If a resident is ever invited to the Theatre Palisades awards show, promptly cancel all other plans, and say “Yes.”
It starts with a happy hour – and everyone is happy that live theater is back.
After wine, drinks and a punch that was fruity and filled with rum, subscribers and performers made their way to Founders Oak Island and enjoyed a delicious catered feast under the historic oak trees.
A brief meeting in Pierson Playhouse, led by TP President Philip Bartolf, concluded with the treasurer’s report.
Unfortunately, because of Covid shutdowns, subscriptions and attendance were down, which impacted the theater’s revenue, which was in the red.
This only means that Pacific Palisades residents can come out in numbers to support the musical Nunsense which will open September 9. Actors performed one of the numbers at the awards show and it promises to be great fun—and there’s never enough fun in life.
A moment of silence was given for Eva Holberg, 91, who had passed away on Saturday.
“Without her efforts, and Cindie Wright-Banks, this building would not be in place,” Bartlof said, and noted that the family said there would not be a service. In lieu of flowers, patrons were told they could make a donation in Eva’s name to the theater.
But, “the show must go on” and it did in spectacular fashion.
Wright-Banks, who helped to raise funds so the theater could be built, was feted by singer Doug Green and Alexandra Banks. Wright-Banks had been in the hospital with a serious condition this past year and members were happy to see her on Sunday.
Wright-Banks presented the Lelah T. Pierson Award. “This award is not given out every year, and is given out rarely,” she said.
The recipient this year was Diane Grant Feltham who retired after 34 years of running the theater box office. “Diane embodies the kindness and the wonderfulness of the theater,” Wright-Banks said.
Grant and her husband were also given a lifetime membership award. “We’ve only given out six or so, since the theater opened,” Wright-Banks said.
Receiving “the show must go on award,” which is also not given every year was Laura Goldstein, who performed with kidney stones. She was also the recipient of the Cameo Actress award for her role in Harvey.
The person receiving the Cameo Actor award was Shahin Maghloubi for Wait Until Dark. Capturing the Lead Actress award was Vanessa White for the same play.
A Comedy of Tenors swept the awards, which went to Lead Actor Peter Miller, Featured Actor and Actress Dante Grego and Maria O’Connor, Supporting Actor and Actress Evan Valencia and Lara Preston. The show also won Direction for Sherman Wayne and Production for Martha Hunter.
Tenors won Lighting Design (Wayne) and Costume Design (Alta Abbott).
Joanne Reich won for graphic design and Wayne for set design for Prisoner of Second Avenue.
Subscribers were also allowed to vote on their favorite production—and A Comedy of Tenors won that award, as well.
But wait, the fun hadn’t even started, yet. The upcoming season was announced, and actors performed snippets from Other Desert Cities, Run for Your Wife, Dixie Swim Club, Towards Zero and the “Andrews Brothers.”
This editor almost fell out of her seat laughing as Peter Miller, Greg Abbott and Bill Wolfe, performed as the Andrew sisters/brothers, singing Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree.
But wait, there’s more. There was a raffle, organized by Haldis Toppel, and included $100 Hanks and Que Padre gift cards, two $25 Caffé Luxx, $102 “cold cash” (donated by Toppel), and two sets of season passes to the Theater.
If there were one criticism, it would be aimed at Pacific Palisades residents, who don’t know how lucky they are to have this dedicated group of thespians or how much fun they’re missing if they haven’t been to a show at this lovely little theater on Haverford.