Your fall guide to the performing arts in Long Beach

From the Long Beach Playhouse to the Long Beach Symphony, the performing arts make up a longstanding cultural presence in the City of Long Beach, offering residents and visitors alike performances that tingle the senses, encourage intellectual thought and open minds. For more than 400 years combined, the following local arts institutions have been producing these inspiring cultural experiences for local audiences, and this upcoming fall season is no exception.

California Repertory Company

Photo from Cal Rep of Polaroid Stories by Naomi Iizuka. December, 2017.

Cal Rep’s 30th anniversary season boasts eight productions, 80 performances and a celebration of what the educational theater company is all about, “adventurous, daring theatre,” stated artistic director Jeff Janisheski. Comprised of Cal State Long Beach students, faculty and staff of the theatre arts department, Cal Rep offers ticket holders a season focused on community, new voices and artists.

Season: Sept. 20, 2018 – May 5, 2019

The West Coast premiere of “The Ghosts of Lote Bravo” on Sept. 20 is not for the faint of heart. In Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a daughter is murdered, only to have her hopes and dreams appear as visions for her mother to experience. Directed by Denise Blasor of the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts, the play offers a story of hope despite the unrelenting presence of grief. Runs Sept. 20 – 30, 2018. CSULB Studio Theatre at 1250 Bellflower Blvd.

“Dear Harvey” presents a documentary-style play remembering the life and widespread impact of LGBT activist Harvey Milk and the ongoing relevance of his campaign for equality, even decades after his assassination in 1978. “Dear Harvey” opens on National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. Runs Oct. 11 – 20. CSULB University Theatre at 1240 Bellflower Blvd.

Tickets start at $18. For the full season, more information and tickets, visit the website here

The Garage Theatre

Photo from The Garage Theatre.

Established in 2001, this alternative theatre company strives to provide the community with affordable, risk-taking, diverse performances out of its small storefront on Seventh Street. With its 2019 season yet to be announced, don’t miss these upcoming fall shows.

With exact dates to be announced, “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play” by Anne Washburn will enact the dark comedy about an America without power in October. Starting Nov. 30. “The Revenge of the Baron’s Revenge” will run through Dec. 15.

For the remaining 2018 season, updates and more, visit the website here and Facebook page here.  The Garage Theatre is located at 251 E. Seventh St.

Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra

Photo from Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra.

Now in its 26th season, Musica Angelica is a local gem performing masterworks and rare works from the early Baroque to the early Classical period and is a constant collaborator with other performing arts institutions including Long Beach Opera and Los Angeles-based centers including the J. Paul Getty Museum. Described as an important early-music ensemble by critics, Musica Angelica elevates Long Beach’s classical music offerings.

Season: Sept. 22, 2018 – April 7, 2019

The season kicks off on Sept. 22 with Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”—written in the 1700s and a must-listen for all those with a love for the sound of violins—and French composer Marin Marais’ Alcyone Suites, “filled with elegant dances and character pieces,” with director Gonzalo Ruiz bringing these two masterpieces to life. Sept. 22. Beverly O’Neill Theater at 300 E. Ocean Blvd.

On Nov. 10, Total Eclipse—Music for Handel’s tenor, John Beard features Grammy award-winning tenor Aaron Sheehan with artistic direction from Grammy award-winner Stephen Stubbs, as Musica Angelica brings a portrait of the historical character to audiences. Nov. 10. Beverly O’Neill Theater at 300 E. Ocean Blvd.

Tickets start at $20. For the full season, tickets and more information, visit the website here

Long Beach Playhouse

Photo from Long Beach Playhouse.

This long-standing community theater, established in 1929, produces 13 shows every year and ensures an inclusive environment reflecting the city’s diverse residents. Providing “quality products at affordable prices,” accessibility and acknowledgement of cultural variances—including gender, race, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, class, religious beliefs, political beliefs and more—are key to this institution’s mission.

Season: Sept. 22, 2018 – Aug. 3, 2019

Photo courtesy of Long Beach Playhouse.

In the Mainstage Theatre, “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club,” a thriller following the famous detective’s experience as a new member of the “windowless house where Europe’s most powerful men gather to play a murderous game,” opens on Sept. 22. The playhouse brings this mystery to the stage just in time to get in the mood for the fall season. Runs Sept. 22 – Oct. 20. LB Playhouse Mainstage & Studio Theatres at 5021 E. Anaheim St.

Opening Oct. 13 in the Studio Theatre on the second floor of the playhouse, Stephen Sondheim’s “ASSASSINS” is a mind- and time-bending musical on what would happen if the nation’s nine successful and would-be assassins met. It’s a disturbing and insightful look at America that, according to the playhouse, will inspire as much as terrify audiences. Runs Oct. 12 – Nov. 17. LB Playhouse Mainstage & Studio Theatres at 5021 E. Anaheim St.

