The History of SonLight


The Register
Santa Ana, California

November 22, 1974

New Management Takes Over Orange Playhouse

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 waste."

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.


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