The Segerstrom Center for the Arts is a large performing arts complex in Costa Mesa, California. Formerly known as the Orange County Performing Arts Center, the Segerstrom Center features multiple venues including the Orange County Museum of Art, the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, and Samueli Theater, just to name a few.
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The Segerstrom Center is large enough to be labeled a “campus” and there are multiple options available including, but not limited to:
- Segerstrom Hall
- Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
- Samueli Theater
- The Judy Morr Theater
- Studio Performance Space
- Boeing Education Lab
- Orange County Museum of Art
Segerstrom Hall is an opera house theater which is the largest of the venues. It is used for plays, musicals, and other size-intensive productions. The Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall is where “in-the-round” performances are held, and this venue features an impressively large pipe organ with more than four thousand pipes.
Samueli Theater is a more intimate venue–this is a theater with just under 400 seats and is co-located in the same structure as the Segerstrom Concert Hall. A smaller theater, the Morr, is used for rehearsals and studio space for an entity known as the ABT Gillespie School.
The campus also features the 46,000 square foot Julianne and George Argyros Plaza with restaurants, a stage area, and a picnic area.
One of the more recent additions broke ground at the campus in 2019, the Orange County Museum of Art now calls the Segerstrom Center home, after using a temporary space in the South Coast Plaza Village in Santa Ana. The museum focuses on California art and artwork from the Pacific Rim from the 20th century to the current day.
It’s true that you can visit the Center to see shows and performances, but there are many other activities you can take part in here as well. The Center offers camps and classes including in-person and virtual/online options:
Summer at the Center: A program which has run for more than 30 years, the Summer At The Center program was created to help “high-risk high school students” learn how to participate in musical theater. Created in collaboration with the late Dr. Maurice Allard, this program is designed to build confidence and self-esteem through the creative arts.
Virtual Musical Theater Classes: There are programs for students ages 9-18 “of all experience levels” for virtual classes in musical theater performance and technique. There are pre-professional-level classes and a children’s division.
Five Days of Broadway: Open to students “of all experience levels” ages 11-19. This program coaches children in musical theater performance and technique. It is not an audition-based program and students are accepted on a first come, first served basis.
ABT William J. Gillespie Dance School: Many of the programs listed here are aimed at kids, this one is more adult-oriented. The Pre-Professional Division of the American Ballet Theatre William J. Gillespie School offers classes including:
- Classical Ballet Technique
- Men’s & Women’s Variations
- Character Dance
- Men’s Strength Training
- Dance & Film
Studio D: Arts School for All Abilities: Studio D offers classes for adults and school-age children alike. There are two basic curriculum options:
- Dance & Music: Guided by a dance professional, these classes feature “movement exercises” to help improve coordination, balance, and mindfulness.Depending on the class size and composition, the instructors may customize these classes to meet the skill level of the current group of students.
- Musical Theater: These classes are led by a dance teacher as well as a voice coach; students of all ages learn three basic aspects of musical theater including singing and dancing. These classes focus on Broadway type productions including choreography and Broadway singing styles.
The campus is located at:
Address: 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Phone: Mon-Fri 10 am to 5 pm (714) 556-2787
Box Office Hours:
Monday: 10am to 2pm
Tuesday–Friday: 12pm to 5pm
On performance days, the Box Office remains open for 30 minutes after the final show begins.
A Brief History Of The Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Some in the Orange County arts community were getting restless in the late 1960s. Some felt the lack of a major performing arts venue in a county that was on the rise at the time with major businesses establishing themselves in the area and colleges expanding campuses to Orange County, too.
According to the Segerstrom Center official site, a number of major performing groups needed proper facilities to rehearse and perform in; members of the Pacific Symphony, the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, and Pacific Chorale couldn’t practice or hold concerts just anywhere; facilities with specific acoustic designs were needed to make these cultural events happen.
And so thanks to needs like these, and many others, an effort to develop such a world-class facility got underway starting in part with a search for available land in a suitable size.
In the 1970s, a proper site was found thanks to the donation of a five-acre tract of land donated by the Segerstrom family. Ground breaking and construction on what we know today as the Segerstrom Center for the Arts began in 1983, and the official launch of the site happened in 1986 when it opened as the Orange County Performing Arts Center.
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