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San Diego, California

Starlight Theatre

Starlight Bowl at Balboa Park, 2005 Pan American Plaza

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(NOTE: As of March 2012, the Starlight is on indefinite hiatus for legal restructuring.)

Launched in 1945 as one of the country’s original “Civic Light Opera” organizations, Starlight has throughout its history presented countless operettas and big Broadway musicals outside ‘under the stars’ at the San Diego Starlight Bowl. Somewhat diminished from its hey day in the 70s and 80s, Starlight currently presents a three show summer season offering traditional large scale fare (Hello Dolly, Guys and Dolls) and is known for its ‘artistic innovation’ of ‘freeze frame action,’ in which the actors pause and freeze on cue of a red light alerting the passing of an overhead airplane approaching nearby Lindburg Field. A device some find charming and others annoying, Starlight is nonetheless a Southern California institution and one of the last in a great traditions of summer theatre.

Starlight Theatre Information

  • Public Transportation: Good (take bus 7 to Park Blvd./Presidents Way, where you can catch the free Balboa Park Tram to the Pan American Plaza stop, which is a short walk from the theatre)
  • Performances/Programs: Performance schedule is Thursday–Sunday
  • Ticket Prices: $10–$75, discounts available for students, seniors, and military. Children 12 years and younger can attend for free when accompanied by paying adult on Thursdays and Sundays
  • Discounts: Reduced price tickets can be available at