Lyceum Renovation Fundraiser Event


Two notable alumni help kick off $650,000 campaign for long-overdue renovations, including backstage dressing room, multi-purpose space and restrooms.


At the red carpet gala dinner in Vanguard’s own, Needham Chapel Courtyard, to kick off the long awaited theater renovations– one basic necessity was expressed most: Bathrooms.

Alumna Kristina Kuzmic (’01), now a social media personality known for her humorous take on motherhood, remembers dashing to a bathroom in another campus building while wearing a billowy dress between acts of “Little Women”—a routine other actors and patrons of the Lyceum Theater have endured since the former lecture hall was converted into a theater 18 years prior.

Those long bathroom dashes have, fortunately, come to an end. Much the the relief of the theater patrons. “This will benefit not only the school, but all of Southern California,” actress Emily Rose (’03) said during comments at the donor dinner.

The Lyceum Theater upgrades, scheduled to be completed by year end, will include a new 2,000-square-foot space connected to the existing theater that will serve as a backstage area, complete with a dressing room and greenroom.

The new space also will function as a multi-purpose space for classes, including costume design, makeup design, and other theater courses offered by the Department of Theatre Arts.

The second phase of the renovation will feature a second-stage, black box theater that currently is being used as a space for maintenance. Until recently, theatre arts students were using a trailer as a dressing room. The trailer since has been torn down.

With about 50 students both majoring and minoring in the program, the Department of Theatre Arts is small, but mighty. “More than twenty-eight alumni have gotten into very elite MFA acting and design programs,” Susan Berkompas shared with the select group of alumni, arts supporters and community members gathered at the donor event. Close to 100 alumni and donors were in attendance. “One alumnus just finished an original musical on Broadway. We have another one who is a manager with Innovative Artists, one of top entertainment industry management agencies in the country” continued Berkompas.

Kevin Coleman, founder and CEO of Costa Mesa-based Net Development Co., is spearheading the theater renovation project. His daughter, Kelsey, graduated from Vanguard’s theatre program in 2014.

“We have been blessed to be able to raise the funds to get this project started,” said Coleman, whose real estate development firm is donating a significant amount of services to the renovation. “The [theatre] students have flourished through tough times,” Coleman told attendees. “I look at the folks who’ve been here, working in these conditions, with a smile on their face and a belief in their heart that they’re making a difference…We’re here tonight to continue that dream, to take this a step further, to give them the space they deserve.”

President Beals, personally thanked Kuzmic and Rose for attending the event.

For more information about contributing to the Lyceum Theater Campaign, whose different levels of support range from the Ensemble Level ($1,000) to Producer’s Circle ($100,000), but which will accept donations of any amount, visit our donation page.

Lyceum Theater Renovations
Devon Johnson
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