History about The Grove
The Grove Theatre is located in the historical downtown Upland. Originally a movie theatre, it was built in 1947 by the Western Amusement Company, who, according to a Boxoffice article of that date, was operating 22 other southland movie houses. The art deco Grove opened to a great fanfare, complete with red carpets, Klieg lights and Roddy McDowell as the Master of Ceremonies. A notable feature of the theatre was the soundproof booths at the back, with glass windows and speakers that piped in the sound. This allowed patrons a place to take their crying children and watch the movie without annoying other movie goers.
In 1990, the theatre was purchased by Bill and Sherry Kinison and opened in February of 1991. Since then it has had 28 seasons of dramatic and musical theatre for both adults and children. The Theatre produced their shows as well as bring in national shows such as Church Basement Ladies, WaistWatchers and Menopause the Musical, which was such a success it ran for 9 months the first time it was here, that they brought it back two more times.
The opening show was Barefoot in the Park, featuring Ron McFaddin, Sherry Kinison’s brother. Through the years, many celebrities have graced the stage, including Dale Kristien (Phantom of the Opera star) and Bill Hutton (star of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on Broadway). Together they created and starred in the Home for the Holidays Christmas Show that ran for 20 years at The Grove. Such notables as Joe Bologna, Jim J. Bullock, Tommy Chong, Loretta Devine, Denise Dowse, Christina Ferrare, Kim Fields,Tommy Ford, Dodie Goodman, Frank Gorshin, Sam Kinison, Ted Lange, Danika McKellar, Paulie Shore, Sinbad, Alana Stewart, Renee Taylor, Judy Tenuta, Fred Willard, Fred Willard’s Mohos, Jo Anne Worley and many more have performed on this stage or directed shows at this theatre.
The Grove Theatre and Academy, the not-for-profit arm of The Grove Theatre offered instruction to children and young adults for many years. It then gave them the opportunity to use that instruction when they performed on stage in numerous performances. Many students of the Academy have gone on to perform regularly on stage at The Grove and in other local theatres. The Academy also has taught young people basic life skills that have helped them in higher education and job performance.
We look forward to many more successful years ahead!