Live theater has been about bringing people together and creating community. For nearly a decade, Coachella Valley Repertory (CVRep) has been successfully doing just that. This year, though, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced CVRep to re-think how to do it.
“Zoom has become the mainstay of our world,” acknowledges Tracey Essex, director of marketing at CVRep. “That’s how we’re reaching our patrons, and it’s what we’ll be using to show this benefit.”
In place of an in-person fundraiser, CV Rep will televise via Zoom an hour-long 2020 “virtual” edition entitled “Behind the Curtain – Magic in the Making” at 6 p.m. (PST) Nov. 12. The presentation will take viewers “behind the curtain,” says Essex, of how a theatrical production comes together, including showing a wig collection of more than 100 different styles to a construction facility to build sets.
In addition, special “Magic Maker” awards will be given out to people and organizations who have impacted CVRep in four categories: Outstanding Volunteer, Outstanding Community Partnership, Outstanding Support of the Theatre and Outstanding Support of Educational Initiatives. “Magic Maker” awards will become an annual ceremony for CVRep.
Currently, CVRep has been conducting a silent auction to give theater lovers another way to show support at an especially challenging point in its history. Bidding will continue until 8 p.m. Nov. 12. The items are Coachella Valley-centric and varied enough to be of interest to almost anyone. To single out a few: A round of golf for a foursome at the private Bighorn County Club (caddy and lunch included); a guided hiking experience for a group of eight from Hike Local Palm Springs; a Gelson’s $100.00 gift Card plus gourmet snack basket; a three-night stay at Hotel G in the Union Square neighborhood of San Francisco; a Living Desert Family four-pack (two kids, two adults), and also for a group of four, breakfast and conversation about matters theatrical with CVRep’s Artistic Director Ron Celona.
This watch from Cuervos y Sobrinos is among the silent auction items up for bid.
“This benefit,” Essex says, “is really what is going to sustain us until we can hopefully start doing our shows at the Cathedral City Community Amphitheater.”
Outgrowing its original home in Rancho Mirage, CVRep arranged with Cathedral City in 2016 to purchase and occupy the 220-seat IMAX theater on East Palm Canyon Drive. After extensively re-modeling the space, CVRep had about a year to settle in, put on some shows, and start building its audience.
Then came Covid. While pandemic restrictions will likely prohibit indoor theater well into 2021, CVRep plans to take advantage of an outdoor opportunity by staging shows starting in January at the new community amphitheater.
“It will probably be the first and only opportunity for live theater to come back to the Coachella Valley quickly,” says Willie Rhine, owner of Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge in Palm Springs and a CVRep board member. “So I’m super excited about the possibilities for us.”
The Cathedral City Community Amphitheater offers CVRep a chance to hold live performances safely outdoors during the pandemic.
CVRep also plans to continue its Theatre Thursday online programming, which for the past several months has been Zoom-ing performances to locked-down patrons craving a live-theater fix.
How to Participate in CVRep’s Online Auction
Log on to cvrep.org. Click on “Buy Tickets!” That will take you to “Behind the Curtain – ‘Magic in the Making’ Virtual Annual Benefit.” From there, two options: (a) You can purchase a ticket for the Benefit for $50. (There are other sponsorship opportunities as well.) Or (b) you can click on the “silent auction items” link to view the items or check on the status of bidding.
You do not have to buy a benefit ticket to place a bid, but you do have to register. Click on the “Log In/Register to Bid” tab (you’ll see it after you’ve clicked the “silent auction items” link) to create an account or log back in to one you’ve already created. Details about the bidding and auction process are spelled out at the various stages of your clicking.