Like countless other artistic institutions offering live entertainment, Boston Court Pasadena has endured months of shutdown and uncertainty. Yet the theater center, a mainstay on the Pasadena arts scene since 2003, is coming back strong with a successful fundraising drive and a dynamic slate of virtual programming for its fall 2020 season.
Boston Court just completed its Stages of Love fundraising series, meeting its goal of $50,000 with flying colors. That boost will help underwrite two solo plays: Blood/Sugar starring Diane Wyenn at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, and Kristina Wong for Public Office at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, along with an eclectic array of concerts by seven musical artists between Oct. 1 and Oct. 18.
In addition, the theater’s 16th annual New Play Readings Festival will be held Nov. 6-14; the fourth annual Emerging Artists Series is also going virtual. According to Artistic Director Jessica Kubzansky, the packed slate is a perfect response to the troubled times we’re living in.
“Boston Court has developed a series of online virtual programming, and both Blood/ Sugar and Kristina Wong for Public Office fall under Be the Change, which is our audience engagement series in which we present work that’s nimbly responsive to world events happening right now,” says Kubzansky.
“What’s so exciting about both of these shows is that they are live events. Both are responding to two immediate imperatives in the world–the health effects of the pandemic and the upcoming election—and they are rich, fully produced theatrical works. We’re delighted to share them because the experience is like attending a live, fully realized theater performance in the comfort of your living room.”
Blood/Sugar offers a dramatic ride through the roller coaster of diabetes, with tailored movement and projections offering a “hallucinogenic” look inside the experience of having the disease. Kubzansky notes that this feels particularly important to talk about right now, as diabetes is one of the underlying conditions that makes people most vulnerable to Covid-19.
Meanwhile, Wong is co-presented by Los Angeles Performance Practice, which promotes theatrical innovation; inspired by her real-life stint as an elected rep of her Koreatown neighborhood council, it’s an interactive, funny, raucous adventure in which comedian Kristina Wong beams out at you live from the fully designed “campaign headquarters” in her living room. Audience members interact with the candidate as they experience the hilarious and moving true story of the challenges of running for and holding public office.
“Given that voting is the single most important thing every single one of us can do for the future of our democracy, we feel compelled to share this dynamic, funny, powerful show with you,” says Kubzansky.
The eclectic music series features soprano Angel Riley singing in the Emerging Artists series at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2; and pianist Andrew Anderson in another Emerging Artists show, plus a conversation with his musical mentor Vicki Ray at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 4.
Also on the schedule are pianist Mark Robson paying tribute to Beethoven at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8, available through Wednesday, Oct. 14; baritone Justin Birchell in an Emerging Artists show 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 10; the Son Jarocho music band Los Cambalache, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, through Oct. 21; soprano Julia Metzler at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16; and pianist Yevgeniy Milyavskiy at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18.
The series continues with the saxophone quartet TC4 at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, through Wednesday, Oct. 28; The Salty Suites bluegrass band at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, through Nov. 4; violinist Patrick Galvin at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5, through Wednesday, Nov. 11; jazz and world music from composer/guitarist Greg Porée and his band at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 12, through Sunday, Nov. 18; and Hub New Music at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 19, through Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Tickets for the Fall Music Series concerts cost $10-$40 in a form of “pay what you can” ticketing. The Emerging Artist Series is completely free. To purchase/reserve for all performances, visit bostoncourtpasadena.org.