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Community News

Playhouse Acts Out for 85th Anniversary

From Issue: Volume XXII - Number 9
5/2/2014


By Bill Owen

The Long Beach Playhouse will be celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, and will feature different activities to celebrate. The playhouse features plays and sets that are created in-house by local volunteers and amateur actors.

The Long Beach Playhouse opened its doors Feb. 18, 1929. The company moved to different locations until the late 1940s, including converted churches and warehouses. It finally moved to its current location near the intersection of Anaheim and PCH in 1951. A studio theater was added upstairs in the mid-60s.

Over the years, the appearance has not changed much, as the Art Deco style is liked by visitors and volunteers alike. The family-friendly style of popular theater has stayed its course, too, according to business and operations manager Madison Mooney.

In order to honor the anniversary, the playhouse will be holding a birthday gala Sept.13. The event will feature music and performances, as well as additional entertainment still being planned by staff.

The fourth Long Beach Playhouse Annual Radio Show will happen in June. Obviously shown over the air, this play will be created by and feature local celebrities, city council members, port officials and other prominent Long Beach residents.

Visitors can have their names put on a plaque on the donor wall outside the Playhouse for an $85 donation.

Recently, the playhouse has been reaching out to the community more. A few years ago, Artistic Director Andrew Vonderschmitt created a collaborative series that has been a hit with audiences.

In this series nonprofits can hold fundraisers in the form of shows on some Thursday and Sunday nights.

“During the dark months of the studio theater we have the collaborative series where we are able to partner with outside theater companies or individual artists who don’t have their own space. They are able to come here, put up their show for a few weeks and our audience gets to see a different type of show than what they would normally see here,” Mooney said.

The Long Beach Playhouse is located at 5021 E. Anaheim St. and can be reached at (562) 494-1014. Visit the website at www.lbplayhouse.org to stay up to date with plays, memberships and other events.

“Every weekend there’s something going on. We never seem to close,” Mooney said.

bill@longbeachcomber.com