The History of SonLight


Orange City News
Orange, California

August 6, 1975
Page 3

Where has PAPA gone?

Is the Pacific Academy for the Performing Arts (PAPA) still in existence? The answer to that question may be yes or no, according to Information pieced together last week by the Orange Daily News.

One thing is certain, PAPA is not producing the current production of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew." Instead it is being put on by a group called "Stage Two," a spinoff from PAPA comprised of the cast and crew of the production.

According to a spokesman for the Stage Two group, PAPA cancelled the production early in July but cast and crew members, determined to put on the show, formed the new group which is now renting the Playhouse at least through the end of August.

On the surface it appears that PAPA may have gone the way of the Orange Playhouse, an organization that took over the old Orange Theater on Glassell and renovated and renamed the building to The Playhouse.

The Orange Playhouse presented a few plays with name stars such as Pat Paulsen before going under in September of 1974.

In December of the same year the theater, still known as The Playhouse was taken over by PAPA - referred to as a "non-profit community theater and school for the performing arts," by its proprietors Richard and Carla Dow.

By March PAPA was in financial difficulties, part of which were blamed on a high rental fee for the building, and went before the Orange City Council seeking $8,000 from the city's Advertising and Promotion Fund in order to finish the season.

The city council responded by giving PAPA $3,500 with the stipulation that the money be paid back if possible. The council also told PAPA to start a fund-raising campaign.

A short time later Pacific Drive-In Theatres Corporation gave PAPA a $2,000 grant and PAPA resumed plays at the Playhouse, the first being, "Fiddler on the Roof."

A Citizen's Advisory Board was formed to help PAPA, chaired by Mayor Joe Temple. However Temple underwent surgery last week and was unavailable for comment on the current status of the group.

The productions of "The Fantastics" in May and "Guys and Dolls" in June went on as scheduled but it was apparent that financial difficulties were again facing the organization when it announced that instead of its plans for producing "George M" and "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," it would put on a summer Shakespeare festival.

The reason given at the time was that the cost of royalty payments for the more current plays were more than PAPA could afford. Shakespeare, which is public domain, requires no royalty payments.

PAPA was into rehearsals for "The Taming of the Shrew" when it was announced to the cast and crew that it, too, would be cancelled. According to Mike Frym, director of publicity for Stage Two, the cast and crew didn't go for the cancellation idea and decided to form the new group and produce the play. He said that "none of the present crew is affiliated with PAPA any longer."

Frym told the Daily News that the break took place in the first week of July and two weeks later the phones and other items related to PAPA were removed.

"PAPA is out of the picture," said Frym. "Stage Two is now renting The Playhouse." Frym also said that PAPA's school for actors is not in operation, as far as he knows.

Frym and Stage Two has been approached by at least one creditor but he believed it concerned the original Playhouse organization and not PAPA.

One source told the Daily News that "PAPA split up because there wasn't enough money to continue. They've left the Playhouse for a while at least, and may be coming back."

Whether or not PAPA will return is still a question. Attempts by the Orange Daily News to reach the Dows to clarify the issue have thus far been unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, Stage Two is hoping to fill the live theater role in Orange as a community theater. According to Frym, Stage Two wants only "to fill the need of being a community theater with no pretense of being an academy."

"We're not asking anyone for any money," he said, "although if people want to help us out we'll be glad to accept any help."

Frym said, "We won't ask people for money unless we can prove ourselves."

He also told the Daily News that Stage Two hopes to meet its rent payments through door receipts and added that cast members are not being paid at all in keeping with the community theater concept.

Frym said Stage Two has run into several problems, especially in the area of getting publicity concerning The Playhouse. Most of that publicity centered around financial problems and alleged poor management.

According to Frym, Stage Two has rented The Playhouse for the month of August. But the future of the group and the building after this month remains an unanswered question.


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