by Shirley Lorraine
Healing through entertainment
In times of disaster, there is a desperate need to be entertained. During the last few weeks Ventura County has been pounded with strife, destruction and loss. The usual Christmas season preparations may take detours this year due to natural consequences beyond our control. However, county theaters are doing their best to provide healing laughter and sanctuary for our minds.
For those who may say “this is not the time to be going to the theater” – I say Bah, Humbug! This is exactly the time to take a breather (masks encouraged) to refocus and recover. And, as the old saying goes, “The show must go on”. Our county’s theaters have risen to the challenge.
Santa Paula Theatre Center has recently been lauded for continuing to stage “It’s A Wonderful Life: On The Air”. Not only the audiences, but the actors as well require a way to escape and focus on positive aspects of the season. The show continues through December 23 – go see it and have your spirits lifted.
Despite a difficult situation, the Ojai Theatre Center only cancelled one performance of its holiday offering, “Animal Crackers”. The community needs the theater as a reminder of the wonderful place they live and a welcome, if temporary, diversion from the struggles facing the valley.
Camarillo’s Skyway Playhouse presented several weekends of the lively and hilarious “Nuncrackers”, a musical that is just pure fun. Although rehearsals were somewhat compromised, according to director Dean Johnson, by the smoky atmosphere (not conducive to singing), the opening went ahead as scheduled.
Rubicon’s popular version of the classic “A Christmas Carol” continues through December 23, as does the musical “A Christmas Story” at the Simi Valley Arts Center.
Even the Ventura Improv Company is up to the challenge, planning a performance at the Ventura Harbor Comedy Club for December 23.
The Every Now And Then Theater has been delighting county radio audiences for 27 years. Two of their award-winning Christmas themed radio dramas will be broadcast commercial-free on Newstalk 1590 KVTA at various times on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The all-volunteer productions, in conjunction with KVTA, annually raise funds for the Children’s Services Auxiliary of Ventura County serving foster children. This year the fire destroyed the homes of 61 foster children. Support is needed more than ever.
Most theaters will be on a short holiday hiatus as they prepare for their January offerings. Season schedules for 2018 are being announced and publicized. Patrons will want to take note of the wonderful, challenging, moving and amusing options each theater is planning.
Here’s how to find out just what’s on stage around the county:
Camarillo Skyway Playhouse www.skywayplayhouse.org, 388-5716
Conejo Players Theater www.conejoplayers.org, 495-3715
Elite Theater www.elitetheatre.org, 483-5118
Every Now And Then Theatre www.everynowandthentheatre.com
High Street Arts Center www.highstreetartscenter.org, 529-8700
Ojai Arts Center Theater www.ojaiact.org, 640-8797
Rubicon www.rubicontheatre.org, 667-2900
Santa Paula Theatre Center www.santapaulatheatercenter.org, 525-4645
Simi Arts Center www.simi-arts.org, 583-7900
Ventura Improv www.venturaimprov.com , 643-5701