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Beaumont’s Centennial: City Plans Free Theatrical Performance, Block Party

This week, Banning-Beaumont Patch caught up with the actors who are putting together a special performance for Beaumont's 100th birthday.

The city of Beaumont has been working for nearly a year on ways to recognize the 100th birthday of the city, and it will all culminate next month at a block party and gala celebration.

The block party will be held Sunday, Nov. 18, at Beaumont Civic Center and will feature things like a fashion show, historical displays, a car show, and viewing of the city’s time capsule. (More info to come on that later, but see attached flyer with info in the photo gallery above.)

The night before that party, though, they'll be another celebration-- a dinner gala with speeches from the mayor and city proclamations in honor of the centennial.  What's more-- guests will also be privy to a series of original "historical fiction" performances that will weave in pieces of Beaumont's long history to entertain guests.

The performances are part of the monologue-styled play "1912" to be performed by CAST (Catch A Star Theatrical Players), a Beaumont-based community theater group.  This week, they held their first in-costume rehearsal in the gymnasium of the civic center, and Banning-Beaumont Patch caught up with the cast to learn more about the performance.

"[The play] brings life to a part of Beaumont's history while showcasing local talent," said Kyle L. Andrews, a Beaumont resident of 15 years, who is playing Harry Houdini, who stops through town the night Beaumont gained cityhood in the play.

In addition to Harry Houdini stopping in town the night of the election for cityhood, the play will feature monologues from The Unsinkable Molly Brown, a farmer named T.O. Hastings and a wife/mother named Sarah Dilworth.

According to play co-author Steve Moore for the city of Beaumont, a narrator, speaking to the crowd about current events as if it were 1912, opens the play and sets the scene.   After the monologues, a fake radio broadcast will air the eagerly anticipated election results.

"I think this play is a wonderful idea... I learned so much," said Susan O'Connell, who also helped write the production and plays Molly Brown.  "It takes people back."

One of the things that actress Penny Quinn, who plays Sarah Dilworth, says she learned was that it took three times for the city to actually get its cityhood accepted, and that this was the first election that women in California could vote.

"[The history] was fasinating," she said.  "But no matter how big we get, we'll still be a small town."

The play's director-- and actor who plays T.O. Hastings-- Richard J. Meinhold said the company has been working on the play for the last several weeks, and that they're excited to entertain those who come out.

"Our ancestors felt strong enough about the possibilities of this area to work to bring it to a community, and that job still isn't finished," Meinhold told Patch.

 

You can catch the first performance of "1912" at the Centennial Gala Dinner Celebration on Nov. 17, at 6 p.m.  Tickets do cost $30 to attend that gala, and as of Wednesday afternoon, only 50 of the 200 were still available.

However, the play will be performed again-- for free-- on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 2 p.m. in the Civic Center gym.

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