The Mayo Performing Arts Center straddles time. While one foot is planted in the old-fashioned charm of the1930s movie-palace golden age, the other is firmly in the tech-savvy modern day. Between is a stretch of history that saw the theatre fall into disrepair and then resurrect itself to its star-studded heyday thanks to volunteers. Since its 1994 rebirth, the center has welcomed everyone from the Kirov Orchestra of St. Petersburg to Ringo Starr and Aretha Franklin. But, if the Mayo Center were a tripod, its third foot would certainly reach toward the future?a suite of education studios is onsite to cultivate the next generation of performers.
In 2004?on a mission to bolster its community?s wellspring of creativity and education?the nonprofit Bergen Performing Arts Center took over the former John Harms Center, an art-deco-style movie and vaudeville palace built in 1922. Today, in the same antique theater where Frank Capra screened his first car chase, the venue hosts 150 yearly events that bring dance, music, and theatrical productions to an estimated 250,000 annual audience members. Networks such as HBO, PBS, and MTV all have filmed international broadcasts on the stage, which has seen the likes of Diana Krall, Heart, and ZZ Top.
Ranked among Ticketmaster's Top 25 Most Requested Family Events for five consecutive years, UniverSoul Circus grants an interactive spectacle of acrobatic stunts, dance, and comedy set to popular urban sounds. With its swirling lights and pulsing beats, the circus's resemblance to a blowout concert tour is no accident: production designer Tom Marzullo has created internationally touring stage shows for Justin Bieber, Jay-Z, and Prince.
As hosts, a troupe of improv comics slip laughs in between the gasps and draw the crowd even closer into the action. Meanwhile, the production makes jaws drop farther with trained elephants, illusions featuring a live tiger, a head-balancing act from Vietnam, and female contortionists from Ethiopia. These make up just a few of the globally sourced performers, others of whom hail from locales as diverse as Colombia, South Africa, Russia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Broadway Theatricals' aim is to bring the scale and professionalism of the Great White Way to the Southern California community via hard-hitting musical numbers and incredibly elaborate production designs. The group estimates that its musicals and straight plays draw a consistent crowd of about 6,000, only a few of whom are ghosts that live in the theater’s basement. Numerous professional actors and musicians have passed through the sets of the company’s trademark crowd-pleasers since the company's 2011 inception.