Framed by a canopy of towering trees and clipped arborvitae, this Italian-style outdoor garden theater has come alive with countless performances of every kind since its debut in 1914. When the stage is unoccupied, the show goes on with delightful fountain performances throughout the day. Beneath the stars, the stunning illuminated fountains nestled within the stage create an experience of wonder and awe.
About this Garden
The Open Air Theatre
With a setting that’s impressive in its own right, this grand space is a feat of carefully considered design with thoughtful details. Theater wings tucked into the arborvitae, fountains embedded in the stage, and underground dressing rooms add an element of sophisticated visual drama to this charming performance venue. Top billing also goes to the 750 illuminated jets colorized with 600 lights, which run daily while in season.
The Open Air Theatre has hosted well over 1,500 performances since it opened more than 100 years ago. From musical acts to military bands, guests have enjoyed every imaginable type of production. The venue’s 1,500 seats allow for the comfortable enjoyment of the likes of Martha Graham, Rufus Wainwright, and Wynton Marsalis with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, to name a few.
Please note: The water features of this garden can be enjoyed from mid-April until early January.
The Theatre Garden
Whether you’re enjoying an intermission or waiting for the show to begin, have a seat and enjoy this striking formal garden. Once known as the Terrace Gardens, today’s Theatre Garden features an eye-catching composition of drought-tolerant plants. Located behind the Open Air Theatre, this area emphasizes sculptural shapes, textural contrasts, and rich foliage. In the early 1970s, a redesign by famed landscape architect Thomas Church aimed to provide an attractive, illuminated evening garden for the patrons of the Open Air Theatre, as well as a stunning entrance to Flower Garden Walk.
While the structure of this garden still echoes the work of Church, the design reflects a more contemporary approach to planting, featuring hardy, desert-inspired plants in a range of blues and purples, with prominent silver foliage that gives this space an otherworldly feel in the evening.