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Taken For Granted: A treasure in our midst

August 18, 2011|By Pat Grant

I’m amazed at how many Glendale residents fail to take full advantage of the great entertainment opportunities our city has to offer.

Topping the neglect list is the Glendale Centre Theatre. The recent production of “1776” was a wonderful, patriotic musical about the struggle for independence and the human qualities of our founding fathers. It was performed by a cast that could readily have presented it on Broadway to the cheers of the most snooty of New York audiences and critics.

And while attendance was good throughout the run of the show, it should have been standing room only every night. The quality of the production was typical of every play this gem of a community theater stages.


What used to be a most astute and culturally active Glendale population seems to be a thing of the past. The changing demographics of our town — an aging population, many non-English speakers and a weak economy — have cut into the sellout audiences the theater historically experienced.

For three generations, the Hale-Dietlein family has provided Glendale with the best in classic and contemporary American musicals, comedies and dramas. This unbelievably talented family has produced, directed, performed in, and, during the early years, written plays for the enjoyment of our community.

The Glendale Centre Theatre will celebrate its 65th year in 2012. Owner and executive producer Tim Dietlein is the moving force behind the company, having carried on the mandate of his grandparents and parents to offer quality entertainment suitable for the entire family.

Starting as a child actor, he and his siblings performed during the early years in the family’s productions at the original Colorado Street location. At that time, the family house was about 20 feet from the stage door and Tim related the story of his brother’s nocturnal adventure.

Tucked away in bed one night, 3-year-old David decided to go for a stroll. Stripping off his pajamas, he entered stage left, buck naked in the middle of his grandmother’s big scene, providing the audience with an unexpected laugh. Not missing a beat, his grandmother scooped him up while ad libbing the line, “Oh no, the neighbor boy is out again,” leaving the stage to a perplexed cast who had to wing it until grandma put David back in bed and returned to the stage.

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