Share |

Chance Theater

 5522 E La Palma Avenue
 Anaheim, CA 92807
[P] (888) 455-4212
[F] (714) 459-7873
[email protected]
Erika Miller
 Printable 1 Page Summary
 Printable Profile
Organization DBA The Chance Theater
Chance Theater, The
Chance Theater
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the community foundation in the past five years Yes
Employer Identification Number 11-3679644 00000


Mission StatementMORE »

We believe that theater is like a gym for empathy. It’s where we can go to build up the muscles of compassion, to practice listening, understanding and engaging with people that are not just like ourselves. Our mission is to utilize the power of live theater to contribute to a more compassionate, connected, and creative community. We support this mission by providing socially-conscious, intimate theater experiences, generating dialogue between our diverse communities, empowering young minds, and nurturing local artists.

Mission Statement

We believe that theater is like a gym for empathy. It’s where we can go to build up the muscles of compassion, to practice listening, understanding and engaging with people that are not just like ourselves. Our mission is to utilize the power of live theater to contribute to a more compassionate, connected, and creative community. We support this mission by providing socially-conscious, intimate theater experiences, generating dialogue between our diverse communities, empowering young minds, and nurturing local artists.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year 2019
Projected Expenses $1,006,894.00
Projected Revenue $1,006,894.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • The Chance Season and Educational Programming

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

We believe that theater is like a gym for empathy. It’s where we can go to build up the muscles of compassion, to practice listening, understanding and engaging with people that are not just like ourselves. Our mission is to utilize the power of live theater to contribute to a more compassionate, connected, and creative community. We support this mission by providing socially-conscious, intimate theater experiences, generating dialogue between our diverse communities, empowering young minds, and nurturing local artists.

Background Statement

Under the innovative creative guidance of Co-Founder and Artistic Director Oanh Nguyen since 1999, Chance Theater, has grown into an award-winning contemporary theater company. In addition to presenting a diverse body of work, a vital component to our offerings is the production of personally meaningful stories that are engaging, promote dialogue within the community, and provide a visceral experience for our patrons.

Chance Theater’s long term goal is to be Orange County's premiere mid-size contemporary theater. Towards that end, over the past 6 seasons in our new home we have:

  • Opened the new Bette Aitken theater arts Center, featuring two stages, a classroom, and better accommodations for our patrons and artists. The culmination of a successful million dollar capital campaign.
  • Produced 25 regional premieres and three world premieres, including Loch Ness, which was developed and workshopped entirely as part of our On The Radar (OTR) New Works Series.
  • Received support from NEA and the Elizabeth George Foundation for our OTR program
  • Produced multiple readings and workshops, four of which have gone on to receive world premieres in regional theaters, including Lincoln Center and Milwaukee Repertory Theater.
  • Multiple productions, including Violet, Parade, A Chorus Line and She Loves Me, and more were named Los Angeles Times Critic’s Choice.
  • OC Weekly named multiple productions in their "Best of" annual issue. 
  • Received an Ovation Award from LA Stage Alliance for Best Choreography for Lysistrata Jones.
  • Received multiple Ovation nominations for Parade and a nomination for Claudio Quest while receiving numerous Ovation Recommendations for other productions. 
  • Expanded our Speak Up – Take a ‘Chance’ summer program for at-risk teens. This new program, called Spectrum Speak Up include specifically focuses on high school students on the autism spectrum.
  • Received the Outstanding Educational Theatre Award from California Educational Theatre Association in 2013.
  • First in our region to start a “Relaxed Performance” initiative, making theater accessible to children and adults who have an Autism Spectrum Condition, sensory and communication disorders, or learning disabilities.
  • Introduced a Theater for Young Audiences Series, that has already brought over 7,000 children to the Chance to experience the magic of live theater (many for the first time!).
  • Created our Veteran's Speak Up program through a partnership with Veterans Outreach OC, giving veterans a voice through storytelling workshops and public performances
  • In 2016… over 12,000 audience members attended, over 6,000 stayed for the post-show discussions, and almost 300 local artists worked at the Chance.
  • Been named "Outstanding Arts Organization" twice by Arts Orange County.

Impact Statement

There’s a reason that Chance Theater is the “resident theater company” of Anaheim. Yes, we are a group of artists who have been telling stories for 20 years, but we also strive to have our audiences, artists and students invest in the community that theater can create and connect to us not only as a venue for storytelling, but as a local institution and contributor to our community here in Orange County, throughout California, and dare we say it, beyond.

We strive to embrace the uniqueness of live theater and create experiences that can’t be found with TV, film, or an iPad and try to engage our patrons throughout the artistic process. We aim to “think outside the proscenium” and transform the Chance’s main performance space, the Cripe Stage, for every production. We believe this shift in seating not only allows audiences to connect to the story; to our artists; and to each other in different ways, it also inspires a sense of anticipation and a promise of a communal experience.

