DESERT THEATRICALS FOUNDATION, INC.
The specific purpose of the corporation is to promote the theatre arts to the youth of the Coachella Valley and Greater Inland Empire through free training (classes and live musical theatre productions), free tickets for participating students and chaperone to theatrical events and scholarship funds to those interested in pursuing a degree or continuing education.
Mia Mercado (President), Lee Stone, Michael Hamlin, Charles Townsend, Christian Fonte, Ray Limon, Joshua Carr
Desert Theatricals Foundation, Inc is focused on youth. We are convinced that exposing young people to the theatre arts - be it through training, opportunities to perform in youth theatre or with professionals in adult theatre productions in age appropriate roles - is the best training they can receive.
We provide free tickets to live theatre productions as a way to spark interest.
The programs are 100% FREE to the participating young actors through the generous contribution of people like you who make a difference - dollar by dollar. With your support we can continue to offer free tickets to local youth organizations and produce top notch, professional quality theatre by underwriting productions costs to offset costumes, sets and props expenses.
Your contribution is vital to maintaining the program.
Desert Theatricals Foundation, Inc is now accepting applications for their two new scholarships awarded annually to encourage continuing education in the performing arts. The Foundation will award two scholarships in the amount of $2500 each in honor of Martin Wiviott (Awarded in honor of his commitment to excellence in the arts and support of social awareness) and Charles Townsend (Awarded in honor of his commitment to creating viable arts opportunities and arts awareness in the community.
MARTIN WIVIOTT SCHOLARSHIP
Martin Wiviott began his career in the theater as President of the Washington Players. He continued that course as President of the University Players at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He later served as Stage Manager at the Fred Miller Theater. Serving in the United States Army from 1960 to 1962, he supervised all army theater groups in Germany. Martin again served as stage manager for the Swan Dinner Theater in Milwaukee and the Tenthouse Theater in Highland Park, Illinois. Later moved on to become the general manager for The Blaisdell Center in Hawaii and later the Melody Top Theater in Milwaukee. His career advanced, becoming a producer at the Melody Top until 1979. In 1980, Martin moved to California and produced several films, including “The Attic” and “Deadly Games.” As producer at the Long Beach Civic Light Opera, he brought them into acclaim before moving to the Hollywood Pantages Theatre and eventually serving there as Vice President from until 2020. During his career, he worked with many stars of their era – Betty White, Burl Ives, Ray Milland, Jane Powell, Rita Moreno, Leonard Nimoy, and Cathy Rigby to name a few. His commitment to the Actors Fund (now known as “The Entertainment Community Fund”) continues to support those in the arts who shape our country’s cultural vibrancy by providing assistance in health and wellness, career and housing services.
CHARLES TOWNSEND SCHOLARSHIP
Charles Townsend began his career with the Copley Newspapers (Alhambra Daily News) where he was promoted to Retail Advertising manager over all Daily Newspaper and other publications in the San Gabriel Valley. He then moved on to Los Angeles Times newspaper. Concurrently he created the Charles Townsend Furniture Collection, and after moving to Rancho Mirage, purchased a building on the 111 to continue the business. After a successful run, he retired. Charles was elected to Rancho Mirage City council April 2014 and served four years as Mayor pro tem, then as Mayor and continued serving the city council until he retired as Mayor in 2022. His service to the community includes the Rainbow Foundation, Rancho Mirage Emergency Preparedness Commission, College of the Desert President Circle member, Funding of the Moller/Vinci Scholarship endowment College of the Desert and he was a Founding member of the Desert Aids Project. Charles was voted “Citizen of the Year” and “Business Man” in 2014 by Rancho Mirage Chamber members. His association with Desert Theatricals began when he introduced the artistic team to the city in 2018. That introduction and support facilitated what is now known as Desert Theatricals and its youth program, Desert Theatricals Jr. He currently serves on the board of directors
for Desert Theatricals Foundation, Inc.