Pasadena Playhouse announces first new production in months

A neon sign for the Pasadena Playhouse
A neon sign for the Pasadena Playhouse
Thomas Hawk/Flickr (cc by-nc)

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The Pasadena Playhouse has announced plans for its stage this winter, almost a year after it lowered the curtains. The theater plans to present other companies’ shows — and one of its own — as it emerges from bankruptcy protection.

More than 80 years ago, California designated the Pasadena Playhouse its State Theater. But that didn’t translate into sustained support. Diminishing foundation, corporate and subscriber income contributed to a debt that exceeded $2 million.

Since the theater’s board canceled this season’s remaining productions in January, it’s opened the house only occasionally for performances by the Lyric Opera of Los Angeles and other arts organizations.

Artistic director Sheldon Epps said that will continue in December with holiday productions of “The Nutcracker” by the Pasadena Dance Theatre and “Amahl and the Night Visitors” by the Intimate Opera Company.”

In January, the Pasadena Playhouse plans to present the new musical “Dangerous Beauty.” Earlier this month — after anonymous donors pledged $1 million and the playhouse promised to raise another $1 million — a judge approved the theater’s financial reorganization plan.