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The Edison Theatre

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Almost directly across the street from the Psychic Temple sits the Edison Theatre, another neglected old building that has been sitting vacant for much too long. After walking by 213 E. Broadway so many times, I had access to it today.

The building, which was built in 1917, was the Nippon Pool Room and Barber Shop in its earliest years. Since then it has been a sporting goods store, foot clinic, and beauty salon. From 1998-2006, it was home to CSULB’s California Repertory Company. The lobby still looks great, but the bulletproof glass at the ticket window reveals the neighborhood’s rough, relatively recent past.

CalRep’s old performing area is sizable with stage pieces neatly stacked and acoustic fixtures still intact and effective. There’s even a trapdoor that leads to a crawlspace where props or actors could make appearances or vanish from audience’s eyes.

Passing by some supply rooms, workshops, and restrooms, one can take stairs to the men’s and women’s dressing rooms and some office space.

The office windows provide access to catwalks, lighting, and so on, and show the boundary of the original structure. It’s the newer, non-brick area that has been deemed as needing reinforcement.