Beverly O'Neill (L) and Mayor Garcia (R) speak to crowd. Photos by Keeley Smith.
Around 80 people gathered today to hear the news: the Beverly O’Neill Theatre, formerly known as the Center Theatre, will welcome five professional Long Beach arts groups for the 2016/2017 performance season—the first time it has done so in the theatre’s history, according to the Long Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
In addition to the International City Theater (ICT), the Beverly O’Neill Theatre will welcome Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra (which recently moved its headquarters to Long Beach) and began staging concerts in the theatre, along with the Long Beach Opera, Camerata Singers and Musical Theatre West.
Mayor Robert Garcia commemorated the historic occasion and presented flowers to former Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill, for whom the theatre is named.
“Well, I was really surprised that they proposed my name, because I was sure a city councilmember would say, ‘Well she isn’t dead yet,’” said O’Neill to peals of laughter, after receiving the flowers.
Following the small dedication ceremony (and a standing ovation for O’Neill’s contributions to the city), each professional group showcased a small performance. The afternoon was rounded out by additional speaking engagements on behalf of each group, including International City Theatre’s caryn desai, Long Beach Opera’s Andreas Mitisek, Musical Theatre West’s Paul Garman, Long Beach Camerata Singers’ President of the Board of Directors Jan Hower and Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra’s Laura Spino.