In 2004, after ten years at the Melrose Avenue location, it was once again time to move as the space was no longer suitable for the growing Studio. While on the hunt for a new space, Howard was shown a beautiful, old theatre, the Hollywood Playhouse, on Las Palmas Avenue and Sunset Boulevard that had been sitting vacant and neglected for 10 years.
Located across the street from Hollywood’s historic “Crossroads of the World,” the Hollywood Playhouse Theatre dates back to the silent film era. Previously, the Writers Club Theatre; it came to be known as the Hollywood Playhouse Theatre and Café following a “million dollar” renovation centering around its 200-seat theatre and (now defunct) restaurant.
After a massive renovation, the Howard Fine Acting Studio was ready to move into it’s new home. It had been turned from a drab, decaying space into lively theatre and studio complex, painted in bright colors to represent a crayon box. Once again, Garry Shandling and Heather Locklear were on hand to cut the ribbon at the Studio’s star-studded opening gala, which included performances by Deborah Gibson and The Pussycat Dolls, as well as a special ceremony to dedicate the secondary space to the late Uta Hagen.The Howard Fine Acting Studio thrived for many years at the Hollywood Playhouse, offering additional classes and using the large theatre for a variety of performances. There were productions of “Talking With” and “The Vagina Monologues,” as well as a yearly benefit directed by Howard called “In Concert,” a celebrity concert whose proceeds benefit Project Angel Food.
Eventually, the years of prior neglect began to take it’s toll on the building. Despite all of the renovations, the roots of the large avocado tree in the building’s courtyard were growing under the building, making plumbing a constant problem. Every rainstorm introduced more and more leaks in the ceiling and every small earthquake brought the fear that the entire theatre would collapse. These construction issues led to the decision to find a new home . . . and not a moment too soon because a week or so before the Studio started it’s move, a plumbing issue above the Studio office caused the ceiling to collapse!