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NEWS
June 14, 2001
Tom Titus Back in the fall of 1966, Phil de Barros, newly arrived in Huntington Beach, took a foggy drive along Main Street looking for what he'd heard was the city's local community theater group. He found the Huntington Beach Playhouse, then located at "The Barn" on Main Street at Yorktown Avenue, a ramshackle annex of the Huntington Beach Company, which the theater group had turned into an intimate performing facility. He also found auditions in progress for "The Rainmaker."
NEWS
May 30, 2002
Tom Titus Visiting the spacious theater utilized since 1994 by the Huntington Beach Playhouse at the city's main library, someone from another community theater group would be forgiven for turning a little green. Locally, only the Laguna Playhouse -- long since graduated from a community theater to a full equity operation -- surpasses Huntington Beach's performing facility in scope and amenities. But, while the Library Theater certainly is impressive, it's not quite home sweet home.
NEWS
By Michael Alexander | February 8, 2007
The Huntington Beach Playhouse has a 45-year history, but rising rents at its Central Park Library Theatre location have threatened to make it a thing of the past. As a handful of passionate supporters, including a former city mayor, asked the Huntington Beach City Council to find a way to save the cultural institution, the council voted unanimously Monday to have staff accept for negotiation a proposal to preserve it for three more years. The proposal which will now be hammered out into a contract is one sent by the playhouse board of directors to the council, asking for a $60,000-per-year lease at the library.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | July 20, 2011
Rarely in community theater do a superb play, a skilled director and a powerful cast combine to produce such a memorable evening as those involved in "The Shadow Box" are offering at the Westminster Community Theatre. Michael Cristofer's Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning drama of hospice residents dealing with the inevitability of death is one of the most challenging of assignments. When the project is realized as successfully as it is here, it is cause for rejoicing. Impending mortality is not the easiest of subjects to project from the stage, but director Lenore Stjerne has tackled it head-on with a production both profane and profound.
NEWS
January 2, 2003
Tom Titus The first time the Huntington Beach Playhouse produced "West Side Story," about two decades ago, the venue was a storefront of limited dimensions in the Seacliff Village shopping center. Cramped as it was, the production earned a "best community theater show of the year" nod from this column, which gives the current incarnation, opening next weekend, a rather tough act to follow -- even though it'll be staged in the more spacious Central Library Theater.
NEWS
December 16, 2004
Tom Titus Oldies are not necessarily goodies when it comes to community theater revivals, but the Huntington Beach Playhouse came up with a tasty morsel among the handful of vintage plays it produced during the 2004 season. "Laura" -- as in "the face in the misty light" from the song of the same name, and one of the most enduring gems from Hollywood's film noir period of the 1940s -- enjoyed its second revival by the playhouse in 20 seasons, and topped the list as the theater's best production of the year.
NEWS
By TOM TITUS | February 8, 2007
Push ultimately came to shove for the Huntington Beach Playhouse this week. The community theater group is in rehearsal for its next production, "Lend Me a Tenor" (replacing the originally scheduled show, "The Royal Family"), but until Monday evening it was uncertain where — or if — the show would open. Use of the Central Library Theater simply had been priced out of the playhouse's reach. And the City Council nodded in agreement. The playhouse's board of directors had delivered an ultimatum of sorts to the Huntington Beach City Council at the council's previous meeting — either cut the overhead by nearly $40,000 a year or lose the playhouse as a tenant.
NEWS
August 29, 2002
Tom Titus The Huntington Beach Playhouse, which will mark its fourth decade next year, has unveiled a list of mostly familiar plays for its 40th season in 2003, including the comedy that got the community theater off and rolling back in 1963. That first production was "Harvey," the Pulitzer Prize winner by Mary Chase, which the playhouse also chose as its parting shot of its lengthy tenure at the Barn in 1976. "Harvey" will be presented in the September slot next season, from the 12th to the 28th.
NEWS
September 16, 2004
Tom Titus The Huntington Beach Playhouse continues to raise funds for its eventual independence, and it's taking a cue from its professional neighbor to the south. Having succeeded with its first offering of "Late Nite Catechism," the playhouse has scheduled two more visits from the stern sister, these in mid and late November. Most likely, the theater is well aware of the stunning success achieved by the Laguna Playhouse, which recently announced an unprecedented ninth holdover for its popular Monday night session of "Late Nite Catechism," which has been holding forth since the opening of the 2003-04 season.
