The neon lights surrounding the marquee of Newport Beach's Lido Theater will draw attention to more than movie titles in the upcoming months–they'll also illuminate the names of live music acts.
Countless films have ran in the historic theater over the last 75 years, but the shift to include live music comes from new operators, Lido Live, who took over the theater's lease from Regency last summer. In addition to running feature films, the theater will now showcase musicians whose styles range from R&B to show tunes. With Halloween just around the corner, Lido Theater is gearing up for Friday's Halloween concert, It's A Dead Man's Party, with special Oingo Boingo act, Boingo Dance Party.
Boingo Dance Party is special for the fact that it features several original members of the seminal '80s new wave band, including Sam "Sluggo" Phipps on saxophone and Johnny Vatos on drums. Boingo Dance Party is known for their upbeat live shows, making them a natural fit for the Halloween bash.
Lido Live partner, Tristan Ritter, feels Boingo Dance Party is ideal for establishing the live music aspect of the theater, and says that prizes will be awarded to the most original and creative costumes at the concert. All of the live shows will cater strictly to a 21+ crowd and offer beer and wine, adding to the venue's concert-hall feel.
The upcoming show with Boingo Dance Party is the second live act to hit the theater's stage under the new operators. Lido Live lassoed in Rock-and-Roll Hall-of-Famer Smokey Robinson in August, successfully bringing a R&B legend to Newport's sleepy live music scene. The initial buzz around the theater's taste in talent indicated that the booking would be geared heavily towards '80s artists, but Robinson's appearance shows signs of diversification.
"We're not going to focus 100 percent on '80s-style performers, but we will have music from that generation,"Ritter says. "We're trying to mix it up a little bit. We're also excited about some tribute bands coming up."
According to Ritter, the addition of live music was strategic and that in today's market, single-screen theaters struggle to survive. She asserts that opening the theater up to live entertainment not only engages a new audience, it helps augment their business model–a model that even features a Balcony Club for fans looking to maximize their experience and gain entry to the balcony seating.
Strategy aside, the theater thrives on nostalgia. Vintage pictures still hang throughout the venue, and an undersea mural continues to line the interior of the theater offset by the token red velvet curtain.
The only major aesthetic change occurred outside of the building, where a beige coat of paint replaced the previous quirky shade of salmon pink. Bands like Boingo Dance Party are likely to draw in new faces, and not only bring in new clientele to the theater, but infuse new music into Newport Beach. "There's no other option close in Newport Beach that consistently gives you some really good music," Ritter says. "We felt there was a huge gap there, and that's what we're trying to fill."
It's A Dead Man's Party Halloween Concert and Costume Party featuring Boingo Dance Party at the Lido Theater, 3459 Via Lido, Newport Beach, (555) 957-0600; lidolive.com. Friday, October 24, doors 8 p.m. $36.00 – $142.00, 21+. For more information on Boingo Dance Party visit boingodanceparty.com.