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North County theater company stages first production after pandemic pause

An opening night two years in the making. A nonprofit theater company is staging its first production since the pandemic. KPBS North County reporter Tania Thorne gives us a sneak peek.

It's a performance two years in the making. Luminary Arts theater company is now staging "13: The Musical" at the Avo Playhouse in Vista.

This is the company's first production since the pandemic, and the first show the company rehearsed at its new San Marcos studio.

Amy Throckmorton, vice president of Luminary Arts, said they got the keys to their new studio in February of 2020, and then, “everything came to a complete standstill when the pandemic hit, and we weren’t sure what we were going to do at first.”


Throckmorton said the group had to get creative to keep the arts alive and make the rent on the newly leased space.

“Even though we were hemorrhaging money because we just rented this enormous space, we had to learn all these new brand new skills," she said. "We started doing online classes, Zoom classes, Zoom shows. It was a big learning curve."

The federal Paycheck Protection Program loans and teaching contracts with some North County schools kept them afloat, Throckmorton said.

The loosening of COVID-19 restrictions allowed artists back into the studio, and they have finally got to use the new space to prepare for their performance of “13: The Musical.”

“It is a full-length show and it is our first full-length show in a theater that we’ve been able to do since the pandemic hit and I’m so excited the kids have been working so hard,” Throckmorton said.


"13," a musical about growing up, was the first Broadway musical to have a full teenage cast. Luminary Arts is keeping the Broadway tradition and also having a full teenage cast in the performance.

“I'm very excited, and I know a lot of other people are excited because this is the first big full-length musical that they've done, and they are really happy that they are able to do it with all of the setbacks in the last few years," said Molly Wilhelm, a cast member.

The show runs until Saturday, April 9 at the Avo Playhouse in Vista.

While it took almost two years to get in front of an audience, Throckmorton said the pandemic did have a silver lining: It helped the company adopt virtual classes, which they continue to hold and offer.

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