Jan. 21 2015 03:39 PM

New owners retain staff and plan big increase in bookings

The North Park Theatre is now Observatory North Park.

The North Park Theatre is now Observatory North Park. On Jan. 15, the owners of the Santa Ana-based venue The Observatory took ownership of the theater and the adjoining West Coast Tavern from Verant Group and have rebranded it with a new name and a new logo, in addition to a new website: observatorynp.com

William Lopez, publicist for the theater, tells CityBeat that there won't be any major changes to the venue, other than a dramatic increase in bookings. The Observatory will book a lot of the acts already playing at its Orange County venue for a second date in San Diego.

"A lot of the acts playing the theater were already also performing at The Observatory" in Orange County, Lopez says. "In 2014, there were 60 to 80 shows at the North Park Theatre, and it will be close to triple that with the new ownership. There will also be a more diverse mix of acts."

Observatory will book many of its own shows, but it will also continue to work with Tim Mays, owner of The Casbah, for some bookings, like the recently announced April 17 Belle and Sebastian show. Additionally, all staff from both The North Park Theatre and The Observatory will be retained.

"They have made zero changes to the staff," Lopez says. "Everyone was simply let go from one company, and then they rehired every single employee."

Lopez also notes that The Observatory purchased the theater because it was already proven to be successful, and because of that, there are no plans to interfere with a good thing.

"They're not making too many changes; they're just adding to it," he says. "They know that it's important to the community."

Adam Gimbel says his long-running Musical Pursuit trivia night will return for one night at Whistle Stop Bar in South Park at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22. Entry fee is $5 per player, and the winning team takes 90 percent of the cash in the pot.

Email jefft@sdcitybeat.com or follow him at @1000TimesJeff


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