Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Aug 22nd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A New Jewel

AE_CastDOUBT_1Jewel Theatre Company takes over the Actors’ Theatre space
Julie James has some big shoes to fill. And we think she’ll do just fine. As the artistic director of Jewel Theatre Company, one of Santa Cruz’s only equity theater companies, James has decided to ratchet things up significantly with her constantly sold-out theater performances by securing Jewel a home base—the old Actors’ Theatre digs. Actors’ Theatre, a long-time Santa Cruz venue for plays created by the resident company at the time (Actors’ Theatre), and many other shows that have passed through its halls, has moved out of the building. The empty space paved the way for James and her company, Jewel, to take over as the resident company.

The big shoes are the memories that Actors’ Theatre leaves in that building on Center Street. There, the annual 8 10s @ 8 has happened (and will continue to as James is already in conversations to keep that event ongoing). In addition, Actors’ Theatre raised up a cadre of directors, producers, and actors in Santa Cruz, and offered classes, workshops, and much more throughout the years.

Passersby will see the name change on the signage, now converted to “Center Stage.” But audience goers need not fear that the local theater scene has wilted. Hardly. It’s still quite thriving with the aforementioned Actors’ Theatre still active, in addition to many other companies that are producing work in the area. But, currently, many eyes will be locked on who’s taking over the old Actors’ Theatre space. And that, theatergoers, is Julie James.

AE_JulieJames started her local company, Jewel Theatre, six years ago. Her own nickname is Jules and so the name connection was made—Julie, to Jules, to Jewel. From the start, James wanted to create a professional theater company (meaning one that has an equity contract) and she has done just that. And as the years have gone by, she has secured a strong theatrical niche in town, holding her own with plays like “Doubt,”  “Clouds,” and many others. “I think we’re doing something a little different,” says James of her company. She tends to choose productions that are backed by a strong playwright, with the majority of the selection being contemporary. Some classics and musicals make it into the mix, too. In fact, next on the Jewel Theatre plate is “Of Mice and Men.”

“This [move to the Actors’ Theatre space] came at the right time,” James says. “Subscription and ticket sales are growing, there was momentum and support. … So, we went for it. We are the resident company. We won’t be producing or sponsoring other companies’ productions, but they can rent the space.”

The new name obviously was quite ideal—the venue is located on Center Street; plus, companies that rent the space can then be distinguishable from Jewel Theatre.

In addition to Jewel renting the space to other theater companies, they welcome rentals to local businesses and organizations that might need a space to do a presentation or workshop. The entire Arts Center also has a restaurant, which is convenient for visitors. In addition, Jewel plans to offer various acting, singing, video and dance classes down the road. Visit jeweltheatre.net for more information and to stay posted on the upcoming class offerings.

As for what’s in store for this upcoming year at the new Center Stage, James is currently finalizing the lineup, but this much we know—in March her own company will make its debut performance in its new home with the production, “Of Mice and Men.”  The play runs March 11-19, with tickets selling for $22-$27.

The story, “Of Mice and Men,” is an iconic Steinbeck tale. “It’s the story of two men in the depression era who are laborers and work on ranches, and survive, just barely, by going from job to job,” James says. “Lennie is developmentally disabled and he can’t survive on his own. … George is compelled to take care of Lennie and make sure he is OK. … [Ultimately] the story is about how everybody wants to have connection and be validated as a human being. It’s about community connection, the human condition, and how we deal with it.”

The play will star local favorite actors Mike Ryan as George and Erik Gandolfi as Lennie, in addition to a full cast. It’s being directed by Bill Peters, with James as the artistic director. “Sometimes you pick a play and figure out who’s going to do it,” James says. “Sometimes you see people and think they’d be great for this play. That was the case when I was working with Mike and Eric in ‘Doubt.’ Erik directed and Mike was in it. It occurred to me, ‘Here’s George and Lennie.’ … And Bill, I wanted to bring him in. He’s wonderful. People love to work with Bill.”

Over the course of this year, Jewel plans to do four plays in their new home. And if things go as planned, this new theater space will indeed be a ‘jewel’ in our community.


Jewel Theatre Company now resides at 1001 Center St., in the new Center Stage (formerly Actors’ Theatre). For information or tickets to the upcoming “Of Mice and Men,” visit jeweltheatre.net or call 425-7506. “Of Mice and Men” runs March 11-19. Showtimes are at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets are $22-$27.50.
Comments (1)Add Comment
...
written by Geraldine Byrne, February 03, 2011
Please would you put my information on your audition list.
Thank you.
Geraldine Byrne

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Trending Now

Whether you live by the Vogue bible or choose to go into your day wearing what you slept in, odds are you wear clothes.

 

The Thought Form of Solution

It’s our last week of Leo before the sun enters Virgo (next Friday/Saturday). The planets this week make complex patterns and relationships (vibrational cadences and rhythms) with the outer planets, mainly Neptune—the planet that veils, obscures, protects and finally refines us. Neptune offers us entrance into a deeply spiritual sense of comfort and solace. Neptune is the personality ruler of Pisces (saviors of the world) and soul ruler of Cancer (world mother). “The fish goddesses who leapt from earth (Virgo) to water (Pisces) unitedly give birth to the Fish God (Christ, the Soul) who introduces the waters of life  (Neptune & Aquarius) into the ocean of substance (matter, mother bringing light to the world. Thus does Neptune work.” (Esoteric Astrology).

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Cultures Collide

No surprises, but lots to savor in foodie film ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

 

Foodie File: Kauboi

Japanese-Western themed unites sushi with whiskey and beefgrill

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Have Mercy!

Looking for a frisky summer wine at a reasonable price? Look no further than Mercy Vineyards’ 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($20). Richly textured “with an exotic flavor profile,” the wine reveals aromas of honeydew melon and honeysuckle, with anise appearing as a star attraction. Smidgeons of pineapple and honeycomb add a touch of sexiness to this well-balanced, easy-drinking wine, which pairs well with a variety of cuisine —especially ceviche, calamari and other not-too-heavy foods.