Underneath the Christmas tree for South Coast Repertory this year: $5 million.
The generous gift comes from Julianne and George Argyros, who have been leading supporters of the Orange County theater company since the 1970s. They have made major contributions to the Next Stage Campaign (which led to the naming of the Julianne Argyros Stage) and the Legacy Campaign to build the theater’s endowment.
Julianne Argyros, an honorary trustee who in 2013 served as honorary chairwoman of the Costa Mesa company’s 50th season gala, announced the gift Saturday during the matinee curtain call of “A Christmas Carol.” She and her husband have supported the annual production, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, as honorary producers for 13 consecutive years.
“South Coast Repertory’s magical holiday tradition is as near and dear to us as it is to the more than 600,000 people who have experienced it over the past 40 years,” Julianne Argyros said in a statement that referenced the actor who plays Scrooge. “The best way to pay tribute to Hal Landon Jr., and the other wonderful artists who have entertained us for all four decades, is to ensure that this incredible tradition continues.”
Part of the gift will go toward an entirely new production of “A Christmas Carol” for 2021. The money also also will strengthen the company’s “strategic capacity-building initiatives, which include increasing the endowment to support programming,” the company said.
“So much of our work over the years has benefited from their support and we are humbled by this extraordinary gift,” said Managing Director Paula Tomei said of the Argyroses. Added Artistic Director David Ivers: “‘Thanks’ does not begin to cover the gratitude we owe to them. It has been an honor to dream, plan and circle in the orbit of such selfless, giving people.”