I joined my sister and brother-in-law for an excellent production of Cyrano at the Sonoma County Repertory Theater (The Rep) in Sebastopol. It was a small cast production, starring husband and wife team of Keith Baker (Cyrano) and Allison Rae Baker (Roxanne and other roles), and Chad Yarish (Count de Guiche, Christian). As David Templeton wrote in the Bohemian, the original featured 75 actors and a great deal of scenery, but the Rep production pulled it off wonderfully with just the three and almost no props.

After the Sunday, Feb. 20th performance, the curtains come down for goodat the Rep. The news that our local theater company would close at the end of February was not entirely surprising, but very sad, nonetheless. We’ve had several season subscriptions in my extended family and faithfully attend nearly every show. Every single show has been professional and worthwhile. I’ve usually come away entertained; some shows have challenged my beliefs; many others have affected me deeply and emotionally.

Like many theater companies, the  Rep has seen corporate donations plummet over the past two years. Ticket sales have remained strong, but with tickets accounting for less than half the income, the company had been struggling to reduce costs and keep going. Then came the announcement in January of this year that they couldn’t make it any longer and their first show of the 2011 season, Cyrano, would be their last, although the summer Shakespeare program in Ives Park may still take place for this year.

Artistic director Scott D. Phillips urged the audience to celebrate 17 great years of theater, rather than lament the Rep’s demise. We all cheered, yet I hate to see it end. Professional theater only a 10 minute walk away? What could have been better?

 

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