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Small Boca Raton Theatre Has Broadway-Size Productions in 'Intimate' Setting

By Kelly Church

In the heart of Boca Raton, FL is a 155-seat theatre with a local feel. The Willow Theatre attracts fans of theatre, music, dance, variety shows, families and even the old-fashioned types looking for a silent film paired with live music. Located inside the community's Sugar Sand Park, the theatre gives Boca Raton residents the opportunity to see professionally produced events in what Marketing Coordinator Mary McGuire calls an "intimate" environment.

"Although we are one of the smaller theatres in the area, we pride ourselves on being state-of-the-art with a professional staff that views service above all," McGuire says. "We feature a wide variety of performance types throughout the year."

On the Mainstage, patrons can watch Broadway musicals, famous plays and original works. Coming up, the Willow Theatre has several showings of Scenes From A Chinese Restaurant, of which one showing is already sold out and several are running low on tickets. The play tells the story of a "humble Chinese restaurant" and is considered romance, comedy and satire wrapped up in five scenes. Then, the theatre will quickly be switching gears into 4Ever '50s, a play about drive-ins, sock hops, greasers and hot rods with favorite 1950s tunes sprinkled throughout the show.

"Performances span the audience generations, ranging from family shows to adult dramas," McGuire says. "We also feature dance and music performances. Family shows are very popular as well. And finally, we also host the well-known DocMiami documentary film series in the Spring and a new series, Sounds of the Silent Screen Film Series with live music accompaniment."

November's silent film was The Lodger: The Story of the London Fog, a famous Alfred Hitchcock film from 1927 and often referred to as "the first true Hitchcock film." The music paired with the film was from Sarasota, FL musician Peter Tavalin who has been playing live music to silent films for three decades. Coming up in December, the film of choice will be The Freshman, Harold Lloyd's 1925 film. Tavalin will also be doing the music for the December show.

You wouldn't know the size of the theatre based on the range of productions (and frequency of shows) that the Willow Theatre holds. When asked about what she thinks makes the Willow Theatre so great, McGuire says that it brings great art to the community level, and supports a creative spirit that can't be replaced.

"Over the years, many theatre companies have found a 'home' at the Willow Theatre," McGuire says. "[It] fosters a voice an outlet for local and regional artists. Local theatre feeds the creative spirit of a community."

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