It's a wrap for the Main Stage Theater

Valley College's Theater Arts department put on the Broadway musical revue, "All Together Now!" as the final production on the Main Stage Theater before it is demolished in June 2022.

By Annette M. Lesure, Staff Writer

Edie and Steffi, pictured in the front, drove from Alhambra on Nov. 14 to attend Valley College's first in-person musical since the school's reopening this semester. "It was an absolute joy," stated Edie. (Photo by Ava Rosate/ Valley Star)

After nearly two years of darkness, the sound of an old-school vacuum hummed on the opening night of “All Together Now!” as the hallways echoed with voices warming up for the final weekend performances in the Main Stage Theater.

The entire company presented a modern-day Black Lives Matter-inspired rendition of "Seize the Day" from "Newsies," a Broadway show inspired by actual events of an 1899 newsboy strike. Both performances included the ensemble as activists holding up picket signs that displayed words of protest.

Justin Perez brilliantly sang "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" from "Les Miserables," as his powerful tenor and baritone notes accompanied by a heartfelt performance brought the audience to tears.

Alumni, community members, staff and students filled the socially distanced theatre seats, as the nostalgia and ambiance of the old stage added to the bittersweetness of the final weekend.

"Knowing that this was a worldwide event made it feel even more important not only as a performer but as a supporter of the arts," said Valley theater and psychology major Chevy Knight. "I'm so jazzed to be working with such talented and diverse individuals. This show has brought so many people together."

Musical Theatre International's goal to bring artists and audiences back to the theater was a success for Valley on Nov. 12-14 as the audience filled with fans. The final participant count for MTI's "All Together Now!" included 40 countries and over 5,500 performances watched live and virtually by more than one million viewers.

MTI's gift to the theater world was the use of royalty-free music that allowed Valley's Theater Arts department to fundraise and charge fans $10.00 for admission to the show. The collection of funds from “All Together Now” is the first step toward recovering from the financial loss suffered last year. The MTI rules allowed companies to select 15 out of 36 music options to be portrayed in any creative variety as long as the lyrics remained the same.

"After three and a half semesters of 'zoom theater,' which was challenging for us since [we] like to be in the same room with you feeling your energy, we are thrilled that we could come back tonight," said Director Kathy Pyles as she addressed the audience on opening night. "Even with the obstacles we have in front of us, we are so happy to have a live audience and welcome all of you."

The Theater Arts department will hold a final spring performance in the Horseshoe Theater before the end of an era of the 60-year-old building that has housed artists up to 60 hours per week and brought much joy to the community.