An Actor’s Take: ‘Olinda’ Rehearsal Journal

Last week, one of our actors from The Olinda Story took some time to share her rehearsal journal with us.

Meet your backstage guide, Jennifer Siglin

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‘Olinda Story’ actor Jennifer Siglin

Jennifer is a proud Brea resident and is excited to be appearing in The Olinda Story alongside her son, Owen. She has appeared in several local area productions including multiple productions of It’s a Wonderful Life, a Live Radio Play and The Twilight Zone, plus the premiere of Fledgling, a new play by local writer Colleen McCandless, all at STAGESTheatre in Fullerton; as well as War of the Worlds and Bye Bye Birdie here at the Curtis Theatre. She is the proud mother of three children (all of whom have been bitten by the acting bug). In her day job, Jennifer is a graphic designer at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. She is also a calligrapher and sometime artist; you can see her work on instagram as @laughingbeagle.

Rehearsal Journal:
Monday, October 16

We spent the first half of tonight’s rehearsal working through the second of our two choral music selections for the show, a brief cut of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” I think most of us in the show are not trained musicians, though a handful of us (myself included) can read music. Even so, the level of dedication that these awesome fellow actors are showing to this, to stepping outside their comfort level to try and learn harmonies together, is impressive. I’ve never been super comfortable singing in front of other people (though goodness knows I sing enough in my car and in my house to more than make up for this deficiency), but already this group of people feels like a welcoming, supportive family—I don’t think anyone feels like they’re being judged, and everyone is just incredibly supportive of one another. There’s a lot of joy and laughter here, and I think our music director, Anthony, can see the potential in us. We’re going to get this, I just know it, and it’s going to sound awesome.

Or, if not, as Anthony tells us, if we’re going to fail, fail spectacularly. In other words, own it.

The second half of rehearsal was blocking a few final scenes in act two. As a minor ensemble actor, I don’t have many lines in this production, but I still get to do some other fun things onstage throughout the show, and tonight was no different. The thing that strikes me the most is how much fun we all seem to be having. In particular, I think what’s most exciting about this show is that we have so many actors of so many age groups—the young kids are bright-eyed and eager to learn (and quite professional little actors, to boot!), and there’s a really nice sense of camaraderie building here, among everyone, even though we perhaps still don’t know each other ALL that well yet. That’s the beauty of spending time together putting on a production like this; in a very short space of time it begins to feel like its own little community… kind of how I imagine those original inhabitants of the tiny town of Olinda must have felt. Already it feels like we are all rooting for each other.

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‘Olinda Story’ actors working on music during rehearsal

Tuesday, October 17

Tonight we did our first full run-through of Act 2. It’s fun to see this piece coming together as we go along. Because until now we’ve been blocking scenes sporadically and out of sequence, it’s been difficult to wrap my head around the order of things. Seeing the second act come together this evening was a bit like watching the dust settle. The pieces are in place; now it’s about finessing them.

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Jennifer with her son & fellow actor, Owen

This is the first time I’ve performed on stage with my son, Owen, and I have to say it’s so much fun to watch him play his parts with gusto and enthusiasm. As for myself, having been bitten by the acting bug fairly late in life, I love watching Owen and all these other young people do their thing with such an amazing amount of confidence—something I certainly didn’t have at their age!

Wednesday, October 18

Tonight was our first full run-through of the entire show! There are so many different scenes in this play, with such a large number of actors, that up until now we’ve been working with smaller groups of people in their individual scenes. It was fun to see the entire thing come together, even with the hiccups one expects from a full run-through. And since this was the first time we’ve run the entire show in order, we extras were all in the wings scanning the scenes to figure out when and where we need to position ourselves for our next scene. It’s a kind of beautiful, chaotic mess (if I’m allowed to use that term for a show that I have no doubt is going to be fantastic when all is said and done), and it seems like everyone is having a lot of fun.

Jesse, our director, is wonderfully fluid and willing to let us as actors make choices about our characters and our placement onstage and try things out.

I will say, our first go at singing the two songs onstage—cold, with no accompaniment or pitch pipe to start us off— was rough. Good thing tomorrow night is music night!

That’s the beauty of spending time together putting on a production like this; in a very short space of time it begins to feel like its own little community… kind of how I imagine those original inhabitants of the tiny town of Olinda must have felt.

Thursday, October 19

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Jennifer sneaks a photo from the wings of the cast blocking a scene.

Music night. While Jesse worked with a couple of actors onstage for a particular scene, the rest of us spent the first hour or so of rehearsal in the theater lobby standing around an old upright piano under the gently guiding hands of Anthony, our fearless music director. He seems to have the patience of a saint, as there’s lots of chatter and singing from each of the different music sections as we work with each other on our harmonies and parts. Our first song onstage will have a guitar accompaniment, and we worked the song that way, and it’s starting to come together wellFingers crossed for us!


New Logo Color

Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story performs Nov 3-12, 2017. Fridays & Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 3PM. Tickets are on sale now. Visit our website or call the Box Office at 714-990-7722 Tues-Fri 12PM-3PM. Have questions? Contact us! 

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Writing Between the Lines with Playwright William Mittler

While developing Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story, playwright William Mittler discovered both the limitations and opportunities of writing historic stories.  His narrative formed from oral histories collected by Cal State Fullerton and in those histories, he found interest in what wasn’t said.  As rehearsals continue for The Olinda Story, Mittler talks Brea connections, writing between the lines, and play incubation. 

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Playwright William Mittler rehearsing the 2006 production of The Olinda Story|Credit: OC Register

There’s a line spoken by the Station Master, one of our two narrators that guides the audience through the play, where he says “I’d like to think a town is made up by the spirit of its people.” Tell us a bit about your origins and connection to Brea. What’s your Olinda Story?

Brea, was out of town.  When I used to live in Fullerton in the late 80’s, I would tell my boss at Bob’s Big Boy that I couldn’t cover someone’s shifts because I was going out of town.  Then I would head to Brea and shop at Tower Records on the corner of Imperial and St. College.   Or head over to Brea Mall to go to the bookshop.  I never really went downtown until about a year before they revitalized it, there was a famous bar there where they would give you a beer in a to go cup and if you tried to talk about your problems the bartender would go, “I know I know…”  This was before social media when the only person that would talk to you was a bartender.  But since I didn’t drink, the real reason I was in old town was there was a record store I had heard about, and I found a comic book store that had ten cent comics pretty cheap.  In those far off long ago days people went places and bought things.  If you got off after work you would head to Tower.  And driving in to Hollywood to browse records till one in the morning was not unusual.  

I also worked in the early 90’s at the Crocodile Café, I was working 3 jobs at that time trying to put myself through school, but really just buying records and VHS tapes.  At the Café, I was a waiter and the weekend bookkeeper.  My last year there I was named employee of the year by the company at Christmas and fired before June.  It happened this way,  they still had non-smoking sections in restaurants then, a party wanted to smoke, and I told them no, a certain city official who I won’t name (not that I knew who they were at the time) was waiting for a table and insisted I accommodate them, and raised Hell.  As fate would have it he then sat in my section, and because he was so rude I gave him horrible service.  I came back for my second shift that night and was told exactly who he was and was fired on the spot as he had called up corporate headquarters on a landline phone. (These were phones that were connected to the walls by wires)  Today he would have Twittered on the Twitter that I was sad like a good honest politician.  It was much harder in those days to be a jerk.  It was sad, my boss was crying as she sacked me.

