Subscribers grateful for convenience, joy of local theater

John Reed/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos Theater Enthusiasts (L.A.T.E.) gather Sept. 13 to celebrate the start of the community theater group’s 25th season and salute their own anniversary as a group. Pictured from left are: (front row) John Reed, Gloria Hom, Dominique Ainsworth, Dick Sarno, Carol Sarno, Dee Cunningham, Marcia Allen, Vicki Reeder, Betty Latta; (middle row) Dave Russell, Emy Thurber, Jane Reed, Judy William, Nancy Grippo, Joy Frost, Sally Brew, Susan Russell, Robin Liston, Jackie Stephens, Diane Parnes; (back row) Joe Grippo, Joyce Dougherty, Gisela Zebroski, Karen Duncan, Dave Reeder, Jim Cunningham, Tom Liston, Matt Allen, Mark Parnes.


It’s been over 20 years since my husband, Bob, and I attended a wonderful performance of “Hamlet” at Los Altos’ Bus Barn Stage Company (now called Los Altos Stage Company, but still located in the old, corrugated-metal bus building). After the play, we realized what a gem the theater company is – polished acting, professional staging and innovative set design.

The process of attending was so easy – no long drive to San Jose or San Francisco, plenty of nearby free parking. We were so impressed we decided to subscribe – and to help the theater by getting other people to subscribe – so we asked several of our neighbors and friends to join us.

Thus, in the fall of 2000, the Laureles Bus Barn Group was born. (Laureles Drive is the street on which we live.) The initial group grew over the years to include folks from Los Altos, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara and other cities. This year, as we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we have 30 subscribing members, plus about a dozen others who come when they can.

Our subscriptions are for Thursday nights so that we don’t interfere with anybody’s weekend plans.

From the beginning, we arranged pre-theater dinners to make the evenings special.

Local restaurants such as Chef Chu’s, Armadillo Willy’s, Estrellita, The Pasta Market and numerous others have graciously made room for our large group and provided excellent pricing, menu options and service. In addition, we enjoy pre-theater meals at members’ homes, including our traditional fall pizza-and-salad party that Bob and I host at our Los Altos home – this year’s party was Sept. 12, prior to our attendance at Los Altos Stage Company’s production of “Admissions” – and our end-of-the-year barbecue in Los Altos resident Jani Richards’ garden.

The Laureles Bus Barn Group is one of several theater subscription groups in Los Altos.

A theater group can be a great way to get to know your neighbors, see your friends regularly and enjoy a social activity together.

Groups also help support local theater activity and help ensure we’ll have future cultural opportunities right here in our community.

Organizing takes very little time – I typically snail-mail or email event notices about three weeks prior to a performance.

Theater-goers unite

Another Los Altos Stage Company support group, Los Altos Theater Enthusiasts (L.A.T.E.), met Sept. 13 to celebrate the start of the community theater group’s 25th season and salute their own anniversary as a group.

Founded in 1995 – the same year as Bus Barn Stage Company – the 60-member group meets for potluck appetizers and drinks before each show and has been a bastion of support for the theater.

L.A.T.E., Laureles Bus Barn Group and another theater subscriber group, the Barn Animals, are set to be honored for their longtime support at the Stage Company’s fundraising event, “Sunday in the Street with Los Altos Stage,” scheduled Oct. 27 at two local private homes.

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