would be, at most, 39 feet from anywhere in the house.
For a year now, the founders and artistic directors of South Coast
Repertory have celebrated first steps -- the groundbreaking, the
placing of the last steel beam on the Julianne Argyros Stage and the
naming of the various parts of SCR's new Folino Theatre Center. And
for a year, they have announced all the good things -- all the
dollars and donors and endowment plans and new programs -- that have
and will come with a $19-million expansion project.
Like dads, they have been gushing good news.
Their baby, meanwhile, has grown up just the way architect Cesar
Pelli's portraits promised it would.
What was for so long just a massive mess of noise and
Home-Depot-esque corners suddenly got a face this month, a sleek and
modern one with a whole lot of windows and silver steel borders. The
three theaters -- the Segerstrom Stage, the Julianne Argyros Stage
and the Nicholas Studio -- grew personalities. And the fancy,
windowed lobby stretching across the whole complex began to assume
enough shape to do its job, to hug its three stages.
On Saturday, the new theater complex embraced its first official
visitors as the creme de la creme of Newport-Mesa society arrived to
take part in SCR's "Light the Night" Gala Ball. The glittering crowd
paid between $500 and $750 per person to be the first to glimpse the
theater company's new home.
FINISHING ON DEADLINE
Dennis Astl, project manager for construction company Snyder
Langston, said the pressure to finish on deadline weighed heavy on
his staff. It wasn't a matter of tenants who were promised the space
by a certain day. It was, instead, an engagement scheduled to attract
Orange County's who's who that propelled Astl and his crew to make
sure patrons decked out in frills and cuffs wouldn't arrive onto an
unfinished, gravelly theater.
What they floated into instead was an elegantly lit Folino Theatre
"It was an aggressive schedule to start with, so we've been
pushing very, very hard here at the end," the project manager said
last week. "We're not at a point where we think there are only the
small things left. That'll be Oct. 5."