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NEWS
December 26, 2002
Tom Titus Saying it with music paid dividends for local community theater groups in 2002. All three local community playhouses -- four if you count the newborn Newport Beach Theater Company -- put their best feet forward to a dancing beat this year, with the result that all placed their musical entries at the top of this column's retrospective list. The area's senior theater group at 37 years, the Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse, occupies the top perch among local nonprofessional theater companies with its high-stepping production of "A Chorus Line," directed by Damien Lorton.
NEWS
December 17, 2004
Tom Titus EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of four columns reviewing the year 2004 in local theater. A pair of 1960s-era musicals at two local playhouses set the pace for community theater in 2004, with the grim and gritty prevailing over the farcical and frenetic as the year's top production in a banner year for theater along the Orange Coast. "Cabaret," the raucous, hedonistic glimpse of pre-war Berlin in the late 1930s as seen through an American tourist's eye and transformed into a dramatic musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb, was a dark, compelling production at the Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse.
ENTERTAINMENT
By TOM TITUS | December 9, 2005
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second of four columns reviewing the year 2005 in local theater. Generally, in this column's year-end assessment of productions and performances at our two local community theaters, one show stands out above the others. This year there were two superb accomplishments, decidedly different but both meriting the honor of ranking No. 1 in our annual review. Both "Urinetown: The Musical" at the Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse and "The Little Foxes" at the Newport Theater Arts Center reached for the stars and grabbed quite a few. The musical satire and the vintage drama simply excelled in production quality and must share the blue ribbon for 2005.
NEWS
By Lauren Williams | May 25, 2012
A Costa Mesa murder defendant told police that he killed two people in 2010 to gain access to one of his victim's bank accounts, according to Orange County Grand Jury transcripts released Friday. Within a Costa Mesa police interview room Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 28, confessed that he killed Orange Coast College students Samuel Herr, 26, and Juri "Julie" Kibuishi, 23, according to the transcripts. "I'm crazy and I did it" were the first words Wozniak said, Det. Mike Delgadillo testified May 3 before the grand jury.
NEWS
August 8, 2002
Tom Titus One more time, the sounds of theater people wafted through the World War II-vintage auditorium on the Orange County Fairgrounds, but this time it was on a somber note. They'd come to bid farewell to the lady who founded the Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse on that spot nearly four decades ago. It was here, in 1965, that the playhouse -- located at 611 Hamilton St. since the early 1980s -- was born, and some of the people who were part of the "Pinchpenny Playhouse" family gathered to pay tribute to Pati Tambellini, whose death last month ended an era in Costa Mesa.
NEWS
December 12, 2000
My family and I are very upset to learn the Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse may be torn down and not replaced in its present location or even at an alternative location ("Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse asks for community support," Nov. 30). We are encouraged, however, by Michael Fine, assistant superintendent of finances for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, who stated, "If the theater must move, the district would do everything it could to help relocate it."
NEWS
December 22, 2001
Tom Titus EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of four columns reviewing the year 2001 in local theater. When all the elements of a stage production -- acting, directing, set design, costumes and sound -- come together in splendid synchronization, the result is a memorable theatrical experience. Local community theater had a number of fine examples of nonprofessional excellence in 2001, but the production that stood head and shoulders above them all was "The Lion in Winter," James Goldman's historical drama, produced at the Newport Theater Arts Center under the superb direction of Stan Wlasick.
NEWS
September 29, 2001
Young Chang In the hills just above Coast Highway, among generous stands of trees and even more generous Newport Beach homes, a small community theater feels as cold as you would imagine King Henry II's English castle to be. Black curtains separate a view of the contemporary neighborhood from the royal world within the Newport Theatre Arts Center's walls. An early fall breeze sweeps in because it's evening, and the stone-like set design makes you feel the chill, hear the echo.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Jessie Brunner | March 2, 2007
While briefly acting alongside Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" 12 years ago, Ryan Holihan may have inadvertently taken a lesson of sorts from the eccentric, low-budget film director Depp portrayed. Now serving as board president for the Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse, Holihan knows how to stretch a budget. The difference is that Holihan's dedicated to making quality theater available to the public — affordably. The nonprofit community theater relies on the commitment of board members and volunteers to make the four shows they produce each season possible, with their funding coming solely from ticket sales, fundraisers and donations from patrons.
ENTERTAINMENT
By TOM TITUS | December 22, 2006
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of four columns chronicling the year 2006 in local theater. Oldies definitely became goodies in local community theater during 2006, as two productions with their roots in the 1950s surged to the top rungs of the year-end ladder at the Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse and the Newport Theater Arts Center. The Civic Playhouse's revival of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" was the most impressive local community production of the year, but right behind was Newport's musical romp, "Guys and Dolls."
