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Arts & Entertainment

Interview with Andrea and Aaron Morgan

From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 19

By Ben Miles

Andrea and Aaron Morgan are the artistic and managing directors of Long Beach’s newest theater company, Chrysalis Stage. The first production in their new hometown, mounted at The Expo Art Center, is Henrik Ibsen’s “Ghosts,” a hauntingly adult glimpse into 19th century mores. It continues through September 22.

Ben: What is it about theater that keeps you involved in the art form?

Aaron: Theater becomes a part of you. It’s as natural for us as breathing. Plus, theater’s a lifelong pursuit. As long as we’re inspired, we’ll continue to do it.

Andrea: The great stories…To follow stories. We can’t stop telling these stories.

Ben: How and when did you first realize that theater was your passion and calling?

Andrea: I was 14, and it was my first play. I played the mother, Amanda, in “The Glass Menagerie.” The audience applauded and I couldn’t get enough.

Aaron: I saw a staged production of (Edgar Allen) Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.” I was 10 or 11 and I’d never seen theater. I was amazed!

Ben: What’s the brief history of Chrysalis Stage?

Aaron: It was 2008, and we’d been working in theater, but we also needed real paying jobs. We’d talked about forming a theater for a longtime. Finally, we acquired a venue through Andrea’s connection at Fullerton High School. We also had a young daughter and wanted more control over our destiny.

Ben: What are your goals for Chrysalis Stage?

Andrea: We want to do great literary plays. We want to be leaders in bringing theater to people.

Ben: What are your production plans in terms of the next season or two?

Aaron: We have a bucket list of plays we’d enjoy doing – including Chekov, Williams, and Stoppard. We also want to produce new playwrights, as well as continue with staged readings, which we’ve done. Our aim is to produce three plays a season, and we’ve even thought of creating a Chrysalis Stage education wing. In the short term, we’re focusing on audience-building.

Ben: Why is Long Beach a good fit for Chrysalis?

Andrea: We’re now part of a group of Long Beach artists forming together. It feels right to be part of something bigger than yourself.

Aaron: We feel there is a niche opening in Long Beach. There’s Musical Theatre West, the International City Theatre; there’s an opening here. It’s good to have a space in this strong arts-supporting community.