Mario Di Gregorio is a member of a big, happy family -- the Glendale
Centre Theatre family.
His appearance as Mayor Shinn in the theater's current production
of Meredith Willson's "The Music Man" marks his 100th play as an actor with the company.
"He has also directed at least 30 or 40 shows since 1961," said
Tim Dietlein, executive producer of the theater.
When it comes to performing community theater, Di Gregorio said,
few can compete.
"We have nice dressing rooms, the directors are good and we have
good plays," he said. "I've worked with other companies that have
good plays but the facility is a mess. You might be dressing in an
alley or a room with 50 other people."
The actors form longtime friendships as well, Di Gregorio added.
"The people are very pleasant -- they are like a family, and new
people are welcomed in with open arms," he said.
A lot of child actors who started their careers at Centre Theatre
have gone on to work in television and on the stage, he said.
Working as a director has also been a rewarding experience. Di
Gregorio has been involved in the process for choosing the plays for
its Glendale audiences, which means looking for material with no
swearing, smoking or drinking.
"Tim (Dietlein) likes to keep a family atmosphere, so we try to
keep material as clean as possible so the audience won't be nervous
about bringing their children," he said.
The production team pretty much agrees on the shows, and if things
need to be taken out, it is done without hurting the play.
A retired film editor, Di Gregorio now works full time in the
theater's costume shop during the day and performs in plays at night.
The costume shop has some 60,000 costumes to rent.
In "The Music Man," Di Gregorio joins Charlotte Carpenter in the
lead female role and her real-life husband Bill Lewis plays her love
"I'm playing the mayor -- it's such a wonderfully pompous role,"
he said. "The mayor believes he is in control of everything and he
isn't. He's the guy you love to hate."
"The Music Man" continues through July 12. Tickets range from $14
to $17. For reservations, call 244-8481. Glendale Centre Theatre is
at 324 N. Orange St., Glendale.
BANDS PLAY FOR MONTROSE BLOCK PARTY
The Turner Trio brings its brand of clean-edged bebop jazz to the
second annual Block Party from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday in the
Montrose Shopping Park in the 2300 block of Honolulu Avenue,
The group, led by local bassist Russ Turner, will have its debut
at the combined Hot Rod Show and family day sponsored by the Montrose
Fresh fruit and vegetables will be offered at the Montrose Harvest
Market. Sunday also marks the debut of the Thieves Market, offering
small antiques and collectibles, which will continue every Sunday.
The Dons and Donettes Square Dance Club will exhibit dance
demonstrations, and the Gremoli New Orleans Jazz Band will perform.
BIG BAND MUSIC CONTINUES AT MOOSE LODGE
The Bobby Perino Combo is continuing its series "Big Band Dancing
at the Moose" from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the Moose Lodge, 357
Guests can exhibit their ballroom and swing dancing skills to a
six-piece combo playing the standards from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Dance styles are East and West Coast swing, waltzes, foxtrots
and mixers. Latin dance styles include cha-cha, rumbas, mambos and
Admission is $6. For information, call 240-1505.
OPEN HOUSE AT CASA ADOBE DE SAN RAFAEL
Members of Glendale Beautiful are sponsoring an open house with
free tours from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Casa Adobe de San Rafael,
1330 Dorothy Drive, Glendale.
Glendale Beautiful members maintain the state historic landmark,
which was built in 1870 for Tomas Sanchez, the first sheriff of L.A.
County. The adobe contains period furnishings and historic artifacts
The Casa Adobe also will be open July 13, 20 and 27. For more
information, call 246-3634.
THEATRE BANSHEE PRODUCING 'RED NOSES'
The laughs continue over at the Gene Bua Theatre in Burbank with
Peter Barnes' "Red Noses" produced by Theatre Banshee.
Directed by Glendale resident Sean Branney, the play is known as
the funniest ever written about the Black Plague. It's the tale of a
priest who decides to fight the plague's suffering by becoming a
clown. He and his followers spread medieval mirth and merriment and
confront forces darker than the plague itself.
The company's last production, "The Weir," received awards last
year from the L.A. Drama Critics Circle, Backstage West, the Valley
Theatre League and received three L.A. Weekly Award nominations.
Show times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays
through July 13. The Gene Bua Theatre is at 3435 W. Magnolia Blvd.,
Burbank. Tickets are $15, and $12 for students, seniors and groups.
For reservations, 628-0688.
BURBANK ACTOR STARS IN 'MEET ME AT THE OAK'
Burbank actor Phil Hawn is starring in the play, "Meet Me at the
Oak," at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre in North Hollywood.
This is the inaugural production of The Los Angeles African
American Repertory Company, written and directed by award-winning
playwright, Layon Gray. Hawn plays Frank Beaudoin, the father of a
Caucasian family that moves into an all African American Louisiana
neighborhood in 1955. When his little girl falls from an old oak tree
in a neighbor's yard, the local law, on Frank's behalf, informs the
African American family that the tree must be chopped down. They
refuse because of the history of the tree -- many of their ancestors
were hanged from it.
Show times are 8 p.m. Saturdays and 7 p.m. Sundays. The play
continues through July 13. Tickets are $20 and can be reserved by
calling 761-0704. The theater is at 11006 Mag- nolia Blvd., North
COLONY'S 'THE NERD' IN FINAL WEEKEND
This is the final weekend of the Colony Theatre Company production
of Larry Shue's comedy "The Nerd," starring French Stewart from the
TV show "Third Rock from the Sun."
Directing the play is David Rose, who was also at the helm of the
Colony's "Fuddy Meers" and "The Man Who Came to Dinner."
The story is about a former GI who finally meets the guy who saved
his life. The man, however, turns out to be a bumbling oaf with no
social sense, little intelligence and less tact.
