This editor can think of at least five individuals or groups that should have been honored by the town/community council but have not. Either they have been overlooked or people were unaware of the contributions made.
These people should still be acknowledged because – they are the Best of the Best.
Professional actress Martha Hunter is the glue that holds Theatre Palisades together. Although acting is her given profession, the number of hours that she volunteers at Pierson Playhouse is extraordinary.
She came to the theater in 2004 to perform in Inspecting Carol. “I had a fun small part at the very end,” she said, but then joined TP as a member.
Over the next 20 years, she has produced 50 plays, which includes the new romantic comedy Beau Jest that is opening on January 12.
Her compensation for producing plays at community theater, which includes overseeing all aspects of the production: auditions, rehearsals, set and lighting, and solving any problem that arises is – zero.
After becoming a member of the theater, she next joined the board of directors in 2005, where she initially helped with publicity. Then she was “promoted” to the chair of the social committee. In addition to organizing the opening parties for shows, planning and producing the awards dinner and show, she makes mulled wine for the annual Christmas Radio Show, which she also implemented 10 years ago. The Radio Show is a lovely holiday event that is free to Palisades residents.
In 2013, she started the Palisades Actors Troup (PAT), which allows local actors/community members the chance to read scenes and perform. When Covid hit, the members of PAT continued acting, via Zoom. Hunter was and is the driving force behind PAT.
Although she majored in theater, she went back to college and earned her bachelor’s degree in history after raising her children.
As a working actress, among her performances are the soap The Bold and the Beautiful, the film Benny Bliss and the Disciples of Greatness and more recently a 2023 episode of This Fool.
When not working, this Palisades resident “lives” at Pierson Playhouse. “I have learned a great deal working behind the scenes not only producing, but also stage managing, propping, costuming and set décor,” she said.
“It’s been almost 20 great years at Theatre Palisades where I found my ‘theatre home’ making wonderful friends along the way,” Hunter said.
“I just wish that more people in the Palisades and the neighboring communities would get to know our theatre,” she said. “They just might be surprised at what a gem we have right in our midst.”
The real gem is Hunter who volunteers, and not only helps keep theater alive in Pacific Palisades, but ensures the quality of the shows are amazing.
Hunter is the Best of the Best.