Catching up, By Artistic Director, Christian Lebano

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I haven’t written in the last few weeks – and I’ve missed speaking with you through this column. So much happens so quickly at the Playhouse that some of this will seem like old news.

We went to the Ovation Awards on January 17th with five nominations for 3 plays – and went home with our first TWO wins EVER! Stanton Kane Morales won Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance as Barfee’ in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and the set for my production of Deathtrap won Best Set Design (Intimate) for our very own Sierra Madre resident, John Vertrees and his assistant. Again, I’m struck by the irony of Stanton winning for a show that sold so badly – either because of bad marketing on our part or because of Summer conflicts. The Ovation voters named his performance the best supporting one of the year for ALL musicals in large or small theaters – and we had him on our stage and very few saw it. Ah well…..

The evening was wonderfully fun, but I have to admit that the BEST part was hearing from so many in the theatrical community how impressed they are at the growth of SMP. Loyal readers know how much work the small team of us put into the Playhouse – acknowledgement from our peers goes a long way.

I’m back on stage in Bee-luther-hatchee – I have a lot to say about acting again, but will save that for next week – and the show is going well. We’ve gotten some really wonderful reviews, but the show is not selling as well as I’d hoped, I’m so grateful that we got the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation grant or we’d face losing money on this one. The talkbacks after the shows (we have them every performance for this show) have been remarkable discussions about ethics and race. We have heard from many patrons that this is one of their favorite experiences at the Playhouse. I do hope you will come – we play until February 18.

For Bee-luther-hatchee we have created many outreach events and these have proved very popular and has gotten SMP out into the community – we’ve had events at Pasadena City College, Alatadena Community Center, Vroman’s, Monrovia History Museum, 2nd Baptist in Monrovia, and will soon be at the Jackie Robinson Center and the SM Public Library. We’ve made many new fans and spread the word about what we are doing to new audiences who weren’t familiar with us. This work was spearheaded by our own Diane Siegel and I’m so grateful to her.

Our free reading series continues in an expanded form in support of Bee-luther-hatchee with two plays that continue to explore some of its themes on the next two Mondays: A Lesson from Aloes by the South African, Athol Fugard and a new play Hubcap by local playwright David Lee Ray. Please come. We start at 7pm and these readings have proved to be very popular with our audiences.

And finally, we are now in rehearsal for A Wrinkle in Time the beloved classic by Madeleine L’Engel adapted by John Glore. I am having a blast directing this show and I can’t wait for you to see the surprises we have in store for you. We are using the Playhouse in ways it has never been used before.

This show opens March 10 & 11 (we have two casts) and I hope you will bring your kids and grandkids to see it. We are already booked for 18 school day performances! As always we do all of this for you – our faithful patrons. I look forward to seeing you from the stage and in your favorite seats, this time from a new vantage! For tickets please call Mary in the box office at

626.355.4318. Hope to see you soon!