An enchanted evening at The Aurora Theater ended with Bravos and Greek food on Sunday, July 29, 2018. Truth be told, I did not attend this Grand Finale event to enjoy the operatic pieces or classical piano compositions…both of which were exquisite. I traveled south through LA’s traffic jams to bear witness to the recent accomplishments of Charles Tentindo, a creative soul who remains one of my sources of inspiration. To others, Charles Tentindo is a kind, thoughtful and intense mentor ushering his My Acting Studio students onto paths leading toward their own growth, as well as, success.

Arriving early to 4412 E Village Rd, Long Beach, CA 90808 (resting on the border of the residential charm of Lakewood Village), I relaxed watching the audience drift in and settle into seats. As the venue moved beyond its standard guest capacity of 50 people, Charles, concerned by my body cradled in the furthest corner from the stage, encouraged me to sit closer. Before acting upon his suggestion, I watched him turn his attention to a tall dark haired beauty with a delicate nose and radiant smile. Knowing we were both attending his production without our favorite men at our sides, he ushered the two of us to the front row promising that the folded chairs were more comfortable than they looked. He was so happy raising his voice to say, “We’re sold out!”…this proclamation was accompanied by a two-step jig of utter delight. I soon learned that this unique performance was presented every Sunday in July 2018 to ‘sold out crowds’. Impressive!

Relaxing into the last left-side seat in the first row, I realized there was enough time before the performance for me to exchange greetings and learn that Thallon, the length of young elegance to my right, was named after an Australian Town her father had explored. For some reason her name reminded me of ancient Greece which ignited a banter of Greek topics. Sharing her great respect for Charles, she revealed her enthusiasm for the courses offered by his My Action Studio. Excited by the event, Thallon expressed her love for classical music, and, as a budding opera singer she was eager to be captivated by the renown Argentinean Camila Lima and the mastery of pianist Dustin Callahan. 

Dustin, a magnificent being of energy and expression, thrilled us all with the magic and power of his fingers. And Camilla Lima…well, we all fell in love with her resonant voice, stunning stage presence, her natural beauty, along with, her passionate heart connecting with every member of the audience. The bountiful applause could not convey the gratitude we felt as the enchantment of their talent embraced each of our souls. 

Then there is Charles Tentindo, full of life’s loving spirit, he attended to each guest longing for his attention throughout the night. This miniature venue, created by him and designed by his talented student, Rich Starley, exploded with the best qualities of humanity. I wish you all could have been there to share this glorious moment of accomplishment presented at The Aurora Theater. Yes, there will be more intimate and unique offerings in the near future for you to enjoy, and, you can always take advantage of the opportunities emanating from My Acting Studio. Better yet, are you a performer? The Aurora Theater may be perfectly suited for your own performance; so far, microphones have not been used due to the outstanding acoustics. Oh, how I’d love to hear a Christmas choir in this venue.

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Those who know me well know that I can create an adventure out of most moments. Planning my trip to visit Charles at his new venue, I expanded my adventure to a night at the Holiday Inn, a drive to and a walk around Naples Island, as well as, a brief exploration of the neighborhood surrounding My Acting Studio/The Aurora Theater. I even passed by the Lakewood home I was raised in to find it sporting a rear addition devouring most of the backyard and molding around each newer window on the front facade. I was glad to see the Chinese Elm still standing proud in the front yard.

What impressed me more than the view from the penthouse level of the Holiday Inn was the newly developed Douglas Park/Long Beach Exchange situated very close to Charles Tentindo’s workplace near the intersection of Lakewood Boulevard and Carson Street. Enjoy the photos below, and, may your next adventure be grander than mine.

Roses for Camila Lima