Recession Or Not, Pasadena's Getting Some New Theater

Nobody told the Red Door Theater Company there was a recession going on. The plucky theater troupe launched their group earlier this year in, of all theater-starved places, Pasadena. With true Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney/"Let's Put on a Show" spunk, Artistic Director Josh Jordon, Company Manager Tiffany Blair and Managing Director April McEachern have taken an old transmission shop and transformed it into a community theater. (They did all the hammering and painting themselves.)

The group's first production is just days away and Jordon took a few minutes to talk to Hair Balls about Red Door.

Hair Balls: Starting a new theater company is a risky proposition. Starting a new theater company during a recession and in an area that's not exactly known for its booming arts scene is riskier even still. How scary is all this for you?

Josh Jordon: There have certainly been a few times when we asked ourselves, 'Have we just made a very expensive mistake for ourselves?' But for April, Tiffany, and [myself], this is our passion. It's crazy, yes. There've been times we've wanted to pull our hair out, but we love it.

So being far away from the Theater District, and from Houston's theater audience doesn't worry you?

JJ: Here's what I think -- Clear Lake is literally 15 minutes down Red Bluff from us. We have a ready-made audience there. In Pasadena, there's Stage Door Theater, there's another small theater that just popped in Deer Park. There are several little theater groups that have popped up around this area. It's going to be a challenge, but it's one that we're willing to take on. We all believe that if the show is good, people will come see it, no matter what.

Most local theater companies depend on monies from the city and state arts funds to some extent. You don't have any of that available to you. And, oh yeah, there's a recession going on.

JJ: There is. But that's not too much of a concern for us, not at the moment at any rate. We're in a good place for ourselves, at the moment. We have a fabulous space, we have a very easy rent. We have a very generous benefactor when it comes to the building. We can take the next three years to build up a base and not worry too much about financial issues.

Your first production opens in a few days. Tell us about that.

JJ: For our first production we had a local playwright write a parody for us [called] A Midsummer's Night's Dream. It's about a group of actors that are going to perform A Midsummer Night's Dream but they've set it in ancient India. The director of the acting troupe takes them into the forest to go rehearse to get some method acting going. While they're in the forest, craziness ensues and ... well, I will leave it at that.

It's pure comedy, pure comedy. It's a twist between Scary Movie and Airplane ... sort of like Jackass but with, with ...

Without the jockstraps?

JJ: Exactly!

Tell us about your cast.

JJ: The lead is Tylar Leigh, a twelve-year-old girl, and when you see her, you will say, "Oh, my goodness. I must remember this child's name because she's just incredible." When she came in to audition for us, we went to the playwright and said, "Can we do a little something to really showcase this girl?"

A Midsummer's Night's Dream runs at 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays. Through August 16. Red Door Theater Company, 4513 Red Bluff Road, Pasadena, Texas For information, call 281-542-0500 or visit www.thereddoortheatrecompany.org. $10 to $15.

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