50 Seasons Ago:
1972 - 1973
Antigone: July 7 - 22, 1972
According to the Cupertino Courier, 'Antigone tells the story of a young lady who stands alone against authority and gives her life in defiance of arrogant power. The script used by the Sunnyvale Players is the version written by Jean Anouih, which was presented during the German occupation of Paris. It played with a swastika flying above the stage and the first three rows filled with Gestapo censors.'
Our show was Directed by Richard Oliver Harlen, with music played by April & Friends and flutist Janis McCarthy. The shows were performed at St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
The Palo Alto Times found fault with the production, writing 'The multimedia effects do little for the play. In fact, multimedia, in combination with rock music, is such a cliche today that it would take a genius to bring it off with any semblance of effectiveness. The raucous sounds of the band and the amateurish slide show detracted from, and in some cases completely overwhelmed, the drama. With the exception of the multimedia aspects of the play, Richard Harlen's direction was excellent, eliciting exceptional performances from the cast.'
M'Liss, My Western Miss: Oct 20 - Nov 4, 1972
From the Valley Journal: 'It's ludicrous frolic. The audience, seated at tables covered with red-checked cloths, sips beer, eats popcorn and generally does whatever he feels like doing...boos the villain, sighs for the heroine and cheers the hero. If it's your first time you may think it's completely awful, but what you must know is that it's just the way it's supposed to be. It's difficult to tell whether the audience or the actors are having the greatest time. It is fun and utterly carefree.'
Indeed, expenses included $33 for a license to sell beer.
Cinderella, Jr: Nov 17 - Dec 9, 1972
'Cinderella of Loreland' was produced by Virginia Hannum, chairman of the Junior Theater. Margaret Wozniak handled publicity. Ads mentioned that Santa Claus would visit each Saturday performance in December.
665 attended; it isn't clear how many got to see Santa as well.
An Italian Straw Hat: Mar 18 - Mar 25, 1973
Our first show in the new Sunnyvale Theater at 550 E. Remington Drive!
The story revolves around the predicament of a young man, Fadinard, whose horse eats a lady's Italian straw hat. Fadinand is compelled by the lady's escort to promise to fund another straw hat immediately, before her jealous husband discovers its loss.
The Palo Alto Times, once again, found the show faulty: "The Sunnyvale Community Players, under the direction of Don Neff, were obviously unaccustomed to their new theater. Most of Saturday evening's audience were invited guests who appeared to enjoy the awkwardness of what was happening on stage. It is questionable whether a more demanding audience would be so charitable. It is a fast-moving, entertainingly complicated and delightfully absurd comedy; some of the charm came through in the Sunnyvale production, but the overall impression was one of great lack of polish, even for opening night in a new theater."
Hansel and Gretel, Jr: Apr 14 - Apr 28, 1973
Not that much is in our archives for this one. It was directed by George M. Graves II, and the cast included Donald Whiting as Hansel and Mary Whiting as Gretel. 580 tickets were sold.
The Spiral Staircase: May 11 - May 20, 1973
The Sunnyvale SCRIBE wrote: 'The Spiral staircase is a spine-tingling mystery drama, based on David O. Selznick'ss film, a classic study in suspense and mounting terror." Our show was directed by by Don Neff.
But once again the Palo Alto Times was mostly unimpressed: "The Sunnyvale Community Players latest lackluster presentation is a who-dun-it called The Spiral Staircase. Perhaps the best feature of the play is its brevity - lasting an hour. About the time you begin to become interested, it's over. Not that the evening is entirely a waste of time - Phyllis Humphrey as old Mrs. Oates performs admirably as does Sandra Duveau, who plays the difficult part of a mute.'