MCT Presents The CZU Fire In Their Own Words
The CZU Fire In Their Own Words – Fighting Fires, Losing Homes, and Rebuilding Community is a new powerful and moving 90-minute film produced by Mountain Community Theater, created by Peter Gelblum.
In the spring of 2021, in response to the August 2020 CZU Fires, we interviewed people who fought the fires and people who lost their homes about their experiences, which many of us shared – evacuating, losing homes and possessions to the fire, and getting support from the community. Using only the words from those interviews, we created a script, cast actors to play the interviewees, and used both the characters’ family photographs and images donated by several generous local photographers to create this film. The film is a document of that extraordinary time and a gift from MCT to the community.
The film is now available online here. The reason we made the film was to raise funds for fire survivors (through the Community Foundation’s Fire Recovery Fund) and the local volunteer fire departments who saved the Valley. At the screenings, we asked for a donation of $10 per person, and raised almost $10,000. We ask that you continue that effort and make a donation by clicking on the Donate button at the top or on the right side of this page. After you enter the amount of the donation, you will get an option to write a note – please write CZU Fire film. Thank you in advance.
MCT Presents Ghost Light Theater
For the two pandemic shut-down years, MCT dealt with the sadness of not being able to present live performances by creating digital productions under the banner of MCT Presents Ghost Light Theater. In the theater, a “ghost light” is a light, often a single bulb on a stand, that illuminates the stage when the theater is dark, i.e., when no production is being presented. It can be simply between performances or when there is a more extended absence of productions. We thought it fitting for that time.
We created and presented a wide variety of dozens of productions. Now that our energy is focused on live productions again, we are not doing nearly as many Ghost Light shows, but will continue to produce them when someone has a great idea. You can see all of the GLT productions on this page or on our YouTube channel, @mctshows! Feel free to subscribe to our channel or to the Ghost Light Theater Playlist on our channel. We hope you will enjoy the growingly diverse potpourri of work we continue to create, and welcome requests and suggestions.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents A Tribute to Stephen Sondheim
Mountain Community Theater is proud to present a tribute to the great playwright Stephen Sondheim, who died at age 91 this past November. Rita Wadsworth narrates an overview of Stephen’s body of work, with seasoned MCT singers performing some of their favorite songs.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents Mountain Comedy Fun, Episode 3
What do you get when you bring a bunch of actors together who have been too long removed from performing on stage, due to a pandemic? Well, I mean, if you could bring them together, you’d get a raucous stage play in a theater. But right now, we hope to give you a few laughs in the comfort of your own home. This is our latest mix of original sketches, improv and delightful local musical talent. Give yourself a treat.
Here’s a link to Episode 2, in case you missed it: https://youtu.be/kH4WkU0d0JE
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents Mountain Comedy Fun, Episode 2
Alright, we did it again. Give a watch, if you need a good laugh. Crazy improv, original sketches, amazing local musical talent. Life is good, if you want it to be.
Here’s a link to Episode 1, in case you missed it: https://youtu.be/80dczhFurM4
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater and Elf Empire present The Last Question
MCT and Elf Empire present a zoom Reader’s Theater production of Isaac Asimov’s 1956 short story “The Last Question”. Come along with us on a 10 trillion-year journey, courtesy of Asimov’s awe-inspiring imagination, to explore the future of humanity, computers, and creation.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents Life in the Circus
In 1980, Mary Ann LoBalbo was hired by Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus to train and perform as an aerialist and dancer. Here are stories and reflections on her experience travelling the United States on a train with the circus for two years, told in films, photos, and poems.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents Mountain Comedy Fun
Need a fun distraction from your daily routine? Introducing… Mountain Comedy Theatrics! Enjoy this group of local actors as they bring you original comedic sketches and improv game hilarity. Each episode also includes a musical act.
KBCZ interview with Peter Gelbum
Listen to MCT’s President, Peter Gelblum, interviewed about Ghost Light Theater and MCT by Tina Davey on SLV’s own KBCZ! Listen here
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents Once Upon a Time Change
The time has come for change! Get ready everyone – Daylight Savings is drawing nigh. Sometime during the early hours of Sunday March 14th – time will jump forward one hour. How did Daylight Savings come about?
Join us as we visit the land of Old King Cole to learn how it developed in Once Upon A Time Change. The script, written by Rita Wadsworth and Carolyn Hyatt, reveals the story behind the story. The outstanding cast stars long-time MCT-ers Wendy Edmonds, Rita Wadsworth, Stephen Phillipps and Ward Willats. The behind-the-scenes magic was provided by irreplaceable Zoom Masters Mitch Plott and Ward Willats. The team loved putting together this fun show and are looking forward to working on more! Enjoy!
