The Newsletter of the
Colony Theatre Company: June 2005
subscribers celebrate The Colony's 30th Anniversary by discussing their
favorite Colony shows, why they subscribe and what keeps them coming
theatre does not survive, let alone thrive, for 30 years without a
group of supporters who believe in and actively promote that theatre's
work. The Colony is no exception. On the occasion of our 30th
Anniversary, we felt it was time to stop and take a moment to give
credit where credit is due---to you, our subscribers. Without you, we
would not be celebrating this milestone. You continue to come back and
support us, year after year, show after show. You not only renew your
subscriptions, you also support fundraisers. You bring your friends and
encourage them to subscribe. YOU make it happen and continue to serve
as the lifeblood of all we do.
Curious as to why so
many of you have stuck with us through so many changes over the years,
we gathered a group of long-time subscribers, all of whom have been
with us for at least 10 years, for a round-table discussion, so we
could get some answers.
The Colony: When did you
first discover The Colony?
(subscriber since 1990): I started here with Skin of our Teeth (1990).
The Colony was this little theatre and we said "this is really nice."
The sets and the costumes were wonderful and at that point we decided
Jim Lare (subscriber since 1983): My
late wife and I came to The Colony and began subscribing almost
immediately, in the early '80s. There were some people from Oxy
[Occidental College, where Lare was a Professor] who were involved in
one way or another and that's how I found out about it. What first drew
me to The Colony was the intimacy of the theatre itself, and the
creativity of the sets in that space. It was really amazing.
Wilk (subscriber since 1992 with wife Christa): Our good friends, Ken
and Dick, had been subscribers for several years, and they introduced
us to The Colony on Riverside Drive in the early '90s. The Colony has
always been appealing because of the quality of the acting, and the
stage settings are just superb. There's a high level of performance.
The expectation is that it's going to be at that level, it's not going
to be lower. When we go to other theatres, we say, "Wow, The Colony
would've done this with it and it would've been much better," so we
keep coming back. We also love the great variety of plays. I got tired
of the political plays. If there's a tank on the stage, forget it! The
Colony presents a range of human emotions, psychology, people, places,
situations--- it's greatly varied and it's stimulating!
I would second that. I do think the range of different kinds of
experiences in a single season is just amazing.
Colony: Any particular shows that really stand out?
The Laramie Project was one of the plays I really remember. And Morning
Star and A Shayna Maidel. I mean, some of these really dramatic things
The Colony: Do you have an all-time
favorite Colony show?
Jackie McCoy (subscriber since
1991): The Last Metro.
Rosemary: Skin of Our Teeth,
because it's my favorite play.
Jim: Watch on the
Rhine was very meaningful. I got very interested in Lillian Hellman
after seeing that play.
Bill: Nobody's mentioned Toys
in the Attic. I thought that was very good.
Colony: What keeps you coming back?
Jackie: One of
the things that's really exciting about a place like The Colony is that
I don't know how you manage to put on such exciting musicals! I mean,
Grand Hotel was incredible! You can't see anything better than that! I
spent a lot of time going to Broadway growing up and I think this is
just as good! The musicals here are just amazing to me!
We've been to New York twice in the past years and have been
Rosemary: The reason we keep coming
back is it's very consistent, the performance level is very
professional. I've been to a couple of smaller theatre performances and
they're nice, but the acting isn't as strong as it is here. It's the
consistency of the performances, the sets that are always good, the
costumes---it's always a very high-class performance and I've never
been disappointed with that. I come to the theatre just to see what it
does. I don't have any expectation. People say to me, "what are you
going to go see?" and I say "I have no idea!" I just buy the tickets
and I go. And we both love the comedies and the musicals. The heavy
ones are real tough at times, but that's what life is about....that's
another experience of it. So I don't come with a preconceived idea of
what's going to happen to me. I just come to enjoy it. Sometimes it
makes me laugh, sometimes it makes me cry.
come from Pacific Palisades. We go to local theatres because you feel
you want to support them, but I would say the difference is you don't
know if it's going to be a quality show or not. That's not the case
here. The Colony is really at the top for us.
Colony: What makes The Colony unique?
nods in agreement)
Jim: Barbara's accessibility
before, during and after each show is a big part of it. It means a lot.
