September 11th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1960, the Los Angeles Times ran a short article on Phyllis Jay and the Seal Beach Marina Players.

Bruce Jay looks on as his mother Phyllis Jay prepares for a performance

Son Bruce looks on as his mother Phyllis Jay prepares for another performance

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

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4 Responses to September 11th in Seal Beach History

  1. Karla Ober says:

    Phyllis Jay was such a talented musician and director! I was fortunate to have her for a piano teacher, and later as a friend and mother-in-law! She has left a wonderful legacy to Seal Beach!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael Dobkins says:

      Thank you for commenting. I could tell just from reading her name in a few articles over the years that she was heavily involved in local affairs — both in Seal Beach and Huntington Beach and especially in anything to do with the arts. I was reviewing the post last night, thinking surely there must be someone out there who remembers her personally who could comment. I wish all my wishes were so easily and quickly answered.

      You wouldn’t happen to have any better photos of her scanned in at hi-res that you could share, would you?

      Take Care,


  2. Anonymous says:

    I remember Bruce Jay


  3. linda birchard says:

    my mother was a good friend of phillis jay she was in south pacific with my mother and father jane and kenneth birchard. There is a newspaper article of the play at J h McGaugh around that time I have it somewhere memories


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