Although the "OBT Thespians" group have only been on throne since 1994, the actual Theater (On Broadway Theater) pre-dates that by some 30 plus years.
In 1979 the area's first silent movie & intimate live theater, the On Broadway Film Society, and the Dolphin Players theatrical troupe, began and took shape in the careful hands of Larry & Tosca Means, Kit Lewis, Randy Ullom, Ross Klooster, and Betty Bingham. Showing old classic films, they ran the gamut from Laurel & Hardy to Ingmar Bergman, from John Wayne to Buster Keaton. Perhaps most memorable were the Silent Movie audiences who were treated to the wonderful live musical accompaniments of the late Don Loftus. In addition to old movie classics, On Broadway also dabbled in live entertainment sprinkled inbetween films, ranging from talented musical guests (solo guitarists, folksingers, local choirs and Dixieland Bands) to theater improv, poetry readings, belly dancing, pantomine, and even full blown musicals. It was a time of wonderful local talent showcases!
Then slowly over the years, one by one the core members left to pursue other venues, leaving Tosca Means to trade in those old classic movie projectors for the power of the small intimate stage. Thus the On Broadway Theater sprouted wings and lined its nest. Whether drama or comedy, musicals or children's theater, the quality & scope of this small stage to be able to reach its audience has been nothing short of phenonemal. Perhaps one of the many reasons why OBT was approached in 1999 about hosting acting classes for the Alternative Youth Activity (youth at risk) programs, funded by the Oregon Arts Commission.
OBT has seen its share of in-house Theater core groups stream through its lobby the past few years, beginning with the Dolphin Players, then PACT (Playwrights American Conservatory Theater), and eventually the On Broadway Thespians core group.
In the Fall of 2006, the building that housed the On Broadway Thespians changed hands and thus the group ultimately lost it's lease and had to face the prospect of relocation. The first move was across the street to the old Egyptian Theatre movie house that had been vacant for some time until another group (ETPA or Egyptian Theatre Preservation Assoc) got involved. The idea was to renovate and turn an old historic building worth saving into a productive performing arts center for the entire community. Inviting the On Broadway Thespians to relocate there as the first Live Theatre resident group seemed like a natural fit, as was wanting to show old classic films (movies). In addition, ETPA wanted to also offer a myraid of other performing arts such as music, dance, and other local events.
Five OBT productions were staged there, but ultimately the lack of green room (dressing rooms) and prop storage areas in addition to set lighting proved problematic, and so the theater group started looking elsewhere for more permanent digs. Sadly, the Egyptian would end up with their own building renovation woes just three years later.
In 2008, OBT added a second venue to their new nomadic venture, Dinner Theater, at Stray Katz/Genevieve's (formerly Gussies) Restaurant in the downtown Empire district of Coos Bay. Again, five more productions of various genre plays were tried there, and once more, lack of stage size and adequate lighting, coupled with green room/dressing room woes further compounded everyone's frustrations. Parents were nervous about letting their children be in a play that was running next door to a bar. Play attendance sank to an all time low.
OBT then decided to experiment staging another children's play over at the Pony Village Mall. Since there had been another theater troupe there previously, it was hoped that such a public venue could support having us there as well. Sadly, it did not. Set problems, lighting problems, lack of green room ammenities, and low play attendance once again played a role in holding OBT back. With operating funds at an all time low, and no permanent home in sight, OBT went into hiatus for nearly two years.
2011 marked the group's foray back into the performance limelight, starting with a popular family-friendly comedic piece staged over at Liberty Theatre (aka "Little Theatre On the Bay"), a friendly rival theater troupe with a lifelong history of ties to one another. The local community responded in return with great support, and as a result, OBT nestled in nicely ever since.
(For additional OBT history, don't forget to check out our special Memorials page.)
Plays staged over the past 35 years:
22 yrs as On Broadway Thespians,
6 yrs as PACT, and
7 yrs as The Dolphin Players
TBA The Addams Family Musical
The Full Monty Clue the Musical!
Halloween Thrillogy: (Dead, The Babysitter, Country Gothic) Nunsense: the Mega-Musical!