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents Desperado: The Real Story
Everyone’s heard the name Black Bart. But few know the real story behind this colorful character’s outlaw career. And even fewer are aware Charlie Boles (his real name–maybe) was a local boy, plying his trade from San Francisco to the gold country, successfully looting 27 stagecoaches without ever firing a shot or working with any gang members.
And he left poetry behind at a couple of his hold-ups!
Now, MCT’s Ghost Light Theater will show a retelling of the true story of Black Bart, as well as that of another local ne’er-do-well, the murderous Juan Soto. Both bandits were brought to justice by the same man: Harry Morse, Alameda County Sheriff and Wells Fargo Special Detective.
Harry’s story is in there too, along with some corrupt lawmen and rock-ribbed Wells Fargo Detectives. It’s quite a tale, and it’s streaming now.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater presents Love Our SLV Musical Tribute
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater is happy to present this special musical tribute to the San Lorenzo Valley produced by our own Scott Deal, featuring many of the amazing musicians who call the Valley home. The video, “Love Our SLV,” was made to help raise funds for the residents affected by the disastrous CZU Lightning Complex Fire, which destroyed over 900 homes in the summer of 2020. Contributions are still needed and can be made through the avenues presented in the video. Please help if you can.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater presents Santa’s Follies
This Holiday season, Ghost Light Theater presents Elf Empire’s “Santa’s Follies” – a fun-filled musical romp through the Land of Make Believe. Join Kitty Claus and her piano-playing friend Elfis along with several long-time friends at a MCT Holiday party. Santa can’t make it – he’s being audited by the IRS. Carolyn Hyatt and Rita Wadsworth wrote and produced the show many years ago for dinner theater performances. Since dinner theater is not presently possible, we took on the challenge of revising the script for virtual performances. We hope you enjoy it. Happy Holidays from Mountain Community Theater!
MCT Presents Miracle Marathon
Join us, starting now, for MCT’s “Miracle” Marathon! We’re posting videos of MCT’s beloved “Miracle on 34th Street” past productions, starting all the way back in 1987 and going all the way until 2018, our last production to hit the stage. Written for the stage by MCT members, “Miracle” sustains our wonderful company and is a San Lorenzo Valley beloved tradition!
Check out all the videos here.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents The Puzzle with the Piazza
Ghost Light Theater presents something much different for this piece: a full length, staged Zoom reading of a new play, The Puzzle with the Piazza, by Mark Dunn. This heartwarming script focuses in on characters Althea Witlin (Rita Wadsworth), a grandmother to all, who is facing a very serious life upheaval; Leif Morrell (Steve Allhoff) and Connie Morrell (Sarah Marsh), a young couple looking for a sense of purpose in their lives; Mattie Pleshette (Sasha Voight), a young woman recently out on her own, needing support, and Ina Gluck (Marj Young), the somewhat reserved sister of Althea, who finds herself warming to the ragtag team by the play’s end.
Althea, due to health issues, is looking to sell her home and move in with her sister. In meeting with Leif Morrell during a house showing, they descend to the basement of her home, and find her expansive puzzle collection. On a whim, they decide to open up the largest puzzle – a 3,000 piece behemoth featuring Venice’s illustrious canals – and soon, Mattie and Connie arrive to assist them in their gargantuan task: finishing assembling the puzzle before Althea has to be picked up by Ina.
A night spent in “Venice” changes everyone’s lives, and along the way surprising, heartwarming, and funny moments happen as the characters connect. Make sure you stick through to the end to catch the wonderful twist at the end of the play, as it is not to be missed. Life can be so stressful in these times. Join us in spending a “night in Venice” for an escape: a lovely, life affirming reading, one you will surely enjoy.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents Taking Flight
The next entry in our digital festival, Ghost Light Theater, is a flight of fancy from the imagination of Robin Lasser. Robin was recently seen in the cast of the MCT production Sordid Lives. Taking Flight is the story of two sisters. One sister helps the other one break out of jail and flies them both to safety in her small private airplane.
Robin Lasser plays the pilot, Hannah Eckstein the jailbird, and Patrick W. True is the relentless prison guard in hot pursuit. The getaway is sprinkled with happy surprises as the sisters make their way to Hollywood to seek fame and fortune. We invite you to take a plane ride with them as they escape into Tinsel Town to pursue their dreams. Buckle your seat belts!