Tickets start at $20. For all upcoming events, tickets, and more information, visit the website here

Long Beach Symphony

Photo from Long Beach Symphony.

Offering both traditional and contemporary symphonic music to the local community, the Long Beach Symphony reaches more than 300,000 residents (from students to seniors) every year with its educational programs. Founded in 1935, the award-winning cultural institution was the first regional orchestra to appoint a woman as Music Director in 89. With Music Director Eckart Preu now at the helm, the symphony brings six classical concerts and five POPS! concerts to downtown Long Beach.

Season: Sept. 29, 2018 – June 8, 2019

The symphony’s 84th classical season opens Sept. 29 with a celebration of contemporary American music featuring a program honoring the 100th birthday of renowned composer Leonard Bernstein and offering “an exciting variety of composers, styles, and experiences, from pivotal masterpieces of the repertoire to exciting new works, including a bit of the unorthodox, so that our audiences can hear what’s happening now in the world of classical music,” Preu said in a statement. Sept. 29. The Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Terrace Theater at 300 E. Ocean Blvd.

Next up on Nov. 10, among works by masters of the Romantic period Brahms and Dvořák, the symphony will present British composer Lilian Elkington’s “Out of the Mist” (1921), a rare piece—the manuscript discovered in a pawn shop posthumously—inspired by the return of the ship which carried the coffin of the Unknown Soldier, according to the season announcement. Nov. 10. The Long Beach Performing Arts Center, Terrace Theater at 300 E. Ocean Blvd.

Don’t forget to check out the symphony’s POPS! Series , kicking off with a symphonic tribute to Motown on Oct. 6 at the Long Beach Arena Pacific Ballroom, at 300 E. Ocean Blvd.

Tickets start at $28 for the classical season and $29 for the POPS! Series events. For the full season, tickets and more information visit the Long Beach Symphony’s website here

Long Beach Camerata Singers

2017 Messiah DR

Here's a sneak peak from our dress rehearsal for Sunday's concert — with AUDIO! Many thanks to Pedro Campo for his work on this. Get Tix:

Posted by Long Beach Camerata Singers on Saturday, December 2, 2017

For more than half a century, 53 years to be exact, this local choir has been a vibrant fixture of the Long Beach cultural landscape, offering audiences enthusiastic about the choral arts their vocal expertise. Artistic Director James K. Bass, a three-time Grammy-nominated singer and conductor, begins his second season with the singers and invites guests to experience Long Beach’s blooming classical music scene.

Season: Oct. 4, 2018 – June 1, 2019

With an opening night gala on Oct. 4 at The Modern, the first official performance of the season takes place Oct. 7 in the Long Beach Arena’s lobby, a non-traditional space for the second iteration of a non-traditional event called the Camerata Peace Project. Bass came up with the idea for this yearly exploration of “art as a movement toward peace” with this upcoming occasion to focus on “how we show caring as a society.” Oct. 7. LBPAC Arena Lobby at 300 E. Ocean Blvd.

A holiday tradition for many, join the camerata singers and Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra for two performances of “Handel’s Messiah” on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. The Saturday concert will include a short program and sing-along, while a pre-concert lecture will be offered on both dates. Nov. 30 at 7:30 P.M. and Dec. 1 at 3:30 p.m. Beverly O’Neill Theater at 300 E. Ocean Blvd.

Tickets start at $30. For the full season, tickets and more information visit the camerata singers’ website here.

Carpenter Performing Arts Center

Photo from The Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center.

Constructed nearly 25 years ago, The Richard & Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at Cal State Long Beach brings music, dance, comedy, cabaret and family events to campus for everyone to enjoy. The center also provides low-cost arts activities through its Arts for Life education program.

Season: Sept. 29, 2018 – April 27, 2019

Photo from Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at Cal State Long Beach.

With an already sold-out show featuring a night with “Grace and Frankie” star Lily Tomlin on Sept. 29, next up is an Arts for Life event on Oct. 9 featuring the classical and jazz students at CSULB’s Bob Cole Conservatory of Music in a spotlight of their impressive talents. Oct. 9. Carpenter Center at 6200 Atherton St.

On Oct. 13 Cirque Mechanics will bring “42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels” to the stage in an exploration of the history behind the one-ring circus. Expect strongmen, acrobats, aerialists and a galloping mechanical horse during this thrilling display. Oct. 13. Carpenter Center at 6200 Atherton St.

Tickets start at $40, with the exception of Arts for Life performances. For both full seasons, tickets and more information, visit the website here.

