For Immediate Release: California Center for the Arts, Escondido receives Generous Grant for New Theatrical Endeavor

Escondido, California — :

California Center for the Arts, Escondido is proud to announce having been awarded a generous grant of $50,000 from The Conrad Prebys Foundation to support CCAE Theatricals’s Conservatory program  – a young professionals program for emerging stage actors – and its first original production entitled “Witnesses”.  

This matching grant will provide much-needed funding for CCAE Theatricals to take “Witnesses” from conception to completion with a world premiere scheduled for Summer of 2022 at The Center’s campus in Escondido. You can support CCAE Conservatory by making a contribution to the “Witnesses” project. Your contribution will be matched 1:1 by The Conrad Prebys Foundation, doubling your impact:

Honoring its namesake’s passion and legacy for philanthropic giving, The Conrad Prebys Foundation is awarding nearly $78 million in grant funding to 121 grant projects during its inaugural grant cycle. “A lifelong enthusiast of visual and performing arts, Conrad often found inspiration during a visit to a theatre, concert hall or museum,” said Tony Cortes, board chair of The Conrad Prebys Foundation. “This has been an extraordinarily difficult year for the arts and culture community, and Conrad would be deeply pleased to see the impact these grants will have in encouraging this community to do what it does best – inspire.”

The Center would like to express its gratitude for this generous grant.  Executive Director Jerry Van Leeuwen remarked: “The grant from The Conrad Prebys Foundation comes at an opportune time. The foundation has supported the arts for many years and we are delighted to be included among the reputable arts organizations supported. The Board of Trustees at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido and our key donors were excited to support the Conservatory initiative just prior to the pandemic. Now, as we begin our reopening, we are so grateful for the grant to support this important new work of the Center. I am confident our community will step up to match the grant soon. Our website has exciting information about one of the first projects entitled, “Witnesses” an  original  musical work based on five diaries of teens who were killed in the Holocaust.”

The Center’s in-house theater production team – CCAE Theatricals – is led by Jordan Beck and J. Scott Lapp.  “We are honored and thrilled to receive this generous grant from The Conrad Prebys Foundation for our inaugural production of “Witnesses” at the CCAE Conservatory, said Artistic Director J. Scott Lapp. “A world premiere, original musical of five stark accounts of the Holocaust, set against a haunting, beautifully constructed song cycle of hope and persevereance, is a testament and inspiration to the best of the human soul. This marks our first major gift at The California Center for the Arts, Escondido and Jordan Beck and I are grateful that the Foundation chose to support this important and impactful work, especially in this moment in history – when the divide in humanity seems to pull us further and farther apart. We look forward to sharing this incredibly moving production with our local audiences and beyond”, said Lapp.

“Witnesses” is a theatrical song cycle that tells the harrowing stories of five Jewish children who lost their lives to the Holocaust. The show tells these stories through spoken dialogue and original songs using text from the children’s own diaries. A Broadway caliber  creative team is at the helm of this exciting new project, including 5 separate songwriting teams. Each songwriting team will write the songs for one of the five teenagers, giving each character his or her own “voice” and style.  Learn more about “Witnesses” online:



About the California Center for the Arts, Escondido 

A 501(c)3 charitable organization, the Center’s creation was sparked by a civic vision—one that recognized the vital role that the arts play in strengthening and uniting the community. Our commitment to enriching lives and improving access to the arts, especially for low-income individuals and families, is exemplified through our extensive educational programming and robust series of free community events. The Center is guided by an enthusiastic Board of Trustees and passionate staff who are dedicated to furthering arts education and access, and to creating programs that provide cultural enrichment for residents of North County and beyond.

You can join this inspiring mission by becoming a donor.  Visit or email to start a conversation about how you or your company can make a difference right here and right now in your arts community.


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