Tuesday, June 13, 2006

An Insider's Guide to the Pasadena Playhouse

The average entertainment consumer these days has a very sophisticated knowledge of what they’re paying to see. Now that everybody has DVDs with hours of extra features on how they were made and documentaries of the creative process and artists at work, audiences have come to expect an “insider’s perspective” on the show being presented. The theatre has always had to pick up where the technology leaves off, but as any enthusiast will tell you: there is a great deal to be said of the emotional power of a live drama versus something on a screen. That’s why the “insider’s guide” to the Pasadena Playhouse isn’t on a disc, it’s right here for everyone to experience.

A tour of the Playhouse will bring you past what the typical patron sees: in addition to firsthand accounts of the glory days of the “Star Factory” and knowledgeable descriptions of the uniquely Californian architecture, tour guests can see our master artisans working on a set for the next show, hanging lights, or renovating the state-of-the-art new performance space on the Playhouse balcony.

No two tours are alike, and our new volunteer tour guides recruited from the Friends of the Pasadena Playhouse are happy to customize tours to particular interests: kids get an interactive experience similar to that of an actor showing up for a first rehearsal, architecture students are taught about the design of the National Landmark building and how engineers, preservationists, and artists are working together to design the new Carrie Hamilton Theatre. For the history buff, the theatre is packed with stories of productions Eugene O’Neill hailed as “extraordinarily impressive,” the famous Playhouse ghost, and one of the first television and radio stations on this side of the Mississippi.

Regular tours occur on the last Friday of every month at 10:30 in the morning. Others happen as per request. The average tour is 45 minutes long, though this often changes depending on group size. The best thing about them is that tours are FREE! For more information or to book a tour, contact Penn Genthner at (626) 792-8672 x214 or by email at pgenthner@pasadenaplayhouse.org.

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