City, CBCA grants help Clayton theater troupe stay on stage

City, CBCA grants help Clayton theater troupe stay on stage

City, CBCA grants help Clayton theater troupe stay on stage
Clayton Theatre Company takes a brand new look at some old favorites with Michael Wilson as the Phantom, Sheilah Morrison as Carol Channing, Kevin Coren as The Monkey, and Gina Yetner as the witch. (Photo by Brian Vandemark )

Columns Sally Hogarty Stage StruckCONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Sept. 16, 2022) — It’s been a long, difficult three years since Clayton Theatre Company produced live theater, and they are so glad it’s over.

The company’s last show before the pandemic was the musical “Young Frankenstein,” which closed Nov. 2, 2019.

“We were all set to do our spring murder mystery comedy show in March of 2020,” recalls managing director Roxanne Pardi. “I called our set designer and told him not to load in the set on March 13, and I remember him asking if I thought the pandemic would only last a few weeks.”

As we all know, that “few weeks” became years, and theater companies everywhere struggled to keep afloat. Fortunately, many succeeded – including Clayton Theatre.

“We are so thankful to the city of Clayton, which really helped us monetarily through Clayton CARES, a nonprofit relief grant program. We didn’t have any revenue coming in, but we still had expenses such as insurance, storage and other little things that add up,” Pardi says, noting that the two grants totaling $10,000 made all the difference.

The company also just received a $3,000 grant from the Clayton Business & Community Association (CBCA).

Forbidden Broadway

Clayton Theatre returns to live theater with “Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits” Oct. 14-29 at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. Pardi said they have enlarged the cast from the original four performers to 10.

“When we knew we could finally open, we wanted something fun. I feel we all need to laugh and escape into live theater for two hours,” says Pardi.

“The writer, Gerard Alessandrini, takes the lyrics to well-known songs and tweaks them to make them really funny,” she adds “It does cause some trouble for the cast, though. They know these songs so well, and now they have to relearn slightly different lyrics.”

The cast features Nathalie Archangel, James Bradley Jr., Kevin Coren, Teresa Grosserode, Russ Kladko, Terese McGregor, Sheilah Morrison, Linda Sciacqua, Michael Wilson and Gina Yetner.

Pardi directs and is the vocal coach for “Forbidden Broadway,” with Santiago Martinez as music director and LaTonya Watts as choreographer. For more information, visit

Patsy Cline

City, CBCA grants help Clayton theater troupe stay on stage
Cayman Ilika, left, confides in her biggest fan, played by Kate Jaeger, performing in ­Center Rep’s “Always … Patsy Cline” through Sept. 25 in Walnut Creek. (Photo by Alexandra Myer)

You still have time to catch Center Rep’s production of “Always … Patsy Cline,” which continues through Sept. 25 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr.

I’ve seen this heartwarming show, albeit with other performers, many times and never tire of its touching emotion, humor and, of course, toe-tapping tunes.

The show highlights the unlikely friendship between the legendary country star and one of her biggest fans, Louise Seger, a Texas housewife. Seger and Cline meet in a Texas honky-tonk and are soon trading letters full of happiness and heartache until Cline’s tragic death in an airplane crash at the age of 30.

Center Rep’s show features Cayman Ilika as Cline and Kate Jaeger as Seger. Call 925-943-SHOW or go to

Wait Until Dark

Eden Espinosa, who played Elphaba in “Wicked,” will appear in concert at the Orinda Theatre on Oct. 16. (Photo Courtesy of Eden Espinosa)

Plotline Theater Company, sponsored by Onstage Repertory Theater, presents Frederick Knott’s classic thriller “Wait Until Dark” Sept. 16-Oct. 2 at Martinez’s Campbell Theater, 636 Ward St. Randy Anger directs.

If you’ve never seen the play, you might remember the 1966 film version starring Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin. Lots of thrills and chills. For tickets, go to

The Live at the Orinda concert series begins with “Wicked” star Eden Espinosa on Oct. 16 at the Orinda Theatre. Espinosa played Elphaba on Broadway and in the San Francisco and Los Angeles productions. For tickets, go to

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Sally Hogarty
Sally Hogarty

Sally Hogarty is well known around the Bay Area as a newspaper columnist, theatre critic and working actress. She is the editor of the Orinda News. Send comments to