Tuesday, August 14, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 23

Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on October 11th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 32 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 18, Issue 32

Community theater group launches in Orcutt

New players in town


The Orcutt Community Theatre was launched to create a permanent home for civic theater in Orcutt. To kick off their season and to help raise seed money, the organization is hosting a fundraiser on Oct. 22, with three vignettes from Niel Simon plays, including The Odd Couple.

Community theater may have a new home in Orcutt.

If the people behind the Orcutt Community Theatre group have their way, it will eventually be a permanent fixture in town, performing several diverse shows every year. For now, the group, which includes comedian and ventriloquist Lezlie Thoroddsson, is trying to raise funds to get the project up and running.

Thoroddsson said the idea came out of wanting to put more localized theater options in Orcutt.

“We realized there is no theater here,” she said. “We have the Santa Maria Civic Theatre, but there’s nothing on this side of town. There’s a lot of talented people in Orcutt.”

Thoroddsson, who stars in a local cable television show called The Lezlie Show, is a board member and one of the founders of the Orcutt Community Theatre. She said the feedback on the idea was immediate and positive.

“There is such a hunger for an acting theater here,” Thoroddsson said. “People are really excited. It took off like wildfire.”

Comedian Lezlie Thoroddsson, who performs a ventriloquist act called The Toots and Stanley Show, is one of the co-founders of a new community theater group in Orcutt. The organization is hosting a fundraiser on Oct. 22.

The seven member board recently acquired their 501(c)3 for nonprofit status and have spent time researching venues for a possibly permanent home, which is the ultimate goal. The group plans to put on four shows a year, but the costs of putting on even one production—including lights, sound, and marketing—can be prohibitive.

To raise money for the project, the group is hosting a fundraiser called “Let Us Entertain You” on Oct. 22, which will feature vignettes from three different Neil Simon plays. Local actors will perform scenes from Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple, and Sunshine Boys. The fundraiser will also feature singers, a Patsy Cline impersonator, and Thoroddsson performing her ventriloquist act.

Dixie Arthur, president of the board, is also directing one of the vignettes. When she moved to the Central Coast 20 years ago, she thought the Orcutt area would be perfect for a small theater. Arthur also teaches drama and English at Ernest Righetti High School and has done local theater throughout the Central Coast.

“Certainly we want a permanent venue,” Arthur said of the future plans. “Orcutt is ready. It’s growing. A lot of the performers you see on stage on at Santa Maria Civic Theatre come from Orcutt. There’s a lot of talent here, musical and theatrical. … I think the time is right.”

See the show
Let Us Entertain You is a fundraiser dinner theater featuring singers, scenes from plays, and more to help raise money for the Orcutt Community Theatre. Event takes place Oct. 22 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Santa Maria Radisson Hotel, 3455 Airpark Drive, Santa Maria. Tickets are $75 to $125. More info: 937-3738.

For the time being, the organization plans to use local schools to host future productions. They currently have plans for several upcoming productions, including  Miracle in Bedford Falls, a Christmas musical based on the film It’s a Wonderful Life. Future productions will be a mix of comedy and more dramatic pieces, Thoroddsson said.

Arthur said that ultimately the goal is giving Orcutt a home for live theater, wherever the physical permanent site ends up being.

“We named it after the community,” Arthur said, “so that they know it belongs to them. And it’s theirs for as long as they want it to keep it going.”

Rebecca Rose is the real goodbye girl. Contact her at rrose@santamariasun.com.


Weekly Poll
What can local governments do to address poverty?

Invest in affordable housing.
Better fund social services.
Rent control.
Shoot money out of cannons.

| Poll Results