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Big Theatre on a Small Stage
It’s truly amazing what you can do if you have dedication and talent. And that may be the story behind the success of one Anaheim Theatre that may not yet have all the prominence that it deserves. The Gallery Theatre is tucked away in an industrial park off East La Palma, near Kramer. And it’s a hive of activity.
Next up will be “Dish – the Musical” – a cheeky parody of Southern California television. This is about the fourth in an annual series that has previous poked fun at both LA and Orange County life and culture. Having been to two of these I can’t wait to see Dish. Somehow they find the finest song-writers and set the words to music you all recognize. With an ensemble cast of performers constantly changing the mood and tempo the audience rocks from one comedic insight and laugh to another.
Mark Torreso, who works for Disney Entertainment Productions, is the Artistic Director, with a string of credits to his name in dramatic arts. Under his direction the Gallery not only stages large musicals as well as intimate dramas, but provides space for new playwrights to test out their work and a thorough educational program for young actors.
Torreso says: "I believe actors needs to hone their craft and then test their skills in front of an audience. Students at the Gallery Theatre are given an opportunity to audition for any of the full scale productions during the year. Although the theatre does not pre-cast, students have a chance to fill the roles first before directors go outside the company. This summer there are dance programs for both kids and adults in ballet, jazz and tap. Full details on the web site.
The next round of auditions for educational programs will be April 2012.
Coming back the shows. The Gallery team have done an excellent job at transforming the interior of their space into an innovative combination of dressing rooms, meeting rooms, offices, entrance lobby and show space.
I say “show space” because this is anything but a traditional black box theatre. Patrons frequently sit at cocktail tables where they may eat and drink during the shows, and the space is capable of being configured in any way that suits the production. The sound, lighting and multimedia capabilities are first rate. All this makes for a delightful theatre experience.
The attractive lobby area at the Gallery Theatre
The project leaders took considerable risks in setting up the theatre. It appears to be paying off. The theatre seats 50 people, many of which are filled by the regular devotees. And no doubt they would be delighted if you were to pay them a visit in the not too distant future. Prices of theatre tickets have soared in recent years, so a full show for $18 is a great deal, with $3 discounts for seniors and students. Truly amazing value.
External links: The Gallery Theatre