Santa Ana, California
November 22, 1974
New Management Takes Over Orange
ORANGE - Los Angeles businessman Alberto Morelli has assumed the
ownership and production duties of the embattled Orange Playhouse, 172
N. Glassell Street, Orange. The theater will now drop the word,
"Orange" from its title and open with a series of productions
through the Christmas season.
The 927-seat theater was partially restored under prior ownership
earlier this year, and then ran into financial difficulties.
"Apparently management difficulties never allowed the theater to
come to fruition," said Morelli. "I want to finish the job
that was begun. It would be a crime to let this building go to
The new image of The Playhouse will be that of community theater, said
Morelli. A strong community support group called "Friends of the
Playhouse" is being built, and the initial concept of the theater,
which was to house both a repertory group and a school for the
performing arts, will be carried out under the direction of Richard Dow.
Dow, formerly founder of the now defunct Pacific Group Theater has
formed an organization called Pacific Academy for the Performing Arts
(PAPA). Funding will come from the community, from box office receipts
and from grants in aid, Dow indicated in a prepared statement.
Associates in the new venture include Michael S. Connolly, general
manager of the San Diego Convention and Performing Arts Center, and Dow,
formerly production manager at UCLA, and with the Talent and Contract
Properties Division of the CBS Television Network, and currently
director of creative production for Insgroup, Inc. of Orange.
The Playhouse will offer a season of popular plays performed by a
resident repertory company, to be assembled from within Orange County by
open auditions for each production during the first year of operation.
The first season will offer the following shows: "Fiddler on the
Roof" opening Feb. 5; "Barefoot in the Park" (perhaps
with an all-black cast), opening March 5; "A Street Car Named
Desire" opening April 2; and "The Fantasticks" opening
May 7. Richard Dow will direct.
Auditions for "Fiddler on the Roof" are open to all non-union
performers in Orange County, and will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday and
Sunday, Dec. 14 and 15, at The Playhouse.
"This king of operation is vital if we are to offer high quality
productions at prices the community can afford to pay, and still attend
theater regularly," said Morelli.