Silver (stage) lining

I don’t usually attend opening night at community theaters, because I like to give amateur companies a chance to work out the kinks before I assign a Willie. Now, given the ever-deepening economic downturn (and its devastating effect on both funding for the arts and the discretionary income most of us use for entertainment), I’d expect to see half-full houses once the cast’s family and friends have seen the show.

Instead, I’ve seen near-full and standing-room-only crowds. The house was packed to the rafters for recent performances of Women’s Wit (Beyond the Proscenium Productions), The Hunt for LaSalada (Pink Toupee Collective), Frida Kahlo (California Stage) and The Last Resort Trailer Park (Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre). The latter two shows extended their runs.

I’ve also noted that these shows are not the same old, same old. It looks as if local audiences are rewarding the risky, the smart and the funny—no matter how slender wallets get—and that’s very good news indeed.