Starlight Bowl may get a chance to reopen in Balboa Park
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Starlight Bowl may get a chance to reopen in Balboa Park

Jun 02, 2023

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SAN DIEGO — The Starlight Bowl made its final curtain call in 2011 after its tenant decided to exit stage left and file for bankruptcy.

Fast forward to 2023 and Stephen Stopper, the CEO of the Save Starlight organization believes it's time for this dramatic pause to come to an end.

"I really think we are at the cusp of making this happen… ready to go," Stopper said.

Stopper's team has put forth a specific proposal to city council requesting a sole source agreement. Currently, their special use permit has a 30-day pull-out clause meaning they could face eviction each month that passes.

"The lease will provide security for our very serious benefactor to give us upwards of a million dollars to bring this place back to operational," said Angelique Ghadishah, VP of Operations.

"We want everyone to be able to come out and see a show, we want everyone to be able to obtain an internship if they want to be any single part of the arts," Ghadishah added.

If the lease is granted the team is ready to work their way out of the weeds and keep the drama center stage.

WATCH: Peter Pan at Starlight Bowl in San Diego 1965:

Ricardo Rabines and his wife Taal Safdie are renowned architects who recently wrapped up the creation of the UCSD Epstein Family Amphitheater.

"I think it's beautiful and it has great potential and parks like these need more destinations and more activity," Rabines said. "It was magic and I think that this kind of place has to be reinvented again."

They have now partnered up with Stopper's team and look forward to bringing the Bowl back to life. "I think we need to do an infusion of art, public expression, destination and activation," Rabines said.

The goal for the revamp is to make it an all-inclusive space that everyone can call home.

"We are hoping to have big names and the reason that is attractive is for a high school band to play on the same stage that the Foo Fighters could potentially play on. I think it's a great opportunity for young musicians to have an opportunity to showcase their skills," said Domanic Glenn, VP of Development.

So will the lights ever shine bright in the bowl again? The Save Starlight organization says they've been operating in good faith since 2016 and are hopeful with the community's support they will be granted a long-term lease agreement so the show can go on.

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WATCH: The Rolling Stones play Starlight Bowl in San Diego in 1964:

WATCH: 'Oklahoma!' at the Starlight Bowl in San Diego 1979: