2 p.m. Sundays: Best Place to Catch Young Hoofers -- and Avoid Beckett 

Contra Costa Civic Theatre

You wouldn't know it to look at him, but it's been more than forty years since Louis Flynn started El Cerrito's Contra Costa Civic Theatre with his wife Bettianne. She's taken her final bow, but Louis continues to direct and act, delighting audiences almost as much as the array of up-and-coming East Bay musical theater performers the theater showcases. If you want to drink punch and rub elbows with teenagers who have stars in their eyes and greasepaint clogging their pores, you can't beat an opening night at CCCT, when everyone stays after such crowd-pleasers as Oliver, Grease, and Annie to congratulate everybody else on their performances. But Contra Costa Civic -- which does weigh its season heavily towards musicals (often enhanced by live accompaniment) -- also turns out solid dramas and comedies in a medium-sized theater with excellent sight lines. This is a theater for the whole family: There's no nudity or Beckett, and the endings are usually happy ones. You might even catch Louis Flynn as a benevolent presence somewhere in the cast.


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