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Broadway Quality Shows in SoCal?

By Michael Sterling

Photo Credit: Isaac James Creative

Considering the most recent and record-breaking seasons ever enjoyed on New York’s Great White Way, Broadway appears to be coming out of what was once referred to as the Golden Age and into what should clearly be referred to as the Platinum Age with big title shows such as creator Lin Manuel Miranda’s magnificent Hamilton, the glittering made-to-order revival of Hello Dolly! starring Bette Midler, the current multiple Tony Award-winning Best Musical Dear Evan Hansen, and the much decorated Book of Mormon (now in its 6th year) collectively being able to demand top box office 2017 ticket prices averaging between *$410 and *$849. Okay, I’ll give you a minute to catch your breath, but those prices aren’t even close to what the 300% markup in cost can be by ticket scalpers. Feel better? No, not yet?

Cut to the Southern California’s west coast and to T.J. Dawson, his spouse Jeanette, and his siblings Gretchen and Daniel Dawson; each innately gifted and well-studied performers who, nine years ago, set out to combine their passion for Broadway musical theatre and family business acumen into making a dream come true by building a Broadway caliber production company that could deliver a real deal Broadway experience at affordable prices to Southland lovers of the arts (breathe... you can relax now). The relatively young group has always been leaps ahead in the understanding of quality work infused by a different point of view fully realized in each of their productions vs. other regional Isaac James Creative who, for decades, preceded them and were referred to as Civic Light Opera companies presenting Broadway shows by-the-book with bare essentials and little fanfare.

Finally, in 2009, the Dawson clan and the aptly titled 3-D Theatricals (3DT) was given the unique opportunity to build an audience from the ground up with its first season at Santa Ana’s Orange County Pavilion. A more than welcome reception by OC theatergoers followed. In 2011, they made their move to Fullerton's historic Plummer Auditorium; and in 2012, began bicycling their productions between the Plummer and the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. After six years in Fullerton, they were invited to become the resident theatre company at the stunning Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts for their Broadway series beginning in fall of 2016. Their first production there was a rousing version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat directed by 3-time Tony Award nominee Marc Kudisch.

Lauded by Southland traditional and social media theatre critics including the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Daily News, the Orange County Register, the Long Beach Press Telegram, Torrance Daily News, Pasadena Star News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Huffington Post,, Broadway,, and many others... 3DT remains grateful for their ability to feature professional performers and creative team members enhanced by a full orchestra and eye-popping, pristine production values, not to mention occasional usage of original Broadway sets and costumes.

Their herculean efforts have also been recognized by the prestigious Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards; and the Los Angeles Stage Alliance’s Ovation Awards. To the latter, 3DT’s 2013 season received an overall fifteen nominations for their hauntingly beautiful production of Jason Robert Brown’s Parade... winning four (Best Musical, Best Actor, Best Featured Actor, and Best Ensemble); while their 2014 production of Funny Girl garnered an Ovation Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

In 2012 the company went the way of non-profit allowing them to bring the arts to the communities they serve. They are thankful to have the services of The Houselights, a volunteer guild that ushers, takes tickets, and runs concessions for their performances. They also acquired headquarters in Anaheim,

where they house their business offices, a set and costume facility which affords continually growing rentals to other theatres locally and/or throughout the country; plus a substantial rehearsal space in which they can host auditions and run rehearsals; not to mention their own box office from which they can offer face-to-face ticket sales ranging from single ticket and group sales to various combinations of season subscription sales.

The company’s recently completed 2016-2017 critically acclaimed season of musicals included the aforementioned Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; the Caribbean flavored Once On This Island; a thought provoking, re-imagined production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!; and Monty Python’s Spamalot. Their all new 2017-2018 season is just as fulfilling.

In short, for all SoCal visitors and residents, it’s good to know that Broadway REALLY IS closer than you think.

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