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents Interview with the Artists: Calendar Girls
The next entry in our digital festival, Ghost Light Theater, is the second interview of a multi-part series introducing you to the directors and some of the artists who are creating next season’s plays. Our interviewer, Sue Ann Guildermann, will explore with these artists the challenges and expectations they face as they prepare to design, cast, rehearse, and present each play. During this interview, Sue Ann explores the issues involved in producing our second production next season, Calendar Girls, with the director, Hannah Eckstein, and two cast members, Sally Bookman and Shireen Doyle. The play by Tim Firth is based on the 2003 film starring Helen Mirren. Learn first-hand the challenges and rewards these artists face as they prepare for a production that is now a year away. Enjoy!
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents Love Is Not Enough, a Monologue by Ali Eppy
Ghost Light Theater presents the third monologue in Ali Eppy’s “Ali in Wonderland” monologue series, this one titled “Love is Not Enough“. In Ali’s words: “Love at first sight leads me to uproot from California and move to Detroit…with unforeseen consequences.” Ali and MCT send a heartfelt thank you to Joan Van Antwerp, Producer & Director, and to Alie Mac, Technical & Graphic Support. Ali Eppy is known for her performances with Mountain Community Theater, Santa Cruz Actors’ Theatre, Tandy Beal & Co., Van Antwerp Theatre Company, and Cabrillo College, among others.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents Shannon and Steve Present
You Gotta Have Heart!
Ghost Light Theater is proud to present our second musical entry! Shannon Marie Kerr (vocals) and Steve Abrams (piano) have been friends and musical collaborators at MCT and elsewhere for 35 years. You can feel their sweetness and fun, loving energy right through whatever screen you’re using. Join us for 20 minutes of wonderful, uplifting, heartfelt music, tailored to our crazy times – You’ve Gotta Have Heart.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents A Concert with Nicki Kerns
Another not-to-be-missed musical entry, this one from the Unsinkable Nikki Kerns! Nikki is a pianist and singer; she has been a musical director for MCT and had a featured role in 2019’s production of Mamma Mia! Here, she takes you on a journey through some of the musicals that MCT has produced over the years, with a joie de vivre and performance level that is sure to make you smile. Understanding that she completed this video after the fire forced her to evacuate her SLV home makes this show all the more remarkable and uplifting. Enjoy!
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents A Tribute to Sadako Sasaki
In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, MCT’s Ghost Light Theater presents A Tribute to Sadako Sasaki. Sadako Sasaki survived the bomb at age 2, only to succumb to radiation-related leukemia at age 12. She is known throughout Japan, and now you will know her, too.
For more information:
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents The Fairy Godmother
You think your job is tough? Listen in for a few minutes while a valiant, if slightly inept Fairy Godmother tries to do her best to keep her word to a friend by helping a young stranger solve a life crisis. This is not as easy as it might seem, even for a fairy godmother.
This play was originally written for the well known Santa Cruz Actor’s Theatre “8 Tens @ 8” competition by talented local playwright Carolyn Hyatt, but was too late to qualify for entry, so the FGM took things into her own hands and found a place to show her stuff.
Everyone involved in this production; Director Carolyn Hyatt, actors Rita Wadsworth and Olivia Johansen, and irreplaceable ZoomMaster Mitch Plott realized very soon in the process that Zoom was a very different experience in acting, directing and magic working. The team loved putting together this fun show and are looking forward to working on more! Enjoy!
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents You’ll be back, sung by Sarah Marsh
Ghost Light Theater continues with our first musical submission! In Fall 2019, we had our annual season subscriber party at Park Hall with live entertainment. Longtime MCT’er and local actor Sarah Marsh came out as King George III and sang “You’ll Be Back” from the very popular musical Hamilton. We enjoyed it so much and in honor of Hamilton recently being released on Disney+, we asked Sarah to re-create her performance! Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda. A very fun piece for your enjoyment!
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents The Maltese Falcon, a radio play
Our next entry in our Ghost Light Theater digital festival is something new in the never-ending, always-expanding cornucopia of work presented – a radio play! We’ve chosen a 1946 radio script from the series, “Academy Award” – the classic detective story based on the Dashiell Hammett book, The Maltese Falcon. The film was nominated for Best Picture in 1941, and the radio play starred some of the same actors: Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet, and Mary Astor.
Our production stars actors well-known to MCT audiences: Andrew Davids as Sam Spade, Jackson Wolffe as Kaspar Gutman, Tara McMilin as Brigid O’Shaughnessy, Davis Banta as Joel Cairo, Scott Kravitz as Wilmer Cook, and Steve Edmonds as the Announcer. We’ve added stills from the movie to set the scene, and period commercials for two local businesses that were here in 1946 and are still here today. The whole shebang was directed and produced by Peter Gelblum. Steve Edmonds handled the all-important sound, and Mitch Plott expertly wove in the various visual elements. Enjoy!
