Saying 'so long' to A Noise Within

After 19 years and 135 productions, the curtain is going down on A Noise Within classical theater company in Glendale. Ready to move to its new home in Pasadena, the company staged a final production over the last weekend at its current home, the Masonic temple building on Brand Boulevard.

Following the Saturday night production, the Sunday matinee (June 5) began with founders and artistic directors Julia Rodriguez-Elliott and Geoff Elliott, greeting their audience of 110 fans and introducing a retrospective of vignettes featuring performances highlighting A Noise Within’s history.

The Elliotts reminded their audience that more than 25,000 people attended productions annually. The company draws more than 10,000 students to its education programs each year, and student tickets to matinee and evening performances are subsidized.

Classical theater aficionados who were determined to not miss the company’s last performance included Glendale residents Carol Sholer and husband Michael Sholer, a member of the company’s board of directors. Another member of the board of directors on hand was Barbara Goen. Louise and Jack Spillman have been attending A Noise Within productions for all 19 years. Jack Spillman is a past president of the theater’s board of directors. Tujunga residents Phyllis Shumberger and Martha Houk didn’t want to miss the final performance in this building.

Audience members came from further away for the retrospective. Claremont residents Maryann and Dwight Mitchell have been coming to the theater for 10 years. For the past three years, Dwight Mitchell has been driving elderly patrons to the theater.

Accompanying the performance vignettes representing each season were photo slide shows from past productions. Many of those black-and-white photographs were on sale after the show. Actors and audience members alike combed the bins for their favorite photos. Photographs of the theater’s early history were taken by James Moore, resident photographer. A champagne and dessert reception and accompanying silent auction ended the evening.

Proceeds will help fund the company’s move to Pasadena. Today’s “Hard Hat Sunday,” from 4 to 5 p.m., will take place at the theater’s new location at 3352 E. Foothill Blvd. There, the public can see the construction progress of the new theater and meet with the artistic directors and board members.

A Noise Within’s first production at the new location will begin in October — the play to be announced. It will mark the theater’s 20th anniversary and its inaugural Pasadena season.


Hair stylist Sue Steele is no shrinking violet. Having just reached 70 years old, she wasn’t going to wait for someone to hostess a birthday party for her. She threw one herself on May 29 and invited her guests to make donations to the Make a Wish Foundation in lieu of gifts. In fact, those guests who weren’t able to make the party donated $1,000 for “Make a Wish” so that ill children will be granted their special wishes.

The Glendale Masonic Lodge was the modest setting for this larger-than-life woman, who has successfully run her hair styling business for 40 years. A fixture in the Glendale, La Crescenta and Montrose areas, Steele has been single for 32 years. But she is hardly alone. She has made friends of her many clients, whose hair she has styled year after year. More than 100 of them from diverse locations showed up for the party. Carlsbad resident Ann Wetherby credits herself as Steele’s very first client. Wetherby says that with the help of Steele, she has gone through styles from French twist to a Mia Farrow cut. At the party, she wore a flattering short crop.

A little closer to home, Eleanor Spaziano from La Crescenta has also been a client for 15 years. When she first came to Steele’s shop, now located as Monet in La Cañada Flintridge, Steele didn’t want to cut her hair because she felt she “couldn’t do anything with it.” Evidently, Steele relented. Today, Eleanor sports a pixie cut in fashionable red.

Steele has been a “Reader Choice” as the News-Press Foothill’s “Best” for years 2004-2007. But what she does best is make friends. Dolores and John Bromberek were there, family members who never miss Steele’s birthday parties.

More than $4,000 was raised in donations for the Make a Wish Foundation.

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