Biz Buzz: Melodrama is in the remaking

A South County performing arts institution is undergoing big changes this winter.

Outdoor and indoor remodeling projects are under way at The Great American Melodrama and Vaudeville on Highway 1 in Oceano.

“After 35 years of dedication from all our Melodrama patrons and fans, we wanted to thank our supporters with a cleanup and a facelift,” Melodrama owner Lynne Schlenker said.

Robertson & Robertson Remodeling Contractors of Pismo Beach began work on the theater Jan. 3, laying down concrete and building a new exterior wall for the building’s front. A “Western saloon” motif will transport audience members “back in time to the turn of the century,” Melodrama officials said.

Meanwhile, construction workers are renovating the inside snack bar, adding appliances, countertops and paint. The total cost of the renovation was not available.

Work on the interior is expected to be completed in time for tonight’s premiere of “Under the Boardwalk,” the first show of the 2011 season. Outdoor remodeling should be completed soon afterward.

Founded in 1975, the Great American Melodrama presents musicals, melodramas and vaudeville revues in a rustic cabaret-style setting.

— Sarah Linn

Sierra Vista honored for organ donation

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center with an Organ Donation Medal of Honor. It was among 306 hospitals honored nationwide.

Sierra Vista was recognized with the Bronze Medal for achieving a 75 percent collaborative conversion rate in addition to achieving national goals for donation. This means that the hospital contacted families of patients to tell them about organ-donation options when appropriate, resulting in a 75 percent rate of donation, according to a hospital spokesperson.

— Julia Hickey