Movies have returned to the Sierra Madre Playhouse!

The Sierra Madre Playhouse was once the Wistaria Theater, showing the best Hollywood had to offer. Almost a century later, the “Gem of the Foothills” is presenting the greatest films ever made.

Now, in the spirit of our mission to illuminate the diversity of the American experience, join us as we dig deeper with films that highlight unique perspectives on America and the growth of the arts. These films are an essential part of Artistic Director Christian Lebano's vision that further contextualize the productions staged at the Playhouse.

First Up: It’s a Singing, Dancing Celebration of the Great American Musical, and You’re Invited!

You and your whole family are invited to experience four nights of pure musical joy – a program of classic musicals that are even more fun now than they were back in the 1930’s! Three of these films – 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933, and Footlight Parade – created the narrative tropes that have become the DNA of musicals ever since. All these films feature the audacious, delightful direction and choreography of the legendary Busby Berkeley. “Dames at Sea” is a giddy nod to these films. Now here’s your chance to see the originals, as delightful in 2019 as they were in the 1930’s.

June 26 at 8 pm: Gold Diggers of 1933

When Warner Brothers had a smash hit with 42nd Street, they pushed an even gaudier, more spectacular film into production. The very first number is a classic – “We’re In the Money” – and it picks up speed from there. The film builds to one of the most memorable, audacious moments in movie history: a searing, compassionate tribute to World War I vets destroyed by the Depression, “Remember My Forgotten Man.” Like all these films, “Gold Diggers of 1933” is a non-stop pleasure.

July 3 at 8 pm: Yankee Doodle Dandy
Want the perfect way to kick off a 4th of July celebration in Sierra Madre? Come to the Playhouse and relish the many pleasures of classic musical “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. Jimmy Cagney brings theater legend George M. Cohan to life in what many consider his greatest role. Director Michael “Casablanca” Curtiz crafts an exhilarating entertainment that’s as emblematic of the 4th of July as “It’s A Wonderful Life” is of Christmas. Bring the family, have a great time, and bask in the afterglow of this masterpiece before you watch the July 4th parade.

July 10 at 8 pm: Footlight Parade
When asked for the very best Warner Brothers/Busby Berkeley musical in the 1930’s, most film scholars name “Footlight Parade.” Why? First, star Jimmy Cagney is a kinetic fireball of singing and dancing energy. Second, the Warner Brothers stock company – Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, Joan Blondell, Frank McHugh – had mastered their roles. Finally, this film ends with not one, not two, but THREE Busby Berkeley spectaculars, one right after another! It’s like eating three three-scoop ice cream sundaes right in a row.

July 17 at 8 pm: 42nd Street

This is the one that started it all. This is a non-stop festival of iconic backstage musical tropes: the desperate Producer battling all odds to cobble together a hit…the wide-eyed ingenue who gets her big chance on opening night…the cynical “gold-diggers” looking for sugar daddies…Broadway as the “naughty, bawdy, gaudy” birthplace of the Great American Songbook. This movie is non-stop singing, tap-dancing, and wise-cracking. Often imitated, never equaled – experience the one and only original on the great big silver screen!


Get your tickets to each film here for just $5 a ticket with code "BUSBY", OR get tickets to all four films for just $30!


Arts for LA LA country arts commission Pasadena Tournament of Roses Sierra Madre Community Foundation The Spero Foundation