Magic Circle Theatre becomes Civic Theatre West

Name change follows task force's evaluation of nonprofit organization's mission and operations
By: Sena Christian, The Press Tribune
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Magic Circle Theatre in Roseville debuted its new name Wednesday, Civic Theatre West: Stages of Community. The nonprofit organization’s name change coincides with alterations to the organization’s mission statement and vision for the future, following almost a year of evaluation initiated by the volunteer board of directors. The theater’s mission is to entertain, engage and educate the public. “This last year has been a year of tremendous change for us,” said board President Calvin Stevens during a presentation held at Tower Theatre. “Ladies and gentleman, we at Civic Theatre West are thrilled about our future.” Stevens said the changes represent the organization’s renewed commitment to the community and an increasingly diverse patron base. Founded in 1987, Civic Theatre West is now the second-largest community theater in California with an annual budget of more than $1 million, and operates the largest children’s theater workshop in the state. The organization operates two theaters on Vernon Street in historic downtown Roseville — the 80-year-old Roseville Theatre and refurbished Tower Theater. Last year, the organization underwent a management change when the board of directors fired the troupe’s founders, Bob and Rosemarie Gerould, and canceled its contract with LMC Theatrical Management Company. When the dust settled, the board of directors decided the organization needed a fresh start, Stevens said. “That was a triggering event,” Stevens said. “But we would have certainly done it (anyway) with the passage of time.” The board also felt that identifying the organization’s plan for long-term growth would attract additional grant funding. The organization assembled a task force comprised of community, staff and board members to review the theater group’s operations. The name and mission statement changes were the culmination of the task force’s work. City of Roseville Mayor Gina Garbolino praised the task force and Civic Theatre West during Wednesday’s presentation. “The Magic Circle Theatre has long been an anchor of downtown Roseville,” Garbolino said. “This nonprofit theater matches the vision of what downtown can become.” Roseville Chamber of Commerce CEO Wendy Gerig said that after she and her family moved to Roseville 17 years ago, the first activity they participated in was “The Saga of Sweet Hannah Sue, or You Can Lead a Cow to Town But it Sure Ain’t Sweden,” a children’s play at Magic Circle Theatre. “For many years, this theater is what drove traffic to our downtown and now these people have become loyal patrons of downtown businesses,” Gerig said. “What’s good for the theater is good for downtown.” The theater company’s focus on children’s programs will remain strong, Stevens said in a press release, with a new long-term goal of expanding its youth education to include training in acting, voice, dance, theater traditions and theater culture. Beginning with the 2010-2011 season, patrons will be able to purchase tickets for main stage productions in four packages. This approach recognizes the current tough economic times and provides season ticket holders with a blend of diverse productions to choose from, according to the organization. Subscription packages offer savings over single-ticket prices. Stevens said the task force didn’t originally plan to change the theater company’s name, but as the evaluation process developed, the group felt a need to create a more crisp and professional-sounding name that spoke to the organization’s regional influence, balanced with a warm, family feel. Stevens said the word “stages” in the full name refers to multiple stages — stages of the organizations’ life and development, programming and changing audience. “What says it to me (in the new name) is ‘stages,’” said Buzz Rognlien, longtime theater member. “This to me captures much more what the theater is all about in today’s world. And the word ‘enduring’ (in the mission statement) that struck me, as well.” Sena Christian can be reached at ---------- Civic Theatre West will offer 10 main stage shows this season, broken into two five-show sessions. Fall/Winter Season “The Drowsy Chaperone,” Sept. 10 to Oct. 9 at Roseville Theater, 241 Vernon St. “Crimes of the Heart,” Sept. 24 to Oct. 23 at Tower Theater, 421 Vernon St. “Deathtrap,” Nov. 5 to Dec. 4 at Roseville Theater “Plaid Tidings,” Nov. 19 to Dec. 18 at Tower Theater “Annie,” Jan. 7 to Feb. 12 at Roseville Theater Spring/Summer Season “Jesus Christ Superstar,” March 11 to April 9, Roseville Theater “Leading Ladies,” March 25 to April 23, Tower Theater “Sweeney Todd,” May 6 to June 4, Roseville Theater “The Boys Next Door,” May 20 to June 18, Tower Theater “The Producers,” July 8 to August 6, Roseville Theater For more information, visit