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The Lido Theater Celebrates its 80th Anniversary


The Lido Theater in Newport Beach is celebrating its 80th anniversary with two back-to-back charity events on August 15 and 16th to benefit Lupus International. A Bill Medley concert and a showing of the Oscar-nominated Jezebel, the film that opened the Lido Theater in 1938, will mark the milestone for this iconic Southern California movie theater.

On Wednesday, August 15 at 6 p.m., Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer Bill Medley will return to Newport Beach, his home of nearly 40 years, to host A Simple Evening with Bill Medley, a benefit concert for Lupus International. This will be the ninth year that Medley has done the concert to honor his late musical partner Bobby Hatfield and his wife Linda, who lost her battle with lupus in 2010.

Tickets for A Special Evening with Bill Medley start at $100 per person or $150 per couple for general admission seating for the concert. Sponsored by Via Lido Plaza and Fritz Duda Company, the event includes a cocktail reception, raffle, and a live auction. To purchase tickets or for more information about A Special Evening with Bill Medley,

The following evening, on Thursday, August 16 at 6 p.m., the Lido Theater in partnership with the Newport Beach Film Festival, will have a special Champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception followed by a screening of Jezebel at 7 p.m. Also benefitting Lupus International, tickets for the reception and movie are $20 per person and can be purchased at

The acclaimed movie starring Bette Davis and Henry Fonda first opened the theater in 1938. It has been said that Miss Davis, a Corona del Mar resident at the time, drove by the theater daily while it was under construction. She reportedly requested a sitting parlor in the ladies room, which was built and still remains today, and also told the original owners of the Lido Theater to open with her movie Jezebel, which they did.

The Lido Theater and Via Lido Plaza were developed by the Griffith Company which also developed much of Lido Isle, and originally gifted the former City Hall property to the City of Newport Beach. The Fritz Duda Company acquired the property in 1986, and as only the second owner in its rich 80-year history, the company has renovated the theater in recent years and has maintained its status as one of the only operating single screens in California. 

Restored in recent years, the landmark Lido Theater features a new, state-of-the-art projection and sound system, yet maintains an air of Old Hollywood glamour. Movie-goers will notice elegant lobby chandeliers, vintage poster cases, the original box office, art deco architectural details, a balcony, and a magnificent red velvet waterfall curtain on an elevated stage.

The Lido Theater also features some of its original Catalina tilework, revered at the time for its colorful hand painted beauty, and rarely seen in Southern California today. The auditorium walls have stunning murals depicting underwater ocean scenes that appear to glow from black lights illuminating the walls when the house lights dim. 

The Lido Theater is at 3459 Via Lido, off Newport Boulevard, in Newport Beach. For additional movies and show times, please call 949. 673.8350 or visit To inquire about renting the theater for a private event, please call 949.723.7100 or email

Image by Bob Hodson

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