gmhTODAY Winter 2023 - Page 73

South Valley Civic Theater :

M

ichael and Gloria Horta have discovered , like countless
South Valley actors before them , that you don ' t just dabble in community theater ; you get hooked and are drawn inexorably in . For the Hortas , it started with their three children , Marcus ( 17 ), Gabriella ( 14 ), and Matthew ( 10 ). Gabriella led the way , performing at age six with Gilroy ' s Little Theatre Productions ' Honk Jr , directed by Hilary Little . Since then , all three Horta children have performed under Little ' s direction . ( Other productions included Beauty and the Beast , Grease , and Peter Pan .)
Matthew as Ralphie in a Christmas Story
Little said , “ Michael and Gloria were always extremely involved in the production process . It has been so fun to watch their kids mature and grow as performers and as individuals ."
It was Little Theatre Productions and Michael Horta ' s 25 year friendship with Hilary Little ( they sang together in the Gilroy High School choir ) that drew Michael back to performing . In 2018 Hilary was auditioning with South Valley Civic Theatre ( SVCT ) for Guys and Dolls and persuaded Michael to join her on stage .
Since she knew the show well , Little explained , " Quickly , I went over each of the ' guys ' and gave him a crash course with mannerisms and voices appropriate for each role . Not surprisingly , Michael nailed each character as I spied on his performances through a crack in the wall . His version of ' Sit Down You ' re Rockin ' the Boat ' blew the roof off the place ."
Gabriella ( top left ) in Beauty and the Beast
Michael and LeFou in Beauty and the Beast

A Family Affair

By Elizabeth Mandel
Gabriella in " Honk "
From portraying the gangster Big Jule in Guys and Dolls , Michael has expanded to larger singing and acting roles that feature both his singing talent and his comedic timing , including Mr . Goldstone in Gypsy ( 2019 ) and LeFou in Beauty and the Beast ( 2022 ). The kids have joined Michael on stage ( in Gypsy and Beauty and the Beast ). Most recently , Matthew and Gabriella also were in the children ' s production of Honk Jr ., Matthew played the lead , Ralphie , in A Christmas Story , and Marcus is now in rehearsals for a teen production of The Drowsy Chaperone , which will open in February , 2023 .
Michael has also joined SVCT ' s Board of Directors and started producing shows , reflecting that , " It is hard to balance life with three kids on stage . If the kids are in a show , it ' s easiest if I am involved too ." He added , " I like producing ... getting to know the directors and cast , being proud of the show , and seeing the end product and appreciative audiences ."
Meanwhile , Gloria Horta has taken on community theater as a different kind of creative outlet . She partners with the director in envisioning the Morgan Hill Playhouse lobby as an extension of the play itself , and immerses herself in lobby design . Her Beauty and the Beast lobby was an enchanting French provincial town ; the lobby for A Christmas Story evoked scenes from the play , including a 1940 ' s Christmas tree farm , Higbee ' s Department Store , and Pulaski ' s Candy Store . Gloria ' s next lobby design project will be for Matilda the Musical , opening in June , 2023 .
Ingrid Rottman , who produced both Beauty and the Beast and A Christmas Story describes Gloria ' s interactive lobby displays as making " guests feel like they are participating and sharing some of the same experiences as the characters on the stage ."
The Horta family has found a creative outlet that lets them spend time together as a family , doing something they all love . Gabriella enjoys , " seeing my friends , pursuing a passion , and getting to be on stage and singing ." Matthew says , " I love acting and spending time with family ; with theater , I get to do both ”.
To learn more about SVCT , find upcoming performances , and to get involved , visit : https :// www . svct . org
Michael as Big Jule in Guys and Dolls
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