After 70 years of showing a conservative face to the public, The Long Beach Playhouse -- home to one of the oldest community theatres in the country -- has had a makeover.
Its theatre now sports a new art deco facade with white and gold drama masks topped by a lyre over an entryway flanked by red stucco draperies which soar to the top of the two-story building. Framing the entry are handcrafted, white wrought-iron gates which lead to an art gallery and theatre lobby. A black, gold and red neon sign extends over the pavement to insure that the Playhouse won't be missed, as does a brightly-lit marquee which advertises current offerings in the Mainstage and Studio theatres.
Joseph Musil, a specialist in art deco theatre design, created the concept for the new facade. Musil served as art director and theatre consultant for Disney and Pacific Theatre's award-winning restoration of the historic El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.
Presently running at LBP are two plays: The Ladies of the Camellias, Lillian Garrett-Groag's satire on turn-of-the-century theatre, and Key for Two, Mark Chapman and Dave Freeman's sex farce about a kept woman canny enough to be kept by two different men.
Long Beach Playhouse is located at 5021 E. Anaheim St. For tickets and information call (562) 494-1616 or visit http:www.longbeachplayhouse.com. -- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent