288 S Second St, San Jose, CA

History & Programming

Guggenheim Entertainment

Since 1986 Guggenheim Entertainment has operated many programs as part of the non-profit side of their company. In 2021, after a long hiatus thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, Guggenheim Entertainment rebranded the live theatrical division of their company as San Jose Playhouse. Based at 3Below Theaters in Downtown San Jose, this non-profit organization serves as home to professional musical theater, theater for young audiences, creative and performing arts classes, and community engagement programs.

Programming is designed and implemented by a small but mighty group of producers, designers, actors, and lovers of the creative and performing arts dedicated to providing quality, accessible, diverse, and entirely enjoyable entertainment events and experiences for audiences and students of all ages. 

3Below Theaters and Cafe

Prior to the pandemic, the team behind Guggenheim Entertainment lovingly renovated 3Below Theaters & Cafe. Leveraging over three decades of success as a theatrical production company, the team renovated, rebranded, and revitalized what was Camera 3 Cinemas in Downtown San Jose. By taking the reins to lead the redevelopment in September of 2017, Guggenheim Entertainment was able to reopen the venue as 3Below Theaters in January 2018 thus integrating GE’s programs and those of Camera Cinemas, Cinequest, ComedySportz, and what is now known as San Jose Playhouse, Clubhouse, and Arthouse.

Our History

For more than three decades, the producers and artists of Guggenheim Entertainment have produced events and entertainment for corporate, government, and non-profit clients throughout the state of California. They have produced thousands of high-quality live theatrical and cinema events and productions and have operated 8 theaters wherein they partnered with City and Corporate Institutions. 

It all began with the Young Conservatory Theatre of San Jose which led to Children’s Theater Workshop – later known as California Theatre Wing – in the San Francisco East Bay throughout the ’80s and ’90s. In 1997, Guggenheim Entertainment brought “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” to San Francisco’s Union Square where a successful run of the show delighted audiences for six months; an achievement for Bay Area theatre. In late 1997, the Guggenheims moved the production to San Jose. After swiftly renovating what was formerly the Oasis Nightclub near St. James park, “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” ran for an additional year. The residency in the Swenson building, albeit brief, afforded the Guggenheims to cultivate relationships with regional shopping centers for cross promotional opportunities ultimately leading to a long list of clients that relied on GE to provide entertainment for the retails centers. Now, almost 30 later, Guggenheim Entertainment is one of just a handful of senior businesses that every major shopping center in the San Francisco Bay Area has called upon to provide Santa’s arrival events, fashion shows, live musicians, and much, much more.

In 2002, a side endeavor was launched when the Guggenheims were called upon by the greater Jewish community to create a holiday experience to answer the “December dilemma”; the notion that Jewish families looking for holiday entertainment that wasn’t Christmas-centric had little to satisfy them. In a mere three months, the Guggenheims penned and workshopped a new musical that told the story of Chanukah using the music of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet. Over the next 20 years, “The MeshugaNutcracker!” would have multiple national tours, a national release as a Fathom Event in more than 500 movie theaters, and an annual residency on BroadwayHD where the show is available to be streamed. 

In 2009, Guggenheim Entertainment stumbled upon a vacant venue in West Saratoga and set wheels in motion to make it home. The Retro Dome was born when Guggenheim Entertainment leveraged three decades of success as a theatrical production company to first renovate, rebrand, and revitalize what was Century 25 at the intersection of Saratoga, Campbell, San Jose, and Cupertino. The venue had twin auditoriums of 350 seats each, allowing the Guggenheims to create and endless amount of live theatrical and cinema experiences for all ages and interests…until the venue was razed in 2013 by developers.

In 2017, after a few more years solely focused on touring the state with their original musicals and events, the Guggenheims welcomed the opportunity presented by the City of San Jose to lead the renovation, rebranding, and revitalization of Camera 3 Cinemas in Downtown San Jose. Guggenheim Entertainment reopened the venue as 3Below Theaters in January 2018 serving as operations managers, programming designers, and hosts to long-running arts agencies Cinequest and ComedySportz. In 2020, Guggenheim Entertainment resurrected its non-profit arm and launched San Jose Playhouse thus enhancing the profitability of all of our programs and the venue itself.

Learn more about the people who make Guggenheim Entertainment what it is.

3Below Programs

The Playhouse at 3Below

The Playhouse offers theatre-lovers 4-6 professional musicals and plays each year, as well as original works by regional talent. Theatre-goers will also enjoy our series of live music, comedy, and community engagement events like family game nights, open mic nights, and karaoke events.

The Arthouse at 3Below

The Arthouse offers the best in first run, independent, documentary, international, and feature films. We are also the hosts of fan-adored sing-alongs and quote-alongs, delighting tens of thousands of people throughout the state with interactive cinema events.

The Clubhouse at 3Below

The Clubhouse at 3Below offers monthly events for youth and families: mini-musicals with post-show activities, giveaways, and prizes; sing-along movie musicals; and our signature Pirate Party, Prince and Princess Party, and Harry Potter Party.

The Schoolhouse at 3Below

The Schoolhouse at 3Below offers educational programs for seniors, adults, teens, and youth taught by professional educators. With four sessions of 10-weekly classes per year, as well as a summer conservatory for youth and teens, our Schoolhouse has something for anyone looking to learn more about theatre arts