All the World’s a Stage: Rancho Mirage Wonderful Theater Scene
Great artists have always understood the importance of expression – that need to relay earthly observations and the stirrings of the inner soul out into the open. Millennia of traditions have brought light to eager audiences through the performing arts. Drama, music, dance, spoken word and more have all brought communities together to revel in the works that those on stage have given. The value of such experiences has not gone unnoticed in the Rancho Mirage area, a quality which shows in its fantastic theaters.
The Desert Cities seem to beckon artists of all sorts whether it’s massive music festivals or small intimate plays. Top-level acts and traveling groups are as likely to grace a venue here as they are in the grand music halls of London, the most revered theaters on Broadway or the storied stages in Los Angeles. Whatever magic flows through the air here, decades of entertainment tradition have helped the area bloom with fantastic forums to host timeless talent. Let’s explore some of the great theaters in the Rancho Mirage area.
Hope Rises from the Sands
Sometimes, dreams take a long time to become reality. Such was the journey for now venerable McCallum Theater. Beginning as the brainchild of a group of committed community leaders dedicated to creating a performing arts space in the Desert Cities, this space went from a twinkle in that group’s eye to full realization a full fifteen years later. Talk about persistence! Along the way, luminaries no less impressive than President Gerald Ford contributed to the project. At one point, he enlisted none other than Bob Hope to get involved. Together, they carried the dream across the finish line in 1988.
The result was a golden hall complimenting the red seating, affording a warm glow for audiences and performers alike. Ever since its opening over three decades ago, this handsome 1,127-seat theater has become a destination to all manner of impressive shows. Music acts as varied as Itzhak Perlman and Patti Lupone have taken this stage. Broadway hits like Chicago and Russian dance spectacles grace the space. Comedy, science exhibitions, Chinese acrobats – if audiences want to see it performed, it happens here.
Of Theaters and Amphitheaters
One thing about the desert is that it’s always warm and it rarely rains. So why not enjoy some live performances outdoors once in a while? The Rancho Mirage Amphitheater is a lovely “shed venue,” which is basically a covered stage with no walls and an audience seated under the skies. Finished in 2015, the space now hosts a regular “Music in the Park Series” with amazing lineups changing every season. And best of all, it’s free of charge! It’s all part of the burgeoning influx of entertainment, fueled by local and tourist demand.
But if you’re looking for less grandiose settings, there are plenty of smaller theaters putting on plays and staging dramas. Community repertoires bring back everything from Shakespeare to Tennessee Williams. Original works created and performed by local artists are also here to be discovered. You may even get an early look at the next big national touring show! Other stages make room for the LGBTQ community, creating welcoming spaces for inclusive projects. Rather seek out an intimate music show? There are destinations featuring everything from traditional mariachi bands to small jazz ensembles. So even if you’re not into the more popular spectacles and the crowds that are drawn to them, you can still find a great place in the area to have a night on the town to enjoy live performances.
Meanwhile, there is another rumbling in the desert happening – a much, much larger one. Since 1974, the Palm Springs Convention Center has been home to several grand events, with the ability to accommodate up to 12,000 people. But now a major entertainment company – AEG, which is also behind the area’s legendary annual Coachella music festival – is set to take over the space and turn it into a major venue focused on weekend concerts. So, who says it’s silent in the desert? With all these amazing stages in the Rancho Mirage area and more on the way, sounds are sure to bless these airs for years to come!