Night At the Wax Museum N/A (theater went dark all year long)
NunSense Amen! An Evening of Dinner Theater (singer showcase) Knock 'em Dead (cancelled) The Magician's Nephew OBT Awards Gala (cancelled) Same Time Next Year King Arthur & the Lords of Avalon
Big Bad The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Dorothy Meets Alice The Rocky Horror Picture Show Much Ado About Nothing Murder In Green Meadows Frankenstein Hansel and Gretel Bah Humbug! The Foreigner NunSensations! Vegas Review The Secret Garden 1940's Radio Hour
Peter Pan Jungle Book Little Girl That Lives Down the Lane Angel Street Last Of the Red Hot Lovers Any Given Day Steel Magnolias Beauty and the Beast We The People Mesuggah Nuns Charlotte's Web Bleacher Bums The White Rose Pocahontas The Elephant Man Dracula Christmas on Broadway It's A Wonderful Life
The Only Game In Town Here and Now Pinocchio On Golden Pond You Can't Take It With You The Hobbit Brighton Beach Memoirs Extremities Popeye Lost In Yonkers Pollyanna Treasure Island Visting Mr. Green The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde Jack the Ripper The Hunchback of Notre Dame Little Women A Christmas Carol Radio Show
Private Wars 2 For The Show/Same Time Another Year (Readers Theater) Six Short Comedies A Walk In The Woods/50 Years Ago/The Diaries of Adam & Eve/Love Letters/Molly & James Cinderella Tennessee Williams a-la-mode The OBT Talent Show The Pigman The Country Kickers line dancers & Ocean Pacific Cloggers Crimes Of the Heart The Deadly Game Weekend Comedy Alice in Wonderland Peter & The Wolf The Haunting of Hill House Legend of Sleepy Hollow The Subject Was Roses The Drunkard NUNcrackers! A Tuna Christmas
Zelda, The Last Flapper Tales From The Kitchen Table Cat On A Hot Tin Roof Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf Home At Six (AYA/OBT) Raggedy Ann & Andy An Evening With Anton Chekov A Garden Of Fashion The Elves And The Shoemaker Spring Fling (Dinner Theater) Nunsense Jamboree III Daddy's Dying Who's Got The Will? The KitKat Club Dancer's Spotlight Mousetrap Songwriter's Showcase Peter Pan Red, White, & Blues (Dinner Theater) Sylvia Driving Miss Daisy God's Favorite Wait Until Dark Best Little Christmas Pagent Ever You're A Good Man Charlie Brown Veronica's Room The Christmas Carol
Frozen Rain (R&R) Octette Bridge Club Finnagan's Wake Life With Mother Superior Out Of The Shadows (dance) Alive and Kicking Park Your Car In Harvard Yard The Cemetery Club The Dining Room 13 Clocks A Spring Fling (Dinner Theater) Our Town Hansel & Gretel Shakespeare Exposed Athentic Life Of Billy the Kid Murder At The Howard Johnson Intensity Rising (dance) Alley Kids II Red,White, & Blues (Dinner Theater) Ladies In 509 A Midsummer's Night Dream Lucifer's Child I'm Not Rapport As The Snow Falls Winnie The Pooh Bats In The Basement Agnes Of God Miracle On 34th Street Sleigh Ride (Dinner Theater)
I Can't Hear You When The Water's Running Shirley Valentine Many Moons Ransom Of Red Chief On Broadway Social Nunsense Night Mother Tamara Whiteaker with Harry Stitch
RSVP Luncheon (Dinner Theater)
Voices Song Writer's Review Nunsense II Bel Canto Musical Recital JB Golden Bough (Celtic Musical Group) Celebrate Freedom (Dinner Theater) Your Land & My Land (Dinner Theater) Nunsense II (reprise) You're A Grand Old Flag Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs In The Black Forest Cabaret Chicago's Dr. Laurie Sucher in Concert Oregon The Way It Was
(Storytelling by Richard Stickroth)
Sunsets Bus Stop Papa Is All Holiday Lodge (Dinner Theater) The Fantastiks Greetings
1993 Season, PACT
Together For The First Time The Alley Kids Quilters The Impressario The Picnic Come On In (Country Concert) 'Tis The Season (Dinner Theater)
1988-1992 Season, PACT
The Dolphin Players
Peace Child That Championship Season To Life Wait Until Dark The Breasts of Patrona Vanities Talley's Folley Inherit The Wind Tom Sawyer The Caine Mutiny Court Martial They're Playing Our Song Lone Star, Laundry, and Bourbon Pinnochio And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little Something's Afoot The Sea Horse Snoopy Side by Side by Sondheim Oliver Same Time Next Year Working The Trees of Lallapaloosa Sea Marks Cheaper By the Dozen Diary of Anne Frank OBT Talent Show A Christmas Memory
"OBT: Enriching the lives of patrons and players of all ages,
through the magic of live theatre."
(This page last updated October 8, 2016)
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