SIMI VALLEY : Rita Moreno to Star at Arts Center Debut


It’s confirmed: Rita Moreno will sing, and tickets will cost $100 apiece for the gala black-tie opening shows at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center on Nov. 3 and 4.

David Ralphe, the theater’s operations manager, said that Moreno’s agent on Thursday agreed that the actress will perform two shows, one for each night of the opening.

The lofty ticket price--far higher than will be charged at later shows--was set Wednesday night by the Arts Center Commission to help raise money for the theater. The commission hopes to gather a $2-million endowment to help cover its future operations, Ralphe said.


The first evening will include a reception before the show, when the mayor and other dignitaries will dedicate the new theater. The second evening’s show will be followed by a reception for Moreno, Ralphe said.

Ralphe and the commission also have solidified much of the center’s first season.

The season will include symphony concerts by the Santa Susana Orchestra, three musicals by a local group called the Soap Box Players, a children’s theater festival and a film series with lectures by as-yet unnamed movie celebrities, Ralphe said.

The first season also will include a jazz concert series, a young artists’ concert series and ongoing art shows in the center’s gallery spaces.

Commission Chairwoman Peggy Sadler said the center expects to send out 500 invitations to the gala shows to benefactors and Simi Valley residents who have helped transform a decades-old Methodist church into a 291-seat theater and gallery.

But any of the 570 tickets not purchased by invitees will be sold to the public, she said.