Walk us through the process of building a show like this. What fueled your desire to tell this story and how has the play developed since its first production in 2006? How long did it take you to write? What challenges did you face during that process?

This show was commissioned through a grant secured by Kathie DeRobbio through the California Stories Project and a collaboration with the oral history department at Cal State Fullerton.  Stephanie George was the Historian and provided me with the details as well as fact checking my script.  One of Stephanie’s brilliant contributions to the play was the end of act 2, there was a long speech by the Old Man of The hills here, but she said it wasn’t needed.  I recall that it was some wonderful writing, so I was hesitant about changing it, but instead of cutting it I thought, what if he couldn’t finish it?  I then instructed Spider Madison, the original Old Man of The Hills, to start the speech, but whenever he felt he couldn’t continue because of the emotions of the moment to stop.  It varied every night.

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The cast of Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story, 2017

 

The main changes to this production are minor; some lines were cut, some humor added.  Some sections cleaned up. The problem was since I was directing the original version, I never had a final script.  As a director when directing my own work, I assume the playwright was a fool and solve problems as a director.  But being both the playwright makes changes as well.  The end result was the original project kept shaping and changing, but was never written down.  To get some of that material I had to watch the original video (on sale at the Olinda Museum) and transcribe it.  To be honest, I couldn’t do a major rewrite. This play has gone through a major change however.  I spent about 6 months writing a very factual play.  A draft that no longer even exists.  The more I read, the more I learned, the more I hated writing the play.  The worst books were the historical texts that had been put out over the years, which constrained the play.  And then while poring over the oral history transcripts I began to see a pattern, not in what was talked about, but in what wasn’t talked about.  And by layering the histories on top of one another, all the lines that may have been read in between were filling in.  Suddenly there was a story in the “better left unsaid” and the “well everybody knew.”  There were a couple of very blunt histories, and I realized these people were not filtering (or filtering other things but not the darkness). Characters began to form, and the hard life that no one wanted to talk about became more than work and land but abuse and social norms.  So the play formed.  The old play vanished and in about 3 months I had a play, most of which was written in two weeks.  Unusual for me, as I tend to write my drafts in three days of intense writing after six months or so of incubation (some plays incubate for years; some are abandoned after 100 pages).

The rewrite process for this production was the rehearsals.   Things changed. Were added (now lost) or cut (for time and flow).  Music became important.  For the cast used to a structured environment it was trying, I am sure, but my structure and style changes with each project, and here I was trying to find the town.   Act two became a whirlwind of events that suddenly ends, much like the town itself.  I’m not sure if this was the right approach, as there was a lot that could have been said.  A lot of stories unfinished and characters that drifted out of the play.  Much like any town.  

What themes or questions from the play do you hope resonate with the audience?

The play was written to reflect the concerns in the present day that could be dramatized through the past.  Everything was subtle, except when it wasn’t.   I made sure, as the director, to keep it that way.  I am more likely to encode scripts than come out and state my viewpoint.  But that was 2006, I am no longer that playwright.  My concerns these days have little room for being subtle.   The harshness of our current political reality has hampered my writing to the point of inertia.  For one who likes to write between the lines, it is hard when all one wants to do is scream at the top of their lungs.  And everything else seems trivial when compared to the horror of what is or may be to come.  Dying embers of the past rekindled for a virtual reality that is no more real than the concept of innocent days past and exploited for our entertainment anyways.  I cannot write this play today.

Why do you think theatre is important?

I don’t know if theatre is important.  I don’t think it has to be. Theatre is not a training ground for Hollywood or Broadway but an experience that is shared at a moment in time. A collaboration of trust between many people including strangers who come to see it.  For me it is the medium I work in.  I don’t over think it.   

When you write a play, where do you get your ideas?

Ideas are easy, plays are hard.  I have reached a point where I have said everything I have had to say, now I only say what I want to say as a writer.  If I never write another word I am content that I created many worlds so far.  My best play is still always my next play, and hopefully that never changes.

Early in the play the Old Man of the Hills says to the Station Master, “Just tell the truth the way it is.” As an author what responsibility do you feel you have when telling this story?

Truth.  Truth is when telling most stories I tend to take on the Russian symbolic attitude, it is not what it is that is important, but what you remember it to be.  I never allow myself to be a slave to research.  But I also try not to be a slave to the past.  A lot of my plays are historical (Punk rock 70’s, turn of the century, 1940’s, 1930’s, 1800’s) but they are not being performed in the past, but today.  With language I try and flavor the scripts, but I always keep in mind that I am writing for today’s audience. I was much more conscious on this project of what I didn’t write.  I didn’t write a cotton candy celebration, nor did I wish to cause anyone still alive any embarrassment.   Names were changed, characters created, situations invented, but always to be found between the lines or layering other research into the play.  I wanted to leave the audience with the idea that everywhere is interesting, not because of names and dates and what actually happened, but that it happened to people and how history is not dead but was of the moment and that these moment affected people and that how they acted affected others. 

Personally, what is your biggest take-away from this story?

Most of all I wanted to capture the spirit of the idea that it is all right.  That we go on living and our present becomes the past.  If anything I want to leave the audience with a conversation.  About how things were.  About how things are.  About the next 100 years being ours.  And it will be okay.  Maybe I could have written this play today, after all.

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New Logo Color

Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story performs Nov 3-12, 2017. Fridays & Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 3PM. Tickets are on sale now. Visit our website or call the Box Office at 714-990-7722 Tues-Fri 12PM-3PM. Have questions? Contact us! 

 

A Look at Brea: What’s Next

With the start of 2017, the City of Brea began its Centennial Celebration. From showcasing an immense collection of vintage film posters at the Brea Art Gallery to a parade down Birch Street and city wide picnic, it has been quite a year. How do we sum up a hundred years of history? When we talk about the past, oftentimes we separate time into specific events, memories.

page33bThis year we’ve been reminded of many significant events in our city history. Like the big game with Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth. Before Johnson became “Big Train” and joined the ranks of baseball’s all-time greatest pitchers, he moved to a small oil town named Olinda.B1Rtor3IQAAbt4H Years later he would return with “The Gambino” himself  to play a game in his old home town. We could look at the flood of 1938 and the aftermath of a town rebuilding, or the struggle of making it through the Great Depression. At the Curtis Theatre, we’ve done a lot of looking back while working on our upcoming play, Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story. When one of our narrators from the show, The Station Master, tries to describe the town of Olinda he says “I’d like to think a town is made up by the spirit of its people.” The spirit of the people that live here really has been undeniable, even all the way back at the beginning.baseball-brea-AOGHS

Before there even was a Brea, there was the once thriving oil boom town of Olinda. Olinda was nestled in the hills of North Orange County from the early 1900’s to the 1950’s. The promise of oil brought workers from all over the country, hoping to make a life for themselves and their families. Homes were built for the oil field workers and a community developed. Oil workers worked long hours in dangerous conditions; it wasn’t easy but the Olinda livelihood soon became a way of life. Schools and churches were built as workers and their families raised children among the rolling hills. Families enjoyed baseball and dances at the community hall. The first hints of Brea came as a neighboring community that began providing services to the oil companies and their workers. As technology changed, residents of Olinda saw a community dwindle and a way of life abandoned. The end of Olinda saw the beginnings of Randolph, which would eventually become the City of Brea that we know today.

