LB Community Theater Brings Us Together One Story at a Time

Building community through storytelling is the mission, and the Long Beach Community Theater walks that talk through SpeakEasy AND through acts of community service. Each month, LBCT organizes a donation drive of in-kind items to support non-profit organizations in the community that serve individuals in need.

At the February SpeakEasy, LBCT called it a wrap on the January collection, which called for blankets and scarves for Beacon for Him. The team joined the non-profit organization at MacArthur Park yesterday to help distribute the many donated items.

“What a great way to start the week! With an SUV full of your blanket donations, the Long Beach Community Theater headed to MacArthur Park in Long Beach. This is where Beacon for Him Ministries meets our community in need to provide love, guidance, and support. Thank you Beacon for Him for including us in your community circle, and in sharing some warm blankets hugs!”

Alma Casey, LBCT volunteer

As for the monthly Speak.Easy – it’s the only show like it in town, that much is clear. Long Beach Community Theater hosts a monthly event that builds community through the sharing of personal stories, and this month those stories were Love Stories: the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Last week, nine storytellers, some frequent fliers on this stage and some first-timers, shared tales of first kisses, dates gone wrong, the ones who got away, and life-long loves with happily ever afters (in no particular order).

“Our stories can absolutely heal if we share them,”  Long Beach Community Theater Artistic Director Ann Wellman said at the top of the show. She is the founder of the Community Theater and has organized and directed the monthly SpeakEasy at DiPiazza’s in Long Beach since 2019.

Storytellers this month included:

  • Doyle Smiens
  • Ernie Mariscal
  • Anne Moose
  • Mushroom Montoya
  • Crystal Hart
  • Vickie Wippel
  • Scarlett Islas
  • Luis Ramirez
  • Miyo Yamauchi

“Every day we wake up it’s a gift.”

— Ernie Mariscal,
US Army Veteran
First time storyteller with LBCT

Ernie shared a story about taking a fellow Veteran on a run up “heart attack hill” thinking about how life is full of heartbreak.

“We’re worth every second of the fight,” he said.

“I hope he finally found his heart safe and happy home.”

— Anne Moose

Sharing a tale about her days working at a pancake house just outside of San Francisco in her early ’20s, which featured a “quilt of humanity” including the cooks, fellow servers, characters like the “hard-boiled woman named Mary,” and the co-worker who one day professed his undying love for her.

“If I cry, it’s okay.”

— Mushroom Montoya

“That’s how a long-awaited first date was a good date, that turned into the bad, and then became the ugly!”

— Crystal Hart

Long-time LBCT storyteller Crystal Hart shared a story about meeting a new love at a Halloween party “whose name started with O … as in Orgasm,” she laughed with the audience. “Or as in the one, but not the only.” Crystal shared lessons learned in love like “to get over someone you get under someone,” which she added turned out not to be true.

“As long as I’m with you, I’m home.”

— Luis Ramirez

By Art from Ashes

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