We believe theater is for everyone, and have worked with deep conviction since the beginning on making our productions accessible. We’ve introduced countless people to the impact of live theater, including patrons on the Autism Spectrum, at-risk kids, and low-income veterans. We have kept our audiences engaged with high caliber experiences that have been recognized numerous times by the Ovation Awards, Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, Los Angeles Times, GLAAD Media Awards, Back Stage, OC Weekly, Arts Orange County, and many more press outlets and art institutions. In 2016 we received recognition for our work by the American Theatre Wing (the same organization that does the Tony Awards.)

We also take our art beyond the walls of the Chance and into the larger Southern California community. We have been invited to remount our productions at South Coast Repertory, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, The Getty Museum, among others. We work with the City of Anaheim on special events that raise awareness of the arts. We partner with community groups such as Arts OC, Veterans First, Mercy House, and Center OC to ensure that our stories have the most impact by reaching groups that will be the most affected, and who want to talk about the themes in our shows the most.

Since the founding of our company, we have focused on finding, developing and investing in local artists providing them a professional arena to better their craft, and many times opening the door for university students to have their first professional experience. From the hundreds of artists we’ve worked with, twenty-eight have become the Chance’s driving creative force – our Resident Artists. This talented group has shown a commitment to working together to develop a distinctive body of work and practices which push one another to boldly tell stories with humanity, artistry, and purpose.

Our commitment to producing fresh, contemporary, and new plays is undeniable. Since 1999, we have produced 40 world premieres and over 60 regional premieres, expanded our OTR New Works Program, are currently working with our ninth resident playwright, and are in our 14th year of providing our Speak Up education program.

Needs Statement

As a non-profit theater company, ticket sales only cover half of the costs to run the organization. Chance Theater relies on the generosity of its supporters with gifts of time, talent and treasure to keep our mission alive.

Sponsorship opportunities are:

  1. Artist Fund Challenge– $25,000 challenge grant to the end of 2019 to help us deepen our artistry and increase our artist compensation. 
  2. Speak Up Fund –Supports our education and outreach programs including our Veterans Speak Up, our Speak Up – Take a CHANCE teen outreach theater workshop, and the newly created Spectrum Speak Up workshop for teens diagnosed with high functioning Autism, Aspergers, or PDD-NOS.
  3. OTR New Works Fund –Major initiative to support the freshest voices in American Theater through our New Works series and Resident Playwright program. 
  4. Become an Honorary Producer. Producers are given the rare opportunity to peek behind the curtain and be part of the process. While you enjoy getting up close and personal with the Chance, you are also providing vital support for the artists, the productions, the organization, and your community. (Gifts range from $5,000 to be an Associate Producer on a play to $35,000 to be an Executive Producer for the Season)
  5. Planned gifts - Charitable bequests can help build the long-term financial strength of Chance Theater 

CEO Statement


Board Chair Statement

What attracted me to serve on the board was the excellent artistic values, the collaboration evident at every level and the commitment to an intimate theatre experience for the audience. I have been impressed with their careful, accountable management practices, their passionate determination and their honest communication within the organization. - Guy Marr, Board Chair 2011-2012

Other Ways to Donate/Volunteer

There are many ways to get involved and support the Chance! 1)   Become a Subscriber or Member. The Chance relies on the support from our community through our memberships and subscriptions. Starting as little as $15/mo you can see all of the productions, receive discounts on guest tickets, while supporting Chance Theater's mission. For more information go to  2)   Donate via check: Chance Theater, PO Box 3309, Orange, CA 92857 3)   Donate online:  4) Become a volunteer. Please go to for information on how to get more involved. We are always looking for dedicated and fun individuals who are willing to get their hands dirty and be part of theatre magic!  From ushering, building and painting sets, helping with special events, sewing and repairing costumes, you name it, we need it! We are also looking for individuals who are interested in taking a leadership position by joining leadership committees. Call or email Casey Long to get involved (714)900-3284 or [email protected]

Geographic Area Served

In a specific U.S. city, cities, state(s) and/or region.
Central Orange County
West Orange County
South Orange County
North Orange County
Serving Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, Ventura County and San Diego County (Most of Southern California), with primary emphasis on Orange County.

