Sept. 07--The curtain has fallen on "Way, Way, Way Off Broadway."
The annual showcase of local theater and performance groups will not be held this year. This year would have been the 11th production.
"We went for 10 years, which, really, in the life of a community event, it's a long lifespan," said Paul DeMeritt, who co-directed the "Way, Way, Way Off Broadway" shows with Staci Johnson. "We have a bit of a track record (in this community) for events lasting about that long. The Prune Festival lasted about that long."
"Way, Way, Way Off Broadway" was a Broadway-style revue of local performance groups, such as The Acting Company in Yuba City, the FCS Players at Faith Christian School, the Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts, Jacque's Dance Expressions, the Borgamaria Lyric Opera and many others.
Held in November, each production was centered around a theme. Past themes included Elvis Presley, the Beatles, a USO tour, the "Schoolhouse Rock" series and Disney films.
DeMeritt cited a lack of volunteers as the main reason for the end of "Broadway."
"Events like these are primarily volunteer-driven," he said. "What happened was several people involved said they needed to take a breath and put their energies elsewhere. They said they wanted to cut back and take a rest.
"The more we looked at it, the more we thought that maybe it was time to give this thing a breather. We'll see in a year or two if maybe we can introduce it," DeMeritt said.
Last year's production was called "Favorite Things," and featured a tribute to Broadway musicals.
"As we ended our production (last year), we did 'So Long, Farewell' from 'The Sound of Music,' and we invited people to remember all the wonderful times we had with 'Way, Way, Way Off Broadway,'" DeMeritt said. "A lot of young Yuba-Sutter artists have had their debut (with 'Broadway'). A number have gone on to work in professional theater companies and study it more in college."
What hasn't been decided is the future of the Don Award. The award -- named for the late Don McCullough, who was a prolific supporter of the local arts scene and who helped start "Way, Way, Way Off Broadway" -- honors a person for his or her contributions to the local arts community.
"That's one question we debated, but didn't address," DeMeritt said. "We may have to give it out at a Rotary Club meeting or find another venue. There are certainly people in the community who are deserving."
The Rotary Club of Yuba City sponsored "Way, Way, Way Off Broadway."
"We've had a tremendous run, and we're all grateful for the experience," DeMeritt said. "We will never forget it."
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