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September 22, 2006

Nearing the eve of the Elly Awards, it was a happy chance Thursday to run into John Beaudry, who has meant so much to local theater.

Beaudry has been living in Korea the last few years, teaching English while studying and developing his spiritual awareness. But before that, he, along with business and artistic partner Ivan Sandoval, ran The Show Below at the Geery Theater on L Street. The pair was known for an uncompromising approach to producing truly professional-oriented theater with people who mostly went unpaid. They also took home a bunch of Ellys.

When they closed their doors after producing more than 50 plays since they opened in August of 1987, my predecessor at The Bee, Peter Haugen, wrote “what sets The Show Below apart among small theaters is its unwillingness to say ‘good enough.’

“To accomplish what they have - and it has been considerable - the team of Beaudry and Sandoval has asked a lot of their non-union actors," Haugen added. "The people who worked at The Show Below have been asked to put in professional-level effort even though they made their livings doing other things.”

When I saw him Thursday, Beaudry was sitting with long-time friend and director Adrienne Sher, who often worked for him at the underground theater. They traded “war stories” about the old days, waxed philosophical on the current state of Sacramento theater, and seemed optimistic about the future.

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