OTC collaborates with Autism community to raise awareness and understanding of autism through visual and performance art
“Dancing Lessons” Opens Friday, March 1 after Successful Run at Scripps Ranch Theatre
Oceanside Theatre Company (OTC), the resident professional theater company at the
Brooks Theater is partnering with the Autism Society of San Diego to help raise awareness for Autism through its production of Dancing Lessons and a corresponding art exhibit in the Brooks Theater Gallery.
Dancing Lessons , written by Marc St. Germain and directed by Meg Deboard, is a heartwarming story laced with humor, about a young man with Asperger’s syndrome seeking the instruction of an injured Broadway dancer in order to survive an awards dinner. As their relationship unfolds, they’re both caught off-guard by the discoveries that they make about each other and themselves.
The play opens at the Brooks Theater March 1 and runs each Friday and Saturday @ 7:30, Sundays @ 2 p.m. through March 17. Tickets are available for $15 - $29 online at or by calling the box office at 760-433-8900. The director, production crew, cast, costumes, and sets are shared as a co-production with Scripps Ranch Theatre. The play opened there in February at Scripps to rave reviews.
“Under the perceptive and empathic direction of Meg DeBoard, the piece is beautifully played for both laughter and pathos… Michelle Marie Trester, a highly versatile local favorite, is marvelous as the prickly, defensive Senga, and Andrew Gumm is spectacular as Ever; he perfectly captures both the intelligence and the sometimes self-aware social ineptitude,” said Pat Launer, Times of San Diego.
To complement the play, The Brooks Gallery will feature Dance & the Heart, an art exhibit by 18 local artists on the themes of being different and connection. A collaboration with The Art of Autism project and teacher Debra Muzikar features four autistic artists displaying works ranging from weaving to abstract art.
“It is a totally enriching and immersive experience to create a connection between the visual arts and the performing arts,” said Carol Naegele, curator of the Brooks Gallery. “Theatergoers can see the visual themes of the play and art lovers can see the artistic themes played out on the stage. This show is extra-special because it shows the talent and passion of our autistic artists.”
The Brooks Gallery is open on the days of performance.
An interactive Talk Back, or Q&A with the actors and one of the artists on the autism spectrum will be held March 10 after the Sunday Matinee. The actors and artists will discuss their roles in the play and the art of autism.
In keeping with creating community events that involve area businesses, OTC and Masters Kitchen will offer a “Dinner and Dancing (Lessons ”), a special ticket that includes dinner at Masters, just 3 blocks from the theater, and one ticket to a performance of the play for only $46. Patrons may choose this option when purchasing tickets online after choosing dates and seating on the website.