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OBT History

Although the "OBT Thespians" group have only been on throne since 1994, the actual Theater (On Broadway Theater) pre-dates that by some 30 plus years.

In 1979 the area's first silent movie & intimate live theater, the On Broadway Film Society, and the Dolphin Players theatrical troupe, began and took shape in the careful hands of Larry & Tosca Means, Kit Lewis, Randy Ullom, Ross Klooster, and Betty Bingham. Showing old classic films, they ran the gamut from Laurel & Hardy to Ingmar Bergman, from John Wayne to Buster Keaton. Perhaps most memorable were the Silent Movie audiences who were treated to the wonderful live musical accompaniments of the late Don Loftus. In addition to old movie classics, On Broadway also dabbled in live entertainment sprinkled inbetween films, ranging from talented musical guests (solo guitarists, folksingers, local choirs and Dixieland Bands) to theater improv, poetry readings, belly dancing, pantomine, and even full blown musicals. It was a time of wonderful local talent showcases!

Then slowly over the years, one by one the core members left to pursue other venues, leaving Tosca Means to trade in those old classic movie projectors for the power of the small intimate stage. Thus the On Broadway Theater sprouted wings and lined its nest. Whether drama or comedy, musicals or children's theater, the quality & scope of this small stage to be able to reach its audience has been nothing short of phenonemal. Perhaps one of the many reasons why OBT was approached in 1999 about hosting acting classes for the Alternative Youth Activity (youth at risk) programs, funded by the Oregon Arts Commission.

OBT has seen its share of in-house Theater core groups stream through its lobby the past few years, beginning with the Dolphin Players, then PACT (Playwrights American Conservatory Theater), and eventually the On Broadway Thespians core group.

In the Fall of 2006, the building that housed the On Broadway Thespians changed hands and thus the group ultimately lost it's lease and had to face the prospect of relocation. The first move was across the street to the old Egyptian Theatre movie house that had been vacant for some time until another group (ETPA or Egyptian Theatre Preservation Assoc) got involved. The idea was to renovate and turn an old historic building worth saving into a productive performing arts center for the entire community. Inviting the On Broadway Thespians to relocate there as the first Live Theatre resident group seemed like a natural fit, as was wanting to show old classic films (movies). In addition, ETPA wanted to also offer a myraid of other performing arts such as music, dance, and other local events.

Five OBT productions were staged there, but ultimately the lack of green room (dressing rooms) and prop storage areas in addition to set lighting proved problematic, and so the theater group started looking elsewhere for more permanent digs.

In 2008, OBT added a second venue to their new nomadic venture, Dinner Theater, at Stray Katz/Genevieve's (formerly Gussies) Restaurant in the downtown Empire district of Coos Bay. Again, five more productions of various genre plays were tried there, and once more, lack of stage size and adequate lighting, coupled with green room/dressing room woes further compounded everyone's frustrations. Parents were nervous about letting their children be in a play that was running next door to a bar. Play attendance sank to an all time low.

OBT then decided to experiment staging another children's play over at the Pony Village Mall. Since there had been another theater troupe there previously, it was hoped that such a public venue could support having us there as well. Sadly, it did not. Set logistics, lighting problems, lack of green room ammenities, and low play attendance once again played a role in holding OBT back. With operating funds at an all time low, and no permanent home in sight, OBT went into hiatus for nearly two years.

2011 marked the group's foray back into the performance limelight, starting with a popular family-friendly comedic piece staged over at Liberty Theatre (aka "Little Theatre On the Bay"), a friendly rival theater troupe with a lifelong history of ties to us. The local community responded in return with great support, and as a result, OBT nestled in nicely ever since.

(For additional OBT history, don't forget to check out our special Memorials page.)

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Plays staged over the past 35 years:
24 yrs as On Broadway Thespians,
6 yrs as PACT, and
7 yrs as The Dolphin Players

2019 Season,
OBT Thespians

2018 Season,
OBT Thespians

TBA Ghost the Musical

2017 Season,
OBT Thespians

2016 Season,
OBT Thespians

Annie (the musical) The Addams Family Musical

2015 Season,
OBT Thespians

2014 Season,
OBT Thespians

The Full Monty Clue the Musical!

2013 Season,
OBT Thespians

2012 Season,
OBT Thespians

Halloween Thrillogy: (Dead, The Babysitter, Country Gothic) Nunsense: the Mega-Musical!

