Magazine article American Theatre

Back to Life, Dangerously

Magazine article American Theatre

Back to Life, Dangerously

Article excerpt

IN THE WEEKS AFTER CHRONIC financial problems caused the shuttering of California's historic Pasadena Playhouse in early 2010, artistic director Sheldon Epps would visit the empty auditorium and sit alone, the room illuminated by a single ghost light.

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"I used to sit in the theatre and try to will it back into existence," says Epps, its leader since 1997. He quickly adds, "I wouldn't sit there 24 hours; most of the time I was doing things at the office that would contribute to the theatre's reopening."

The musical Dangerous Beauty--which will bring the Playhouse back to life in grand style Feb. 1-27-is a project that has required just that brand of willpower and persistence. Co-producers Susan Dietz and Tara Smith have spent 10 years bringing this adaptation of a 1998 film to the stage. Set in 16th-century Venice, it tells the story of Veronica Franco (Jenny Powers), who, spurned by the family of the man she loves, becomes a courtesan and rises through the Venetian social ranks. …

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