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NEWS
By Lauren Williams | May 25, 2012
A Costa Mesa murder defendant told police that he killed two people in 2010 to gain access to one of his victim's bank accounts, according to Orange County Grand Jury transcripts released Friday. Within a Costa Mesa police interview room Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 28, confessed that he killed Orange Coast College students Samuel Herr, 26, and Juri "Julie" Kibuishi, 23, according to the transcripts. "I'm crazy and I did it" were the first words Wozniak said, Det. Mike Delgadillo testified May 3 before the grand jury.
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ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | December 22, 2011
Local stage productions on both the community theater and collegiate levels proved impressive during 2011, with an imaginative musical and a pair of modern classic dramas leading the way. At the Costa Mesa Playhouse, the 1950s flavored musical "Forever Plaid," directed by Stephen Husley, proved to be the theater's most impressive offering of the year. The Newport Theatre Arts Center set the pace with a strong, involving revival of Arthur Miller's postwar drama "All My Sons," directed by David Colley.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | February 10, 2011
Community theater needs more visionaries like Michael Dale Brown, a director at the Costa Mesa Playhouse who's constantly searching for new and unusual plays with which to entertain his audiences. And if he can't find one, he'll write one ("Earthlings, Beware"). Brown's latest discovery is "The Book of Liz" by David and Amy Sedaris, a satirical romp focusing on one crucial element — a recipe for cheese balls. His Costa Mesa production not only entertains but informs — check out his creative "back story" of the show in the program.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Tom Titus | March 20, 2008
In his lifetime, which ended all too soon in 1992, prolific Orange County playwright Jack Sharkey was well acquainted with the local community theater scene, attending performances — and often even rehearsals — of his shows, written under a handful of pseudonyms. This experience served him well for “Play On,” a backstage comedy he wrote under the alias of Rick Abbott about a theater group tackling a mystery play written by a local author, who keeps changing her script right up to opening night.
NEWS
By Sue Thoensen | March 12, 2008
This corrects an earlier version of this story. When Norma Jean looks in the mirror, she no longer sees the face that got punched. The Costa Mesa actress and comedienne received a “10 Years Younger” makeover on the TLC cable program last year to erase the emotional scars of abuse. The episode airs Wednesday. But the pain inside will never heal, she said, and the eyes that got “double-lifted” still cry the same tears. It’s a fine line between tragedy and comedy, but what you do with your experiences are what define you, said Norma Jean, who goes by her first name.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Jessie Brunner | March 2, 2007
While briefly acting alongside Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" 12 years ago, Ryan Holihan may have inadvertently taken a lesson of sorts from the eccentric, low-budget film director Depp portrayed. Now serving as board president for the Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse, Holihan knows how to stretch a budget. The difference is that Holihan's dedicated to making quality theater available to the public — affordably. The nonprofit community theater relies on the commitment of board members and volunteers to make the four shows they produce each season possible, with their funding coming solely from ticket sales, fundraisers and donations from patrons.
ENTERTAINMENT
By TOM TITUS | December 22, 2006
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second in a series of four columns chronicling the year 2006 in local theater. Oldies definitely became goodies in local community theater during 2006, as two productions with their roots in the 1950s surged to the top rungs of the year-end ladder at the Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse and the Newport Theater Arts Center. The Civic Playhouse's revival of Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" was the most impressive local community production of the year, but right behind was Newport's musical romp, "Guys and Dolls."
ENTERTAINMENT
By TOM TITUS | December 9, 2005
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the second of four columns reviewing the year 2005 in local theater. Generally, in this column's year-end assessment of productions and performances at our two local community theaters, one show stands out above the others. This year there were two superb accomplishments, decidedly different but both meriting the honor of ranking No. 1 in our annual review. Both "Urinetown: The Musical" at the Costa Mesa Civic Playhouse and "The Little Foxes" at the Newport Theater Arts Center reached for the stars and grabbed quite a few. The musical satire and the vintage drama simply excelled in production quality and must share the blue ribbon for 2005.
NEWS
February 18, 2005
Tom Titus Those who have been involved in community theater or who have served in the military -- like your correspondent in each case -- should be particularly enamored of "Valentines From Vonnegut," two one-act plays being presented at Orange Coast College. Kurt Vonnegut's wry observances of these elements of life are chronicled in his playlets, "Who Am I This Time?" and "A Long Walk to Forever," selected by the college's Repertory Company for production in the Orange Coast College Studio Theater.
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