Show times are 8 tonight and 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range
from $29 to $35 with discounts for students and seniors. For
reservations, call 558-7000. The Colony makes its home at the Burbank
Center Stage, 555 N. Third St., Burbank.
TRANSFORMATION IS THEME OF FOLK TALES AT VICTORY
Three companies have merged their expertise on a magical theater
experience for the whole family titled "When Tigers Smoked Long
Pipes," continuing at 8 tonight at The Victory Theatre Center in
The collaboration is between The Victory Theatre, The Lodestone
Theatre Ensemble and The Orphans Theater Company.
Angela Kang of Orphans Theater Company wrote the play, which is
receiving its world premiere at The Victory. Robert Shinso, who is
Lodestone Theatre Ensemble's actor-director-technical expert, has
created the sets.
The production is a series of five Korean folk tales with the
common theme of transformation.
Show times are 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m.
Sundays through July 20. The Victory Theatre Center is at 3326 W.
Victory Blvd., Burbank. Tickets are $15, $13 for students, $11 each
for groups, and $5 for children accompanied by an adult. For
reservations, call 841-5421.
ALLIANCE REPERTORY PRESENTS 'HOSTAGE'
The Alliance Repertory Company is presenting "The Hostage,"
written by Brendan Behan, directed by Stephanie Shroyer and starring
A handsome British soldier is captured by the IRA in exchange for
the release of another IRA soldier condemned to be hanged the next
morning. He is taken to a rowdy house of ill repute and is introduced
to song, drink, dance and love by this hilarious group of bawdy
boarders. But it's only a matter of time before the world outside
catches up with the life inside.
Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7 p.m.
Sundays through July 27. Ticket prices are $20. For reservations,
call (800) 595-4849. The Alliance Theatre is at 3204 W. Magnolia
Blvd. in Burbank.
PENELOPE'S CAFE DISPLAYS PHOTOGRAPHY
Penelope's Cafe Books and Gallery is showing Jim Jordan's
landscape photography and George Cook's nature photography until July
Penelope's Cafe is at 1029 Foothill Blvd. La Canada Flintridge.
For information, call 790-4386.
SETSU DISPLAYS 'PORTRAITS AND PANORAMAS'
The Art of Japanese American artist Setsu is featured at the
Forest Lawn Museum in Forest Lawn, Glendale through Aug. 3.
"The Art of Setsu Portraits and Panoramas" represents the journey
one has on the path of life as well as experiences that touch the
lives of Los Angelenos each in a unique and personal way. Setsu
specializes in portraits capturing the story her subjects have to
tell and reflecting on her experiences as a Japanese American
citizen. All of her paintings bring together the influence she has
felt, from her background to the painting styles of Van Gogh and
The exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through Aug. 3.
Forest Lawn Museum is at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, 1712 S.
Glendale Ave. Admission is free. For more information, call (800)
204-3131, ext. 4545.
ARTISTS SHOW AT DESCANSO
Nature, seen through the eyes and in the works of four artists,
will adorn the walls of the Boddy House Gallery at Descanso Gardens
in La Canada Flintridge through July 31.
John Drake exhibits a collection of one-of-a-kind ceramics and
Chris Hogan shows gourds decorated with all-natural materials and
designs reflective of pre-pottery vessels used for centuries for
utility and ceremony.
Kendra Page, named the 2002 Artist of the Year by the Verdugo
Hills Art Assn., will exhibit oil paintings of the California
Patricia A. Wiley displays still life and florals in vibrant hues
Many artists who exhibit also bring reproductions, greeting cards,
boxes and other items featuring the images of the originals. All are
available for purchase.
The Boddy House Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and
accessible by footpath or, in the afternoons, by tram. Admission is
free with admission to the Gardens.
Descanso Gardens is at 1418 Descanso Drive, La Ca- nada
Flintridge. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Parking is free.
Admission fees are $5; $3 for seniors and students; $1 for children 5 to 12; and free for members and children 5 and younger. For more
information, call 949-4200.
ARMENIAN ARTISTS SHOW AT FOREST LAWN MUSEUM
"From Ararat to America," an unprecedented collection of art by
contemporary Armenian artists, is featured in a exhibit at Forest
Lawn Museum in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale.
The exhibit continues through July 13. Forest Lawn is at 1712 S.
Glendale Ave. For more information, call (323) 340-4561.
WOODTURNERS SHOW WORKS AT BRAND
The Glendale Woodturners Guild and the American Assn. of
Woodturners are combining in a wood-turning exhibit "Trees to
Treasures -- American Assn. of Woodturners Put a Lid on It" at Brand
Library Art Galleries in Glendale.
The exhibit ends today. Gallery hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Admission to
the galleries are free. Brand Art Galleries are in Brand Park at 1601
W. Mountain St., Glendale. For more information, call 548-2051.
A LITTLE JAZZ WITH DINNER
RESTAURANT OFFERS MUSIC FROM '20s, '30s, '40s
The Oceanview Bar and Grill offers live entertainment six nights a
week for diners.
Entertainers perform a combination of piano and jazz guitar
pieces, and some accompany with vocals. Selections include a mix of
music from the 1920s, '30s and '40s to opera to Celine Dion.
Jennifer Russell and Michael Gayle sing jazz while playing piano
and guitar from 7 to 10 tonight. Singing behind the piano the rest of
the week are Bill Howe on Monday; Travis Warren, Tuesday; Mary Ekler,
Wednesday; Alexandra Caselli, Thursday; and Bob Fetherolf, Friday.
The Oceanview Bar and Grill is at 3826 Ocean View Blvd. For more
information, call 248-2722.
* If you have press releases for the 48 Hours column, please call
JOYCE RUDOLPH at 637-3241 or e-mail joyce.rudolph@ latimes.com or fax
them to 241-1975.