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You can explore more of historic Olinda at the Olinda Oil Museum & Trail  where the community’s first oil well has been pumping since 1897. There, you can also take a historic walk down the Olinda Oil Trail and trace the footsteps of early oil pioneers. For more photos and stories of Brea through the ages, visit the Brea Museum & Historical Society. 


 

Although the town of Olinda is gone, the spirit of its people continues today. Brea continues the legacy of strong community, hard work, and the importance of family. Now as Brea sets its eyes on the next hundred years, we not only take a look back, but forward as well. Two years ago, the city began a project called Brea Envisions. The goal of this project was to hear from Brea residents, business owners, youth, seniors, and community leaders to share their vision and value for what Brea should be in the future. We’ve come a long way since that small town and as we close out of Centennial year celebrations, it’s reassuring to know those strong values will guide us in the future.

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This strong community of Brea is represented in many ways in Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story.  With cast members who live and work in Brea now to those who have grown up in Brea, never knowing another city to call home. The cast also features many families, bringing in a multi-generational perspective on how Brea has changed and yet still has never lost that small town feel. We hope to celebrate the spirit of Brea and how far we’ve come together over the last 100 years.

Photos courtesy of the Brea Historical Society.


New Logo Color

Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story performs Nov 3-12, 2017. Fridays & Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 3PM. Tickets are on sale now. Visit our website or call the Box Office at 714-990-7722 Tues-Fri 12PM-3PM. Have questions? Contact us! 

Take a tour through CharlesPhoenixLand

Audience favorite and showman, Charles Phoenix returns to the Curtis this October to present his Retro Disneyland Slideshow. Charles has delighted fans from coast to coast with his live performances, slideshows, food crafting & test kitchen, not to mention the numerous coffee table books he has published over the years. What connects all them all? The unique wit and flair that only Charles Phoenix can offer.charles_phoenix_header

Charles brings us back to celebrate and toast the early days of Disneyland, when the park was new and Tomorrowland represented the ‘faraway year of 1986’. Disney fans and audiences alike will delight with photographs and backstories of the theme park, along with Charles’ keen eye for detail. We were lucky enough to ask Charles a few questions about the performance, and the inspiration for his slideshows. He graciously invited us in for a tour of CharlesPhoenixLand —

How did you first get interested in slides?charlesphoenix_Ventura            I got interested in collecting other people’s old slides when I discovered a big box of them in a thrift shop in 1992. The box was  marked “Trip Across the United States, 1957.” I held a few up to the light, was hooked immediately, and have been collecting ever since.

 

The world is like a great big theme park, we live in a wonderland to discover, and there is something interesting around every corner no matter where you go!

Who or what is your biggest inspiration for the art that you create?
To cherish our history, look for greatness and when you find it put in on a pedestal and tell its story for the whole world to enjoy. That’s what I’m doing.

What’s your favorite part of performing for a live audience?
The immediate response. The connection. I also always enjoy the Q&A part of the show. You never know what they are going to ask …

Do you have any lucky charms or pre-show rituals you always do before going on stage?
Not really … the only thing that I’m slightly superstitious about is that I ALWAYS keep my vintage sparkly Colonel Sanders style western bow ties rolled in the inside breast pocket of the jacket I wear them with. Other than that no … but I never take for granted what a privilege it is to be able to stand on a stage in a theater and share my passion with an audience.

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If your show was an animal, what animal would it be?
Hopefully a 500-pound gorilla, or a standard poodle dyed periwinkle blue (w/ vegetable dye, of course) or a pink elephant that flies …  


What do you hope we walk away from the show feeling?

I want my audiences to walk away with a sense of local and national pride. A feeling of shared enthusiasm for the pop culture that we’ve all experienced together. Also, the joy of realizing the world is like a great big theme park, we live in a wonderland to discover, and there is something interesting around every corner no matter where you go!

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New Logo Color

Charles Phoenix’s Retro Disneyland Slideshow performs Oct 14-15, 2017. Saturday at 8PM, Sunday at 3PM. Tickets are on sale now. Visit our website or call the Box Office at 714-990-7722 Tues-Fri 12PM-3PM. Have questions? Contact us! 

Meet the Cast of The Olinda Story

 The cast of William Mittler’s Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story features a diverse blend of Curtis Theatre veteran actors and those who are stepping on our stage for the very first time. Mittler’s play, first commissioned by the California Council for the Humanities, shares the intricacies of life in Brea as told by some of its earliest residents. Just like this story allows us to get to know the characters of Brea, we invite you in to learn more about the actors in this historic piece —

Allison Aoun

Allison Aoun | Mary

Allison Aoun (Mary) is an OCSA alum, recent USC graduate and finalist in LA’s Next Great Stage Star 2017. Regional credits: The Christians- Mark Taper Forum at CTG; Two Gentleman of Verona (Lucetta)- Looseleaf Theatre Co.; A Little Night Music; A Connecticut Yankee (Evelyn) and Wonderful Town- Berkshire Theatre Group. Other favorites: How to Succeed… (Smitty); Nunsense (Leo/Dance Captain); …Charlie Brown (Lucy); Bye, Bye Birdie (Gloria Rasputin); Grand Hotel and The Most Happy Fella (dir. John Rubinstein). She has played the title roles in The Principle Wife (Premiere) and Charlotte’s Web and originated roles in A Song for Christmas and Class of ‘90. Allison was also seen on the Curtis stage as a Protean in …Forum with Southgate Productions. Most recently she played Verges/Ursula U/S in Alchemy’s production of Much Ado! Proud EMC. Visit http://www.allisonaoun.com for more!   

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James Menke | Walter

James A. Menke is excited to perform at the Curtis Theatre for the first time and is honored to be a part of such a talented cast. James is continuing his theatrical studies and has been a part of productions of 12 Angry Men, Man Trouble, The Twilight Zone, The Revenger’s Tragedy and Look Homeward Angel. He is a husband and father and is extremely grateful for the opportunity to be doing what he loves.

 

 

 

Charlotte Pulley

Charlotte Pulley | Young Mary

Charlotte is an 11 year old 6th grader at Macy Elementary. Her very first play was on the Curtis Theatre stage when she was only five years old. She’s been in love with acting ever since! She’s had the honor of performing with Stagelight Family Productions, Broadway on Tour and Yorba Linda Spotlight Theater! Favorite roles include Tinkerbell in Peter Pan, Tweedle Dee in Alice and Wonderland, Twin 2 in Peter Pan, a roadie in School of Rock, and Young Shrek/Papa Grumpy Dwarf in Shrek the Musical.  Charlotte is also extremely proud of her role in the short film The Voices of Warriors. Charlotte studies acting, dancing, singing and puppetry at Stagelight Performing Arts, Musical Theater Orange County and Phantom Projects. She’s thankful for all her teachers and directors, particularly her amazing vocal coach Miss Rene and her incomparable acting coach Miss Danielle. Charlotte is thrilled to be a part of The Olinda Story and is happy to add this amazing cast to her ever growing theater family.  When not performing, Charlotte can be found reading, drawing, or hanging out with her cat, Crookshanks.

