Salon of the Theatres
El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood

The American Museum of Theatrical Design, Salon of theTheatres is one of the best kept entertainment arts secrets in Orange County

and should go right to the top of your "must see" list if you have a fascination with theatres the way they used to be built (but infrequently still are). It was opened in Santa Ana some nine years ago by Joseph Musil, an architectural designer specializing in period and atmospheric, lavish and exotic environments. Since 1969, he has provided the creative spark, developmental prodding, and construction direction for some of California's most exotic commercial environments. From detailed art director's models until opening day, Musil provides the insight and detailed understanding of both the functional realities of a space as well as the character and spirit of the environment while relating this to the people who use the space. An expert on Art Deco, Musil was the art director for the renovation of the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. His projects include the Crest Theatre (Westwood), Alex Theatre (Glendale), Universal City Walk Theatre (Studio City), Fox West Coast (Long Beach), Fine Arts Theatre (Beverly Hills), Port Theatre (Costa Mesa), Long Beach Community Playhouse, and the Fantasia Theatre (Disney, Paris).

Joseph Musil's collection of theatre models represents a vast array of theatre architecture styles. Musil has designed and built dozens of theatre models for particular jobs and created models in different styles to investigate and better understand these styles. The models are created in a variety of scales, often determined by the needs of a project. Musil's formidable knowledge of styles and design details is balanced by a cultivated understanding of the technical aspects of theatre design.

Musil has designed a system of miniature counterweights for the vertical movement of sets and drops. He often uses scaled-down lighting systems in his models to simulate actual-scale experience and draw the viewer into the theatrical magic represented on stage. In presentations in his studio, and in the current exhibition, Musil uses music from the past, such as show tunes.

Salon of the Theatres is a treasure-trove of theatre models and artifacts from demolished historical theatres, is constructed as a theatrical environment, complete with proscenium and functional stage.

The American Museum of Theatrical Design, Salon of theTheatres
207 N. Broadway (Between W 1st & W 3rd), Santa Ana, CA 92701
Open Sat and Sun 12 noon to 4 pm - Cameras and Questions Welcome
Admission: Adults $3, Children under 14 with parents, free
This is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation. Donations of any size are appreciated.
Please no phone calls. For further information contact Salon of the Theatres via e-mail.

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Article compiled from materials supplied by Joe Musil and assembled by Art Kirsch on 1/9/04

Best Kept Arts & Entertainment Secrets         Updated 1/10/04
Thursday, July 18, 2024