Limelight Theater acquired

SAVING THE STAGE South Valley Civic Theater will begin its 51st season with the acquisition of Limelight Actors Theater. File photo

Limelight Actors Theater, which was in danger of shutting down following the retirement of its co-owners, will be under new management.

South Valley Civic Theatre will assume management of Limelight following the end of its current show, The Hallelujah Girls, on Dec. 1.

Scott Lynch, SVCT board president and a familiar presence on both Limelight’s and SVCT’s stages, said he looks forward to SVCT’s growth and expansion to Gilroy. 

“As we begin our second half-century of providing live theater in the South Valley, we are excited about this opportunity to offer SVCT performances at this second venue while preserving the unique characteristics of Limelight Actors Theater,” he said.

For the past nine years, Limelight Actors Theater has staged shows at the Gilroy Center for the Arts, 7341 Monterey St. Limelight was the brainchild of actor Kevin Heath, who created the theater company in part to entice people to the center. 

After nine years as a member of the Gilroy Arts Alliance and Limelight’s executive director—and after 43 Limelight productions—Heath and his husband and theater company co-owner Alan Obata are moving away.

“Although it was a difficult decision to close Limelight; we couldn’t be happier with SVCT’s decision to continue the brand of theater we created,” Heath said. “The community will be very pleased with what they will experience with the next generation of Limelight.”

SVCT just completed its 50th season. While SVCT is the resident theater company of the Morgan Hill Community Playhouse, its roots are in Gilroy. In 1969, Gilroy Community Theatre was established by a group of residents and volunteers. It was not until 1985 that it changed its name to South Valley Civic Theatre and expanded performance locations beyond Gilroy to include Hollister and Morgan Hill. 

SVCT settled in Morgan Hill in 2003, after completion of the Morgan Hill Community Playhouse.

With its small black box stage, Limelight usually produces three shows a year, a mix of comedies and dramas. Meanwhile in the Playhouse, SVCT’s annual season features five productions, typically a mix of family and adult musicals, teen and children’s musicals, and a comedy or drama.

With the acquisition of a second venue in Gilroy, SVCT anticipates continuing with a combined mix of eight plays and musicals. SVCT plans to retain the features of Limelight, such as the small cabaret theater experience and the option for attendees to bring their own dinner.

“Limelight has been my home away from home for nine years,” said actress Rosalind Farotte. “It has been a haven for fine theater, great camaraderie. and enduring friendships. I was greatly saddened by the loss of our leaders, Alan and Kevin, and the apparent demise of Limelight Actors Theater. However, I am delighted that South Valley Civic Theater has decided to step in and hold this theater and its family together. Under the direction of SVCT, Limelight will continue to be a unique and treasured part of our artistic community.”