El Portal Theatre “Ain’t down yet!” great shows coming, Troubies & more

 Hold on to your tickets! An entertainment treasure, the El Portal Theatre has great fun shows coming to get things back to normal and make people happy this Fall

 “I ain’t down yet!” was Debbie Reynolds’ rousing signature song from The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Now the theater she loved most, the historic El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood, has taken a page from the Hollywood legend and has made “We ain’t down yet” its rallying cry as the theater prepares to bounce back from these trying times. 

 The El Portal Theatre is an entertainment treasure. Its legacy is impressive. Built in 1926 as a vaudeville showcase, then an art deco movie house, it’s where a talent scout discovered Debbie Reynolds, and she performed on stage dozens of times in her later years. “In recent years, the El Portal has presented the most extraordinary crowd-pleasing shows. And it will remain the crown jewel in the NoHo Theater district moving forward with shows in the near future thanks to the support of our theater-loving community,” reports Jay Irwin, the General Manager, with Managing Director Pegge Forrest. Forrest has been with the theatre since 1997 and worked with and for the various organizations who helped bring the historic El Portal back to its glory years. Support came from Howard Berman, Bob Caine, Tom Waldman, and so many more.  

 Then there are the stars since 2000 who have graced our stage including Debbie, Bea Arthur, Charles Nelson Reilly, Jo Anne Worley, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Fritz Coleman, Wanda Sykes, Sherrie Shepard, Katie McKinnon, Leslie Jones and so many more! Plus, for the first time in the history of the theater a world-class musical ice show is scheduled for this Fall.

 “We definitely ain’t down yet,” Irwin assures. “It’s a landmark for the city and people have been coming here for almost 100 years so we can’t give up, and we won’t. We have a long tradition of showcasing uplifting entertainment in the community. Our shows have been postponed in accordance with the cautionary measures to keep people safe during the coronavirus ‘Safer at Home’ order.”

 Both Irwin and Forrest agree that the El Portal will be back with a tremendous lineup of shows later this year, including shows from the Troubadour Theater Company which now calls the El Portal their home. The Troubies will return in December with their always hilarious and uplifting holiday show.

 There has been positive feedback from loyal patrons who bought tickets in advance for the current season, and the producers have decided to move forward and deliver their shows  starting in September. Irwin said, “There are great productions on the schedule and we’re making sure that the people can see the shows that they wanted. We are not going to cancel on them.”

 Also, as a gift to their supporters, Irwin mentioned that there are plans to offer some extra special events for audiences to enjoy— movie nights, bonus screenings of musicals, gala fundraisers with VIP invites for the loyal theater lovers.

At the Debbie Reynolds MainStage dedication the El Portal dancers perform the greatest tap dance tribute.

 “We’ve talked about screening Singing in the Rain. And the grand pouffes (round sofas) from the set of The Unsinkable Molly Brown in the lobby were a lovely gift from Debbie Reynolds so, of course, we want to showcase it too. Debbie is part of this theater’s legacy. That’s why theater owners Gary Goodgame and Bernard Kaufman paid homage to her and dedicated the Debbie Reynolds MainStage following her passing in December 2016, so she will always be remembered in this theater,” Forrest said.

 The El Portal has survived the Depression, four wars, earthquakes, 9/11, and more. After the 1994 earthquake, it was gloriously renovated and reopened in 2000 to present great talent, stars, and the finest productions.

 The theater has always been there to lift spirits, that’s why everyone is working hard to prepare for the future. They are sticking with it and have a lot more fun stuff coming up.

The new schedule of shows:

“Mojacar Flamenco” Sept. 4-5

“That Lovin’ Feelin’” Sept. 12

“Fairytales On Ice” Sept. 26

“Pardcast-A-Thon” Oct. 10

“Gentlemen’s Guide to Love & Murder” Oct. 30 – Nov. 1

“Stunt Dog Experience” Nov. 6

  The Troubies returns with the Troubadour Theater Company’s free-wheeling, no holds barred, Commedia Del Arte HOLIDAY SHOW in December  (past shows such as THE YEAR WITHOUT A SANTANA CLAUS & A CHARLIE JAMES BROWN CHRISTMAS have been smash sold-out hits).

…and many more to come.

 Many of the shows (including “That Lovin’ Feelin’” & the spectacular “Fairytales On Ice”) come from Burbank-based 3000 Miles Off Broadway Productions’ impresarios Ron Kurtz and Gary Grantham who always present feel-good crowd-pleasing affordable entertainment with great music and jubilant comedy. 

 “Our focus is and always has been fun and entertainment, more than any other theater around. We know the community is going to need that. We’re going to be here to give them something exciting, to laugh about, something beautiful to look at, satisfying entertainment that will make people happy.” The plan in May is to deep steam clean the entire theatre and carpeting.

 The show must go on for the El Portal, and it will. When these trying times are in our rearview mirror the entertainment treasure we all know as the El Portal Theatre will once again bring joy and laughter to our community.

Visit ElPortalTheatre.com for information. El Portal Theatre is located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. Great deals for group rates for future shows. In the meantime, be good to yourself & others.


Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.