Musical Theatre West

Jason Graae as Cookie and Kathy Fitzgerald as Duchess in Musical Theatre West’s production of Nice Work If You Can Get It. Photo from Musical Theatre West.

Hellbent on bringing Broadway-quality productions to Long Beach, this theater company aims to preserve the art as a unique American art form, all the while aiding the “intellectual development and creative thinking” of its viewers. The resident musical theater company of the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Musical Theatre West returns for its 66th season featuring a lineup of five award-winning classics.

Season: Oct. 19, 2018 – July 28, 2019

Described as a “gorgeous anthem to optimism” by Variety, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s “Bright Star” opens the season on Oct. 19. Set to run through Nov. 4, this bluegrass musical is a five-time Tony-nominated Broadway show inspired by a real event, a story of love and redemption set against the American South in the 1920s and 40s. Runs Oct. 19  – Nov. 4. The Carpenter Performing Arts Center, located at 6200 E. Atherton St.

Catch Buddy the Elf in Long Beach starting Nov. 30 as “Elf The Musical” takes the stage. Based on the beloved Christmas comedy starring Will Ferrell, the musical features songs by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (Disney’s “Aladdin on Broadway,” “The Wedding Singer”), stated MTW’s season announcement. Runs Nov. 30 – Dec. 9. The Carpenter Performing Arts Center, located at 6200 E. Atherton St.

For the full season, tickets and more information visit Musical Theatre West’s website here.

Long Beach Opera

Photo from Long Beach Opera.

Unconventional and cutting-edge best describes the inventive productions put on by the Long Beach Opera. The upcoming 2019 season is an especially momentous series as LBO will celebrate its 40th anniversary as well as the 20th year artistic director Andreas Mitisek has led the company.

Season: Nov. 3, 2018 – June 14, 2019

Long Beach Opera’s fall special engagements land on Nov. 3 and 4 as Steve Reich’s “Three Tales,”  a “documentary video opera” that will highlight the Hindenburg disaster, Bikini Atoll nuclear tests and Dolly the cloned sheep in a reflection on the implications of 20th-century technologies. On Nov. 3, Three Tales is incorporated into the opera’s 40th Anniversary Gala, a celebration of four decades during this 1920s speakeasy-themed “Roaring 20+20s” Gala. Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. and Nov. 4. at 2:30 p.m. Ernest Borgnine Theatre at the Scottish Rite Cathedral at 855 Elm Ave.

Photo from Long Beach Opera announcing “The Black Cat”.

In January, the U.S. premiere of “The Black Cat” brings Edgar Allan Poe’s short story of one man sitting on death row to the stage. “In the Penal Colony” by Philip Glass (a co-production with Cal Rep) and the Central Park Five open in April and June, respectively. In addition to its regular programming, five community conversations—that are free and open to the public thanks to grant from the Knight Foundation—will focus on equity and justice.

Season subscriptions start at $73.50. For the full 2019 season, tickets and more information visit Long Beach Opera’s website here

International City Theatre

Photo from International City Theatre.

The Long Beach Performing Arts Center’s resident professional theater company just announced its 34th season, but there’s a couple upcoming fall engagements you won’t want to miss. ICT organizes annual educational, senior outreach and community service programs, while producing five plays every season.

Season: Feb. 20, 2019 – Nov. 3, 2019

Catch the final show of ICT’s 2018 season starting with a preview on Wednesday, Oct. 17 of “A Splintered Soul” about a group of Holocaust survivors from Poland struggling to redefine their new lives in San Francisco circa 1947. Written by Long Beach-based playwright Alan L. Brooks, the play explores immigration and life after trauma, and runs through Nov. 4. Runs Oct. 17 – Nov. 4. Long Beach Performing Arts Center at 330 E. Seaside Way.

The 34th season, which artistic director caryn desai stated “will open new doors to understanding, reflection and inspiration,” opens with “Life Could Be a Dream” by Roger Bean on Feb. 22, 2019.

Tickets start at $35. Visit the link here for the full season, tickets and more information.

South Coast Chorale

The LGBT Chorus of Long Beach will announce their entire 2019 season soon, but for now you can look forward to two upcoming performances in November from the 50-voice group dedicated to “building bridges between communities by using music to remind us all that we are more alike than different.”

Kicking off its 29th season SCC will bring audiences the Southern California premiere of “Street Requiem: for those who have lived and died on the streets”, a contemporary twist on the traditional Requiem. A portion of the proceeds from tickets will go to local organizations committed to assisting people experiencing homelessness. Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 11 at 2:30 p.m. Ernest Borgnine Theatre at the Scottish Rite Cathedral at 855 Elm Ave.

Tickets start at $30. For updates and more information, visit the Facebook page here and website here


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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.