NEWS
September 18, 2003
Tom Titus Flavor and atmosphere, two elements often absent in community theater productions, are present in abundance in the splendid revival of William Inge's masterwork "Picnic" at the Huntington Beach Playhouse. Set in a rural back yard in the early 1950s, realistically designed by James Gruessing, this timeless romantic drama benefits from attention to atmospheric detail as much as from the sterling performances under the meticulous direction of Terri Miller Schmidt.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | January 6, 2014
With the arrival of 2014 comes a new crop of local theater productions, four of which are chomping at the bit to get on stage this weekend. Leading the pack from South Coast Repertory is "Trudy and Max in Love," by Zoe Kazan, which kicks off the year on SCR's Julianne Argyros Stage. The romantic comedy with a twist will play through Jan. 26. The Laguna Playhouse will be back in business with "Ring of Fire," based on the life and career of Johnny Cash. Performances will be given through Feb. 2. "Man of La Mancha," the musical derived from the novel "Don Quixote," will follow its impossible dream weekends until Feb. 1 at the Huntington Beach Playhouse, where musicals seem to have taken over the community theater's schedule.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | January 2, 2013
While most theater practitioners gravitate from show to show, venue to venue, a few may be found putting in years of artistic labor on behalf of one specific producing organization. Two such individuals are spotlighted this week. The Costa Mesa Playhouse and Laguna Beach's No Square Theatre are the beneficiaries of their tireless endeavors. For several years, these two community theater companies have been enriched by their talent, energy and imagination. They are a pair of visionaries whose creative efforts have resulted in years of entertainment for theater lovers.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | July 20, 2011
Rarely in community theater do a superb play, a skilled director and a powerful cast combine to produce such a memorable evening as those involved in "The Shadow Box" are offering at the Westminster Community Theatre. Michael Cristofer's Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning drama of hospice residents dealing with the inevitability of death is one of the most challenging of assignments. When the project is realized as successfully as it is here, it is cause for rejoicing. Impending mortality is not the easiest of subjects to project from the stage, but director Lenore Stjerne has tackled it head-on with a production both profane and profound.
NEWS
Tom Titus | June 3, 2010
F or more than a few actors and directors, community theater is less an avocation than a calling. One of the most notable in that regard is Stephen Reifenstein. "I live with a passion for the stage both on and off," he stated. "Theater is my life in so many ways." Reifenstein, the executive producer of the Huntington Beach Playhouse, saw a production of "Bye Bye Birdie" at age 11 and was hooked. Small wonder, because Rosie was played by local legend Adriana Sanchez. "A few months later, I auditioned for 'Charlotte's Web' at the La Habra Depot Theatre," he said.
NEWS
Tom Titus | June 3, 2010
F or more than a few actors and directors, community theater is less an avocation than a calling. One of the most notable in that regard is Stephen Reifenstein. "I live with a passion for the stage, both on and off," he stated. "Theater is my life in so many ways." Reifenstein, the executive producer of the Huntington Beach Playhouse, saw a production of "Bye Bye Birdie" at age 11 and was hooked. Small wonder, because Rosie was played by local legend Adriana Sanchez. "A few months later, I auditioned for 'Charlotte's Web' at the La Habra Depot Theatre," he said.
NEWS
By Michael Alexander | February 8, 2007
The Huntington Beach Playhouse has a 45-year history, but rising rents at its Central Park Library Theatre location have threatened to make it a thing of the past. As a handful of passionate supporters, including a former city mayor, asked the Huntington Beach City Council to find a way to save the cultural institution, the council voted unanimously Monday to have staff accept for negotiation a proposal to preserve it for three more years. The proposal which will now be hammered out into a contract is one sent by the playhouse board of directors to the council, asking for a $60,000-per-year lease at the library.
NEWS
By TOM TITUS | February 8, 2007
Push ultimately came to shove for the Huntington Beach Playhouse this week. The community theater group is in rehearsal for its next production, "Lend Me a Tenor" (replacing the originally scheduled show, "The Royal Family"), but until Monday evening it was uncertain where — or if — the show would open. Use of the Central Library Theater simply had been priced out of the playhouse's reach. And the City Council nodded in agreement. The playhouse's board of directors had delivered an ultimatum of sorts to the Huntington Beach City Council at the council's previous meeting — either cut the overhead by nearly $40,000 a year or lose the playhouse as a tenant.
NEWS
January 27, 2005
TOM TITUS The first time I saw "Bye Bye Birdie," it was the movie version, and the enduring memory of that flick is a young, sassy Ann-Margret belting out the title song against a gigantic blue backdrop. That song isn't part of the original stage production, now being briskly revived by the Huntington Beach Playhouse. However, the young lady playing the teen-age cutie recruited for "one last kiss" with the Elvis-like pop idol still makes her audiences sit up and take notice.
NEWS
December 16, 2004
Tom Titus Oldies are not necessarily goodies when it comes to community theater revivals, but the Huntington Beach Playhouse came up with a tasty morsel among the handful of vintage plays it produced during the 2004 season. "Laura" -- as in "the face in the misty light" from the song of the same name, and one of the most enduring gems from Hollywood's film noir period of the 1940s -- enjoyed its second revival by the playhouse in 20 seasons, and topped the list as the theater's best production of the year.
NEWS
September 16, 2004
Tom Titus The Huntington Beach Playhouse continues to raise funds for its eventual independence, and it's taking a cue from its professional neighbor to the south. Having succeeded with its first offering of "Late Nite Catechism," the playhouse has scheduled two more visits from the stern sister, these in mid and late November. Most likely, the theater is well aware of the stunning success achieved by the Laguna Playhouse, which recently announced an unprecedented ninth holdover for its popular Monday night session of "Late Nite Catechism," which has been holding forth since the opening of the 2003-04 season.
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