"Stepping Ahead" The History of SCR


"The best book ever written about Southland theatre history.... If you think you know a lot about SCR, you'll almost certainly learn a lot more from this book"
LA Stage Watch
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Stepping Ahead is a book that traces the turbulent-yet-triumphant first 45 years of South Coast Repertory (SCR). Purchase the book at the Theatre Gift Shop.*

Since bursting on the scene in 1964, with a $17 rag-tag production of Tartuffe, SCR has become one of the nation’s premier regional theatres, with an unmated reputation for nurturing the best American playwrights. Founding Artistic Directors David Emmes and Martin Benson made the vision a reality during the theatre’s first 50 years; now the company is led by Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Managing Director Paula Tomei.

SCR has earned numerous honors through the years, including a regional Tony Award, and has developed two Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, six Pulitzer nominees and a Tony Award nominee. Today, the theatre is a gem in Orange County, with a three-theatre complex—including a year-round Theatre Conservatory—and a 13-show season.

But the journey from Tartuffe to Tony was far from smooth, so Stepping Ahead doesn’t skip over the rough patches. Alongside stories of glowing reviews and audience raves are tales of offstage infighting, less-than-stellar productions and poor decision-making. On one disastrous night in 1970, “Beverly Hillbillies” star Buddy Ebsen stormed out midway through a controversial show, pulling his financial support.

Author Lawrence Christon, a former critic and staff writer for the L.A. Times, spent five years researching and writing Stepping Ahead. Its scope extends beyond SCR to the local and national historical events and industry trends that shaped the theatre.

The 340-page book also features more than 150 color photographs from SCR productions including images of beloved founding artists Don Took, Hal Landon, Jr., Martha McFarland and Richard Doyle and before-they-were-stars Joe Pantoliano, Ed Harris, Elizabeth McGovern, Dennis Franz and Tom Hulce.

*Purchase Stepping Ahead for $25 in the Theatre Gift Shop. SCR subscribers receive a 20% discount.

Books may be purchased in person or ordered via e-mail and shipped for an additional $5 per book postage and handling fee.