On this date in 1960, the Los Angeles Times ran a short article on Phyllis Jay and the Seal Beach Marina Players.
In March 1959, Phyllis Jay produced and directed a 30-minute parody of South Pacific for a Huntington Beach High School PTA benefit. The performance was to be for one night only, but the response was too good to stop at one performance. As high school trustee Willard Hanzlik put it, “It’s so good it ought to hit the road.”
Jay’s group of amateur players did just that, performing the piece 26 times locally at various benefits for PTAs, scout groups, veteran hospitals, senior citizens, and the mentally handicapped.
Cooperation and adaptability was the key ingredients to the Seal Beach Marina Players success.
Marge Tozer, one of the players designed and built the sets to fit into one station wagon with three different backgrounds to be used depending on the size of the stage. The players had to be flexible enough to perform with or without curtains, on small, medium, or large stages, and sometimes at floor level where the actors could literally “reach out and touch” the audience.
A major highlight for Mrs. Jay was a Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce hosted “welcome neighbor” party night. The Seal Beach Marina Players gave three performances in one night in a 300-seat school auditorium (probably the J. H. McGaugh School Auditorium).
At the time of the article, the group had raised $3,000, approximately $24,000 in 2016 dollars.
– Michael Dobkins