New Theater Project Launches In Santa Clarita
Gavin MacLeod and Marcia Wallace will be among the guests as the Theatre Project Santa Clarita Valley will be hosting an evening of songs and scenes on August 18th to launch the first phase of their fundraising campaign, the Founders Circle.
Two Professors from the COC Theatre Department, Mark Salyer (Big River, Little Shop of Horrors, Jesus Christ Superstar) and Andrea Slominski (Little Prince, upcoming Company) formed this new 501C3 non-profit arts organization in 2005 with plans to produce three Broadway Caliber shows per season in the College of the Canyons Center for the Performing Arts starting in 2007.
“Nothing brings people in a community together like the arts. By creating a professional regional theater company in Santa Clarita, we believe we can help make this community a cultural destination”, says Salyer, a free-lance producer, director and actor with over 15 years of professional experience.
In addition to producing larger shows, The Theatre Project has several other components to its mission, including Educational Internships, a New Works Initiative, a Playreading Series, and a commitment of support and collaboration with the other area arts organizations.
“If you look at cities like Costa Mesa or Pasadena and now Ventura, one arts organization alone does not create a vital active cultural center for a community. We want to support the ballet, the symphony, the community theatres, the educational arts programs and performing arts studios. Every aspect of our cultural life in the Valley is vital to our city’s future as a great place to live, “ says Slominski, a twelve year resident of Saugus and a theatre professional whose experiences include owning and operating a Cabaret Theatre in Houston, Texas.
“We believe the time is right for this community - Santa Clarita is no longer just a bedroom community.” adds Salyer.
The Founders Circle Campaign represents the first of several phases of fundraising planned by the Theatre Project over the next few months.
There is no question, given the magnitude of the programming we are proposing that we will need to raise funds from corporations and foundations to make this a reality. However, we felt that the first presentation in this process should be to the people of Santa Clarita, allowing this very giving and philanthropic community to become our partners in this endeavor.
Both Salyer and Slominski are members of the Founders Circle and have also donated their time and energy to the organization since its inception. In the spring of this year, The Theatre Project was given its 501c3 designation. At that time, Carol Higgins, a local theatre professional joined forces with The Theatre Project to help with development activities.
“We are doing this because we believe in it. Simple as that. There is a passion to see this community grow and become an even better place to live, “ says Higgins who recently graduated from CSUN and has been volunteering her time as well to see the company launch.
“Since I’ve been teaching at COC, as a director, I’ve reaped the benefits of the amazing high schools arts programs that are being offered. One of the big reasons I became interested creating professional opportunities is the amazing number of talented professionals we have in the Valley.
The event on August 18th will feature, along with professional actors and actresses volunteering their time and talents to present songs and scenes from the proposed Inaugural Season, community performers who have professional experience.
” I keep finding local and regional professionals who would love to work on a show in the COC Performing Arts Center. It’s a beautiful venue with amazing potential,” says Salyer.
Though both Slominski and Salyer teach theatre at College of the Canyons, the company is not a part of the College theatre program and The Theatre Project will be renting the space like any other non-profit users.
“There are certainly benefits to being associated with an educational institution, however, we felt that we wanted to make programming at COC easier for the center and not more difficult. To produce a full season of shows is a huge endeavor. We wanted to bring Broadway caliber programming to the table that wasn’t the financial responsibility of the College of the Canyons Center for the Performing Arts.
The Founders Circle event is being held at the home of Carl and Jeri Seratti–Goldman on August 18th from 7:30-11:00pm. Wine, light hors d’oeuvres and dessert will be served. For more information please call 633-3550.
Scenes will be read from:
" Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf "
Read by SCV's own Paul Strickland and Debra Christofferson ( Series regular on HBO"S Carnivale, guest Star on NYPD Blue, Star of the Academy Award Nominated film, " Seraglio " and much more.....)
" Beyond Therapy "
Read by Eric Lutes ( Star of " Caroline in the City " and multiple films with the Olsen twins, The sweet Life of Zack and Cody and much more) and Kate Steele ( Pasadena Playhouse, Old Globe – San Diego) The musical part of the performance will include songs from the shows in our proposed first season.
Julia Gregory ( “ Showboat “ with Hal Prince on Broadway, Reprise Series in LA and writer of 5 musicals, one produced recently in the NY Music Theatre Festival) singing Songs from " Into the Woods " and " Chicago "
Tessa Ludwig (Currently a Disney Channel Movie Surfer, and Broadway cast of " Annie " and the national tour with Nel Carter ) singing Little Red Riding Hood from “ Into The Woods “
Victoria Oscar ( National Tour " Annie " in the role of Miss Hannigan and National Tour of “ Les Miz “, as Mdm. Thenardier)
As well as music from “ Man of LA Mancha ”
More detailed information is available on www.IBDB.com about most of these performers
or e-mail: SCV_theproj@hotmail.com