Morr Theater in 2017 as part of the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School), Samueli Theater can have different seating configurations, and also be an open, standing-only space to have indie rock concerts as it did during past Off Center Festival events.
Since its grand opening, Samueli Theater has continued the Founders Hall tradition of housing the best Tony and Emmy Award-winning artists from around the world. These stars include Patti LuPone, Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Brian Stokes Mitchell, George Benson, Sonny Rollins, Stephen Schwartz, Chita Rivera, SFJazz Collective, Bernadette Peters, Emerson String Quartet, St. Lawrence String Quartet, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Megan Hilty, Laura Benanti, Lord Huron, Rival Sons, to name a few.
If you want to enjoy a performance and be close to the artists in an intimate environment, be sure to check out a performance in Samueli Theater. See our calendar to see what’s coming up!