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Luxury Living —Southern California’s Largest Speaker Series Expands to Beverly Hills At The Saban Theatre

Ehud Barak

Posted: Tuesday, August 25, 2015 – 11:58 AM

After 20 years of presenting world-renowned and sought-after speakers to sold-out audiences, The Distinguished Speaker Series of Southern California is expanding to its fourth location—Beverly Hills’ Art Deco-style, 1,900-seat Saban Theatre, 8440 Wilshire Blvd.

“For years, Westside patrons have been reaching out; asking us to bring our series here. And we’re delighted to have found the perfect home, the beautifully renovated Saban Theatre, to present our compelling and bi-partisan style of entertainment to a new audience,” said co-owner Kathy Winterhalder.

“We love Beverly Hills,” says Winterhalder, pointing out that more speakers have come from this area than anywhere else. “They’re neighbors like Ben Stein, Magic Johnson, Ken Robinson, Ron Howard and Betty White.”

With its season running from October to May 2016, on seven different Sundays at 6:30 p.m., the series will bring “great speakers whose remarkable leadership, accomplishments and opinions make a real difference. Never has that been more true than with this coming season’s speakers,” said Winterhalder.

Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister of Israel, who continues to play a role in Middle East peace efforts will kick-off the series, (Oct. 18) and certainly have something to say about the proposed Iran nuclear deal.

• He will be followed by award-winning actor of Monty Python fame, John Cleese who will have audiences laughing in their seats (Nov. 8).  

• Come 2016, Former Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson, will take the stage with lively conversation with Fortune magazine’s Geoffrey Colvin discussing the influence of China and the environment on our nation’s economy (Jan. 10).

• Award-winning portrait photographer Platon will present a living history by taking members behind-the-scenes with his subjects, some of the most powerful and influential visionaries from around the globe (Feb. 21). He’s known for riveting Time magazine cover photos of Vladimir Putin in 2007 and in 2011, Aung San Suu Kyi, the 65-year-old Burmese Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was released from house arrest in Rangoon. He will tell behind-the-scenes stories of his photographs of presidents and world leaders that include Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Robert Mugabe, Binyamin Netanyahu, Hugo Chávez, Victor Yushchenko and Muammar Qaddafi, plus his time with Edward Snowden

• Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, with his finger on the pulse of the future, will take patrons on a grand tour of what the future might hold for audience members, their children, and grandchildren (March 13). “He will tell how quickly technology is changing our lives,” informs Winterhalder. “He will paint a picture of what the health-care system will look like in 10 years and even why the Concorde failed, and why other transcontinental airlines will succeed.”

• Former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta will offer bold ideas and candid insights on U.S. intelligence, international security and the political challenges of the 21st Century (April 10).

• The season will conclude with lifestyle guru and successful entrepreneur Martha Stewart (May 8).

After their unfiltered talks, audience members have the opportunity to interact and exchange ideas with each speaker during a moderated Q&A session at the conclusion of each event.

Series tickets range from $343 in the balcony to premier seating at $700 for all seven evenings. The series is available in subscription packages only and single tickets are not available. Subscriptions may be purchased online at

With the addition of Beverly Hills, The Distinguished Speaker Series— established in 1995 in response to Southern California’s need for an enlightening entertainment alternative— is now held at four locations with the city joining Pasadena, Redondo Beach and Thousand Oaks.

“We’re so inspired by the game-changers we’ve brought to the stage,” added Winterhalder. “It’s gratifying to realize we’ve presented more than 100 luminaries who have transformed our world.”

Series organizers survey audiences to find what topics they’re interested in and then develop a balanced program of seven leaders from a range of fields covering the spectrum of politics, entertainment, economics, history, technology, lifestyle and more.

“It’s a great night out,” says Winterhalder. “It’s not like a college lecture, but interesting and lively that gives families and groups much to discuss on the way home and after.”

Through the series, Southern Californians have come to know such leaders as Margaret Thatcher, the Dalai Lama, Bill Clinton, Steve Wozniak, Tony Blair and last year, F.W. de Klerk who won the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela for ending apartheid in South Africa. They’ve laughed with Ron Howard, Bob Newhart and Carl Reiner. And they’ve been moved by such talents as Yo-Yo Ma, whose presentation included video and him playing the cello, Elie Wiesel, Robert Redford and Maya Angelou. 

The Redondo Beach venue is sold out with a three- to four-year waiting list and Thousand Oaks often sells out. For this inaugural season in Beverly Hills, audience member can go online and select the seats they want for this season and subsequent ones. “We still have fabulous seats available,” adds Winterhalder.

For more information, visit www.speakersla or call 310-546-6222.

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