Performing arts community bids sad farewell to one of its own

“Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” by the Orinda Starlight Village Players was the last production at the Orinda Amphitheatre before COVID. Now, the company is holding auditions for shows August through October.

Columns Sally Hogarty Stage StruckCONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA — In case you missed Pittsburg Community Theatre’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award winning musical “Company,” you can still catch it with either Pinole Community Players or Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble.

Thanks to a unique collaboration, the three groups have been able to offer the outside performance to their respective communities. Remaining shows take place June 18-20 at Four Fools Winery, 13 Pacific Ave., Rodeo ( and June 25-27 at Brentwood Community Center, 35 Oak St., Brentwood ( Seating arrangements and concessions will allow for social distancing, and masks are required.

If you’re looking to audition for a show performed in a theater before a live audience, Orinda Starlight Village Players will hold auditions beginning at 10 a.m. July 10.

Anita Viramontes and Ben Bell appear in “Company,” produced by Pittsburg Community Theatre in collaboration with Pinole Community Players and Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble. (Photo by Dianna Schepers)

The new readers theater will be performed outside at the Orinda Community Center Park Amphitheatre. Actors will be seen five at a time in 30-minute audition slots. A wide variety of ages are needed, including children and teens.

While each show will be costumed with sound and general lighting, there will not be sets and the show’s blocking will allow for social distancing. Shows begin in August and continue into October.

The plays include Moliere’s “Tartuffe” and either George Bernard Shaw’s “Saint Joan” or Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote” directed by Amy Cook; P.G. Wodehouse’s “Two Left Feet” and Edith Nesbit’s “The Town in the Library, the Library in the Town” directed by Eddie Peabody; Bill Chessman’s “Mini 10 Minute Play Festival” and George M. Cohan’s “Seven Keys to Baldpate” directed by Suzan Lorraine; Edgar Allan Poe’s “Triple Tryst of Terror” and “The Black Cat,” W.W. Jacobs’ “The Monkey’s Paw,” Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” and H.H. Monroe’s “The Open Window” directed by Malcolm Cowler. Peabody will also direct “A Familiar Visage,” which he wrote.

For an audition appointment, email

Kathy McCarty

Kathy McCarty, who died June 2, celebrated opening night of her original show “The Fitting Room” at the Campbell Theater. She is shown at far right, with Sheilah Morrison, left, Katrina Krassner and Jennifer Peabody.

The theater community lost one of its brightest stars on June 2, when journalist, playwright, director, educator, producer and performer Kathy McCarty died.

Kathy helmed this column, called On the Marquee under her byline, for more than a year before the effects of multiple sclerosis forced her to quit.

She packed a great deal of living into her 58 years. Galatean Players, Kathy’s theater company, produced more than 20 of her original works throughout the Bay Area – including her full-length musical “Rivets.”

This homage to the home-front soldiers of WW2 was performed on the SS Victory Red Oak at Rosie the Riveter National Park in Richmond. One of her original shows even made it to Off Broadway.

Kathy taught for many years at College Park High School in Pleasant Hill and most recently at Contra Costa College and Orinda Academy.

She tackled MS with the positive energy she used in all aspects of her life. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, primary central nervous system lymphoma, a year ago.

My heartfelt condolences go out to Kathy’s loving husband, Rich Schwab, and her family. A celebration of Kathy’s life is planned for later in the summer. Donations can be made in her name to the Campbell Theater (, where many of her shows were produced, or to the Animal Rescue Foundation (

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