SAN DIEGO — With the opening of its new Deane Theatre scheduled for late January, the Gaslamp Quarter Theatre Company announced its first two-theater season at a news conference last week.
Managing producer Kit Goldman also announced the signing of a Small Professional Theatre contract with the stage actors' union, Actors Equity, which will become effective in January. Under the Equity agreement, all casts in the 250-seat Deane Theatre and the company's original home, the 96-seat Gaslamp Quarter Theatre, will keep a 50% ratio between union and non-union performers, according to Gaslamp general manager Jim Strait.
For the first time in the company's history, actors will be paid for rehearsals, with salaries at a level Goldman, Strait and artistic director Will Simpson hope will allow local actors to make a living wage at the two theaters.
The Gaslamp is the sixth local theater to sign an agreement with Actors Equity, following the Old Globe Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Lawrence Welk Village Theatre and San Diego Civic Light Opera (Starlight).
Other announcements included the hiring of costumer Dianne Holly, who will design costumes for all productions in both theaters, and a planned co-producing arrangement with Chicago entertainment attorney Barry Witz.
The 1987 season will open at the Deane Theatre on Jan. 28 with W. Somerset Maugham's "The Circle," followed by Shelagh Delaney's "A Taste of Honey," Larry Shue's "The Foreigner" and Tom Stoppard's "The Real Thing."
This year Simpson will direct all plays scheduled in the new "picture frame house," as he described the proscenium-style theater designed by architect and Gaslamp stage designer Robert Earl.
"I want to go in quite slowly and build, find out what it's like out there for this kind of theater," Simpson said. He said he waited years for a real stage curtain that raises and lowers and he wasn't yet ready to give it up to guest directors.
The season in the smaller Gaslamp Quarter Theatre will open Feb. 18 with Oliver Hailey's "I Won't Dance," directed by Jean Hauser, followed by "The Play's the Thing" by Ferenc Molnar, "The Wonder Years: A Baby Boom Musical Revue" by David Levy, and "The Last Good Moment of Lilly Baker" by Russell Davis.