“Starting something like this for the community triggers [the] creative side of me,” said Azcarate, who is the founder and artistic director of Altadena Music Theatre, which she launched last year.
While she is a real estate agent by profession, theatre production is not new to the Altadena resident, whose father and uncle are both into performing arts.
Azcarate grew up in San Diego. She began writing songs and performing in musicals at an early age.“I saw my uncle perform as Daddy Warbucks in Annie and that triggered it. I wanted to do it, too. My dad is also a musician. He plays guitar. And so he got me and my sister into music very young, where we would sit down and we’d write songs together and we’d sing. That combo is what got me to beg my parents to let me do a show very young, and then I didn’t stop.”
“It was always a part of my life. I was always in a show. I was always doing something to do with music and theater and the arts and dance and voice and acting. And it led me into a career of doing that.”
Her professional career as a performer started when she was 18. Later on, she moved to New York to pursue her career and train.
At one point in her career, Azcarate focused on songwriting and released singles and EPs under her maiden name Sarah Petrella.
It was in March 2020, the onset of the pandemic, when she moved to Altadena with her husband.
“While we were here we spent many times walking over to the Charles Farmsworth park, where this beautiful amphitheater exists. And that is the amphitheater that inspired me to create this theater company as a really big passion project for the community here, because I don’t think we have enough musical theater — even in Los Angeles.”
“And my goal is to create more of it and also find ways and programs where we can include our youth. So they have that same outlet that I have and hopefully it can inspire their own lives to get into the arts too.”
Azcarate said Altadena Music Theatre’s goal is to produce 3-4 musicals a year with at least one of them being a youth production.
Altadena Music Theatre kicks off its first-ever musical production “Hair” from Sept 1 to 4 at 8 p.m. at the Charles Farnsworth Amphitheater, said Azcarate, who will produce the show and play the character Sheila.
Azcarate believes that “Hair,” which tells the story of a group of politically active individuals fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War, is still relevant today and should be seen by the public.
“There’s a lot of fighting going on and not a lot of people listening to each other about what’s going on in the world and all these assumptions about people by the way they think, or the way they look. And I wanted it to be able to tell this story to connect in that way.”
Azcarate said the musical boasts an “incredibly talented cast” which includes Daniel Hartman who will play Claude, Steve Mazurek who will play Berger and Brandon Dubuisson who will play Hud.
“The whole evening should feel like you have walked back in time to the 60s,” she said.
The show will be directed by Oliver Azcarate, choreographed by Melissa Schade, with music direction by Chris Wade.
Azcarate expressed hopes that the community will support Altadena Music Theatre’s first musical production so it can continue to produce more shows in the future.
“If we get enough of the community to come out and support this we’ll be able to keep doing more shows and hopefully we’ll do multiple shows a year. And yeah, it’ll be something that would be really for the community.”
For more information on how to audition in Altadena Music Theatre and get tickets for upcoming shows visit: https://www.altadenamusictheatre.com or follow the non-profit on instagram/facebook @altadenamusictheatre.