Riverfront Playhouse Lowers the Curtain at Old Theater in Entertaining Fashion

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Riverfront Playhouse has scheduled one last fling before the theater company’s venerable old Enterprise location goes dark and the curtain rises on a downtown theater in the recently designated Redding Cultural District.

Riverfront’s final production at its East Cypress Avenue theater, a well-received staging of Dickens’s “Christmas Carol,” ended its run in late December. Next up is the whodunit comedy “Clue,” scheduled for a May 9 opening at the new 1950 California St. location.

Chris Gomez, an actor and member of Riverfront’s board of directors, said board members were not quite ready to say goodbye to the company’s 40-year-old home. “We’re trying to make sure people are able to associate and interact with our theater during the construction process,” Gomez said. “We thought we’d one last run of things to have some fun at the old theater.”

The fun starts Jan. 31 with a weekend of live radio theater in collaboration with Scratched Up Radio Theater (the troupe heard monthly on radio station KKRN-88.5 FM). Three plays by local playwrights will be read on stage, complete with sound effects.

Next up, beginning Feb. 7, will be Playwrights Night Out, a readers’ theater showcase of original scripts performed by local actors.

The converted commercial building on East Cypress Avenue, which has been Riverfront’s home for 38 years, is not surrendering its crown quietly.

To emphasize the point, the Redding Improv Players will make their final Enterprise appearance on Saturday, Feb. 15. The improvisational aces proclaim: “This is going to be big, as the players have something HUGE planned for Riverfront Playhouse’s FINAL performance on the stage at 1620 E. Cypress Ave. Be a part of something truly magical when we bid farewell to nearly 40 years of history as we embark on the adventure into our new theater in downtown Redding.”

Proceeds from the events and performances will help pay remodeling costs for the new theater.

And about that new theater: It will have seating for 153, dedicated areas for rehearsals and set-building, a reception area, storage for costumes and props, dressing rooms and a bar in the lobby.

Following “Clue,” the new season at the new theater continues with “Steel Magnolias” (July 11-Aug. 15); “Dracula” follows (Sept. 12-Oct. 17); and the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” rings in the holidays (Nov. 14-Dec. 19).

“We’re really getting excited and looking forward to stepping on stage and having a new venue. People are going to be really happy to have a bright new theater,” Gomez said. “But it’s still going to be an intimate setting.”

If you’re going:

All events at Riverfront Playhouse, 1620 E. Cypress Ave. Tickets are $12 and available by visiting www.riverfrontplayhouse.net

Live Radio Theatre

7:30 pm Jan. 31-Feb. 1; 2 pm Feb. 2

Playwrights Night Out

7:30 pm Feb. 7-8; 2 pm Feb. 9

Redding Improv Players

7:30 pm Feb. 15 (Tickets are $15)

A Night of Surprises: An evening of dinner, dancing, live music, raffles, a silent auction and surprise entertainment featuring Linda Bott and Lou White. Friday, Feb. 21 at Win-River Casino, doors at 6 pm, dinner at 7. Tickets are $45 with 8-seat sponsor tables available for $400.

Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.
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