By Michelle Frost
Inside the busy theater office, Don Horn, Executive Director of Triangle Productions, answers calls, sells season tickets, checks the internet, and talks briefly with an attorney from Los Angeles, graciously multi-tasking during our interview. A shrine of memorabilia is arranged on shelves near where he works. “I keep one thing from each show,” he explains with a smile, “Welcome to my world.”
Horn grew up on a farm in Burns, Oregon. He used to work with his siblings, helping their father bale hay. “I used to sing all the time,” he says, “and I’d be off in a ditch or caught up in the fence with the baler, not watching the windrows .” (A windrow is a row of cut hay formed by a hay rake). He acted in his first show during his senior year in high school.
“Portland has 140 theaters, ” Horn states. Triangle Productions was established in 1989. “We’ve done 225 shows,” he says, “and only one repeat. That’s 224 shows all new to Portland.”
Originally located on Belmont as Theater! Theater! (1994-2005), Triangle sold the building to Tao of Tea and performed their last show there in September 2005. At that time, Horn bought a house in Greece and was planning to relocate. Those plans fell through when his adopted son was injured in a serious car accident.
The theater company moved around for a while, landing finally in 2011 at its current location in a stately building on the corner of 18th and Sandy Blvd. Constructed in 1943, the building was first owned by Farmers Insurance Group who sold it to the Salvation Army who brought in the wooden pews that are currently used in the theater. The intimate space has 154 seats and will begin their 26th season in September with “Looped” starring Margie Boulé as Tallulah Bankhead, ca. 1965.
A tour of the building reveals bins of donated vintage neckties, a wardrobe room filled to the rafters with costumes and props, and the comfortable lobby features leather chairs, wall art, coat racks and concessions.
Even the ladies’ lounge is decorated with art, costumes, and a plush rug you could nap on. Vacant rooms, in negotiation for lease, would allow future opportunities involving a grand piano, a cabaret venue, larger concession area, and more space for dining.
“We just signed a new 5 year lease,” says Horn, “and there’s plenty of free parking on-site.” He envisions the building becoming an art center for inner NE, “a learning center – there’s so much more that can happen here.”
“People ask me what’s your theme (for the upcoming season) and I tell them, it’s got Tallulah, Ethel Merman, Liza Minelli, “What Every Girl Should Know” about teen girls in Catholic school and Heathers. I tell them the theme is women,” Horn explains.
Triangle Productions!, 1785 NE Sandy Blvd., collaborates with Clinton Street Theater for Ethel Merman weekend, Hollywood Theater for Heathers (The Movie), and with a Planned Parenthood Talkback this season. Season tickets are available now and the 4-show package is $100. Individual tickets are available to Friends at the season ticket holder price of $25 per show. Reservations? The full line-up of the 26th season? Call the box office at 503.239.5919 or see trianglepro.org.