Artistic Director/Founder of Phantom Projects Theatre Group to be Honored at Gala Event, 8/9

Artistic Director/Founder of Phantom Projects Theatre Group to be Honored at Gala Event, 8/9

A collection of nearly two decades of performers will join supporters, donors, and community leaders from all over the United States for a celebratory gala at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. The event pays tribute to Steve Cisneros for his continued dedication to helping young people through the arts. 2014 also marks Phantom Projects' 17th Anniversary and because Cisneros created the organization when he was just 17 years old the event is called: From 17 to 17.

The event will feature performances from notable alumni, including performer Natalie Wachen (HBO's Boardwalk Empire), composer Adam Gubman (The Today Show, 2012 Presidential Election, America's Got Talent), Ashley Arlene Nelson (West Coast Premiere of Lysistrata Jones), Emily Lappi, Tyler Campbell and more.

Speakers and presenters include the organization's co-founder Bruce Gevirtzman, Paul Cabrera , Jason Grose, and Jocelyn Argueta.

Cisneros created the non-profit theatre troupe right after graduating from La Mirada High School, after becoming inspired by Gevirtzman's script for teens called, No Way to Treat a Lady. The early years were spent rehearsing in the garage of his parents' La Mirada home.

After outgrowing that space, they moved to an 1,100 sq ft space in Whittier, before settling into the 5,000 sq ft space they now occupy, thanks to the City of La Mirada.

The non-profit theatre troupe which aims to build theatre audiences of tomorrow through inspirational theatrical pieces, has performed for over 300,000 teens through its combination of touring shows and its annual season at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Now at age 35, Steve Cisneros' lifelong vocation continues to open up new doors for a new generation of young adults. Said Mr. Cisneros, "I've always found the performing arts to be a masterful outlet for young adults to find their voice. I look back with pride on how our simple idea continues, but now has expanded. It will be tough to top the experiences we've had over 17 years, but as far as I'm concerned, our journey is just beginning. To now see a new generation of 17 year olds benefiting from that initial vision brings a joy like no other. It only seems fitting to celebrate our journey into Phantom Projects' 17th year...a journey which started as in MY 17th year!"

"FROM 17 TO 17" - LOOKING FORWARD BY LOOKING BACK

Over the course of 17 years, Steve Cisneros' Phantom Projects Theatre Group has enjoyed a host of major accomplishments, including setting a major milestone in 2001 when the company became the only theatre troupe to present an entire season of theatre, aimed specifically at teen audiences, at a professional performing arts venue. Following a vote by the La Mirada City Council, funding was provided to Phantom Projects to present at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts. In addition to touring shows, the troupe began producing fully staged productions including historical & literary-based works and message-based shows for teens on field trips as well as for the general public during evening performances.

The company experienced a significant expansion in 2006 when The City of La Mirada voted to increase funding for Phantom Projects yet again which allowed for growth from a three to a four show season and move into a 5,000 square foot rehearsal hall. The expansion of the season and performance space led to the genesis of The Young Artist Project, a program aimed at developing young talent.

The donation of $500,000 worth of costumes in 2010 allowed the company the opportunity to expand not only its revenue streams, but also help provide a tool for schools and arts organizations all across the Southland with affordable costume rental options.

Phantom Projects' continued success led to another milestone in 2011 when Cisneros and team presented the Southern California premiere of The Giver, based on the popular Newbery Award-winning book. The engagement, originally scheduled for just 2 performances, extended to 6 performances by popular demand and subsequently sold over 7,000 tickets.

In 2012, Phantom Projects' received two nominations from the NAACP Theatre Awards for their production of THE BLUEST EYE which ran for 4 weeks at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Santa Monica. The show was honored with nominations for Best Lead Actress (Sola Bamis) and Best Featured Actress (Danika Butler).

The educational impact of major historical events continues to be a driving force behind the company's mission statement. Last year, Phantom Projects presented the California Premiere of THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM, 1963, a performance piece honoring the memory of those lives affected by the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.

Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by calling 714.690.2900 or online at www.PhantomProjects.com/17. Ad space in the commemorative program is also available.

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