It makes a difference.
Bill: Yes, it doesn't happen
at any other theatre you go to.
Jim: It's nice to see
the actors after the show too. And they seem genuinely willing to talk
to you too. They are easy to engage and they seem appreciative. It's a
very nice feature.
Jackie: I love the artwork too!
We've bought so much of it!
Jim: Yes, we've always
enjoyed the art shows.
The Colony: If you were
approached by someone who was thinking about subscribing to The Colony,
what would you say to them?
Rosemary: One of the
things I'd say to them is if you want to see professional performances
with great sets, great scenery, great plays at a good cost, this is the
place to come. The tickets are not that expensive. We get a lot of bang
for our buck here! It's hardÉ.you have a lot to compete
with. I don't go to other theatres. Our friends took me to a play---I
think the theatre was this little storefront in Canoga Park and it was
pretty cool. The play was good and the acting was ok, but it wasn't
consistent. I mean, there's nothing like somebody performing and
getting out of character a bit and then getting back into character.
Well, that never happens here! So I brought my friends here and they
subscribed! This is better! I think for the money, we get a really good
benefit and that's why I don't mind giving you extra money because I
feel like I'm stealing. That's why I donate.
consistent quality is the reason to come.
Colony: What are you most looking forward to this season?
and Christa: Amadeus!
Rosemary: I like it all!
(looking over the brochure) It's differentÉit's got
something serious and it's got a musical!
The musical is always something to look forward to.
(to Rosemary) I'm like you, I don't come with a preconceived idea of
what the play's about or what I'm going to experience---I just know I'm
going to have a good time!
Jackie: I don't even know
what we're seeing! We just write "Colony" on our calendars.
& Christa: So do we!
Rosemary: I associate it
with live performance. Some nights, that's going to happen, and some
nights it's not going to happen. And I go because if I don't go, I'll
never know! With live performance, there's energy going back and forth.
It doesn't matter to me what it is. But even when it's really heavy, I
still walk away with the energy of what's happened. That's what it's
all about for me, the energy between the people that are trying to tell
me something, make me feel something, make me laugh, make me cry,
whatever, and that's why I go. And this theatre has very consistent
performances of a high quality. And you don't get that at a lot of
Bill: Or big theatres!
It's a very comfortable place to be. It's not impersonal, like at
Jackie: I think this is a
beautiful venue. It's clean, you can use the restrooms, the [art]
gallery is really nice.
Bill: The parking is easy!
I want to re-emphasize the point about Barbara. I think every one of us
who attend on a regular basis can give her speech! But I don't think
any one of us could give that speech with the same impact---making the
audience feel as welcome.
Jackie, Jim, Rosemary, Bill, and Christa, for your time and your kind
words and support over the years. And thank you to every one of our
subscribers who have made the past 30 years possible and make the next
30 years so promising!
Premiere Draws Mixed Reviews
World Premiere presentation, Climbing Everest, written by Margit Ahlin,
was one of our most ambitious undertakings in years. Set against the
backdrop of the tallest and most dangerous mountain on earth, the play
tells the story of a woman who is driven to climb Mt. Everest in order
to recover the body of her brother who perished while making his own
attempt at the summit.
are inherently challenging, so we were disheartened by the negative
comments the play elicited from some of the critics who reviewed the
show. The Los Angeles Times said "Certainly it takes guts for an
award-winning theater like The Colony to commit to a completely new
play. However, The Colony's World Premiere of Climbing Everest is a
textbook example of good intentions gone awry."
learned over the past 30 years that critics can be wrong on occasion,
we hoped that our audiences would rally behind the show and that's just
what they did. Perhaps motivated by the reviews, some audience members
even took the time to contact us to tell us how much they enjoyed it.
The reactions to this one particular show turned out to be some of the
most passionate in our history:
"I thoroughly enjoyed it! ... I
thought everyone did a superb job. ... My congratulations to all of you
for a job well done."
