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San Benito
February 28, 2024

New faces take on starring roles in ‘Sylvia’

With the opening of the adult show Sylvia this weekend, a new era begins for the San Benito Stage Company.

It is the first show in the post-Granada Theatre era for the local theater group, while several of the lead actors in the show are new to the stage company.

Stage Company President Derek Barnes talked to San Benito Live before the Friday premiere for Sylvia at Aroma Cellars, 650 San Benito St. He noted how with adult shows, the organization often looks for scripts with smaller cast sizes, and that was the case with Sylvia.

“This cast is made up of only four people,” Barnes said. “Sometimes it gives more opportunities for actors to shine on stage a little bit more than if you do a bigger production.”

Barnes called Sylvia well written and humorous at times. The stage company in a summary of the production mentioned how the show focuses on married couple Greg and Kate (played by real life married couple Jason and Robin Harris) who have moved to Manhattan after 22 years of child-raising in the suburbs. Greg brings home a dog he found in the park bearing only the name Sylvia (played by Mima Torrenueva) on her name tag. The dog causes tension, but sparks comedic moments in the script.

Photos Courtesy of San Benito Stage Company

“I think a lot of people can kind of relate to the idea of marriages that have dysfunction in them at times,” Barnes said. “I think people sometimes find humor in issues.”

While the stage company has done shows at remote locations similar to Aroma Cellars, it’s been several years. Sylvia is first show for the stage company without a permanent home at the Granada, which is undergoing renovations this year.

This adult show isn’t a traditional dinner theater show.

“The bar and food are separate,” Barnes said. “Those are handled by Aroma Cellars. They’ll serve people if they want food and they’ll serve people if those want to drink.”

Barnes said the setup gives patrons the choice on whether they want to buy food or drinks as opposed to including that in a dinner-theater price.

Tickets are $20 if purchased at Postal Graphics or Brownpapertickets.com, or they’re $25 at the door. The show runs Feb. 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 8 p.m. It will be at 2 p.m. Feb. 10 and 17. The show intended for mature audiences is directed by Duane Holt, and produced by Anne Hall and Suzanne Proctor. It also stars Matt Morrison, according to the show synopsis.

Barnes was excited about Holt as a first-time director.

“He’s been in a ton of our shows but this is the first time actually directing a show,” Barnes said.

Three of the four lead actors are new to the stage company with Sylvia as well, although they have prior theater experience, he said.

“We’re trying to bring in new directors and new people into positions so we have a variety of people,” Barnes said.

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