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Owen Switzer | Young Walter

Owen, a 5th grader at Brookhaven Elementary, is excited to make his Curtis Theatre debut in Tales from the Canyon.  Favorite previous roles include Billy in School of Rock, Flounder in The Little Mermaid  and Chip in Beauty and the Beast. He feels lucky to work with such an incredibly talented cast and would like to thank Jesse for giving him the opportunity to play Young Walter. Thanks also to mom and dad for the support and love.

 

 

 

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Mario Vargas Jr. | Old Man of the Hills

Mario is one vivacious old fellow who couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of this production; his first at Curtis Theatre! Thus far in his theatre career, he has taken on roles such as Giuliano in Charles L. Mee’s Big Love, Fabian in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and Peter Pan in Peter & Alice. More credits include: Cabaret (Herman/KitKatBoy), The Women of Lockerbie (Bill Livingston), Look Homeward Angel (Eugene Gant),Parade (Ensemble), The Drowsy Chaperone (Ensemble), and Urinetown (Ensemble).After the past few years in the wonderful theatre department at Fullerton College, Mario eagerly looks forward to the new experiences in theatre and performance that await him.

 

 

View More: http://krisdmauga.pass.us/rickkopps

Rick Kopps | Station Master

This is Rick’s first appearance at the Curtis Theatre. He took part in over a dozen plays with the Rude Guerrilla theater company in Santa Ana, and several productions with the Monkey Wrench Collective theater group in Fullerton. Rick has also appeared at the Open Stage West in Los Angeles, Theater Out in Santa Ana, Long Beach Playhouse in Long Beach, STAGEStheatre in Fullerton, Chapman University in Orange, Newport Theatre Arts Center in Newport Beach, the Modjeska Playhouse in Lake Forest and the Attic Community Theatre in Santa Ana.

 

 

Ash Armstrong

 

Ash Armstrong | Ailene

This is Ash Armstrong’s first production at the Curtis Theatre and she is extremely excited. She is studying Acting at Fullerton College and is soon transferring to complete her training. Ash has been a part of many projects and shows such as Big Love by Charles Mee (Thyona) and W.A.S.P (PAT) by Zan Hall. She is thankful to the cast and crew for making this production happen.

 

 

Bianca Turner

Bianca Turner | Isabell

Bianca Turner is ecstatic to be making her Curtis Theatre debut as Isabell in Tales From the Canyon: the Olinda Story. She currently studies musical theatre at Orange County School of the Arts and has performed in over thirty five shows. Some of her favorite roles include Val (A Chorus Line), Snoopy (You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown), Arista/Princess (The Little Mermaid), Gingy (Shrek), and Core Dancer (Tarzan). Bianca would like to thank her teachers, friends, family, and Jake. She feels so incredibly blessed to be performing alongside such talented and dedicated artists. “Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art.”

 

Heather Enriquez

Heather Enriquez | Minnie

Heather Enriquez is a 20 year veteran of OC theater, recently returned to the stage after a lengthy hiatus to raise her own little troupe of artists. Her credits include Monique in Monique and Mrs. Rogers in Twilight Zone at STAGEStheatre, Louise and Mitzi in M*A*S*H at HB Playhouse, and Eleanor in Big Love at Fullerton College, where she is working towards her BFA in Theater Arts. Heather is excited to be a part of this fun project, and wonderful cast and crew. She is very proud to be sharing the stage with her daughter, Emmy, in this show. Heather would like to thank Bailey and Eric for their love and support during this process.

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Cory Chapman | Robert

Cory Michael Chapman is excited to be performing in The Olinda Story at the Curtis and would like to thank the following people: Mom for always going the extra mile to make his life special; Chris for inspiring him to have the courage to blaze his own path; Cleo for their strength and patience; Dad for teaching him the value of hard work; Aunt Debbie for paving the way for future generations of free spirits; Jake for being an example of confidence; Grandma Judi for the purity of her love; Grandma Marie for being the water and sun he needed when he was a young sprout; Nick for constantly challenging him to learn more about the world we live in; Tyler for reminding him to be himself; Krystal for having the strength, love, and will to break down the walls he built and barricaded himself in – may you forever be The Breaker of Walls; Grandpa Jack for passing down his sense of humor; the teachers he’s had, whether the lessons were in a classroom every week or during a single encounter on a train, they’ve shaped his life and perspective of the world vastly.

Kira Rubeshaw

Kira Rubeshaw | Estella

After her time at Elon University, Kira is thrilled to be home to celebrate her hometown’s hundredth birthday in this remarkable production. Some of her favorite credits include The Little Mermaid (Adella, Princess u/s), Hello Dolly (Ensemble), Bad Seed (Claudia Fern), Oklahoma (Ensemble), and How to Succeed… (Ms. Jones). Thanks to all those involved with creating this production.

 

 

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Mo Arii | Sophie

Mo is a graduate of Cal State Fullerton and a founding member of STAGEStheatre in Fullerton and serves on the board. Previous roles include Masha in Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike (STAGEStheatre), Karen in Dinner With Friends (STAGEStheatre), Poole in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Maverick Theater), and Chris in Rumors (Curtis Theatre). When not on stage, Mo teaches theater and filmmaking to elementary students and works as a corporate role player. She’s grateful for the opportunity to work with such a talent group of amazing people!

 

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Emmy Girten | Young Ailene

Emmy Girten is thrilled to be making her Curtis Theatre debut with such a fun cast and crew and in such a great show. Emmy’s previous credits include Titan Filmworks short I Only Cried Twice and Twilight Zone at STAGEStheatre. This is the second time Emmy has shared the stage with her mom, Heather. Emmy would like to thank Bailey and Eric for their help and love during this process.

 

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Loralee Barlow-Bowes | Hennie

Loralee is happy to be doing her first show at the Curtis Theatre! She couldn’t be happier to be working with Jesse Runde and the amazing team here. She is a born and bred Fullerton native and is honored to have the opportunity to work on this historically driven piece. Favorite past credits include Andy (Honky) Helena (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) Hero (Much Ado About Nothing) and Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice). You can see her further theatrical skills in costuming this December in “Mr. Burns, a post-electric play” at the Costa Mesa Playhouse. She sends all her love to her friends and family and she dedicates this show to her ever loving husband Tucker.

