Reedley’s River City Theatre Company Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Sep 3, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Lorie Lewis Ham, Mysteryrat's Maze, Theatre

by Lorie Lewis Ham

Reedley’s own River City Theatre Company is celebrating its 20th Anniversary Season in 2023 and we took a moment to catch up with the local theatre company that has seen a lot of changes over the last few years. We recently chatted with their general manager, Marquee Laita, to see what they have in store for the community! We also asked board member Ken Stocks to tell us a little about the special Murder Mystery Dinner show coming up next year.

KRL: Please tell us about your 20th anniversary season

Marquee: RCTC is very excited to bring you so many fun titles this season, starting with Steel Magnolias in the spring, Shrek the Musical in the summer, a dinner and a Murder Mystery show in the fall titled Murder at the Opera House and closing out the 2023 season in the winter we have Matilda. We are excited and hopeful for our upcoming 20th anniversary season.

Cast and crew of RCTC’s recent production of “The Addams Family”

KRL: Will you be doing anything special to celebrate?

Marquee: As far as celebrations, we have some fun things in store for the upcoming season, we can’t give away all the surprises just yet.

KRL: I know there have been a lot of changes with RCTC in the last few years, who is currently on the board?

Marquee: There have been a lot of positive changes within the company our current board is made up of 9 individuals who are passionate about the company, starting with our President Jeff Lusk, Vice president Erik Valencia, Secretary Susan Lusk, Co-Treasurer Bryan Awbrey, Co Treasurer Chrystal Laita, and members Ken Stocks, Janet Adams, Mark Luzania, and Stevie Barnett.

KRL: Who is currently on staff and what are their positions?

Marquee: Currently on staff we have myself as the general manager, and we are looking to hire an individual for general maintenance work.

KRL: Are you looking for volunteers?

Marquee: Yes, RCTC is always looking for more volunteers, we are a company that thrives off of the tireless work of our volunteers, we look for volunteers for all events, productions, and workdays. Volunteer opportunities are available for people of all experience levels and we are happy to train anyone interested in learning set construction, lighting and sound equipment operation, and general play production, as well as customer service and hospitality. If there are any individuals interested in learning more or would like to be involved in the company, please reach out to us we’d love to have you!

From RCTC’s recent production of “The Addams Family”

KRL: What else is new about RCTC these days?

Marquee: RCTC is committed to growing theatre now and in the future. A major initiative that we’ve undertaken is to offer a children’s summer theatre camp, Camp River City, recommended for children from 9-17. During this camp, experts in various aspects of theatre are invited in to teach the students in their areas of expertise. These kids were taught a variety of things from Irish River Dance to Foley art to special effects makeup.

KRL: Why did you pick these shows for the 20th season?

Marquee: Each season’s shows are chosen by the RCTC Creative Committee. We work together to try to pick the best balance between shows that we think our audiences want to see and shows that local performers would want to participate in. It’s a delicate balance but we believe we’ve done a great job.

KRL: Is it still possible to get a meal or dessert at the shows? If yes, do you have a caterer or chef who does that?

RCTC’s production of “Sister Act”

Marquee: All of our 2022 -2023 productions will offer dessert and for our Murder Mystery we will be offering Dinner and Dessert.

KRL: What are the current ticket prices?

2022 child tickets are $10.00 show only, with dessert it is $17.00 floor and balcony.
Adult show only is $25.00 floor $20.00 balcony
Adult show and dessert is $32.00 floor and $27.00 on the balcony

Season tickets for all 4 2023 shows are $159.00
Season Tickets for 3 shows excluding our Murder Mystery Dinner Show are $100.00

2023 Ticket Prices are:
$29.00 Adults show only Floor
$24.00 Show only Balcony
$36.00 Show and Dessert Floor
$31.00 Show and Dessert Balcony
$71.00 Murder Mystery Dinner, Dessert, Show floor
$66.00 Murder Mystery Dinner, Dessert, Show balcony

KRL: What are the future goals of RCTC?

RCTC’s Ladies of River City event

Marquee: Our biggest goal is to bring in more people, both in terms of patrons and in terms of volunteers and performers. Polls have shown that since the pandemic people feel more disconnected from each other than ever, and it is our belief that community theatres can do a great deal to help bring people back together.

KRL: Where can people find you online?

Marquee: You can visit us at our website or on our socials. On Facebook we are Reedley’s River City Theater Company and on Instagram our handle is @reedleyrivercitytheatre.

Interview with Ken Stocks:

KRL: Is Murder at the Opera House an original show?

Ken: Yes. The script is a collaboration between myself and RCTC favorite, Chrystal Laita.

KRL: Is it something interactive or will it just be a show on stage?

Ken: It will be both. There will be an on-stage component, but characters will be seated in the house and will interact with the audience.

KRL: What fun! Who came up with this idea?

Ken: We have a creative committee who comes up with our season, as well as over sees all of the artistic aspects of the company. The team is overseen by General Manager Marquee Laita and is made up of Committee Chair, Erik Valencia, and members: me, Jeff and Lana Lusk, Stevie Barnette, and Steve Jones.

KRL: Anything else you would like to add?

Ken: This production will be unlike anything our audience has ever seen at the Opera House, or anywhere else in Fresno County, that I’m aware of. I’m excited to bring such a novel experience to our patrons!

Coming up still in 2022 RCTC will be performing Arsenic and Old Lace September 16-October 2 and Christmas Legends December 2-December 18

River City Theatre Company at the Reedley Opera House
1720 10th St, Reedley, CA 93654
(559) 638-6500

Check out more theatre reviews & other local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. And don’t miss out on Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast where we feature mystery stories read by local actors!

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet. Lorie’s latest mystery novel, One of Us, is set in the Tower District of Fresno and the world of community theatre!


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