2011 Season,
OBT Thespians

2010 Season,
OBT Thespians

Night At the Wax Museum N/A (theater went dark all year long)

2009 Season,
OBT Thespians

2008 Season,
OBT Thespians

NunSense Amen! An Evening of Dinner Theater (singer showcase)
Knock 'em Dead (cancelled) The Magician's Nephew
OBT Awards Gala (cancelled) Same Time Next Year
King Arthur & the Lords of Avalon

2007 Season,
OBT Thespians

2006 Season,
OBT Thespians

Big Bad The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Dorothy Meets Alice The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Much Ado About Nothing Murder In Green Meadows
Frankenstein Hansel and Gretel
Bah Humbug! The Foreigner
NunSensations! Vegas Review
The Secret Garden
1940's Radio Hour

2005 Season,
OBT Thespians

2004 Season,
OBT Thespians

Peter Pan Jungle Book
Little Girl That Lives Down the LaneAngel Street
Last Of the Red Hot Lovers
Any Given Day
Steel MagnoliasBeauty and the Beast
We The People Mesuggah Nuns
Charlotte's Web Bleacher Bums
The White Rose Pocahontas
The Elephant ManDracula
Christmas on Broadway It's A Wonderful Life

2003 Season,
OBT Thespians

2002 Season,
OBT Thespians

The Only Game In TownHere and Now
PinocchioOn Golden Pond
You Can't Take It With YouThe Hobbit
Brighton Beach MemoirsExtremities
PopeyeLost In Yonkers
PollyannaTreasure Island
Visting Mr. GreenThe Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde
Jack the RipperThe Hunchback of Notre Dame
Little WomenA Christmas Carol Radio Show

2001 Season,
OBT Thespians

2000 Season,
OBT Thespians

Private Wars2 For The Show/Same Time Another Year (Readers Theater)
Six Short ComediesA Walk In The Woods/50 Years Ago/The Diaries of Adam & Eve/Love Letters/Molly & James
CinderellaTennessee Williams a-la-mode
The OBT Talent ShowThe Pigman
The Country Kickers line dancers & Ocean Pacific CloggersCrimes Of the Heart
The Deadly GameWeekend Comedy
Alice in WonderlandPeter & The Wolf
The Haunting of Hill HouseLegend of Sleepy Hollow
The Subject Was RosesThe Drunkard
NUNcrackers!A Tuna Christmas

1999 Season,
OBT Thespians

1998 Season,
OBT Thespians

Zelda, The Last FlapperTales From The Kitchen Table
Cat On A Hot Tin RoofWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Home At Six (AYA/OBT)Raggedy Ann & Andy
An Evening With Anton ChekovA Garden Of Fashion
The Elves And The ShoemakerSpring Fling (Dinner Theater)
Nunsense Jamboree IIIDaddy's Dying Who's Got The Will?
The KitKat ClubDancer's Spotlight
MousetrapSongwriter's Showcase
Peter PanRed, White, & Blues (Dinner Theater)
SylviaDriving Miss Daisy
God's FavoriteWait Until Dark
Best Little Christmas Pagent EverYou're A Good Man Charlie Brown
Veronica's Room
The Christmas Carol

1997 Season,
OBT Thespians

1996 Season,
OBT Thespians

Frozen Rain (R&R)Octette Bridge Club
Finnagan's WakeLife With Mother Superior
Out Of The Shadows (dance)Alive and Kicking
Park Your Car In Harvard YardThe Cemetery Club
The Dining Room13 Clocks
A Spring Fling (Dinner Theater)Our Town
Hansel & GretelShakespeare Exposed
Athentic Life Of Billy the KidMurder At The Howard Johnson
Intensity Rising (dance)Alley Kids II
Red,White, & Blues (Dinner Theater)Ladies In 509
A Midsummer's Night DreamLucifer's Child
I'm Not RapportAs The Snow Falls
Winnie The Pooh
Bats In The Basement
Agnes Of God
Miracle On 34th Street
Sleigh Ride (Dinner Theater)

1995 Season,
OBT Thespians

1994 Season,
OBT Thespians

I Can't Hear You When The Water's RunningShirley Valentine
Many MoonsRansom Of Red Chief
On Broadway SocialNunsense
Night MotherTamara Whiteaker with Harry Stitch
RSVP Luncheon (Dinner Theater)
VoicesSong Writer's Review
Nunsense IIBel Canto Musical Recital
JBGolden Bough (Celtic Musical Group)
Celebrate Freedom (Dinner Theater)Your Land & My Land (Dinner Theater)
Nunsense II (reprise) You're A Grand Old Flag
Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs In The Black Forest Cabaret
Chicago's Dr. Laurie Sucher in Concert Oregon The Way It Was
(Storytelling by Richard Stickroth)
SunsetsBus Stop
Papa Is AllHoliday Lodge (Dinner Theater)
The Fantastiks

1993 Season, PACT

Together For The First Time
The Alley Kids
The Impressario
The Picnic
Come On In (Country Concert)
'Tis The Season (Dinner Theater)

1988-1992 Season, PACT

1980-1987 Season,
The Dolphin Players

Peace ChildThat Championship Season
To LifeWait Until Dark
The Breasts of PatronaVanities
Talley's FolleyInherit The Wind
Tom SawyerThe Caine Mutiny Court Martial
They're Playing Our SongLone Star, Laundry, and Bourbon
PinnochioAnd Miss Reardon Drinks A Little
Something's AfootThe Sea Horse
SnoopySide by Side by Sondheim
OliverSame Time Next Year
WorkingThe Trees of Lallapaloosa
Sea MarksCheaper By the Dozen
Diary of Anne FrankOBT Talent Show
A Christmas Memory

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"OBT: Enriching the lives of patrons and players of all ages,
through the magic of live theatre."

(This page last updated September 21, 2018)

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