 

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Rose London | Older Isabell

Rose is delighted and grateful to be making her debut here the Curtis Theatre! She was most recently seen on stage at the Whittier Playhouse playing M’Lynn in Steel Magnolias. Last year she was Lilliane La Fleur at Costa Mesa Playhouse. Prior to that she was at West Covina Playhouse as Ethel Thayer in On Golden Pond.  And, earlier, at Stagedoor Repertory Theater as Mrs. Crummles in Nicholas Nickleby and Big Momma in the Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Stages Theater.  She has been doing theater since God was a child and some of her most favorite roles include: Mary Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey into Night, Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa, Othello in Othello, Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter, Sarah Jane Moore in Assassins, Mame in Auntie Mame and Joanne in Company. She thanks her son Wes and his wife Carly, and her incredible sister, Bess, for their loving support.

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Tracy Marquis | Frank

Roughly a decade ago, we told this story. The Olinda Story. Right here at the Curtis Theatre. Reprising one of the roles he played in the first time around, Tracy is deeply honored to be playing Frank Johnson again in the current production. Tracy first began braving stages, and some pretty frightening (frightened) audiences as a (frightened) musician. He started his adventure in theater in the 2005 production of “So Alone” by William Mittler and has been in over 60 plays since that time. 40 of them in a 5 year period. Mostly acting, but also directing, writing, A.D, Sound design, and writing & recording soundtracks. He was also in two movies and one commercial. Recently, a song he arranged and played guitar & bass on was up for a Grammy. Favorite roles include Drill Sergeant Williams in “Tracers”, Billy Rath in “So Alone”, George Bailey in “It’s A Wonderful Life” and the main guard in “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Tracy has worked as a finisher and faux painter for 30 years. He also has a record coming out soon and works part time selling vinyl records.

Coleman Summers

 

Coleman Summers | Stoch

Coleman Summers is an actor currently attending Fullerton College. He has appeared as W.O. Gant in Look Homeward, Angel, Harry Dangle in One Man, Two Guvners, & Will in Sentences, a role he originated. Outside of theater, Coleman has acted in embarrassing YouTube videos, embarrassing student films & writes poetry he doesn’t share

 

 

Terry Dopson

Terry Dopson | Company Man

This is Terry’s 10th production at the Curtis Theatre. Previous leading roles include Albert Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie, Antipholus of Syracuse in The Boys From Syracuse, Fagin in Oliver!, Professor Callahan in Legally Blonde: The Musical, and The Oz Gatekeeper in The Wizard of Oz. Terry holds a BA in Music from the University of La Verne. Terry was a member of the ULV Chamber Singers, under the direction of Dr. Irene Messoloras and Terry was a member of two barbershop quartets, Mixed Nuts and Optional Ending, under the direction of Carol Stephenson. Coincidentally, Terry now works as the Coordinator of Finance Administration and University Business Travel at the University of La Verne. As a Brea native, Terry is grateful to be part of the Brea Centennial through this production. He always wanted to grow a deeper connection to his community and this production was the perfect opportunity.

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Avery Long | Ensemble

Avery’s first experience with theater began at age 4, but her family would say she’s been a performer since day one.  She loves theater because she can sing, dance and be with friends.  She attends Rolling Hills Elementary School where the arts and musical theater have been a huge part of her education.  Her experience with theater also includes plays with Stagelight and Sunny Hills Youth Theater.  Her greatest challenge so far was playing Edward Rutledge in “1776″ and her favorite role was playing Jane in Mary Poppins. She looks forward to being part of “Tales From the Canyon” as her own family roots go far back into Brea’s history.

 

Camryn Logoteta

Camryn Logoteta | Ensemble

Camryn is 11 years old and is proud to be a part of The Olinda Story.  She is enjoying this new experience and learning more about her hometown.  Camryn began performing at the age of four with Stagelight Family Productions as well as several school and church play productions.  Most recently, she performed in The Little Mermaid and is also currently playing the role of Ms. Teavee in her school Willy Wonka Jr. show.  Earlier this year, she had the opportunity to join the cast of The Giver with Phantom Projects Theatre Group and always looks forward to her Saturday morning classes with her Phantom family.  Camryn also enjoys working in other avenues of the entertainment industry.  She is truly very thankful to her family, friends, Phantom Projects, and Stagelight for all their love and support.

 

Emily Boliver

Emily Boliver | Ensemble

Emily Boliver is excited to be back at the Curtis Theatre to perform in another production, especially in a play as important to her and her community as this one! A few of her most notable credits in both musical theatre and theatre include: Hostess/8th Actor in Dogg’s Hamlet, Cahoot’s Macbeth (Fullerton College) Wife in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Stagelight Family Productions), Sophie in Annie (Stagelight Family Productions), Miss Lark in Mary Poppins (Stagelight Family Productions), and Medusa in The Wedding Feast (Fullerton College). She is currently studying Theatre Arts at Fullerton College and working as a Hostess at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour in Brea. Emily would like to thank her Mom, Dolly, for everything she has done to support Emily’s dreams and life. She would also like to thank her best friend, Manny, for always being there for her and giving her the advice she needs to succeed in life and theatre! She would lastly like to thank her Grandparents, Pat and Ray, for being her #1 fans. They have seen every production of her’s and she is very grateful for their support!

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Daniel Camacho | Ensemble

Daniel is excited to make his Curtis Theater debut as part of The Olinda Story!  Daniel received his BA in Film and Theatre at CSULB, and has studied with Steppenwolf Classes West, SITI Company, and iO West among others!  Most recent work includes Turtle Talk with Crush at the Disneyland Resort and the Wild West Stunt show at Knott’s Berry Farm.  Credits also include shows at San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, Disney’s Flashback, The Hollywood Fringe Festival, Huntington Beach Playhouse, and more!  He also plays music, and for his latest, check out his Instagram @dcamacho13!  Daniel would like to thank his friends, family, and incredibly supportive mentors who have helped guide him along the journey!

Drew Cazares

Drew Cazares | Ensemble

Drew is so excited to be a part of this play! Drew goes to Rolling Hills Elementary, where he has participated in musical theatre. He has performed in 1776 as Billy, Hans Christian Anderson as the title role, A Christmas Carol as Bob Cratchit, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as an Oompa-Loompa, and Mary Poppins as a Button Person. Drew also participates in theatre at Hope International University. He has been in The Little Mermaid and Mary Poppins as Michael Banks. In his off time, he likes to play drums, guitar, and takes voice lessons. He also likes to read the Percy Jackson series. He is currently taking golf lessons, which he enjoys. Drew would like to thank all of his friends, family, and directors that have encouraged him along the way.

Chris Treister

Chris Treister | Ensemble

Chris is a rookie actor, having joined the ‘I Didn’t Start Acting Until My 40’s’ club this year. After being invited to the stage by the incredibly talented, award winning director, Gary Krinke (Thank you Gary!!), Chris appeared as ‘Coach Dunbar’ in HSMT’s production of Footloose. He then followed up that performance with a turn as ‘King Triton’ in The Little Mermaid this summer, here at the Curtis Theatre, with Stagelight Productions. He’d like to also give a huge thank you to Janice Kraus and Art Ortiz for their faith & support! The Olinda Story holds special meaning to Chris, as he grew up on a little street called Olinda Dr, in the neighborhood of Olinda Village, nestled in Carbon Canyon. He spent his childhood at Olinda Elementary School, where the original Olinda School bell still hung in the quad, and he spent countless hours stomping around through Carbon Canyon, catching snakes, avoiding cattle & mountain lions, and listening to the coyotes sing him to sleep at night. Chris would like to give a final big thank you to Bill Mittler, for penning this beautiful script, and to Jesse Runde, Tiina Mittler, and Victoria Cervantes, for giving me the opportunity to participate in this wonderful project.

