BWW Feature: DEZART PERFORMS SEASON LAUNCH SOIREE at Acqua California Bistro
Launching their 12th season in Palm Springs, Dezart Performs held an afternoon soiree hosted by Acqua California Bistro at the River. Glasses of red and white wine were circulated as well as hot hors d'oeuvres of pigs in the blanket, and margarita and pepperoni pizzas.
The crowd was a happy bunch, a mix of supporters, their board of directors, and theater staff. Jerry Keller, owner of Acqua and Lulu in Palm Springs, is a huge supporter of local theater and was there to cheer them on.
After the crowd had a good mingle, David A. Lee, board member and professional photographer, opened the afternoon by introducing Clark Dugger, President of the Board of Directors, and the sound wizard behind Dezart's terrific productions.
Dugger introduced the board, and the sponsors, for the 2019/2020 season including their media partners. The crowd was reminded of past and the current winner of the college sponsorship awards, and announced the new Scott Smith Scholarship fund. Smith was an integral part of the theater scene in Palm Springs; he passed away suddenly on March 1, 2018.
The theater showed how much it has grown since its inception before Gayla Brown, Director of Development for Dezart, took the stage to talk about fundraising and strategic planning.
Winner of the 2019 scholarship, Sierra Barrick stepped up and told us how excited she was to be hired as Assistant Stage Manager for the company.
It was finally time for Artistic Director, Michael Shaw to take the stage. He tells us Dezart received 17 nominations in 12 categories from the Desert Theater League and talked about this past season, and what was in store for theatergoers in 2019/2020 beginning with Hand To God, which is described in literature as "Where The Exorcist Meets Sesame Street" written by Robert Askins featuring cast members: Roy Abramsohn, Danny Gomez, Eddie Vona, Brenna Williams and Yo Younger.
Here's a synopsis: After the death of his father, meek Jason finds an outlet for his anxiety at the Christian Puppet Ministry in the devoutly religious, relatively quiet small town of Cypress, Texas. Jason's complicated relationships with the town pastor, the school bully, the girl next door, and - most especially - his mother are thrown into upheaval when Jason's puppet, Tyrone, takes on a shocking and dangerously irreverent personality all its own. FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.
Following Hand To God, is Daniel's Husband, by Michael McKeever. The synopsis of this "One of the New York Times plays to be seen" is as follows: Daniel and Mitchell are the perfect couple. Perfect house, perfect friends - even a mother who wants them married. They'd have the perfect wedding, too, except that Mitchell doesn't believe in gay marriage. A turn of events puts their perfect life in jeopardy, and Mitchell is thrust into a future where even his love may not prove to be enough. Daniel's Husband is a bold reflection of love, commitment, and family in our perilous new world.
In February, Dezart brings us 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Sweat by Lynn Nottage: It's the year 2000 in Reading, Pennsylvania and a group of friends go to work at the steel mill and then decompress at the bar like they've been doing for over 20 years. But, unbeknownst to them, their lives are about to be uprooted. Their steel mill is making some changes and the blood, sweat and tears of generations of loyal workers donât seem to amount to much. Sweat dissects the insidiousness of privilege and entitlement, reminding you that there's always someone on a lower plane to blame for your troubles, and there will always be someone who stands to profit from your loss.
The final offering of the 2019 and 2020 season is Every Brilliant Thing, a one-man show written by Duncan Mcmillan and Jonny Donahoe. The role will be played by Joel Bryant who showed us his chops in Maytag Virgin last year. Synopsis: You're six years old. Mom's in the hospital. Dad says she's "done something stupid." She finds it hard to be happy. So you start to make a list of everything that's brilliant about the world. Everything that's worth living for. 1. Ice cream. 2. Kung Fu movies. 3. Burning things. 4. Laughing so hard you shoot milk out your nose. 5. Construction cranes. 6. Me. You leave it on her pillow. You know she's read it because she's corrected your spelling. Soon, the list will take on a life of its own. A play about depression and the lengths we will go to for those we love.
The soiree ended with a hilarious scene from Dezart Performs first show of the season, Hand To God, with Eddie Vona as actor and puppeteer, Jason/Tyler.
It's looking to be another fantastic season at Dezart Performs.