October 18, 2005 > Broadway West goes for a perfect '10'
Broadway West goes for a perfect '10'
by Susana Nuñez
With Corpse! set to kick off this weekend, Broadway West is getting closer to reaching their 10th season, dazzling thespians of all ages. A company that has lived up to its bold name, it is among the most respected theatre companies in the area.
Formed by Paula Chenoweth and Rick Shapiro, the duo sought talented actors that could convey a variety of characters' emotions and fit a multitude of genres. They wanted each season to have something different, yet equally amazing, to offer. After a few years, Shapiro left the company, but Mary Galde stepped in to take his place and is currently part of the team. Chenoweth and Galde have a combined 40 years of experience that have allowed them to lead Broadway West through season after season of successful productions. Producing five full-length plays every year, as well as hosting other events such as mystery dinners and children's shows, next year the dedicated group will jump to six productions. The upcoming Corpse! will be the company's 45th production.
Chenoweth emphasizes that what makes Broadway West different from other theatre companies is that they strive to make guests feel at home when they come to the shows. The company provides free refreshments and even hosts two free Sunday brunches for every production, in addition to a tea-time during Sunday intermissions. For evening shows, they offer complimentary desserts and snacks; season ticket holders, however, are treated as guests of honor in their lounge area offering hors d'oeuvres.
Although the company is a for-profit business, it is not a profit-making theatre. While it does have over 400 season ticket holders, as well as 20 lifetime holders, the company only makes enough to keep running. "We're very proud of being the only independent theatre in the Tri-City area; we're a community theatre, but we're trying to present ourselves as a step above that," states Chenoweth. "We've always aimed for high quality and we get actors from all over the Bay Area to participate in our shows. We try to make it a great experience for them as well our audiences."
Broadway West will be celebrating their 10th anniversary in January 2006, with a new season of productions. Although the company will not be hosting a special anniversary event, it will be recognized during the group's Felix Awards in February. Similar to the Tony Awards, the Felix Awards honor the best actors and participants of the year.
The new season lineup is a mix of comedies, dramas and thrillers including:
Jan. 13 - Feb. 11
Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhry
A rich, sharp-tongued Jewish widow wrecks her car and then must depend on her chauffeur, an unemployed black man, Hoke, who she immediately dislikes but with whom she develops a very close relationship.
Feb. 15 - Feb. 25
Love Letters by A.R. Gurney
A bittersweet romantic comedy about a man and woman who grew up together and their letters exchanged over a lifetime.
March 17 - April 15
The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial by Herman Wouk
Based on the 1951 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, about the court martial of the lieutenant who commandeered the USS Caine during a potentially deadly storm.
May 19 - June 17
The Foreigner by Larry Shue
A hilarious modern comedy set in rural Georgia in a fishing lodge often visited by "Froggy" LeSeuer. On this one particular visit, Froggy brings a friend named Charlie who is afraid of conversation with strangers, so Froggy tells everyone that Charlie is from an exotic foreign country and speaks no English.
July 21 - Aug. 18
Harvey by Mary Chase
A charming, gentle period comedy about Elwood P. Dowd and his imaginary friend, Harvey, a six-and-a-half-foot rabbit.
Sept. 22 - Oct. 21
Accomplice by Rupert Holmes
A mind-bending, English thriller about a sex-starved wife and her lover who plan to murder her husband, but once the secret is discovered, the story twists and twists again and again. Try as you might, you'll never figure out how it ends. (Mature audiences only).
Nov.17 - Dec.16
Fully Committed by Becky Mode
An innovative holiday comedy about Sam, an out-of-work actor who mans the red-hot reservation line at Manhattan's number one restaurant. He has to deal with a cast of desperate callers amid his own needs to contend with his dad who wants him home for Christmas and a choice part he's up for at Lincoln Center. One actor portrays every character in this hilarious comedy.
Season tickets for Broadway West range from $70 to $100. The company is currently offering a $5 discount for Corpse! for those who are interested in purchasing a season ticket. The company has recently started selling lifetime tickets, but they will only be selling 50. If you are interested in purchasing a lifetime ticket, act quickly as 20 have already been sold. For more information, call (510) 683-9218. Broadway West Theatre is located at 4000-B Bay Street in Fremont. For information on upcoming productions, visit www.broadwaywest.org.