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Garry Hobday | Ensemble

Garry is pleased to be joining this talented cast of “Tales From the Canyon: the Olinda Story”.   This will be Garry’s fourth appearance at the Curtis Theatre.  Earlier performances included “All Shook Up”, “The War of the Worlds-A Radio Play”, and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”.  Garry has done numerous voice-over commercials for radio, television and the internet.  In addition, he has served as Emcee, announcer, for many community and charity events gaining him the unofficial title of the “Voice of Brea”.  Garry’s theatrical credits include “Into the Woods,” where he appeared on stage for the first time with his daughter Dyan.  He has also appeared in, “The Rocky Horror Show”, “The Nerd”, “Peter Pan-A New Musical”, “Scrooge, The Musical” and “Suspense Radio”.  Last year, Garry contributed a voice over for an Award Winning Student Film, “Finding Me”. Garry thanks his Wife Debbie and his entire Family for their support and encouragement.

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Jennifer Siglin | Ensemble

Jennifer Siglin is a proud Brea resident and is excited to be appearing in The Olinda Story alongside her son, Owen. She has appeared in several local area productions including multiple productions of It’s a Wonderful Life, a Live Radio Play and The Twilight Zone, plus the premiere of Fledgling, a new play by local writer Colleen McCandless, all at Stages Theater in Fullerton; as well as War of the Worlds and Bye Bye Birdie here at the Curtis Theatre. She is the proud mother of three children (all of whom have been bitten by the acting bug). In her day job, Jennifer is a graphic designer at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa. She is also a calligrapher and sometime artist; you can see her work on instagram as @laughingbeagle. Love to Terry, Owen, Edie and Isla.

Jay David

Jay David | Ensemble

Jay David feels beyond blessed for the opportunity to be performing in his Curtis Theatre Debut! Following his training at the South Coast Repertory, Jay has performed in  theatre and film productions bringing to life various roles including MoMo (Waitin for the C Bus) and Claudius (Hamlet). Jay David would love to thank Jesse Runde and the whole crew and cast for such a wonderful experience to display his passion.

 

 

Katt McLaren

Katt McLaren | Ensemble

Katt is very happy to be working with such talented people bringing to life this story of our great city during this celebration of Brea’s centennial. This is Katt McLaren’s first show with the Curtis and hopes it won’t be the last. You may have seen her recently as Margaret in Alchemy theater company’s production of Much Ado About Nothing, or Her directorial debut at Stage Door Rep with The Shadow Box. Thank you for coming and enjoy the show.

 

 

 

Mark Rosier

Mark Rosier | Ensemble

Mark Rosier (George, Drunk Man, Company Man #2) Mark is thrilled to be performing in his first production on the Curtis Theatre stage and he would like to thank Jesse Runde and the entire crew at The Curtis for the opportunity. Among his favorite past productions are The Elephant Man, The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nicholby and Clive Barker’s Frankenstein In Love Or The Life Of Death. Mark is a theatrical reviewer for The Fullerton Observer who enjoys attending theater as much as performing in it. Mark would like to dedicate this show to his wonderful parents who have always supported his crazy ambitions.

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Nick Broome | Ensemble

Nick is beyond grateful to take part in this story at the beautiful Curtis Theatre. Thank God Brea is so interesting! Graduated from Orange Lutheran High School, he has performed in shows such as “Guy’s and Dolls”, “You can’t Take it with you” (Ed Charmichael), “The Man who came to Dinner”(Dr. Bradley), and “Seussical”. Currently studying at Santiago Canyon (credits there include “Check, Please, and other Dating Adventures”, and “Sixty Second Singles”) and Santa Ana college. Soon to appear in El Don Production’s Theatrical release of the new thriller, “The House the Devil Built”, with a premiere screening at The Frida Cinema, in Santa Ana, 10-27-17. All the thanks and love to the fam bam (that means you bea!) Ever thankful. Enjoy!

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Owen Siglin | Ensemble

Owen Siglin, 15, is a high school freshman and Brea resident and is excited to be in The Olinda Story alongside his mom. Owen appeared as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz and has also performed in The Little Mermaid and The Music Man with Brea’s Youth Theater program. Additionally, he performs weekly puppet shows and short productions and story times for children in his volunteer position at the Yorba Linda Library. In high school, Owen is in the Global IT Academy (GITA, learning computer coding), takes Japanese, and plays baseball. His favorite subject is math.

 

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Ryan Gatus | Ensemble

Ryan is extremely excited to be a part of this talented cast and wonderful show! He has been pursuing theater for many years and has been involved in a wide variety of shows including West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Proposals, Leading Ladies, Dogg’s Hamlet Cahoot’s Macbeth, and Kill Me Deadly to name a few. Ryan is currently a theater major and yes, has already made his peace with a life of rejection and financial instability. He thanks his past relationships for the preparation. He would also like to thank his friends for constantly pushing his creativity, his family for their unconditional flow of love and support, his many teachers for their mental / emotional / spiritual insight, and Michelle Obama for, well, obvious reasons. Ryan’s ultimate goal in theater is to shine more light on other POC artists, as well as to work on Asian American visibility in the arts. He is determined to use his artistic platforms to highlight brown voices in a world so white.

Sam Hattersley

 

Sam HattersleyEnsemble

Sam is very excited to be sharing this wonderful story. Sam has been involved with theatre for close to six years, both onstage and off. He has been apart of shows such as Phantom of the Opera, The Revenger’s Tragedy, The Diviner’s, and many more! Sam is currently attending Fullerton College in hopes to major in acting.

 

 

Steven Biggs

Steven Biggs | Ensemble

Steven Biggs received a Bachelor of Arts (Theatre Studies) from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a Master of Fine Arts (Performance) from University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  Some of the roles he has played include The Sheriff in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Pozzo in Waiting for Godot, Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, Col. Vershinin in Three Sisters, Harold Hill in The Music Man, Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, Henry II in The Lion in Winter, M. Gallimard in M. Butterfly, and  Klingon Commander Kralk at Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton.  He last appeared on the Curtis theatre stage as The Mysterious Man/Narrator in Into the Woods. Steve teaches theatre courses at Fullerton and Chaffey Community Colleges.  He is also a member of Hollywood’s Theatre of NOTE where he co-produced the Garland Award nominated Holy Ghost.  He also does a killer Jimmy Stewart impression.  

Samantha Wybrant

Samantha WybrantEnsemble

Samantha Wybrant is so excited to be performing in her first official play here at the Curtis Theatre! She will be attending Fullerton College in the Spring to pursue Theatre Arts. Samantha feels very honored to be a part of this incredible show with such an amazing and talented cast and crew! In her free time, she enjoys reading a good book, photography, and spending time with family and friends. Sam would also like to thank all the wonderful people involved in allowing her this fantastic opportunity, as well as her Mom, sisters, and friends for all their love and unwavering support.

