Legendary Pasadena Theatre ‘A Noise Within’ Launches Bold 25th Season Themed ‘Beyond Our Wildest Dreams’

Published : Wednesday, April 20, 2016 | 5:57 AM

Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and her husband, Geoff Elliott, co-founders of A Noise Within Theatre, announced their 25th season at an event in their East Pasadena theatre Tuesday night.


“In 1991, we were struggling students, fresh from American Conservatory Theatre, and we used our last $3,000 to produce Hamlet,” said Julia Rodriguez-Elliott last night, recalling the chancy beginnings of Pasadena’s legendary A Noise Within Theatre she co-founded with her husband, Geoff Elliott now on the eve of its 25th season.

“It was a big success,” she continued, “and we learned a lot really quickly: that Los Angeles was filled with well-trained talent, that there was an audience that was hungry to see plays of substance, that there were people and resources willing to support the effort, and that was a press corps interested in writing about this work.”

A Noise Within is located in East Pasadena in a beautiful historical corporate property. Photo by Michael Gutstadt

Their company, concentrating on classic theatre works, grew quickly and only ten years later was making plans for a theatre of their own — a rare and wonderful thing given the finances of the small artistic enterprises in this day — which they opened in 2010 in East Pasadena.

Since then, the company has grown in every facet of its operation. Impressively, almost incredibly (given its growth), A Noise Within has never run a deficit in all of its 25 years.

Rodriguez-Elliott and Elliott together Tuesday night announced the upcoming 2016-2017 season’s theme is “Beyond Our Wildest Dreams,” which aptly sums up the story of their once-scrappy company, now a national theater fixture.

Tom Stoppard’s now-classic Arcadia will open the season on September 4. The 1993 work delves into the mysteries and the discoveries at Sidley Park, an English Country House. The play divides itself into the years 1809, 1812, and the present day, with universal themes that still ring true.

Jean Genet’s The Maids opens September 18. Based on the legendary 1933 case of the Papin sisters, who murdered their employer and her daughter, the play weaves a tale of sadomasochism, role-playing and abuse, which can only end badly.

The Imaginary Invalid by Moliére, takes the theatre season through the fall on October 9, with its story of the hypochondriac Argan, and his efforts to marry off his daughter to a doctor. The French farce still resonates in a world of high-priced medicine, and the eternal quest for love, no matter how wrong-headed.

The Holidays arrive on the heels of A Christmas Carol, the Charles Dickens’ classic, adapted by Geoff Elliot, which will open December 2, and which the company now performs every year. The annual production also comes complete with original music by composer Ego Plum.

William Shakespeare’s tale of madness, King Lear, opens February 12, 2017. The saga of power waning in a milieu of mental illness, is updated in this production to take place in a modern memory care facility, a setting which can speak as powerfully to audiences today, as Shakespeare’s original production did.

Ah, Wilderness! by Eugene O’Neill kicks off the spring season March 5, 2017. The play is the only comedy ever written by one of the 20th Century’s most powerful American playwrights. The wistful coming-of age tale reflects an easier era, as every look back in time, no matter what era, seems to.

The company’s second production of Man of La Mancha, will open March 26. Based on the tale of Don Quixote, the 1968 production by playwright Dale Wasserman, sets Quixote deep in a prison dungeon awaiting a trial, as he regales fellow inmates with fantastic tales based on his writings, dreams and desires.

Said Co-Producing Artistic Director Geoff Elliott, “Four of these plays are plays that speak loudly to us now from our history—The Imaginary Invalid, King Lear, Ah, Wilderness!, and Man of La Mancha. Arcadia and The Maids are new for us. “Together,” he said, “our actors, artists, and audience will take a journey through and beyond our wildest and sometimes simply wild dreams, the same journey Julia and I have taken over the past quarter century.”

A Noise Within is at 3352 East Foothill Boulevard, Pasadena 91107. (626) 356-6100. www.anoisewithin.org.