Tony Winner, Paul Sands, Offers Theater In The Merry-Go-Round At The Santa Monica Pier

Tony Winner, Paul Sands, Offers Theater In The Merry-Go-Round At The Santa Monica PierAn early spring night is haunted by the sound of thunderstorm, over which roars the sound of a charging vehicle. Lights flicker and flash across dormant carousel horses, and for the next 90 minutes, the audience that stepped in off the Santa Monica Pier isn't in Santa Monica anymore, but in the dramatic grips of An Illegal Start.

Presented by the wayfaring Santa Monica Public Theatre (SMPT) and directed by Tony-winning actor and SMPT founder Paul Sand, An Illegal Start is an original play with an extraordinary stage - the famed merry go-round inside the Santa Monica Pier's historic 102 year-old Looff Hippodrome building. Under the direction of Sand, An Illegal Start follows an unlikely friendship forged by a near-fatal car crash, spirited by emotions that are humorous, heartfelt, complex, and ultimately relatable. The play premiered on Friday, February 9th, and continues Fridays and Saturdays through March 10. Tickets are now on sale for $24 - $30, and can be purchased online.

Written by Santa Monica Pier Deputy Director James Harris, the drama begins on a thunderstruck night in 1980's rural western Colorado, where an old merry go-round in an abandoned amusement park becomes refuge for two young men after a near-fatal accident, catapulting an unlikely friendship into an intimately intertwined journey through the trials of two starkly different life paths. At Sand's suggestion, Harris adapted the play specifically to be performed in the Santa Monica Pier Merry Go-Round Building, and Sand brings the gears of the amusement park machine to life in imaginative ways. The retrofit adds a fascinating dimension to the production as the merry go-round plays third wheel to the dynamic dueling performances of Irish Giron and Cameron Tagge, the plays two leads.


Paul Sand's Santa Monica Public Theatre
Santa Monica Public Theatre was founded in 2016 by Tony Award-winning actor Paul Sand and colleague James Harris in an effort to combat dull theater and deliver e to the arts-rich community of Santa Monica, both through innovative theatrical productions and through educational outreach programs serving not only those who already have an interest in theatre, but also to those in the community who are not ordinarily exposed to the culture and experience of theatre.

James Harris
Playwright and pier historian James Harris is the author of the book Santa Monica Pier: A Century on the Last Great Pleasure Pier (2009, Angel City Press) and has written several stage plays, including "Save the Pier!", which is performed annually on the Santa Monica Pier.

The Santa Monica Pier's Merry Go-Round Building (formally named the Looff Hippodrome) celebrated its 100th anniversary in June 2016. It has was inducted into the National Registry of Historic Places in 1987 and has become a favorite setting for private parties and events. In 1954 contemporary art curator Walter Hopps rented the Merry Go-Round as a gallery for his show ACTION 1 (often called "the merry go-round show). This current production of An Illegal Start will be the first time that the building has been used for live theatre.

Santa Monica Pier Corporation
The Santa Monica Pier Corporation (SMPC) is a non-profit, public benefit corporation dedicated to preserving and enhancing the Santa Monica Pier experience for all visitors. santamonicapier.org

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