Arts & Culture

‘People want to learn’ — and this Nipomo theater company is here to help

Nellie Salsbury, center, dances, while Mike Miller and Sholley Von Stein during a rehearsal for “Sweet Baby James: A Musical Tribute to James Taylor.” Miller stars as James Taylor in the Central Coast Theater Works production, playing at The Monarch Club in Nipomo.
Nellie Salsbury, center, dances, while Mike Miller and Sholley Von Stein during a rehearsal for “Sweet Baby James: A Musical Tribute to James Taylor.” Miller stars as James Taylor in the Central Coast Theater Works production, playing at The Monarch Club in Nipomo. ldickinson@thetribunenews.com

A Nipomo theater troupe is teaming up with residents of a local housing community with an emphasis on lifelong learning for its first full season.

Central Coast Theater Works kicks off its 2017 season with “Sweet Baby James: A Musical Tribute to James Taylor,” playing Friday through Sunday at The Monarch Club in Nipomo.

Part of the Nipomo Recreation Association, Central Coast Theater Works got its start with productions of “It’s a Wonderful Life” in 2015 and 2016 at Nipomo schools.

Meserve-Miller came aboard as the managing director of the nonprofit theater company last summer.

“It’s the most wonderful, serendipitous situation (for) a small-town theater producer like myself,” said Meserve-Miller, who served as San Luis Obispo Little Theatre’s development director for more than a decade. “I wake up and I kind of pinch myself going, ‘Is this real?’ ”

She’s made it her mission to find a permanent, and affordable, home for Central Coast Theater Works.

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For its 2017 season, Central Coast Theater Works is partnering with The Monarch Club — an event center located on the grounds of Trilogy at Monarch Dunes — and the Monarch Media Club.

“A lot of people don’t know about this wonderful place,” Meserve-Miller said. “The whole venue out there really lends itself to having a good party.”

There, Meserve-Miller hopes to make Central Coast Theater Works a viable player in a local stage community split between mostly-volunteer groups such as By the Sea Productions in Morro Bay and Wine Country Theatre in Paso Robles, and professional companies including PCPA-Pacific Conservatory Theatre in Santa Maria and the Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville in Oceano.

“‘Community’ is really the key word,” Meserve-Miller said. “To me, (community theater) means inclusive and open to everybody, of all ages, backgrounds and experience levels.”

That’s why Trilogy at Monarch Dunes, advertised as an “active lifestyle community,” is an ideal home for Central Coast Theater Works, Trilogy resident Mike Stevens said. (Although many Trilogy residents are retirees, there’s no age restriction for homebuyers.) He’s a member of the Monarch Media Club, which reaches listeners in Arroyo Grande and Nipomo via daily radio broadcasts.

“People want to learn,” Stevens said. “You’ve (spent) your whole life working on a career. … And now you’ve got the time and money to be able to explore new things.”

Central Coast Theater Works “gives them another outlet,” he added, as well as a new, nearby source source for live entertainment.

“It really helps the entire community stay vital,” Meserve-Miller said.

Central Coast Theater Works

Here’s what Central Coast Theater Works has in store for its 2017 season.

All shows are held at The Monarch Club, 1645 Trilogy Parkway in Nipomo. To purchase tickets, call 805-343-7510 or email mc-concierge@trilogyresort.com; visit www.facebook/CentralCoastTheaterWorks for more information.

‘Sweet Baby James: A Musical Tribute to James Taylor’

What: Mike Miller stars as the soulful singer-songwriter behind such hits as “Carolina on My Mind” and “Fire and Rain.”

When: 5:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. show, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

How much: $35 to $45

‘Toni n’ Tina’s Wedding’

What: Two boisterous Italian-American families come together for a memorable wedding and reception in this interactive show. Dinner included.

When: Aug. 19

How much: $100

‘War of the Worlds’

What: Nearly 80 years after it threw America into an uproar, Orson Welle’s thrilling radio broadcast about Martian invaders is re-imagined as a live radio play.

When: Oct. 31

How much: $35 to $45

‘The Odd Couple: The Female Version’

What: Neat freak Florence and messy Olive must learn to get along in this gender-swapped version of the classic Neil Simon comedy.

When: Nov. 17, 18 and 19

How much: $35 to $45

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

What: Small-town banker George Bailey looks back on his life in this live radio play, based on the classic holiday movie. Holiday party included.

When: Dec. 10

How much: $35 to $45

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