Mid-June Theatre Offerings on the Central Coast of California


As we make our way on into June and move ever closer to the OFFICIAL beginning of summer, I hope you will plan on including going to a couple of shows at any number of the various live performance and theatre venues here on the Central Coast of California!

The Spot (https://www.facebook.com/#!/hit.the.spot) will present the Poetic Justice Project’s (http://poeticjusticeproject.org/) Planet of Love June 8-17.

Written by Deborah Tobola and directed by Molly Williams Stuckey, with musical direction by Mark Stuckey, the play follows an amorous alien who lands in the middle of a prison yard on Earth, only to mistake his new surroundings for Heaven and the inmates for angels.  He gradually transforms the prison with his loving touch.  "There's this thing in prison where kindness is seen as weakness.  We wanted to turn that on its head," Tobola explains.

With its large cast and elaborate costumes and sets - designed by Milly Benson and Bo Richards, respectively, Planet of Love is a departure from past Poetic Justice Project productions, which include the dramas Blue Train, Off the Hook and Women Behind the Walls.  The latter, a stripped-down version of Claire Braz-Valentine's play, opened in 2011 on San Francisco's famed Alcatraz Island, while Tobola's Off the Hook toured prison towns through the state.

Stuckey and Tobola acknowledge the challenges of working with largely untrained actors who must juggle rehearsals with work, school, court hearings and probation meetings (scheduling conflicts forced them to recast some of Planet of Love's 20 parts, played by 17 actors).  At the same time, Stuckey says, these fearless performers will "try anything you ask them to do.  They just lose their inhibitions and give it their all."

Ideally, Tobola says, audience members will walk away with fresh insight into the correctional system.  "It's a very difficult subculture to penetrate unless you're locked up, visiting or working there," she says, noting that there's a talk-back session after every performance.

"I hope that the audiences see people that have been incarcerated in a different light," Tobola says.  "These are real people.  They are not monsters.  They're people who have made mistakes and are trying to find a way back to their lives."

SLO Little Theatre’s (www.slolittletheatre.org) current mainstage production, The House of Blue Leaves, directed by Jill Turnbow, will run through June 17 (NOTE: Saw the opening weekend Sunday matinee and this is a wonderful show with an amazing cast!).  And be sure to check out the Academy of Creative Theatre’s (http://www.slolittletheatre.org/pages/classes) children & youth theatre opportunities for this spring and summer!

The Pewter Plough Playhouse (www.pewterploughplayhouse.org) in Cambria will present Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks June 22 – July 29.

The Theatre at the Cambria Center for the Arts (http://artistsofcambria.com/cambriapac/index.html) will present DRAMARAMA - Youth Acting Classes June 4-28.

Templeton Performing Arts Center of the North County Dance and Performing Arts Foundation (http://www.northcountyperformingarts.org/) in association with Class Act Dance will present SYNERGY, a summer dance recital, on June 23.

Kelrik Productions (www.kelrikproductions.com) will present their summer musical, Grease, June 22 – July 8, and their Grades 1-10 Summer Camp/Performance Class production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr in early August.

Next up for The God Is Still Speaking Players (https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/92718528887), is a summer musical production of Snoopy – auditions July 16 & 17, performances August 31 - September 9.

Espressivo! Chamber Theatre (http://espressivotheatre.com/) will present The Botanical Engineers June 7 at Poalillo Vineyards in Paso Robles.

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Curt Miner Curt Miner received his degree in theatre from Northern Arizona University and has been involved in theatre, educationally and professionally, for nearly 40 years now. He is currently Pastor of the United Church of Christ in San Luis Obispo, CA (www.sloucc.org), where he founded a theatre outreach ministry known as The God Is Still Speaking Players (check them out on Facebook). Their first production was the West Coast Premiere of a new play by Gordon Greene (one of Curt's former theatre professors from back at NAU) entitled "The Scopes Monkey Trial: What Really Happened" in October of 2008. Curt and his wife of 35 years, Linda, worked together as Director and Music Director on a production of "Godspell" June 2009. The group presented a readers' theatre production of Archibald MacLeish's Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning play "J.B." November 2009, participated in a collaborative effort with Bent Angel Productions in a staged reading of "12 Angry Men" in February 2010, presented "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" the first 2 weekends of September 2010, embarked upon another collaborative effort with Bent Angel Productions of a staged reading of Dylan Thomas' "Under Milk Wood" in November 2010, presented a readers' theatre production of "The Diary of Anne Frank" the first weekend this past March, mounted a production of "Sister Amnesia's Country Western Nunsense Jamboree" the first 2 weekends of September, and presented "Celebration In Song" - a musical variety show to benefit the work of GALA and PFLAG in November. A readers' theatre presentation (possibly "Our Town") or another musical revue will be presented this coming March, with "Snoopy" (sequel to YAGMCB) on the schedule for the first 2 weekends in September. When people ask him "Why a theatre outreach ministry?" Curt tells them "I have found that theatre is sometimes able to touch a person's heart and soul more deeply than the best crafted worship experience ... that's why."

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