 


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Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story performs Nov 3-12, 2017. Fridays & Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 3PM. Tickets are on sale now. Visit our website or call the Box Office at 714-990-7722 Tues-Fri 12PM-3PM. Have questions? Contact us! 

 

Developing the Olinda Story: An Interview with director, Jesse Runde

Sometimes the towns we grow up in, live in, and work in don’t even start as towns. The city of Brea has certainly changed over the years, but the sense of community and what we value has always endured. The hills of Olinda & Brea were first used for oil development starting in 1894, but an actual town didn’t develop until 1911 when businesses formed to supply goods to the oil workers & their families. Starting with a population of 752, Brea is now home to over 40,300 residents.

cover sc000323aeThese residents are what make our city so special and what we really want to celebrate in our Brea Centennial legacy project, Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story. Originally commissioned by the California Council for the Humanities, this original play by William Mittler was created in conjunction with Cal State Fullerton’s Oral History Department to share the lives & history of Brea’s earliest residents. We are thrilled to bring this story to life on stage at the Curtis in early November. With auditions taking place this weekend, we look forward to finding a diverse group of actors & musicians to breathe life into the origins of this town.page93o

“A town is made up by the spirit of its people.”

We were fortunate enough to chat with Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story‘s director, Jesse Runde, about her vision for this particular story & her process going into auditions.

To start off, tell us a little about yourself and give some background on your work as a director.

I’ve been involved in the Performing Arts for over 37 years.  I attended Fullerton College, where I now teach, and graduated with my BA from CSU Long Beach.  My interest didn’t really turn to directing until I was in grad school at The University of Oregon.  Most of my directing work since then has been at the various colleges where I’ve taught, or for Alchemy Theatre Company.

As a director, what excites you about this show?

There’s so much room for invention in terms of how we stage the action.  Bill, our playwright, has left plenty of room for theatricality—he hasn’t overmastered the script with a lot of specific stage directions.  That means it’s up to me, working with other members of the production team and the cast, to determine how we will tell the story this time.  It allows us to be more creative, which is a lovely gift from one artist to another.  It’s also exciting to work on a piece that connects so directly with the local history.  The show takes on a special significance, one that is more personal than a typical play.

Can you explain your overall vision/concept for this production & how that ties into what you’re looking for in auditions?

I think one of the most important goals I have for this production is that the audience see themselves in these characters from the past; this is done in the hope that we can learn from their stories, rather than simply being entertained.  We tend to buy in to stories more fully when we empathize with the people they’re about.  So, to that end, when it comes to casting I want to blur the lines of historical accuracy a bit; I want the people on stage to be as diverse as the people in the seats.page103 d

“I want to blur the lines of historical accuracy a bit; I want the people on stage to be as diverse as the people in the seats.”

How do you prepare for auditions? Take us through that process.

It goes something like read, research, ruminate, and repeat.  And with a play about a town that spans decades, there are dozens and dozens of characters, so it is essential to have a good handle on the breakdown of who all is on stage at what time; I have quite an elaborate spreadsheet to handle that.  It’s also important to talk about the project and let people know about the opportunity; it’s not enough to just send out an invitation.  Actors are a special breed of humankind.  They spend a lot of time making themselves vulnerable and exposing themselves to rejection, which is exhausting, so it helps to actively reach out and let those you want to work with know that you would like to see them at auditions.

In auditions, what do you look for to help you make casting decisions?

It varies a bit from show to show, but there is one thing I always look for as a director, and that is simply whether or not the actor seems like someone that I’d enjoy working with on a production—even if I’ve never met them before, I need to figure that out at the audition.  Especially at this level, staging a play is a labor of love.  It’s a lot of late hours, and almost everyone involved has one or more other jobs they work on any given day before they step into the rehearsal room.  I need to know that everyone we cast is a team player.  I need to know they have a sense of humor and a sense of humility, and that they will treat others well.

This show explores the roots & origins of Brea. What’s your origin story? How do you feel connected to Brea now?

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Although I am a transplant from the Midwest, I, like the people of Olinda, am from a town that wasn’t really a town.  We didn’t have our own fire or police departments, there was one only restaurant (a Dairy Queen), only one grocery store (a SuperValue), and one church (Christian, of course).  And you had to get on a bus to ride to the next town once you got past the sixth grade.  And like Olinda, everyone knew everyone’s business—which was sometimes quite touching, and sometimes a burden. 

My main connection to Brea is through the Curtis.  If not for the productions staged there, I don’t know that I would have had cause to discover anything about the place, but I’m so glad I did.  The people of Brea and the surrounding communities are fortunate to have the Cultural Center and its many offerings.  It’s a great model for other cities because it’s the best of both worlds—there is a focus on both local talent and outside groups that creates diverse programming.back cover 10What do you want the main takeaway to be for this show? What would you like the audience to walk away with?

 

I really can’t say it better than the Station Master, who is a kind of narrator of the show: “…a town is made up by the spirit of its people.”  If the spirit of the people is strong, so too will the town be strong; so too with the state.  We need to be strong individuals, but we also need to find our strength in each other, not despite each other.  Whether or not we survive depends very much on how we treat our neighbors.

Olinda Digital Audition Notice


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Tales from the Canyon: The Olinda Story performs Nov 3-12, 2017. Fridays & Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 3PM. Tickets are on sale now. Visit our website or call the Box Office at 714-990-7722 Tues-Fri 12PM-3PM. Have questions? Contact us! 

 

Doo Wop in time for Mother’s Day

18221931_10155088588041263_6842608261233703530_nAudience favorites, The Alley Cats, are back with more Doo Wop hits, & even more personality! They’re just returning from the Moscow Spring A Capella Festival in Russia where they competed with over 167 a capella groups to bring home the 2nd place prize.

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When asked by FloVoice how it feels to be a part of such a huge festival, the Alley Cats shared:

“We believe music has no borders and the opportunity to perform in Russia right now is unique and we will savor every moment. It is also a feeling of gratitude and respect for what we have done as a group over the last 30 years it’s a real honor to be chosen to attend.”

The Alley Cats got their start right here in Orange County when founding members, Mando Fonseca & Royce Reynolds, started an a capella group at Fullerton College. They’ve gained new performers since then, opened for Jay Leno and Joan Rivers, and performed at the White House.

Even with all their success this past weekend and their continuous touring, they made some time to share some thoughts with us before their upcoming performance on our stage for Mother’s Day weekend.

Curtis Theatre: How did you get interested in Doo Wop?

Mando Fonseca: My parents listened to this music and I lends itself well to A Cappella and our humor.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration for the music that you create?

Our audience. We listen to their request and choose new material based on what we are asked for!Alley Cats - Dressing Room

What’s your favorite part of performing for a live audience?

Making people laugh!

Do you have any lucky charms or pre-show rituals you always do before going on stage?Alley Cats - Backstage2

We all circle up our our hands in and say “don’t suck” on three. Then we pat each other’s backs and say “I got your back”. We even have t-shirts that say “I’ve got your back”.

How do you involve the audience in what you do on stage?

We get them laughing and break down that wall.

If your show was an animal, what animal would it be?

