Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater in Claremont will close in March after 37 years – San Bernardino Sun

The Candlelight Pavilion Dinner Theater in Claremont will close March 20 due to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and encroaching development, according to its website.

For 37 years, the venue paired Broadway musicals with chicken and tri-tip dinners in a space that was once a high school gym.

It is putting on one last show, opening Feb. 25, which will feature a collection of show tunes from its many productions. The venue will also host the Inland Valley Repertory Theatre Company one more time in March.

The theater is in a business center at the corner of Indian Hill and Foothill boulevards. It is called the Old School House because it was once the site of Claremont High School. The corner has been targeted by the city for revitalization for many years.

The news was announced on the venue’s website by its management, attributed to the family of its late founder, Ben D. Bollinger. His son, Michael “Mick” Bollinger, is the venue’s general manager.

The message cites the difficulties having to cancel productions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the loss of parking due to development and “the increasing difficulty of maintaining an aging (80-year-old) building.”

Bollinger was a choral director and dean of performing arts at Citrus College in Glendora who also taught for a few years at Ramona High School in Riverside. He created the Citrus Singers, which performed throughout the region in the 1970s and can be heard on Kiss band member Gene Simmons’ first solo album, released in 1978.

Bollinger opened the Candlelight Pavilion in 1985. The space featured chandeliers, group tables with linen tablecloths on the first floor and private dining rooms upstairs. Classical guitarists and harpists performed while waiters served dinner. They included classics such as “My Fair Lady” and newer works such as “Sister Act.”

The space was the home of the Inland Valley Repertory Theatre Company, which is presenting a Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein revue, “A Grand Night For Singing,” at the Candlelight Pavilion March 1-9.

The theater is at 455 W. Foothill Blvd., Claremont. Visit for more information.

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