LA Ready to PLAYJune 11, 2009 By: Bryan Bass
This week marks the grand opening of Los Angeles’ newest nightlife venue when Playhouse debuts in its three-level, 13,000-square-foot entertainment facility in the historic Fox Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. The debut is supported by a seasoned, all-star team, and highlights the fact that Hollywood is reclaiming its place as a nightlife hot spot.
Calling itself a nightclub and performance venue, The Playhouse will differentiate itself from the competition with the flexibility to offer not only pumping nightclub milieu but also host live music events. It’s just the latest incarnation from massively successful nightlife impresario Rob Vinokur, movie mogul Elie Samaha and their Muse Lifestyle Group, which has had great success in the City of Angels with venues such as IVAR, Tengu and Nacional. Both players had notable individual accomplishments before teaming up to create Muse, including Vinokur’s role in Miami’s Tantra Restaurant & Lounge, New York’s Crobar and B’Lo and Samaha’s role in Hollywood hotspots The Roxbury, White Lotus, The Green Door and the Cabana Club.
Joining Vinokur and Samaha at Playhouse will be another long-respected nightlife personality in Gilbert Stafford. A fixture on the happening nightlife scene since the early ’90s, Stafford was a familiar face to the throngs of people who packed AREA, Chaos, Risk, Liquor and others in Miami, before he headed north to the Big Apple, where stops included Remedy, Rehab and Crobar NY. After two years away from the business, Stafford’s phone rang, with Vinokur and an invite to head to Hollywood on the other end. It was an offer he quickly jumped on, noting, “I get the sense that the big thing hasn’t happened [in Hollywood] yet, and I want to be here when it does.”
When designing the 900-person Playhouse venue, Muse management wanted something to visually bring it to life, so the help of innovative design firm ICrave was enlisted. The four-bar venue features a truss-based lighting system designed by SJ Lighting and a world-class Funktion One Sound System. Playhouse was a natural fit for ICrave, a design firm that closely examines how customers will interact with a space and has a high-end client list that includes SBE Entertainment in Los Angeles and the Light Group in Las Vegas. The club was split into three independent spaces: the main room, an upstairs balcony with its own sound system and DJ set-up, and a 50-seat, 24-hour diner connected to the Playhouse, named Sweet Love Hangover.
Those behind Playhouse boast that it will not only offer extensive VIP and concierge services like transportation and reservations, but it also will have a shuttle service to bring club-goers to and from specified pick-up locations throughout the city. Additionally, discounts will be available for mass transit users, a nod to the company’s “MLG Goes Green” eco-initiatives started by Muse’s marketing and PR guru Alex Orlovsky. “By setting up awareness programs focused on alternative transportation, water conservation and energy conservation” he explains, “we are leading by example.” The venue also will feature an array of costume options that interact with the concept, all designed by LA-based designer Kelly Nishimoto.
The festivities kick off with a five-day opening event that starts with a private party on Wednesday, June 10, before opening to the masses on Thursday, June 11 for the launch of “Playhouse Thursdays” with Resident DJ Vice in the main room and Tony Arzadon upstairs. Friday, June 12 will feature “Dirty Sexy House” with Stephan Luke in the main room and Vegas favorite DJ Scotty Boy in the balcony, while “Playhouse Saturdays” begins on Saturday, June 13, featuring DJs Excel and Gomez in the main room and celebrity spinster DJ Momjeans, aka “That ’70s Show” star Danny Masterson, in the balcony. The weekend closes out with “PLAY at Playhouse” on Sunday, June 14, celebrating the LA Gay Pride parade with DJs Tracy Young and Phil B, a special live performance from Erika Jayne and DJs Josh Peach and Derek Monitoreo in the balcony.