Civic Arts Education's Youth Theatre Company presents the world premiere of "Legally Blonde Jr." at 7 p.m. June 28, and at 2 and 7 p.m. June 29, at the Del Valle Theatre in Walnut Creek.

Musical Theatre International's (MTI) Broadway Junior and iTheatrics selected the company for this honor.

"We've worked really hard for years at the Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta, and won numerous awards," says YTC producer Rachel Pergamet. "But to be chosen to do the world premiere is really an honor. We're still pinching ourselves."

MTI, one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies for both amateur and professional theaters, works directly with composers and writers to adapt classic and contemporary musicals into 70-minute editions for middle school-aged performers for its Broadway Junior collection.

YTC staff and 50 members of YTC's Junior Theatre and Teen Theatre have been working directly with Broadway Jr. and iTheatrics personnel for months to bring the pilot script to the stage.

To be one of the first audiences to see this new adaptation of the story of the perennially perky Elle Woods and her transformation from shopaholic to Harvard lawyer, call 925-943-SHOW (925-943-7469) or go to www.lesherartscenter.org.

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    Congratulations to Pittsburg Community Theatre. The 40-year-old company is basically experiencing a new beginning as they move to the newly renovated California Theatre.


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    Located at 351 Railroad Ave., the venue just underwent an $8 million renovation. Originally opened in 1920 as a movie theater, the building has been empty since 1954.

    The city of Pittsburg dedicated funds to renovate the space as a community performing arts venue as part of its downtown revitalization program. The restored theater -- complete with a replica of the 1920 marquee -- reopened in January 2013.

    Barbara Halperin, who will direct the company's production of "The Odd Couple," is looking forward to performing in the new space.

    Auditions will be held in July. For an audition appointment and further information about performance dates, email Halperin at bventana@earthlink.net.

    The move to the California Theater also marks the first time that Pittsburg Community Theatre has had to pay rent for its performance space. To sponsor a show or donate, go to www.pittsburgcommunitytheatre.org.

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    The Aurora Theatre takes on racism full force in Neil LaBute's latest play, "This Is How It Goes," running through July 21, in Berkeley.

    According to Aurora artistic director Tom Ross, LaBute is the "bad boy of contemporary theater" and he "has written this play to get under your skin and push some buttons."

    Looking around on opening night at my fellow audience members, I certainly did see some squirming around as racial epithets came flying out of various characters' mouths in this complex, thought-provoking drama.

    But just as quickly, you'd find yourself laughing and then a bit confused as the plot takes another turn.

    The story finds high school sweethearts Cody (a black man, superbly performed by Aldo Billingslea) and Belinda (a white woman sensitively portrayed by Carrie Paff) who married right out of high school and now have two children.

    Returning to town is Man (a white man, wonderfully performed by Gabriel Marin), who went to high school with the couple and has long had a crush on Woman.

    The tension in Cody and Woman's marriage is palpable, and when Man rents the couple's apartment over their garage, an affair seems eminent. But, LaBute adds in clever twists and turns that force the audience to question the nature of all relationships whether between the races or between a man and woman.

    Tom Ross deftly builds both the humor -- of which there is plenty -- and the tension between his three fine actors. Marin's character is also the "unreliable narrator" of the piece, making truth an elusive quality.

    While some of the language may be difficult to hear, LaBute certainly challenges his audiences to look at racism, the nature of relationships and the games we play.

    For tickets to "This Is How It Goes," call 510-843-4822 or go to www.auroratheatre.org.

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    If you're looking to brush up your acting skills, try Scott Fryer's scene study class scheduled from 7 to 10 p.m. Sundays, July 7—Aug. 25, at The ballet School, 1357 N. Main St., in Walnut Creek.

    The eight-week course will focus on characterization and a close reading of the text. Reservations are due by June 30. For more information, email Fryer at illinifight@gmail.com.

    Contact Sally Hogarty at sallyhogarty@gmail.com.

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