Showtime: Getting out and Seeing a Live Performance Isn’t Just Fun – It can Provide Wellness

Healthy Living September 2022
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Being lucky enough to reside in Southern California, residents have access to an overfilled cornucopia of activities.

Among these is the opportunity to see live shows, with Los Angeles’ place at the center of the entertainment universe. Of course, over the last three years, that has been easier said than done. Throughout the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, playhouses have been shuttered, movie theaters empty, and even outdoor entertainment options cancelled or were extremely limited. While this may seem like more of an inconvenience than anything else, it may be surprising that diversions, however simple, can impact mental health.

Seniors uniquely face challenges with isolation, and the pandemic amplified those risks exponentially. Cooped up at home, facing health and technological barriers, Southern California senior populations faced mental health issues like loneliness, isolation and depression. The best medicine? Now that the world is offering some semblance of normalcy, get out and play! L.A. and Orange County theaters are open, safe, and ready to offer a break from the drudgery and malaise of the last three years. Gather old friends and catch a play, musical or concert - the therapeutic effect will be noticeable. Here are some fall offerings from three venerable Southern California theaters:

Segerstrom Center for the Arts
Orange County’s premier live venue opens fall with a bang: “Hamilton” brings its chartbusting, award-winning spectacle to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts main stage in early October, filling a need for any first-timers, second-timers or tenth timers who want to be front row center. But the programming is just getting going.

From Oct. 20-22, join pianist Claire Huangci for a performance of Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto, derided “impossible to play” by his contemporaries but now remembered as his seminal work. Then, the month of November is all about being transported, this time to Paris. Moulin Rouge: The Musical, winner of a Tony ten times over, comes to the Segerstrom Center for 24 shows during the month, including several matinees. With tickets starting at just $39, there’s no reason to miss it.

Pantages Theatre
At once recognizable as one of Hollywood’s landmarks, the nearly 100-year-old Pantages is a jewel of Tinseltown and a perfect place to see live theater. In fact, it’s the first stop for many Broadway touring productions hitting the West Coast. To that end, the hit musical “Jagged Little Pill” by Alanis Morrisette, fresh off the Broadway stage, headlines the Art Deco theater throughout October.

Then, beginning Oct. 25, see Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of the classic “To Kill a Mockingbird,” playing through Nov. 27. The Tony-Award-winning play, adapted from the classic novel by Harper Lee, is equally dramatic and prescient for our modern world. The adaptation stars Richard Thomas, known for playing John-boy Walton in “The Waltons,” as Atticus Finch.

Pasadena Playhouse
A member-supported playhouse that has featured the work of American and international heavyweights throughout its over-100-year history, Pasadena Playhouse continues its tradition of offering bold programming to Southern California audiences. In October, the theater presents “Sanctuary City” by Pulitzer Prize-winner Martina Majok. The contemporary drama hits on stories both universal and of our time - love, loss, identity, and what it means to be an American. Purchasing a membership entitles you to five shows in the 2022/23 season with premium seating and flexible scheduling.

-Alan LaGuardia