"It was my and my wife's
distinct pleasure to attend last night's performance. ... I must tell
you how emotionally moved I was by the play. ... Its theme and
characters still resonate in my mind. ... I applaud you for choosing
such an ambitious play for production. ... You and the cast, production
artists, and crew should be proud of your accomplishments. ... I wish
you continued success in the future, the fruits of which we eagerly
finally, in response to the negative review in the L.A. Times, that
included the words "chimerical"
we received this supportive email:
"Please pass on to Ms. Keane and
her fellow actors that perhaps because we don't use words like
'chimerical' and 'preternaturally,' my wife and I enjoyed attending our
first performance at the Colony Theatre. ... It was a delightful
the show, many in the lobby commented that it was one of the best plays
they'd ever seen! One patron called to tell us that he and his wife
discussed it all the way home on the drive to Long Beach, and two days
later they were still talking about it.
are very proud to have presented this stunning World Premiere.
Matching Gifts Update
The Colony started its Matching Gift program, thousands of dollars have
been matched by participating companies!
companies offer employees---and even retirees and/or spouses---a
matching gift benefit that, in effect, doubles (or in some cases even
triples) your gift to The Colony. These gifts make a critical
contribution to the work we do here. PLUS you'll get your name listed
in the Colony showbills for the entire amount!
have various methods by which you can submit your matching gift
request: online forms, automated phone systems, or paper forms that you
submit to the theatre with your donation.
If you are
not sure if your company has a matching gift program, please contact
your company's Human Resources officer or check their web site to find
out what your options are.
If you are using a paper
matching gift form, please mail it to us at:
555 N. Third Street
Burbank, CA 91502
few of the companies that offer matching gifts are:
California Wellness Foundation
Chubb & Sons Insurance
The Game's afoot...
recent Los Angeles Times review of a new Holmes/Watson adventure by a
modern author----based on the classic tales by Sir Arthur Conan
Doyle--- begins, "The tales of Sherlock Holmes have spawned more
pastiches (from the Italian word 'pasticcio,' originally a pastry that
was a medley of flavors, now meaning a work composed in an imitating
style) than any other written work. At last count (and Sherlockians
have counted these things), the list numbers well over 4,000."
Colony is pleased to offer our audiences the tastiest Sherlock Holmes
pastiche we have ever seen. Charles Marowitz's Sherlock's Last Case is
being served up on a silver platter, beginning June 8 and continuing
through July 11. Those of you familiar with the exciting world of Dr.
John Watson and his penetratingly perceptive and devastatingly logical
partner, Sherlock Holmes, are in for a treat. For the true Sherlockians
out there---be warned---our play has a bit of fun with everyone's
time-honored preconceptions. Sherlock may in fact have met his match
this time around, but it is all in good fun.
Sherlock Holmes Fun Facts:
The first Sherlock Holmes
story A Study in Scarlet was published in 1887. Conan Doyle was paid 25
pounds for it.
The American publishing firm J. B.
Lippincott likely saved Sherlock from a premature end by commissioning
Conan Doyle to write The Sign of the Four, the second Holmes Ð
Watson tale, in 1889.
In December of 1893, Arthur
Conan Doyle finished off Sherlock Holmes in the story entitled The
Final Problem, the tale that had Holmes and his nemesis, the evil
genius Professor Moriarty, plummeting together in a death struggle over
Switzerland's Reichenbach falls. In a diary entry soon after, Conan
Doyle wrote, with brutal simplicity: "Killed Holmes." He resisted the
public's demands for more Holmes tales for nearly a decade, but finally
relented and brought Holmes back in 1903 in The Adventure of the Empty
House. It was explained that he escaped the death plunge and had hidden
out for several years.
In all, Conan Doyle wrote
roughly 60 Sherlock Holmes adventure tales.
famous deerstalker cap worn by Holmes does not appear in any of the
stories. It was the invention of artist Sidney Paget, who illustrated
the stories for The Strand magazine.
meerschaum pipe, intimately identified with Holmes, was the addition of
American stage actor William Gillette, who played the part some 1,300
times between 1899 and 1935. He used the pipe so his voice was more
Dr Watson is neither corpulent or an
ineffectual bumbler in any of the stories. He is described as "a
middle-sized, strongly built man Ð square jaw, thick neck, a
It is the interpretation of character
actor Nigel Bruce in 13 Universal features starring Basil Rathbone that
have cemented an inaccurate portrait of Watson in many people's minds.
stories without Watson, or in which he plays a minor role, are thought
to be more arid, lacking in humanity and untempered by Holmes's
Holmes and Watson have survived
outside of the fictive context that had first given them life---they
are often referred to and are recognized as real people, not
characters. The world reacted to the death of Sherlock Holmes in The
Final Problem with horror and shock. Men and women in London wore black
armbands and veils, and Conan Doyle received letters of protest and
sorrow from around the world begging him to return Holmes to life. One
devastated reader began her entreaty with this salutation: "You Brute."
