Green Room Theatre Company creates new works, reinvented classics, musical theatre, touring productions, and site-specific performances for the Coachella Valley. It directs its education programs toward young people and underserved communities.
Green Room Theatre Company is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit theatre founded by Board President Karen Lin and Artistic Director David Catanzarite. It has produced a myriad of innovative projects in the thirteen years since its creation, and works with adult performers and youth to bring first-quality theatre and education to our desert communities.
In 2017, Green Room launched Coachella Valley Shakespeare, a combination of productions, readings, and special events that celebrate the life and works of William Shakespeare.
Founding Artistic Director
David Catanzarite is a veteran stage director, activist, and theatre educator. He has directed more than 150 productions in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago, Baltimore and the Coachella Valley. As a Visiting Artist at the New Africa Theatre Project in Cape Town, he met Nelson Mandela during the country’s first free elections. He twice toured, taught and performed in Communist Czechoslovakia in 1984 and 1989 under the auspices of the International Theatre Institute. In 1989 one of his guest performances with the dissident Ha Divadlo Company was suppressed by Czech police, just a few weeks before the start of the Velvet Revolution.
In Los Angeles, Catanzarite’s productions garnered numerous awards including a NAACP Image Award and numerous “picks of the week” in the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly. He was a resident director and board member for the Watts Village Theatre Company, honored by the American Theatre Wing (the Tony organization) as one of the top ten emerging professional companies in the United States. While earning his MFA in Directing at the University of Southern California, David spent two seasons as an intern at Center Theatre Group’s New Play Development Festival, training with Oskar Eustis, Jose Luis Valenzuela, Culture Clash, and playwright Oliver Mayer.
After moving to the Coachella Valley in 2008, Catanzarite’s hit production of Tuesdays With Morrie, starring Hal Linden, launched the first Actors’ Equity season at the Indian Wells Theatre.
Then in 2010 David and his wife Karen Lin founded Green Room Theatre Company at the CSU San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus. For thirteen years their conservatory program has offered training for children and teens, regardless of ability to pay. It grew each summer to mount ever larger, professionally mounted summer musicals that showcased the talents of up top 60 teens and children. With the support of private donors and foundations Green Room has awarded more than $96,000 in scholarships and paid internships since 2010. It has touched the lives of hundreds of young artists, many of whom got their first paying theatre jobs growing up within the company. Green Room alumni now work professionally on Broadway and in Los Angeles theatre and film. Other alumni are involved in almost every theatre company in the Coachella Valley, and have won Open Call, the Palm Springs Young Playwrights Festival, Desert Theatre League’s Annual Scholarship, and the ESU Shakespeare Festival.
David brought 36 years experience as a college professor and public school arts educator to the Green Room Conservatory, including two years as Associate Professor at College of the Desert and seven years at CSU San Bernardino’s Palm Desert Campus. He has taught stage directing full time at Pomona College, Towson University, and the University of San Francisco, and served as a popular instructor at UCLA, Stanford University, and Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. In 2001 he was tapped to serve on the committee that wrote California’s first Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards; the California Department of Education has also employed him in theatre curriculum development and on advisory committees for the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
Now in their fourteenth successful season, David and Karen, are taking on a thrilling new challenge with Green Room Theatre: to build a professional theatre for neighborhoods in East Coachella Valley. In February 2023 the City of Coachella bolstered their initiative by giving the company an office at City Hall. With support from the California Arts Council, Green Room has already launched a burgeoning ballet folklorico program at elementary schools in Indio and a theatre and literacy program at libraries, middle schools and high schools in Mecca, Indio, and La Quinta.
Their upcoming production of Novio Boy, a bilingual romantic comedy by Gary Soto, will tour the Coachella Valley this April and May.
Past Events, Readings and Productions
Two Gentlemen of Verona in One Hour (April 2022)
Live Streamed for Black History Month - Wine in the Wilderness by Alice Childress
Summer Conservatory - A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Live production at CREATE Center for the Arts
Summer Conservatory - The Seussification of Romeo and Juliet, Live production at CREATE Center for the Arts
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Oliphant Theatre
How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel, Oliphant Theatre
Fences by August Wilson, Palm Desert Library
The Online Summer Conservatory with Live Streaming Performances and Student Film Projects
King Lear, CREATE Center for the Arts
The Dresser, CREATE Center for the Arts
Popup Shakespeare Festival, Barnes & Noble
An Iliad, Barnes & Noble
Summer Conservatory - Sister Act, Indio High Performing Arts Center
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part 2, La Quinta Library
Spooky Stories and Brew, La Quinta Brewery
The Merchant of Venice, CREATE Center for the Arts
Love and Shakespeare, Oliphant Theatre
Shakespeare Villains and Vengeance, Oliphant Theatre
Popup Shakespeare Festival, Barnes & Noble
6 RMS RIV VU, Barnes & Noble
Summer Conservatory - Annie Get Your Gun, Indian Wells Theatre
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part 1, La Quinta Library
Julius Caesar, Barnes & Noble
To Kill a Mockingbird Barnes & Noble
Boeing, Boeing, Barnes & Noble
Holiday Hustle III, Brookdale Senior Residence
Summer Conservatory - The Pirates of Penzance, Indian Wells Theater
Summer Conservatory - Shakespeare Showcase, The Fountains at Carlotta Senior Residence
Hamlet, Oliphant Theater
Arabian Nights by Mary Zimmerman, Barnes & Noble
Twelve Angry Men, Barnes & Noble
Antigone by Jean Anhouilh, Barnes & Noble
Summer Conservatory - Mary Poppins, Indian Wells Theater
The Coachella Valley Graveyard Tour, Coachella Valley Cemetery
Summer Conservatory - Oliver!, Indian Wells Theater
Winter Conservatory - The Emperor’s New Clothes (The Musical), College of the Desert
Spring Conservatory - 13 The Musical, Palm Desert Charter Middle School Auditorium
Summer Conservatory - Fiddler on the Roof, Indian Wells Theater
Gift of the Magi - all African American cast - touring production for six Black desert churches
Winter Conservatory - Winter Wonderland, A Christmas Story, and Other Short Plays, Oliphant Theater
Spring Conservatory - Once Upon A Time, Children’s Warped Fairy Tales, College of The Desert
Summer Conservatory - You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Palm Springs Air Museum
Spring Conservatory - Loco Motion, A Collection of Short Plays, College of the Desert
Summer Conservatory - Fast Train to the Poorhouse, CSUSB Palm Desert Campus
Summer Conservatory - Desperate Desmond’s Dastardly Deed, Oliphant Theater
Winter Conservatory - Holiday Hustle, A Collection of Short Plays, College of the Desert
Summer Conservatory - The Pony Espresso, CSUSB Palm Desert Campus
At Risk, a new play by Judy Soo Hoo, College of the Desert Pollock Theater
Desperate Desmond’s Dastardly Deed, Oliphant Theater