THEATER NOTES : Missing Maynez : The founder of the Plaza Players is recovering from heart problems.


Michael Maynez, the founder and artistic director of the Plaza Players theatrical group, is recovering from surgery for an anginal attack suffered at his home early last Thursday.

"He's sitting up in a chair and talking and will probably spend a week or 10 days more in the hospital," said his nephew, Will Maynez of San Francisco. "He's coming on strong."

Michael Maynez, 68, was admitted to Ventura County General Hospital at 2 a.m. last Thursday and was soon transferred to the coronary care unit of Community Memorial Hospital for angioplastic surgery.

A sonogram taken Monday revealed that the damage to Maynez's heart was not as serious as originally believed, said the director's grandniece, Luz Kirkpatrick of Camarillo.

"My uncle's got a pretty strong will to live," she said.

Forty years ago, Maynez founded the Plaza Players, which currently operates in the Old Town Livery. He is the artistic director of the nonprofit Plaza Players Inc. and directs most of the company's productions as well as handling business, advertising and publicity and serving as house manager. Maynez is also a familiar figure who often walks or rides his bicycle around Ventura.

Of all Ventura County's community theater groups, the Plaza Players is consistently the most adventurous. This past season alone included Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Tom Stoppard's comedy of manners "The Real Thing" and Mark Medoff's gritty "When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder."

News of Maynez's illness prompted an outpouring of inquiries and good wishes, Will Maynez said. Calls from as far away as Paris clogged the Community Memorial switchboard.

"He's got love being shouted at him from all around the world," his nephew said.

Michael Maynez had recently returned from a lengthy vacation in Europe, where he visited friends and viewed local theatrical productions.

The Players' board of directors held an emergency meeting Friday night, President C.F. Segesman said. They arranged for veteran director June Dudley to take over the group's production of "Peacock Hill."

The play will open, as scheduled, on New Year's Eve for a run extending to February. Upcoming productions may be rescheduled to allow for Maynez's recovery.

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