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents A Monologue with Susan Forrest
Have you been to the grocery store lately? Then check out the next video in the Ghost Light Theater series; a hilarious monologue from the play “Laughing Wild” by Christopher Durang, performed by longtime MCT and Santa Cruz actor and playwright Susan Forrest. An extremely relatable interlude for this new offering!
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents Interview with the Artists: Cuckoo’s Nest
The next entry in our digital festival, Ghost Light Theater, is the first interview of a four-part series introducing you to the directors and some of the artists who are creating next season’s plays. Our interviewer, Sue Ann Guildermann, will explore with these artists the challenges they face as they prepare to design, cast, rehearse, and present each play.
During this interview, Sue Ann explores the issues involved in producing our first production next season, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, with the director, Miguel Reyna, and the three principal actors, Kip Allert, Jennifer Galvin, and Avondina Wills. Learn first-hand the challenges and rewards the artists face as they work on their craft.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents Ali in LaLa Land
We continue our online Ghost Light Theater series with another great monologue from Ali Eppy with Ali in La La Land! Here’s what Ali has to say: “‘Ali in LaLa Land’ traces my 1970 move from New York to Los Angeles. While I may have missed the Summer of Love, I’m ready to embrace my ‘pseudo-hippie period!'”
Ali Eppy is known for her performances with Mountain Community Theater, Santa Cruz Actors’ Theatre, Tandy Beal & Co., Van Antwerp Theatre Company, and Cabrillo College, among others. “Ali in LaLa Land” is part of a series of memoir monologues from Ali in Wonderland—My Kaleidoscopic Life.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents The Christmas Meeting
Mountain Community Theater continues its on-line series Ghost Light Theater with The Christmas Meeting ; directed by Rita Wadsworth, one of MCT’s founders. The outstanding cast stars long-time MCT-er Marj Young, Sage Pell and Alison Gold. The behind-the-scenes magic was provided by Zoom Master Mitch Plott and Coaching Consultant Stephen Phillipps.
The story, adapted by Wadsworth from a short story by Rosemary Timperley presents a mysterious amalgamation of time travel, ghost story and a visit to the Twilight Zone. It portrays a meeting of two lonely people on Christmas Day in… 1851 …? Or … when? Ah, that’s the question. Perhaps you’ll know the answer after you’ve seen our story. It’s not as easy as it sounds.
Rosemary Timperley (1920-1988), who began her writing career in 1960, was a British author of over sixty novels and hundreds of short stories and feature articles. Among her most famous tales are the classic ghost stories “The Mistress in Black” (1969) and “Christmas Meeting” (1952). Her writing encompassed the fields of mystery, horror and suspense fiction and she won critical acclaim for her many novels.
For theater actors and techies, a Zoom play requires new skills and a new point-of-view. Cast and crew found it especially exciting to be pioneers in a brand-new format.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater Presents the Re-Air of Julius Caesar
Something different – but not exactly new – for our next entry in MCT Presents Ghost Light Theater: a full-length, multi-camera video of MCT’s 2018 production of William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, “Julius Caesar.” The production was directed by Santa Cruz County’s premiere Shakesepare expert and director, Bill Peters, and stars Peter Gelblum, Andrew Davids, Nat Robinson, David Leach, Robin Aronson, and a host of other MCT favorites. Philip Pearce of Monterey Bay Performing Arts called the production “powerfully innovative,” and said,”the violence explodes with plenty of blood and vigor, the noble reasons are served up with a restraint and immediacy that are unusual but compelling, and the dire effects spiral into an ending that is as dramatic as any I’ve seen in a lifetime of visits to this play.” The beautifully shot and edited video is by David Halper, who also appears in the production. Enjoy!
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater presents A Sense of Place
MCT’s digital festival, Ghost Light Theater, is proud to present A Sense of Place, a memoir monologue written and performed by Ali Eppy. Ali is known for her performances with MCT, Santa Cruz Actors’ Theatre, Tandy Beal & Company, Van Antwerp Theatre Company, and Cabrillo College, among others. A Sense of Place is the first in what will be a series of memoir monologues from Ali in Wonderland—My Kaleidoscopic Life.
MCT’s Ghost Light Theater presents Interview After Dark
Our first production for Ghost Light Theater is the 10-minute play, Interview After Dark, written by our own David Leach, who has been seen in many MCT shows, including just in the last two years, “The Cherry Orchard,” “Julius Caesar,” “Rapture, Blister, Burn,” and “Sordid Lives.” David also stars in the show, along with Peter Gelblum, MCT’s President, who has performed in many MCT shows, including “Julius Caesar,” and directed many more, including the recent productions of “Rapture, Blister, Burn,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” and “Other Desert Cities.”