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'On The Way Up' : Youth Theater Thrives Throughout County

September 25, 1987|MARK CHALON SMITH

With more offerings than in past years and varied playbills at several houses, the condition of children's theater in Orange County appears to be robust.

As Diane Doyle, director of South Coast Repertory's influential Young Conservatory Players, puts it: "Everything is definitely on the way up."

Looking at last season and at what's planned for the near future, Doyle is impressed that many theaters will be presenting more sophisticated fare to families.

"I think the quality is improving," she said. "We're not just getting all puppets and mimes . . . we're getting plays and programs that challenge, too."

It's a trend Doyle hopes will continue because, as she puts it, "children's theater is not all fluff. Like adult theater, it can be entertaining as well as thought-provoking, educational and significant."

Here's a list of key productions in Orange County:

American Children's Theater "Sleeping Beauty," through Nov. 8; "A Miracle in Derrick, Texas," Nov. 21-Jan. 9; "The Brementown Musicians," Jan. 16-March 5. (Anaheim Cultural Arts Center, 931 N. Harbor Blvd. (714) 533-5495.)

Buena Park Children's Musical Theatre: "Annie," Dec. 10-13. (Buena Park High School Performing Arts Center, Magnolia and Academy streets, Buena Park, (714) 821-1010 or 821-1394.)

Cypress Civic Theatre Guild: "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," Nov. 27-29; "Beauty and the Beast," March 25-27. (5172 Orange Ave., Cypress, (714) 821-9500.)

Greater Los Angeles Children's Theatre: "Sound of Music," scheduled for January, with dates and an auditorium to be announced. (714) 847-7478.

Irvine Valley College's Theatrefaire for Children: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," Oct. 21-31. (Irvine High School Theater, 4321 Walnut Ave., Irvine, (714) 559-3333.)

La Habra Community Theatre : "Bye, Bye Birdie," Feb. 19-March 13; "Alice in Wonderland," July 21-Aug. 14. (Depot Playhouse, 311 S. Euclid Ave., La Habra, (714) 694-1011, Ext. 271.)

Laguna Moulton Playhouse: "Androcles and the Lion," Oct. 16-18; "Charlotte's Web," Dec. 4-13; "Hansel and Gretel," April 15-17; "Mother Hicks," April 22-24. (606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, (714) 494-0744.)

Lilliput Players: "The Frog Prince," "Aladdin" and "Merlin," all performed at irregular intervals at Orange County schools. (714) 731-2792.

Orange County Black Actors Theatre : "Back to Being Black," Feb. 14-21 (original work). (Santa Ana City Hall Annex Auditorium at Ross Street and Santa Ana Boulevard, Santa Ana, (714) 667-7090.)

Orange County Children's Theatre : "Holidaze," Nov. 27-Dec. 6. (Golden West College, 15744 Golden West St., Huntington Beach, (714) 895-8378.)

Orange County Variety Players: "Poor Little Matchboy," Nov. 13-25. (17th Street Auditorium, Hoover Street and Westminster Avenue, (714) 535-8682 or 775-8104.)

Saddleback College: "Holiday Presence" and "The Small Blue Hoping Stone," both productions run from Dec. 4-20. (Studio Theatre, 28000 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo, (714) 582-4656.)

South Coast Musical Theatre: "The Revenge of the Space Pandas," Feb. 18-28; "Oliver," July 8-31. (University High School, Culver and Campus drives, (714) 640-6306.)

South Coast Repertory Young Conservatory Players: "Tom Sawyer," Nov. 14-22; "Folk Tales From Faraway Places," April 9-17; "Charlotte's Web," June 25-July 3. (All productions performed at the Orange County Performing Arts Center's Black Box Theater, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 556-ARTS.)

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