Santa Maria Civic Theater and Orcutt Community Theater join forces to celebrate the contributions of Meg and Tom Smith, the founders of live theater in the Santa Maria Valley over 60 years ago.

The joint fundraiser with a Hollywood theme features the sounds of Riptide, Santa Maria’s swinging big band, gourmet appetizers and desserts, scenes from some of the many plays the Smiths have been involved with over the years, drawings for items donated by the local business community, a video presentation covering Meg’s Hollywood years, as well as vintage photos and films of her and Tom’s local theater productions.

Step back in time to the 40s and 50s in Tinsel Town. Dress as a Hollywood star from classic movies, don a designer gown or tux and attend a glamorous Hollywood party. Or just come as you are, ready for fun and a swinging good time.

Meet Omega “Meg” Smith, the guest of honor and grand dame of local theatre.

She and Tom met in 1949 in Hollywood, Tom teaching photography when Meg was a stand-in for Ingrid Bergman and an aspiring actress mentored by Cary Grant.

In the 1950s they moved to Santa Maria, and following the advice of Cary Grant, they decided to get involved with local theater, only there wasn’t any such group at the time, so they and several like-minded local arts supporters founded Santa Maria Civic Theater.

Meg nearly went door-to-door building membership and financial support for the fledgling organization. She promoted the group to organizations and wrote public relations pieces augmented by Tom’s pictures.

Tom Smith worked for Lockheed at Vandenberg as head of their photography department. In his spare time Tom designed and built detailed professional sets and photographed cast and crew on and off the stage. He served as the first president of the board and served additional years as a board member. Tom died in 2010 at the age of 92. Meg Smith carries on at age 96, an inspiration to local theater artists.

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Their first production was The Tender Trap, a Broadway play which gained popularity as a Hollywood movie starring Frank Sinatra and Debbie Reynolds. Hollywood films, as well as Broadway recognition, would prove to be major influences on dozens of live-theatre productions directed by Tom or Meg in those early years.

In 1959, The Santa Maria Times heralded the new group with 17 articles and an editorial which proclaimed, “An amateur theatre group such as this makes a community such as Santa Maria a more desirable city in which to live.”

From that day 60 years ago through its 2019 season, SMCT has produced over 250 plays and conducted numerous free summer productions for children.

Now, on the other end of town a new group, Orcutt Community Theater, inspired by the Smiths, with Meg attending every production, kicks off its third season of family friendly plays.

Make your reservations now, buy a ticket or a table, become a movie star, get ready for fun.

Mark your calendar for Nov. 3 at the Radisson Hotel in Santa Maria, 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $65 in advance, $75 at the door, Golden Circle seating $80 in advance, $90 at the door. Golden Circle tables for eight $600.

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