During the final week of each year, it’s everywhere. You can’t miss it. Local and national TV news channels replay the top stories, radio stations cover the biggest musical hits and countless families around the world send one of those newsy letters with their holiday cards detailing the past year’s highlights and noteworthy accomplishments.
Who are we to buck this age-old tradition? Besides, 2022 was an incredible year!
After almost two years of “intermission”, SLO REP celebrated our grand reopening in February with THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES. This nostalgic, fluffy and FUN jukebox musical was the perfect antidote for our pandemic-weary spirits and helped us kick-off our 2022 mini-season, and our 75th Anniversary, with style, flair and lots of laughter.
Also in February, the City of San Luis Obispo approved a $3.94 million challenge grant in support of our Capital Campaign for a new theatre in downtown SLO. This game-changing gift is inspiring other donors and ensures the timely completion of this exciting and important project. Stay tuned for more exciting news coming soon in January!
In March, we were thrilled to finally bring our production of EVERY BRILLIANT THING to the stage. Originally planned for March, 2020, the show was canceled due to the pandemic not just once, but three times, before finally making its way to our stage. This funny, poignant and powerful one-person play featured our own Kevin Harris in a tour de force performance that brought tears, laughter and thought-provoking insights about mental health to our audiences.
On March 31, 2022, SLO REP closed escrow on 3533 Empleo Street. The purchase of this building — formerly the home of People’s Self-Help Housing — is part of our two-site plan to build a new theatre in downtown SLO. The purchase marks the first time in our 76+ year history that this organization has owned property — our very own home. Our new Empleo Headquarters houses our administrative offices, costume shop, scenic construction shop, prop and set storage, much-needed rehearsal space and, most importantly, it is the beautiful new home of our ACT Education Program. This incredible space is an asset that will serve SLO REP’s needs and allow continuing expansion for decades to come.
In May, director Michael Brusasco and a brilliant cast and crew brought THE CHILDREN to 888 Morro Street. This was the first drama performed on our stage since DEATHTRAP in 2019. Featuring stellar performances by Tom Ammon, Suzy Newman and Karin Hendricks-Bolen, this production was truly mind-boggling. We will not soon forget this cutting-edge drama about the choices we make and what we owe to the next generation.
In June, we cut the ribbon on our brand new Empleo Street Headquarters and immediately launched our most ambitious schedule of ACT camps and classes ever. In the summer of 2022, ACT offered more summer camps than ever before in our history. Our enrollment has now more than doubled and we are expanding our offerings yet again in the spring of 2023.
Of course, all of these new students require many more dedicated teachers. Thanks to our friends at The Moca Foundation, we have greatly increased our ACT teaching staff to meet the needs of all those classes and new students. And thanks to the Janssen Youth & Youth Sports Fund, held at The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County and also thanks to Central Coast Funds for Children, we continue to offer generous tuition scholarships so that every child can participate in ACT regardless of their family’s financial situation.
Also in June, there was XANADU. The sheer joy and exuberance of this delightfully wacky musical made it a surefire hit for the season finale of our 75th Season. Roller skates, Greek muses, hilarious evil sisters and a finale with more sparkles, spangles and giant mirror balls than should ever be allowed on our stage again brought audiences to their feet again and again…and again. XANADU will live in our hearts forever.
Despite the challenges of pandemic shutdowns, mask and vaccine mandates and more, we finally made it to our 76th Season in July. And what better way to celebrate than with the hilarious ladies of STEEL MAGNOLIAS. This crowd-pleasing comedy with a generous and sentimental heart opened our 2023-2024 Season, our first full season in three years. As Truvy told us all: “Smile, it increases your face value.” This very special show brought many smiles and quite a few tears as well. Ya’ll come back now, ya heah?
Our Ubu’s Other Shoe Staged Reading Season kicked off in August with THE NICETIES and initiated an exciting partnership with R.A.C.E. Matters SLO as well. Our Ubu’s Other Shoe series of shows exists to offer actors, directors and audience members an opportunity to experience incredible plays that do not necessarily fit into our regular main stage season. These are challenging, cutting-edge plays that inspire new ideas and thought-provoking conversations. If you’ve never checked out an Ubu’s Other Shoe Staged Reading before, we encourage you to give it a shot. Our next show will be ESCAPED ALONE by Caryl Churchill running January 27-28, 2023.
Stampeding elephants! Raging typhoons! Runaway trains! AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS had it all and somehow did it all. This family-friendly, whirlwind of a show featured five actors portraying 39 characters traversing seven continents in less than two hours and ushered in our fall season with comedy, romance and the epic adventures of Phileas Fogg and friends.
And what can we possibly say about RED? Actors Billy Breed and Elliot Peters brought the art and philosophy of Mark Rothko brilliantly to life in this Tony Award winning show. A dynamic one-act exploration of the what, why, how and how much of great art challenged and enthralled audiences during its three week run in October.
This holiday season, for the first time in three long years, we marked the return of a family tradition to SLO REP. A CHRISTMAS STORY returned to our stage and pretty much SOLD OUT before the first weekend was over! The story of Ralphie and his quest for a genuine Red Ryder BB gun under the tree brought nostalgic smiles and joy-filled laughter to all who joined us, both onstage and in the audience.
Your generous support made all of this — and more! — possible. Every generous donation, every note of encouragement, every “like” and “share” on social media has meant the world to us. Thank you.
Your year-end donation now will continue to make a difference as we look forward to more great shows, more ACT camps and classes and more exciting progress in our campaign for the future of live theatre in downtown SLO. Just click the link below to make your donation and add your name to our list of generous supporters. Thank you so much for supporting live, local theatre at SLO REP.DONATE NOW
And just one more thing: we can’t let this year come to an end without saying a big THANK YOU to RyLo Media Design, Ryan C. Loyd for all the incredible photos this year and every year. We love you, Ryan!
Happy New Year everyone. We look forward to seeing you at the theatre again soon. Cheers to 2023!