Thank God's rainbow for David Carnevale and Joey Baital. As the co-founders of Theatre Out, OC's only LGBT performance company, they bring a fresh, diverse (and much-needed) artistic spirit to the county by featuring gay- and lesbian-focused works. "The idea for Theatre Out came from our desire to produce great theater for audiences to enjoy, create a supportive and artistically fulfilling environment for actors, musicians and all artists in the theater, and to tell the stories of the LGBT community to the OC community at large in an entertaining and often provocative manner," Baital says.
And they've done so over the past six years from their Santa Ana storefront, from powerful dramas to classic musicals to irreverent comedies (such as one of our favorites, Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart But the Very Next Day You Said You Were Gay). "We read a lot of plays. We read a lot of submissions," explains Carnevale of the company's selection process. "We read a lot of reviews. We see a lot of theater. We listen to our audience. We want to make sure we are presenting a season people are excited about, such as our current season, which featured the hit Broadway musicals Avenue Q, Spring Awakening and Cabaret. But we also want to make sure we are staying current, pushing our audience to be a little more adventurous each season. We try to balance classics with musicals with new work, all with an eye on some part of the LGBT community. We also want to make sure we are 'straight-friendly.' We want to see our stories onstage, but we also want to share those stories."
Phew! What a quote!
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• "When we first thought of moving to Santa Ana, we checked out the neighborhood during the day and at night. We were immediately impressed with the huge concentration of creative and artistic talent located in the Santa Ana's Artists Village. The artists here, practicing in different art forms, are the best in the county." And, of course, the jewel is Theatre Out. 202 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 220-7069; www.theatreout.com.
• "There's a stereotype of conservative Orange County that's definitely broken by the growing LGBT community. The county hosts a great LGBT Community Center, and I've watched OC Pride grow from nothing to a huge event that generates a lot of buzz and shows how diverse our community really is." www.prideoc.com.
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• "The owners of Bistro 400 were the first to welcome Theatre Out into the neighborhood—they welcomed us with an amazing creation called G-Bread. It's definitely a post-show favorite." 400 W. Fourth St., Santa Ana, (714) 543-9821; www.bistro400.com.
• "There's really no better way to get into the spirit of the holidays than visiting the Disneyland Resort in December. It comes alive at night into a winter wonderland." 1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 781-7290; disneyland.disney.go.com.
• "Theatre Out has been fortunate enough to partner with Shanti Orange County on numerous occasions. Sarah [Kasman, executive director] and the entire gang at Shanti have this infectious passion for the community they serve. They've treated our Theatre Out family like superstars, and we hope we are able to reciprocate." 23461 S. Pointe Dr., Ste. 100, Laguna Hills, (949) 452-0888; www.shantioc.org.
• "The OC AIDS Walk is an event Theatre Out looks forward to each year. There's something great about being in an environment where that many people are coming together for the same reason: to raise money and awareness for HIV causes." www.aidswalkorangecounty.com.