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Balboa Theater celebrates its own rebirth

The Balboa Theater (built in 1924) was in a state of total disrepair for decades. But a new day has dawned for this downtown landmark - and its rebirth was celebrated in grand style recently. Friends of the Balboa gathered for a giant block party along Fourth Avenue with entertainment, antique cars and food stations featuring Gaslamp restaurants and a La Jolla favorite, The French Gourmet.

The grand opening gala (aptly dubbed “A Star is Reborn”) encouraged guests to don roaring ‘20s attire - and many took the theme to heart, braving the cool night air in flapper frocks and feather boas. After Mayor Jerry Sanders led the countdown to light up the marquee, supporters filed into the Balboa to watch a live performance.

The show focused on the theater’s rich history with everything from vaudeville-style entertainment to music and dance. Maestro Jung-Ho Pak and his San Diego Chamber Orchestra christened the house with “A Musical Journey Through Time” and several local artists (including Steve Gouveia of “Jersey Boys” and the San Diego Men’s Chorus) performed on the beautifully-restored stage.

Among the many local well-wishers paying tribute to the Balboa were Jennifer and Richard Greenfield, Arlene and Richard Esgate, Don Telford (manager of the Balboa and the Civic Theaters), Louarn and Alan Sorkin, Ankit Sanghvi, Evan Hervet and Tiffany Whipple (part of the construction team that restored the vintage theater), Supervisor Pam Slater-Price and husband Hershell, Lyn and Charles Granger, Charlene McAdory and Ken Edwards.