Troupes look for a return to stage as restrictions ease

Troupes look for a return to stage as restrictions ease

Troupes look for a return to stage as restrictions ease
Hayley Finetti, left, Jesse Rodriguez and Wendy Rodriguez appeared in Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble’s 2018 production of “Man of La Mancha.” The troupe is now busy preparing for a full 2021-’22 season of live theater. (Chris Finetti photo)

Columns Sally Hogarty Stage StruckCONTRA COSTA COUNTY — As vaccination numbers increase and COVID cases decrease, theater companies can actually look ahead to a season of live theater.

Whether outside with social distancing or inside with limited capacity, there is finally a light at the end of a very dark tunnel for local art organizations.

Keeping that light burning bright is Brentwood’s Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble, which recently announced its 2021-22 season. It all begins with a joint production by three local groups of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.” Each group will sponsor the show for one weekend in a local outdoor space.

Pittsburg Community Theatre starts it off June 11-13 at Church of the Good Shepherd Spiritual Park in Pittsburg, followed by Pinole Community Players June 18-20 at Four Fools Winery in Rodeo. On June 25-27, Ghostlight sponsors the show at a venue to be announced in the Brentwood/Antioch area.

In October, Ghostlight continues its season with “12 Angry Jurors.” The adaptation of the 1954 teleplay “12 Angry Men” allows roles for men and women. The production takes place at El Campanil Theatre in Antioch. The total lunacy of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)” follows in January, with the venue to be announced.

Festival 10 returns in 2022

The second annual “Festival 10” returns March 25-27, 2022. The treasury of original 10-minute plays takes place at the Brentwood Community Center. The season closes with Ross and Adler’s Tony Award-winning musical “The Pajama Game.” Featuring Fosse choreography, a union conflict at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory and a battle of the sexes, this show claimed the award for Best Revival of a Musical. It runs July 29-Aug. 7, 2022, at the El Campanil.

For more info on the season, go to

Younger theater lovers are not forgotten as theater companies come back to life. In July, Ghostlight’s inaugural youth program will perform “The Wind in the Willows.” Auditions for the two-week summer program, for ages 7-15, take place in April or early May. Email for details.

Summer Camp in Clayton

Meanwhile, Clayton Theatre Company is busy putting finishing touches on this year’s Summer Camp for ages 6-16. The one-week session offers performing arts training with an emphasis on building technical skills and self-confidence and culminates with a performance.

Teachers Roxanne Pardi and LaTonya Watts will select the show tunes to be performed based on the ages of the camp participants. Each performer will also have a professional head shot taken and receive a personal resume.

Initially, only the first 18 campers will be accepted – with others put on a waiting list. “We hope new CDC and county guidelines will allow us to increase the number by this summer,” said Pardi.

Camp takes place 10 a.m.-1 p.m. July 12-15 from and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. July 16 at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. The showcase performance is set for July 16, with audience limited to parents plus two additional family members per student.
To sign up, go to

Like many small local arts organizations, Clayton Theatre has had a rough time this past year. Its major funding source was forced to shut down during COVID, putting the theater’s existence at risk. If you’d like to give a tax-deductible donation, go to the website and click on the Donate button.

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