by JENNIFER FRAKES | photo by Ken Jacques

Broadway Under the Stars

Attending a Moonlight Stage Productions Broadway musical at the Moonlight Amphitheatre is a summertime tradition that has been enjoyed by local audiences for decades. “Some audience members who came to Moonlight Amphitheatre as youngsters with their parents are now bringing their own children to the theater,” shared Daniel Kays, managing director for Moonlight Stage Productions. Each summer Moonlight Stage Productions presents four Broadway musicals in the Moonlight Amphitheatre, currently the only outdoor venue in San Diego to offer such large-scale, professional productions.

Seeing a production at Moonlight Amphitheatre is a unique experience. The Amphitheatre is nestled into the hillside of the City of Vista’s Brengle Terrace Park, and theater-goers are encouraged to bring picnics and dine al fresco on the tiered and manicured lawns. “We open the gates 90 minutes prior to curtain to allow guests to enjoy a picnic supper outdoors, as well as take part in the social aspects of theater-going,” said Kays. Moonlight Amphitheatre also has its own restaurant, Artisan Café, that gives guests the opportunity to dine in a relaxed atmosphere before the production.

“Some audience members who came to Moonlight Amphitheatre as youngsters with their parents are now bringing their own children to the theater.”

According to Kays, with the leadership of Steven Glaudini as producing artistic director, audience attendance has increased over the last several years, as has the selection and quality of the productions. “The actors and creative teams are hired from throughout Southern California and beyond to create productions that are often hailed by critics as ‘Broadway quality,’” related Kays. In addition, when available, the Broadway sets and costumes are used for many of the musicals, and every production is fully complemented with full orchestras in the pit.

Kathy Brombacher founded Moonlight Stage Productions in 1980 and the first season, consisting of two shows, was presented during the summer of 1981. At that time, Brombacher was the drama teacher at Vista High School, and her vision was to produce musical theater on a grand-scale with a live orchestra and full production values. Since then, Moonlight Stage Productions has flourished, with a reconstruction of the amphitheater in 2008-09 and the formation of a sister-brand known as Moonlight Presents. “In 2016, Moonlight Presents will begin to offer new performing arts programming at the Moonlight Amphitheatre year-round. Combined with the Broadway season of Moonlight Stage Productions and these offerings, Moonlight Amphitheatre will be poised to be known as a regional performing arts center – one of the goals when the program was first founded,” stated Kays.


Owner: City of Vista
Managers: Steven Glaudini – Producing Artistic Director; Daniel Kays – Managing Director
Year of Establishment: 1980
Address: 1200 Vale Terrace Dr., Vista CA
Phone: 760-724-2110
Description of business: Moonlight Stage Productions is an award-winning musical theater company presenting four Broadway musicals each summer in the 2,000-person capacity Moonlight Amphitheatre.