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Universal Amphitheatre (later known as Gibson Amphitheatre) was an indoor amphitheatre located in Los Angeles, California within Universal City. It was originally built as an outdoor venue, opening in the summer of 1972 with a production of Jesus Christ Superstar. It was remodeled and converted into an indoor theatre in 1982 to improve acoustics. The amphitheater closed on September 6, 2013 and demolished for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood.

Universal Amphitheatre
Gibson amphitheatre pano.jpg
Former namesUniversal Amphitheatre (1972-2005)
Gibson Amphitheatre (2005-13)
Address100 Universal City Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 91608
LocationUniversal City, Universal Studios Hollywood
OwnerUniversal Parks & Resorts
ClosedSeptember 6, 2013
DemolishedSeptember 25, 2013[1]

Early historyEdit

The Amphitheatre was originally built as a daytime arena where patrons of the Universal Studios Studio Tour could watch stuntmen perform a western-themed stunt show and shootout. Construction began in 1969. By 1970, the stage was completed and three old west facades were constructed for the show. The arena was completed in 1971.[2]

Because it was empty at night, a young studio tour guide suggested that the arena be used to hold rock concerts. On June 28, 1972, the venue hosted its first concert, a production of the Broadway rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar.[3] The show was a hit and was extended until cold weather forced its closure.[4]

During these early years, the stunt show was performed during the day while at night the venue hosted concerts.[5][6] The theatre proved to be so popular that it regularly filled up to 98% capacity. After only one year, the studio expanded it to seat 5,200 patrons.[3]

In 1980, the venue closed for two years for a major renovation. During this time, a roof was constructed to allow for year-round entertainment, acoustics were improved and seating was expanded again to 6,251 seats.

In May 1993, Universal added the Universal CityWalk shopping and dining district, the first of its kind[citation needed], around the entrance to the theatre. This allowed patrons to eat and drink before and after concerts.

July 29 and 30, 1999, pop/R&B singer Whitney Houston would give her last two North American concerts here on her My Love Is Your Love World Tour. Houston would go on to have one more world tour in 2010, but did not tour North America.[7] She died February 2012 at age 48 in Beverly Hills, CA at the Beverly Hilton Hotel from drowning.

During its forty-year history, the venue hosted concerts by high-profile touring artists, musicals such as The Who's Tommy and major recurring events, including the MTV Movie Awards and the Teen Choice Awards. The amphitheatre was best known[by whom?] for its acoustics and its sightlines[citation needed].

Name changeEdit

The theatre was known as the Universal Amphitheatre from its inception until early 2005, when naming rights were acquired by the Gibson Guitar Corporation as part of a partnership between Gibson, Universal and House of Blues.[3]


On December 6, 2011, it was announced that Universal Amphitheatre would close and would be demolished to make way for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park area at Universal Studios Hollywood.[8]

Although the venue had events scheduled until October 2013,[9] it officially closed in September of that year.[10]

The final performance held at the Gibson Amphitheatre was Pepe Aguilar on September 6, 2013.

At the time of its closure, it was the third largest mid-sized venue in California, behind the Nokia Theatre and the Shrine Auditorium - two other Los Angeles venues. The amphitheatre was demolished on September 25, 2013.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Gibson Amphitheater demolished for Wizarding World of Harry Potter". United Press International. September 25, 2013. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ "Photos: Goodbye Gibson, Universal City's entertainment venue closes - LA Daily News Media Center".
  3. ^ a b c "Universal Studios Hollywood - Amphitheater". Archived from the original on May 16, 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ Link, Tom (1991). Universal City-North Hollywood: A Centennial Portrait. Chatsworth, CA: Windsor Publications. p. 87. ISBN 0-89781-393-6.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 2, 2011. Retrieved June 21, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ spinsandneedles (August 8, 2011). "Universal Studios California 1971 Tour Backlot War Wagon Super 8". Archived from the original on April 4, 2016 – via YouTube. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ North America Boxscore data:
  8. ^ Nakashima, Ryan (December 6, 2011). "Poof! Harry Potter park to appear in Hollywood". USA Today. Archived from the original on December 6, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2011. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ "Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk Upcoming Shows in Universal City, California". Live Nation. Archived from the original on December 13, 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ Gibson Amphitheatre to close, make room for Harry Potter attraction Archived June 16, 2013, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved April 24, 2013

External linksEdit