FEATURE: Fundraising Gala to Honor Phantom Projects Founder E-mail
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Entertainment & Arts
Sunday, 27 July 2014 15:15

After 17 years, La Mirada High’s Cisneros and his theater troop continue to produce work aimed at teen audiences

La Mirada~A special Fundraising Gala, “From 17 to 17” will be held on August 9th at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts to commemorate the 17th Anniversary of Phantom Projects Theatre Group and honor its founder, Steve Cisneros, for his years of dedication to the arts.

Cisneros had the idea for Phantom Projects on the campus of La Mirada High School when his teacher Bruce Gevirtzman had written a play titled No Way to Treat a Lady that had a message about teen pregnancy. The show’s success is what led Cisneros to take the play beyond La Mirada High School.

“I noticed that people were really impacted through theater, with a message that may not have been appealing if it was shown any other way, Cisneros said. “I approached Bruce and he gave me his script and I invited educators to come to a reading of the play and then we booked a five month tour.”

The troupe that Cisneros assembled began rehearsing in his parent’s garage and they began getting requests for their performance from other schools. The unique thing about Phantom Projects is that the group actually uses teenage performers to play the roles, according to Cisneros.

After years of Cisernos personally funding Phantom Projects, the group now has a partnership with the City of La Mirada and they utilize a 5,000 sq ft practice facility.

According to Cisneros, who grew up in La Mirada, having a place devoted to theater and the arts is extremely important for the community. 

“I think La Mirada is just like any community where young people need a creative outlet,” Cisneros said. “One thing Phantom Projects does for our audiences and performers is that they feel safe here, they can be open and honest about what they are going through.”

The Gala will feature alumni from the Phantom Projects program including Natalie Wachen (HBO’s Boardwalk Empire), composer Adam Gubman (The Today Show, 2012 Presidential Election, America’s Got Talent), Ashley Arlene Nelson (West Coast Premiere of Lysistrata Jones), Emily Lappi, Tyler Campbell and more.

“We have over thirty Phantom alumni flying in for the event,” Cisneros said. “We have performers from all seventeen years in attendance...it wasn’t difficult to get them to come and support the company they helped to create years ago.”

You can purchase tickets for the Fundraising Gala on August 9th will be celebrating 17 years of Ciserno’s dedication to Phantom Projects here.



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