Rubicon Theatre Company's GEM OF THE OCEAN Kicks Off Annual Fund Drive

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Rubicon Theatre Company kicked off its 2012 Annual Fund Drive on May 16 at the first preview performance of their latest production Pulitzer Prize-winner August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean. As a non-profit organization, ticket sales from productions like Gem of the Ocean cover only 45-50 percent of Rubicon's annual operating budget. The balance must come from community contributions. Leading Rubicon's 2012 Annual Fund Drive as Honorary Chairs are three respected members of the Ventura community: Trudy Arriaga, Doug Halter and Jim Monahan. During the Annual Fund Drive, titled Gem by the Ocean, those who are able to support Rubicon with a donation of $250 or more will be entered to win a one-of-a-kind, ocean-inspired piece of fine art created by local glass artist Frances Elson.

Through the duration of the Gem by the Ocean Fund Drive, which ends on July 16, the Chairs aim to encourage the community to support their "precious gem" with a donation.

Rubicon Theatre Company, a non-profit professional regional theatre with nearly 2,000 subscribers, is dedicated to serving area residents and visitors with innovative productions of classic and contemporary plays, as well as a wide array of educational programs and events. Memorable and groundbreaking productions include Jesus Christ Superstar featuring the stars of the film; an environmental production of Fiddler on the Roof that surrounded the audience with the action; a production of Songs for a New World that turned the theatre into a coffee house; and twenty World Premieres, including audience favorites Daddy Long Legs and Lonesome Traveler.

Acclaimed by critics and industry professionals (the company won the 2011 Los Angeles Drama Critics Margaret Harford Special Award for "Sustained Excellence" and has won eleven Ovation Awards from the L.A. Stage Alliance), Rubicon has welcomed a steady stream of high-profile actors and directors to the stage, including such industry luminaries as Ed Asner, Bonnie Franklin, Joel Grey, Larry Hagman, Stacy Keach, Jack Lemmon, Ted Neeley, John Ritter, Joe Spano, Bruce Weitz, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Stephanie Zimbalist.

Deeply rooted in the region it serves, Rubicon offers extensive outreach programs, including daytime matinees for high school students, after-school and weekend programs for at-risk youth, and summer musical theatre, drama and technical camps. More than 40,000 students have benefited.

Donors who give $250 or more to the 2012 Annual Fund Drive are automatically entered in a drawing to win the incredible ocean-themed piece of art, titled "Total Immersion," donated by Rubicon supporter and local fused-glass artist Frances Elson. The piece is currently on display in the lobby at Rubicon Theatre during performances of Gem of the Ocean.

Since retiring from a 25-year career as an interior designer, Frances Elson has devoted her energy to her volunteer work and to her work as a fused-glass artist. Her works may be viewed online at www.fuzionbyfrances.com. Inspired by the ocean, Elson handcrafted "Total Immersion" from glass of nautical colors. She describes the piece as representative of "the imaginary world of color, pattern and drama of our undersea world."

Contributions to Rubicon Theatre's 2012 Annual Fund Drive Gem by the Ocean may be sent to: Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura, CA 93001. Donations may also be charged by phone at (805) 667-2900 or made online at www.rubicontheatre.org. Donations to Rubicon Theatre are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Those who donate $250 or more will be entered in the drawing to win a one-of-a-kind fused glass piece of ocean-inspired art, "Total Immersion," created by glass sculptor Frances Elson. The sculpture is on display in the lobby during performances of Gem of the Ocean.

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