The Performing Arts Theatre of the Handicapped, which has taught, encouraged and helped launch show business careers for disabled performers in San Diego since 1984, is finally getting some encouragement from the San Diego community.
After two years of running weekly workshops wherever PATH could beg or borrow the space, Takeshi Kinoshita, president of the La Costa Resort & Spa, has made available to the group a rent-free 2,000-square-foot building in the La Costa Plaza, a small shopping center owned by his family. Volunteers are now transforming the space into a 52-seat stage and office area complete with dressing, rehearsal and storage rooms. Robert H. Cole, PATH's board president and founder, said he believes his organization will be ready to move in by July.
PATH, which was founded in Los Angeles in 1979, recently won the 1991 Distinguished Service Award of the National Council on Communicative Disorders for its work in preparing disabled performers for careers in television and movies.
But, even as the all-volunteer group was attracting national recognition, support was slow in coming from the local community. Until now.
Now that it has a permanent home, PATH can get back to doing what it does best: showcasing performers who may use wheelchairs, who have sight or hearing loss, or any other form of disability. The next project for the group is a June 27 showcase at the CBS television studio in Los Angeles to be followed in mid-August by a variety comedy show to be staged in a tent outside Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas. Any money raised at Scripps will go for a rehabilitation pool for the hospital, Cole said.
"It's such a relief," Cole said. "It's been a struggle for us. We haven't been able to do what we wanted to do. We couldn't expand. This is going to help us help more people."
The Bowery Theatre has acquired the rights to present the professional San Diego premiere of Beth Henley's "Abundance." The show about mail-order brides braving the frontier is scheduled to run late September through mid-November if the season goes on as planned. Although the theater has nearly eliminated its $38,000 deficit, artistic director Ralph Elias says, it still needs to raise money for both the coming season and to pay salaries. Everyone working for the Bowery, including Elias, is off salary as of July 1, he said. The 1991-1992 Bowery season is also scheduled to include fresh installments of its popular "Laughing Buddha Wholistik Radio Theatre" in a December through January slot, as well as "The Puppetmaster of Lodz" and another unnamed show, with dates to be announced . The Bowery may also co-produce a play this summer, Elias said.
In theater, the attention to design usually begins and ends on stage. Backstage can be shambles as long as the show looks flawless. But the San Diego Chapter of the Institute of Business Designers plans to help the Old Globe look as good behind the scenes as it does out front. As its annual showcase Design Space Project for 1991, 12 of the institute's 60 San Diego County-based designers have volunteered to redo the administrative and artistic offices of the Old Globe Theatre, which are now being remodeled and are due for completion this fall. The designers will work with the Globe's scenic artists, carpenters, properties and costume shop artisans to design the gift shop, first-floor offices, educational, executive and artistic areas, and the marketing and development wing.
Mexico City-born performance artist Guillermo Gomez-Pena, who was named Tuesday as a recipient of a prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation award is currently, in his words, a "migrant performance artist, replicating the migratory patterns of my people." He divides his time between San Diego, Brooklyn and Mexico City, and, though he plans to perform again at the downtown Sushi Performance Gallery soon, a date has not been set. Available in the meantime, however, is the award-winning video of Gomez-Pena's performance "Border Brujo," which was shot at Sushi and produced by the gallery and San Diego-based Cinewest Productions. The 52-minute video, written and produced by Gomez-Pena and directed by Isaac Artenstein, with Lynn Shuette as executive producer, is available through Cinewest (437-8764) for $150.
PROGRAM NOTES: "The horror! the horror!" San Diego is going to be seeing more of that horror now that the San Diego Repertory Theatre has extended "The Rocky Horror Show" again--this time through July 14 at the Lyceum Stage. There are some cast changes: Damon Bryant has replaced Osayande Baruti as Riff Raff and Dana Pere is replacing Zaraawar Mistry as the narrator. Also, as of July 5, Valerie Fagan, one of the authors and performers in the Rep's last monster hit, "Six Women with Brain Death or Expiring Minds Want to Know," will take over for Michelle Murlin-Gardner as Janet. . . .