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The Valley Line: First night brings 'Twelfth Night'

November 09, 2011|By Jane Napier Neely

I’m thrilled that it is feeling a little more like autumn. Even a mere hint from the weather people that we might have some rain made my spirits soar. I’m still looking for that first leaf that might be orange, yellow, or burgundy so I will believe that my favorite season might be here. You just never know here in SoCal what might be in store for us — one thing for certain, we won’t have snow.

These are busy autumn social times for the folks from our town. They flutter hither and thither to attend the many offerings of autumn fundraisers that pop up like mushrooms after a rain storm. Hmm, I can smell the wet earth now — I love that rich, earthy aroma.

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It was long-awaited, but the A Noise Within repertory theater company has finally come home. This revered company launched its milestone 2011-12 season and 20th anniversary with the opening of its new building in Pasadena. The gala event raised $121,000.

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The opening was the culmination of an aggressive capital campaign that raised $13.5 million — an amazing accomplishment in these tough economical times. The campaign was guided by Terry Kay, a La Cañadan who is president of A Noise Within’s board of directors.

The new theater will increase its audience capacity from 25,000 to 50,000 annually and its educational program will double to 20,000 the number of students served each year.

A Noise Within is ensconced in the historic former Stuart Pharmaceutical building on Foothill Boulevard near the Gold Line’s Sierra Madre Villa Metro parking structure. The intriguing mid-century modern building was designed by celebrated architect Edward Durell Stone, known for landmark buildings around the country, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and Radio City Music Hall in New York. The building was listed on the National Register in 1998 and is surrounded by a garden designed by Thomas Church.

Beaming with joy at the post-performance dinner were A Noise Within co-founders Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott. In fact, when Julia stepped out on the stage before the performance, the audience quickly came to their feet to give her a standing ovation. Her first words were, “Welcome home.”

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