While Southern California is saturated with theaters, few can match the history and renown of the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse. Built in 1927 to house John McGroarty’s blockbuster Mission Play, the Mission Playhouse has served as a regional institution that originally helped put San Gabriel on the map in the 1920s and 1930s.
“When you came to Southern California, there were three go-to tourist destinations: the Catalina Islands, Mount Wilson and the Mission Play in old San Gabriel,” said Kelly Salloum, Development and Special Projects Manager for the Mission Playhouse. “The Playhouse represents a piece of history that you won’t find anywhere else in the region.”
However, after decades of constant use, the Playhouse is beginning to show signs of wear and tear. The façade, with constant sun exposure and deferred maintenance, is beginning to crack and crumble. According to Salloum, the façade was last repaired during the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake. ““The Playhouse is long overdue for a new coat of paint, and the [existing] repairs need to be addressed as soon as possible,” Salloum said.
To help restore the iconic façade, the Playhouse staff has raised over $65,000 in 2017, but they’re also looking to raise another $15,000 to help restore and repair the entire building’s exterior. “By doing this, we wouldn’t have issues with crossfading, where some areas are different colors than others.”
To raise the necessary funds, the Playhouse is hoping to take advantage of the Giving Tuesday campaign to help raise awareness about the façade restoration campaign. “The Giving Tuesday campaign is a global movement that started in 2012 after the commercial consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and it’s a time when people begin to think about giving to charitable organizations,” Salloum said. As part of Giving Tuesday, the Playhouse will embark on an online campaign, with videos and photos to help gather funds. Given the turnout of the Playhouse’s summer shows, Salloum is confident that the Playhouse will reach its goal. “We know this community is a great supporter of the arts, and we’re hoping they want to give back by helping us restore their beautiful historic theater.”
Those who wish to contribute to the Playhouse’s $15,000 goal can do so online at the Playhouse’s website, via mail or in person. “We hope some people in the community will come on board with us and donate to help support this project,” Salloum said. “It would be a wonderful outcome, to have the whole building painted at one time, and now is really the time to make this happen!”
This year’s #GivingTuesday campaign will be held on Tuesday, November 28. For more information about the Mission Playhouse, please visit their website at MissionPlayhouse.org.