Several months ago I was gratified to learn that the Balboa Theatre would not feel the weight and wrath of the wrecker's ball. However, I then read that this wonderful house was to be bastardized into an art center! A building with 1,474 seats, an 80-foot stage, full orchestra pit, dressing rooms for more than 50 performers and an elevator for transferring sets from the basement area to the stage.
What folly! Why on earth take a historic theater and, with tons of concrete to form a level floor, transform it into an ordinary building? Downtown San Diego is over-supplied with regular buildings that would be far more easily converted into an art center than the Balboa.
At this time there are several groups who would like to use this theater facility, including Starlight (I understand their president has petitioned for its use, but been rejected), chamber music groups, Gilbert & Sullivan, and no doubt road shows that now have no place to play--necessitating a trip to Los Angeles for those who want to see such major productions as "Cats," "Nicholas Nickelby," The Dance Theater of Harlem, etc. San Diego has never had a decent facility to attract national tours. The Civic Center was booked solid for years before it even opened its doors, and even with the symphony in its own house, there are still few good dates available at the Civic Center.