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Review:: On Theater: Plays galore at NTAC in July

The first NTAC Summer Readers’ Theater Festival includes stage readings of plays including Joe Montegna’s “Bleacher Bums,” Patrick Hamilton’s “Angel Street (Gaslight)” and Christopher Durang’s “The Actor’s Nightmare.”
(Photo courtesy of Newport Theatre Arts Center)

The Newport Theatre Arts Center will be a beehive of artistic activity for the next several weekends with two producing groups buzzing with seven different shows on the NTAC stage.

“How is that possible?” you may ask. Well, it does help that the shows — seven in total — are all staged readings, with the actors carrying their scripts and little attention given to technical details like scenery, props and costumes.

The producing entities are the first NTAC Summer Readers’ Theater Festival and the Orange County Playwrights Alliance. There’s no admission charge for either group, but donations will be accepted.

The events are already under way. The first attraction, “Angel Street” (the stage version of the movie “Gaslight”), by Patrick Hamilton played from June 29 to 30. Sharyn Case directed the thriller which featured Keith Bush, Michelle Miller-Day, Kristina Anderson, Bob Fetes and Kathleen Fischer.


On July 13, the OCPA players take over with a program of three original one-act plays: “Getting Another Chance” by John Franceschini (who also directs), “Faulty Memory” by Eric Eberwein, directed by Nakisa Aschtiani, and “Riding the Storm,” written and directed by Pattric Walker.

The shows are ticketed for Saturday only and curtain time is 2:30 p.m. OCPA is an outgrowth of South Coast Repertory’s playwriting workshop and has been active since 1995.

NTAC’s program continues July 20 and 21 with two one-act plays: “The Real Inspector Hound” by Tom Stoppard, directed by Brian Page, and Christopher Durang’s “The Actor’s Nightmare,” directed by Bill Paxson. Curtain times are 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Bush, Fetes, Anderson, Miller-Day and Fischer return for “Hound” and will be joined by Joseph Manville, Gordon Marhoefer and Peter Hilton. The “Nightmare” cast includes Mohammed Saman, Rick Reischman, Kip Hogan, Lisa J. Salas, Julia Kirkman and Jorge del Toro.


The festival winds up the first weekend of August with “Bleacher Bums” by Joe Montegna, directed by Floyd Harden, playing ball Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. and Aug. 4 at 2 p.m. Returnees for “Bums” are Saman and Fischer, to be joined by Lizzie Lance, Michael Kaye, Paul Pancoe, Philip Lance, Lauren Velasco and Scott M. Jacoby.

Additional information about the NTAC reader’s theater is available at (949) 631-0288 and For details about OCPA, call (714) 902-5716 or visit

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Tom Titus reviews local theater for TimesOC.

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