Boyle Heights theater stages fund-raising drive

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BOYLE HEIGHTS — A theater that has staged community productions for almost 20 years is in danger of closing its doors and is conducting a fund-raising campaign to stay open.

Josefina Lopez’s Casa 0101 Theater has crossed the halfway point in its fund-raising campaign with 190 financial donors stepping up so far pledging $25 a month to keep the theater open, said Emmanuel Deleage, executive director of the theater.

As part of its campaign, the theater is beginning a five-week run May 11 of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast, the Broadway Musical.”

The play will be staged four times a week: Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Located at 2101 E. First St., Casa 0101 Theatre was started by Lopez, the author of “Real Women Have Curves,” as a nonprofit operation in 2000 to fulfill her vision of bringing art and live theater programs to Boyle Heights.

From its humble beginnings in a former bridal shop, Casa 0101 has established itself as a leading arts venue on the Eastside, offering year-round theatrical productions and classes in dramatic writing and acting for youth and adults.

The fund-raising campaign, which will run through June, hopes to enlist 350 donors who will pay $25 a month to keep the theater operating.

“Josefina and I are very grateful to each and everyone, of our 190 financial donors who have stepped forward to help us cross the halfway mark in our fund-raising campaign to keep our theater’s doors open,” Deleage said.

“It is our hope that we can continue to give back to our community of Boyle Heights and the city of Los Angeles by creating opportunities for actors, writers and artists here at CASA 0101 Theater, as we have been doing,” Lopez said.

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” opened on Broadway in 1994. The story, based on a French fairy tale, is about Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and a beast, who is actually a handsome young prince who lives in a luxurious castle. When an old beggar woman, who is actually an enchantress, asks the prince for shelter from the freezing cold, the prince shuns the woman for her repulsive appearance, at which time she transforms the prince into a beast for his cold-hearted and selfish ways.

Ashamed of his new appearance, the beast conceals himself inside his castle with a magic mirror as his only window to the outside world, and an enchanted rose, which will bloom until he turns 21 years of age. If the beast can learn to love a woman and earn her love in return before the final petal falls off the rose, the curse will be broken and he will return to his original self. If not, he will remain a beast forever.

Tickets for the show range from $25 to $40. Group discounts also are available.

For ticket information, call the box office at (323) 263-7684.

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