Named one of the "Ten Small Bay Area Theater Companies You Should Know" by the "San Jose Mercury News, Butterfield 8 will be changing its structure in order to continue bringing innovative work to Contra Costa County.
The company had taken over the lease at Cue Productions Live in Concord several years ago and struggled, like so many small companies, to make the rent each month and all the other expenses involved with running a theater.
In order to keep the company intact, Butterfield 8 will move from a season structure to a project-by-project format.
"This will allow us to really focus on one or two projects at a time and bring them to fulfillment without the pressure of keeping a roof over our head. This will also allow us to do more original works," says managing director Maureen Williams.
Original leaseholder Carole Davis, who also engineered and built the theater, has agreed to take over the lease with Butterfield 8 renting it as needed.
"We may also explore performing in other venues and in other cities, making our productions accessible to additional patrons who might not have been able to attend our shows," adds Williams.
The company will present George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" from Sept. 19—Oct. 13, directed by John Butterfield.
Shaw's barbed attack on the British class system features Donald L. Hardy as Henry Higgins, and Becky Potter as Eliza Doolittle, with Ali Arman, Deborah Black, Jake Breckinridge, Alan Cameron, Deborah Doyle, Gary Mutz, Bailie Simpson and Maureen-Theresa Williams.
Just in time for Halloween, a staged reading of Victorian horror stories titled "Gaslight and Ghost Stories" follows on Oct. 25-26. For more information and ticket reservations, call 800-838-3006 or go to www.b8company.com.
While Contra Costa County might be experiencing another year of below-average rainfall, it's nothing like the drought endured by the characters in N. Richard Nash's romantic comedy, "The Rainmaker."
Town Hall Theatre Company presents the 1930s saga of Lizzie Curry (Caitlin Evenson), her family and fellow residents of a Depression-era small town and their desperate need for rain.
Just when all seems lost, the mysterious Bill Starbuck (Joel Roster) comes upon the scene. But is he really a rainmaker or just another charlatan looking for a fast buck?
Directed by recently appointed artistic director Derrick Silva, the show runs Sept. 12-Oct. 5, at the company's historic Lafayette theater. Call 925-283-1557 or go online to www.townhalltheatre.com.
Orinda Starlight Village Players opened "Escape to Bedlam" this past weekend. The fantasy tale involves Edgar Allan Poe's visit to an insane asylum in search of ideas for his tales of mystery and the macabre. Of course, he finds much more than he expects.
Local playwright and actor Malcolm Cowler adapted Poe's short stories to create the play, which he says, "is not for the fainthearted." Performers include Kelly Hanson, Ken Sollazzo, Jill Gelster, Al Guaraglia and Ian "PJ" Williams as Edgar Allan Poe.
The show runs at 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 28, at the Orinda Community Park Amphitheater. There is a 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22 performance, and an 8 p.m. show Thursday, Sept. 26. There is no show Sept. 20.
For tickets, call 925-528-9225 or go to www.orsvp.org. Bring a receipt from an Orinda restaurant and receive two regular admissions for the price of one. Receipt must be for the night of the performance.
Those attending the opening night of O'Neill's "Anna Christie," a joint venture with Role Players Ensemble and the Eugene O'Neill Foundation, were surprised at how much humor the show contained, and even a hopeful ending. Definitely must be early O'Neill!
"Anna Christie" continues through Sept. 21, at the Village Theatre in Danville followed by O'Neill's original version of the Pulitzer Prize-winner "Chris Christophersen" from Sept. 26—29, at O'Neill's Danville home, Tao House.
Contact Sally Hogarty at email@example.com.