Doyle received numerous letters throughout his life addressed to the
great detective seeking help with the solution of a knotty problem. A
press-clipping bureau wrote to Watson in care of Conan Doyle, asking if
Mr. Holmes might wish to subscribe to their services. When Conan Doyle
finally retired Holmes, a number of elderly women wrote him offering to
keep house for Sherlock. The London post office, to this day, still
receives letters addressed to Holmes at 221b Baker Street.
scholars believe the Holmes & Watson relationship is the most
timeless and symbiotic in all of literature.
Design by Ricky Vodka
The second annual Community
Spotlight Award to honor Burbank's own Barry Burnett
This summer, The Colony, again in
partnership with The City of Burbank, will continue an exciting new
tradition with the Second Annual Community Spotlight Award Gala. The
event will be held at the theatre on July 20, 2005.
Colony boasts a large subscription base from all over the state and
beyond. While we appreciate the endless support of the entire Colony
community, we owe a special debt of gratitude to the City of Burbank.
After all, our beautiful building and exciting neighborhood have been
provided by the city. This event was created to give back to the
community that has gone out of its way to do good for us.
Community Spotlight Award was conceived to honor those whose
contribution to Burbank makes it the community we have all come to
cherish. This year we are thrilled to honor Barry Burnett for his
service to The City of Burbank and his inspiration to the community.
Barry has supported business, civic, and artistic endeavors. His
commitment to his family, church, and neighborhood make him an
exemplary candidate for this award. Wherever he goes, Barry's positive
attitude and contagious kindness inspire all those around him.
Ramani, a member of The Colony's Board of Trustees, says "A community
is formed because of people like Barry --- people who give to the
greater good of all those he can see and to all those he will never
see. Barry's spotlight is one that shines brightly on everyone he comes
in contact with --- lifting their hearts, minds and souls---to achieve
far greater good than they thought possible!"
to Barry's motorcycle accident that cost him his right leg, Mayor of
the City of Burbank Jef Vander Borght adds, "as great a physical loss
as Barry has suffered, he still bubbles over with humor, genuine
enthusiasm, and concern for his fellow human beings. ... He epitomizes
the reality that each one of us can control our own happiness. We owe
him a debt of gratitude for showing us the way."
fact, it is we who feel honored to celebrate Barry's achievements.
for this exciting evening have already begun. After a catered reception
by event sponsor, Pomodoro, guests will be treated to a dazzling
collection of performances including highlights from The Colony's
upcoming musical production, The Grand Tour. Presentation of the 2005
Community Spotlight Award to Barry Burnett will conclude the formal
Don't forget to leave room for dessert
and coffee! After the performance and presentation, the theatre will
remain alive with excitement as guests mingle and socialize.
are many ways to become involved in this exciting and inspirational
event. Sponsorship packets come in all sizes, and include added
benefits, from dedication space in our Spotlight Tribute Book to our
Golden Tickets which can be redeemed for any of The Colony's 30th
Anniversary Season productions. Individual tickets to the event are
also available for $100. A portion of all sponsorships and tickets are
considered tax-deductible donations to The Colony.
more information or to become an event sponsor, please call Sara
Painter at (818) 558-7000 ext. 20.
Volunteer at The
Whether to get Service Learning
Hours for school, learn more about theatre, or just to help, The Colony
is a great place for people of all ages to volunteer.
need volunteers to usher for shows and special events, and for the
occasional help with large mailings. Our volunteers have gone on to
paying jobs at the theatre, but above that, have gained valuable
experience working with our artistic and administrative staff.
a positive impact in the Burbank Arts community by helping out at The
Colony. And tell your friends!
It's easy to sign up!
Just contact Lee Webb Pitts at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our