Chimp since we tend to Monkey around…..

What do you hope we walk away from the show feeling?

Joyful and inspired. And hopefully you leave all your worries for a couple of hours!AC-Shoot-1-358


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The Alley Cats perform May 13 & 14, 2017. Saturday at 4PM & 8PM, Sunday at 3PM. Tickets are on sale now. Visit our website or call the Box Office at 714-990-7722 Tues-Fri 12PM-3PM. Have questions? Contact us! 

“Rock Legends”: the (re)quest to find the most air guitar worthy song

This weekend, we fell back in love with all the rock classics as we listened to Elvis, the Beatles, the Eagles, the Stones, Patsy Cline and more! We started the three-show weekend off by welcoming in the entire Rock Legends team into the theatre to get started on set up & sound check.IMG_6528.JPGBefore each show, audience members were invited to share their first rock concert as well as fill out request cards in the lobby. The lobby was abuzz with shared stories of first live music experiences & discussions of Beatles vs. Stones (one of the questions on the request card). Billy McGuigan admitted in the show that while his father was Team Beatles, he had learned that you can, in fact, love both rock legends.

IMG_6516.JPGIMG_6519.JPGIMG_6541Once the concert began, audience members were on their feet, dancing and cheering on Billy McGuigan & the band.  It’s easy to fall into that warm nostalgia feeling when you’ve got musicians as talented as these ones. IMG_6579.JPGIMG_6571.JPG

 

Picking playlists with Billy McGuigan

Whether you’re hitting skip on Spotify or jumping channel to channel on the radio, you know the frustrating journey of trying to hear what YOU want to hear. In the age of shuffle, sometimes you just want to hear THAT song or THIS artist. Billy McGuigan from the hit show, Rock Legends, is here to give you that customized experience where you pick the set list.

Now if you’re wondering where you’ve heard the name Billy McGuigan before, you might have seen him on our stage for the national hit show, Rave On! The Buddy Holly Experience where he pays homage to Buddy Holly.  

The unique experience of Rock Legends is in its song-picking process: McGuigan & the band take audience suggestions to shape the music they play. Each performance delivers a new creative collision of the rock music you love.  Rock Legends Cover

We sat down with McGuigan to get the low-down on all things rock and roll. 

Curtis TheatreWho or what is your biggest inspiration for the music that you create?

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Billy McGuigan

Billy McGuigan: My dad always had music on and taught my brothers and I how to play instruments. He loved groups like the Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Billy Joel, Elton John, but his favorite, was the Beatles. Every show or performance I put together has been influenced by him.

What’s your favorite part of performing for a live audience?

I love that first moment when I come out on stage and can immediately feel the audience. Sometimes, right from the start, the audience is hooked and you can feel that they are ready for a good time. Other times, I can feel that it’ll take a little more work to hook the crowd. How I perform depends on that feeling, and it never gets old for me!

Do you have any lucky charms or pre-show rituals you always do before going on stage?

I really don’t have any pre-show rituals. I do try and take a moment to feel the energy on and off stage, but that’s about it!

How do you involve the audience in what you do on stage?

Rock Legends set list, each night, is based on, what I call, audience personality tests. The cards are filled out in the lobby before the show and asks questions like; Favorite decade of music, Favorite Female Singer, First Rock Concert… their answers shape the set list, so it’s unique and different each night.

If your show was an animal, what animal would it be?

It’s a platypus! There’s nothing else out there like it.

What do you hope we walk away from the show feeling?

I hope the show brings back memories for the audience, and for those 90 minutes, makes them have the most fun they’ll have that day.BillyAug2016-4

Screenshot 2017-04-20 at 6.55.51 PMStart thinking about which songs you want to hear at this customized concert & while you’re at the show, stop by our audience board to share with us your first rock concert experience. 


lets-playRock Legends performs April 29 & 30, 2017. Saturday at 3PM & 8PM, Sunday at 3PM. Tickets are on sale now. Visit our website or call the Box Office at 714-990-7722 Tues-Fri 12PM-3PM. Have questions? Contact us! 

 

Piecing together the world of Forum, one prop at a time

Stepping into a new world is one of the largest appeals of seeing a theatrical production, a movie, etc.  Objects and items the actors use throughout help develop the type of world we’re experiencing. Creating this world to explore and escape into is a crucial part of the prop master’s job. They shape the reality we’re living in for the next two and a half hours.

For our current production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Amber Caras built, borrowed, and gathered all props needed to fill in this world of Ancient Rome.  We were lucky enough to hear all about the props process from Caras herself.

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Amber Caras

Curtis Theatre: Give us some info on your background — how did you get into theatre, & specifically working with props?

Amber Caras: I got into theatre in 8th grade when all of my friends were taking Drama but I was a band geek. I really got into technical theatre at Saddleback College after High School because there are amazing people there. I graduated from CSULB with a BA in Technical Theatre, magna cum laude. I now currently work at South Coast Repertory as  Production Assistant (Non Union ASM) and Entertainment Design Corporation as  Production Assistant. I first got into props at Saddleback during a production of Urinetown when I was asked to build the water filtration device. I was told I could use anything in the shop and I could do what ever I wanted to make it work. I really like the creativity and problem solving that comes with Props and I have tried to do it as much as possible since then.


What is your inspiration/ vision for this particular show?

This show is a Vaudevillian troop that is telling you about Rome. So the props should look like this Troop had these things available to them to tell this story. So we will be using things like a Trunk and Carpet Bags and other thing that we wouldn’t be using if this were a “true to the time period” performance.

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Caras takes us through her creative process, guiding us step-by-step through gathering & building props.

Step 1 – Read the Script & Make a List

“I read the script and make a list with my own notes about the props I found. Like ‘Is it edible?’ ‘Do we need more than one?'”

Step 2 – Vision Meeting with the Director & Scenic Designer

“I take that list to the Director and Scenic Designer and have them tell me what they want to use from that list and what they don’t. They tell me other things they have thought of for their vision and I add it to the list. Then I ask a million questions about each item on my list and try to get the best description I can of what they want to see.”

Step 3 – Gather from Producing Theatre’s Prop Storage

“I then would look through the prop storage at the theatre and pull out everything I already have that will work.”

Step 4 – Ask Friends & other Theaters

“I call up friends at other theaters and schools and see if I can look through their prop storage. Saddleback has been a huge help in this respect for this show. Most of our “normal” props came from there.”

Step 5 – Create Plans

“After I found everything I can, I start making Buying plans and Building Plans to complete the list. As I find things, I will try to show them to the director or the designer to get approved so I know that I am 100% done with that item.”

Step 6 – Give Props to Stage Management

“I make sure that Stage Management gets all of the props I have acquired and help them in the maintenance of all items throughout the shows.”

Step 7 – Return Props

“After the show is over, I put everything away where it came from, and make sure all borrowed items are returned.”


lets-playA Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum runs March 25-April 9, 2017.  Friday & Saturday at 8PM, Sunday at 3PM. Tickets are on sale now. Visit our website or call the Box Office at 714-990-7722 Tues-Fri 12PM-3PM. Have questions? Contact us! Let us know your thoughts.