From Neil Simon to Shakespeare – and Pink Floyd!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Though financially battered, Monterey County’s theater companies have suffered little shortage in creativity and determination, displaying a polish that belies the trying times. Though the theater season peaks at the end of summer, it tapers little this fall season.
ARIEL Theatrical, Inc.
The Wilson Children’s Theatre, Salinas. 775-0976, www.arieltheatrical.org.
The little theater company that could stages children’s productions that not only add heaps of cuteness to the theater scene, but shape its child performers into tomorrow’s theater community. They unveil Sheldon Harnick’s musical of Norton Juster’s classic, The Phantom Tollbooth (Oct. 2-17), Little Red Riding Hood (Nov. 20-21), and, just in time for a fantastical holiday season, C.S. Lewis’ Narnia (Dec. 4-19).
Forest Theater Guild
Outdoor Forest Theater, Carmel. 626-1681, www.foresttheaterguild.org.
The advantage of the Outdoor Forest Theater’s enviable, woodsy setting, in the fall and winter seasons, turns against it. And so they go dark on productions until spring brings back the warmth. When it does next year, the Forest Theater Guild will have turned 100 years old, marking the occasion with a return to their “bohemian roots,” says board member Rebecca Barrymore. Productions will revolve around Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shakespeare, Robinson Jeffers and Mary Austin.
Monterey Pensinsula College Theatre Co.
MPC Morgan Stock Stage, Studio Stage, Monterey. 646-4213, 646-9478, www.mpctheatreco.com.
This summer MPC Theatre Company knocked The Producers out of the park. They follow that coup with Neil Simon’s Chapter Two (Oct. 15-25) and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (Dec. 10-20) on the Morgan Stock Stage and the children’s Storybook Theatre productions of Ali Baba and the Magic Cave (Sept. 10-27) and Sleeping Beauty (Nov. 5-22) in the Studio Theatre. MPC Theatre Co. also supports other local companies through a teaching fund. Bravo.
Pacific Repertory Theatre
Golden Bough Theatre, Circle Theatre, Carmel. 622-0100, www.pacrep.org.
PacRep launches two Shakespeare greats: first, Hamlet (Sept. 4-Oct. 18), then As You Like It (Oct. 2-18), playing in repertory. They follow it Nov. 5-15 with the as-yet-unknown La Honda, the winning play from last year’s Hyperion Project Playwrighting Competition, and end the fall on the upswing with the Tony-award-winning 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Nov. 25-Dec. 20).
Paper Wing Theatre Company
Monterey. 905-5684, www.paperwingtheatreco.com.
This fall, instead of staging the wild and campy Rocky Horror Show, Paper Wing goes rock-opera big with The Wall: A Live Tribute (Oct. 1-31). I’m there. Dec. 3-19 they reprise last year’s The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, a Christmas story as dysfunctional as Bad Santa.
Staff Players Repertory Company
Indoor Forest Theatre, Carmel. 624-1531, www.cetstaffplayers.org.
As Staff Players Repertory goes into hibernation, on Sept. 12 the Children’s Experimental Theater kicks off its 50th year grooming young minds and bodies into little performers, cinching the slack that public school funding has let loose.
The Western Stage
Hartnell College, Salinas. 375-2111, 755-6816, www.westernstage.com.
Hartnell’s sure-footed Western Stage skips from one production to the next like hopscotch. On the Main Stage: Bye Bye Birdie goes bye-bye this weekend, making room for whimsical musical The Baker’s Wife (Sept. 25 – Oct. 11), which gives the three-quarter stage to the Christmas-y Mame from Nov. 6-22. Over on the Studio Theater stage: Anna in the Tropics finishes its run Sept. 4-13, followed by the touching The Heart’s Desire Oct. 9-Nov. 1.
Carl Cherry Center for the Arts
Carmel. 624-7491, www.carlcherrycenter.org.
All manner of creativity emanates from the clean, compact walls of the Carl Cherry and its 49-seat theater. Currently, Conrad Selvig directs Trish Soodik’s The 60’s – “all you need is love… and a nap” it quips – which follows the flower children from the Age of Aquarius into their Golden Years (Sept. 4-20). Nov. 19-21, they stage winning works from their Fourth Annual Monologue Playwrighting Competition.