Long Beach Playhouse to Present TALES FROM THE PLAYHOUSE, 1/8-9

In 1929 hundreds of people gathered at the city's Wayside Colony with the goal of creating a civic theater for the city, the term Community Theatre hadn't been coined yet. Eighty-seven years later, their vision is still going strong. What did it take for the original band of actors, playwrights and theater lovers to grow into a sustainable community theater that welcomes 30,000 people to its shows each year?

That question is answered by five talented actors including the Playhouse Executive and Producing Artistic Director, Andrew Vonderschmitt, Business and Operations Manager Madison Mooney, Technical Director and Production Manager, Sean Gray, and actors/volunteers Phie Mura and Liliana Carrillo.

Performed as a readers' theater event, Tales from the Long Beach Playhouse, is told in five acts, each representing a significant era in its history. The Long Beach Players, as they were originally known, struggled through the Depression, the 1933 earthquake and, ironically, found great success while offering comedies to a war-weary city during the 1940s. The success in the 1940s let them buy the building they still own today.

The Playhouse history intersects with notable individuals and organizations including Fred and Florence Bixby, Theodora Brewitt, the Long Beach Bar Association, the Pacific Coast Club, Maurice Chevalier, Robert Mitchum, the Union Pacific Railroad and the Unitarian Church, just to name a few.

This is the second time this work has been performed. The first was in May 2015 as part of the Playhouse history exhibit at the Historical Society of Long Beach. Considering the laugher, tears and applause present that afternoon, it was a hit. This is a show that anyone interested in the Playhouse, the arts, the city or history will want to see.

Performances are 8 p.m. Friday, and Saturday, January 8 and 9. The box office is open Wednesday-Saturday from 3:00-8:00 pm and Sundays from 1:00-2:00 pm on scheduled matinees. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the website or at the box office. Long Beach Playhouse is located at 5021 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, CA, 90804, right across from the Long Beach Recreation golf course. The Playhouse is community-supported theatre with programs and events that cut across age, gender, ethnic, and cultural boundaries.

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