San Jose Stage Company Celebrates Anniversaries with Benefit Performance

Thirty years down, and the San Jose Stage Company remains an institution with tentative roots. The nomadic off-Broadway company has performed at three different locations since its inception, but in more recent years The Stage has called the corner of South First Street and San Salvador home.

That could change in coming years, but The Stage has taken steps to not only dig in its heels at its current digs, but also tear down the building to build out a bigger space.

“The first thing is we need is to acquire the land,” says Jerry Strangis, president of The Stage’s board of directors. “We have an offer pending to the Successor Agency (to the Redevelopment Agency) and they’ll hopefully respond and we’ll come to terms on a purchase price.”

If successful, Strangis says, The Stage would then begin fundraising to pay for a redesigned theater by Barry Swenson Builder. The proposed structure would add significantly to the current theater’s 200-plus occupancy.

But despite small confines, The Stage has been ever-present, performing musicals, comedies, dramas and political roasts, such as the annual Monday Night Live! show, in which actors help elected officials try and get people to laugh at them—on purpose.

On Friday, June 21, The Stage has an especially auspicious occasion scheduled, as the company will put on a benefit performance to celebrate the 20th anniversary of MNL! and 30th anniversary for the company as a whole. The five-hour gala will start at 7pm inside the Silicon Valley Athletic Club’s Corinthian Grand Ballroom.

Organizers have combined the MNL! send-ups of local politicos (full disclosure: this writer had a hand in crafting some of the jokes) with past company performances, as well as the current show being performed, Reefer Madness: The Musical. City of San Jose planning director Joseph Horwedel will serve as master of ceremonies.

Actor/comedian and San Jose native Kevin Pollak was scheduled to close the show with a stand-up act, but a late cancellation has resulted in a slight change of schedule. San Francisco comedian Will Durst is expected to perform in his place.

“These things happen all the time in the world of theatre,” says Randall King, artistic director of The Stage. “We have plenty of good actors, skits, singers/musicians and comedians to take the stage for the 30th and the 20th.”

The party will include a cocktail reception, music and dancing in addition to the performances, with proceeds benefiting The Stage’s building fund. Ticket reservations can be purchased at http://www.thestage.org, or by calling the box office at 408.283.7142.

Josh Koehn is the managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to josh@metronews.com or follow him on Twitter at @Josh_Koehn.

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