Lido Theater Celebrates 80th Anniversary with Rock ‘n’ Roll and Movie History

If you’ve been wondering how the Lido Theater, Newport Beach’s iconic ode to all things classic film, will celebrate it’s 80th anniversary, wonder no more: Back-to-back events are set to ring in the milestone this August, and they’re both being organized for a fantastic cause.

Image credit: Bob Hodson

First, on Wednesday, Aug. 15 …

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. Lupus International provides funding for support and research for this chronic autoimmune disease, as well as pediatric rheumatology fellowships at major teaching hospitals and leading research centers throughout the country.


Tickets for the concert start at $100 per person or $150 per couple for general admission seating. Sponsored by Via Lido Plaza and Fritz Duda Company, the event includes a cocktail reception, raffle, and a live auction. Food and drinks begin at 6 p.m. and the concert starts at 8 p.m. To purchase tickets or to learn more information about A Special Evening with Bill Medley, click here.

Next, on Thursday, Aug. 16 …

Lido Theater, in partnership with the Newport Beach Film Festival, will have a special champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception at 6 p.m. followed by a screening of Oscar-nominated Jezebel at 7 p.m.

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 told the original owners of the Lido Theater to open with her movie Jezebel, which they did.

If you’ve never seen it, Jezebel is a 1938 classic American romantic drama starring Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent, Margaret Lindsay, Donald Crisp, Richard Cromwell and Fay Bainter. The film depicts the story of a precocious Southern woman during the antebellum period, whose brash actions prove a detriment to her life and love.

Also benefitting Lupus International, the Thursday night reception and movie are $20 per person. Tickets can be purchased here.

The Fritz Duda Company on display at the 2018 Newport Beach Film Festival closing night celebration.

Both 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 recent years with a new, state-of-the-art projection and sound system. Still Fritz Duda Company was careful to preserve not only Lido Theater’s singular art deco aesthetic but also its status as one of the only operating single screens in California.

“The Lido Theater is an iconic art deco movie theater that we intend to be a cornerstone of the continued redevelopment of Via Lido Plaza in future years,” said Paul Bernard, vice president of the Western Region for Fritz Duda Company. Bernard also noted a new restaurant will soon open next to Lido Theater, a confluence of the brand-new sitting right beside 80 years of local legacy.