Organization Categories

  1. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Theater
  2. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Performing Arts
  3. Arts,Culture & Humanities - Arts Education



The Chance Season and Educational Programming

The Chance presents a full season of award-winning intimate theater annually from January through December. Season subscription packages, single tickets and sustaining memberships are all available to purchase to attend the productions. Plays generally run for 4-5 weeks and musicals for 5-6 weeks with performances Thursdays through Sundays.
The Chance season generally consists of four to five productions in its Subscription Series, two Theatre for Young Audience productions and a Holiday production. Also within the season are various events like live music and open mic nights, as well as our reading and workshop series "On the Radar” (OTR) which introduces emerging playwrights, new plays and musicals to Chance audiences.
The Chance Youth Education and Outreach Programs, which are supported through grants and Speak Up Fund donors help to provide full scholarships to all participants of our Speak Up program. The Speak Up programs includes a teens outreach summer workshop, a workshop for teens on the Autism Spectrum, and a workshop for local veterans giving them all the opportunity to use theater as part of their healing process. Additional outreach includes bringing young adults to the theater through ticket sponsorships, provide free performances in the community, support other local non-profits through ticket donations, and make theater accessible for all families through our Relaxed Performance initiative.
Budget  $1,006,894.00
Category  Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Theater
Population Served Adults Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Families
Program Short-Term Success  We can't rely on reviews from the press, though we have had wonderful press coverage over the years, it is primarily through word of mouth and audience participation that give the true testaments to the success of our programs. We continue to strive to make a stronger impact and reach more community members every year.
Program Long-Term Success  We hope that over the years, the Chance will become an arts hub in Anaheim. Through post-performance discussions after every performance, surveys, talking to our members and audiences at the shows, that we will continue to serve our community and their need for a strong, professional, engaging, intimate theater experience.
Program Success Monitored By  We will continue to have audience surveys and post-performance discussions in order to keep our focus on the pulse of our community and audiences. 
Examples of Program Success  Though award-winning shows are wonderful, they cannot be a marker for a successful production. We will measure success by the number of members and subscribers we have, the number of artists we work with, and the number of community members we can serve annually.


CEO/Executive Director Oanh Nguyen
CEO Term Start Jan 1999
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience
Oanh Nguyen (Artistic Director) has been serving as Chance Theater’s founding Artistic Director since 1999. Oanh is a recipient of TCG’s New Generations Grant and the TCG Nathan Cummings Young Leaders of Color Fellowship. He was awarded the Outstanding Artist Award by Arts Orange County, profiled in Orange County Register’s “Most Influential People” 2014 series and OC Weekly’s 2014 People Issue, inducted into Anaheim High School’s Hall of Fame and was the commencement speaker to the 2014 graduation class of Chapman University College of Performing Arts. Oanh was Producing Associate at South Coast Repertory for four years. He also served on the advisory board of the Anaheim High School Performing Arts Conservatory, the board of Network of Ensemble Theatres, LA’s 99-seat Transitional Committee, multiple SDC committees and grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group. He is also a founding board member of the newly formed OC Theatre Guild. Oanh is a proud member of SDC and SAG-AFTRA. His directing credits include productions at Chance Theater, East West Players, the J. Paul Getty Museum, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and South Coast Repertory, and served as the Associate Director for the international tour of David Henry Hwang’s "Chinglish" (Berkeley Repertory, South Coast Repertory, Hong Kong Arts Festival). His selected film credits include "Two Brothers" directed by Jean-Jacques Annaude, "Rush Hour 3" directed by Brett Ratner, and "Lonely Boy" directed by Dale Fabrigar (Best First Feature Grand Jury Prize at the 2013 Louisiana International Film Festival and Audience Award Winner at the 2013 BolderLife Festival).

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Casey Long Managing Director --
Erika C Miller Nguyen Development Director --
Oanh Nguyen Artistic Director --


Award Awarding Organization Year
Best of 2018 - Best Performance for "The Other Place" The Daily Pilot 2018
Best Theatrical Ensemble Award for "Big Fish" OC Weekly 2018
Critic's Choice for "Violet" Los Angeles Times 2018
Ovation Recommendation for "Good People" Los Angeles Stage Alliance 2018
Ovation Recommendation for "Violet" Los Angeles Stage Alliance 2018
Named "In a Word" in the Best Theater issue Orange Curtain Review Magazine 2017
Best Musical and Best Play awards for "A Chorus Line" OC Weekly Best of OC 2016 2016
Best of OC 2016 - Best Theater Programming OC Weekly 2016
National Theatre Company Grant Award American Theatre Wing 2016
OC Register's Best of OC 2016 - Critic's Choice for Live Theater Orange County Register 2016
Top Ten Shows of 2016 for "Seminar" by Theresa Rebeck Orange County Register 2016
Named official resident theatre company of Anaheim City of Anaheim 2014
Outstanding Educational Theatre Award for our "Speak Up - take a CHANCE" youth program California Educational Theatre Association 2013
Ovation Award - Best Production of a Musical (Intimate Theatre) "Triassic Parq - the musical" LA Stage Alliance 2013
LADCC Award - Fight Choreography "West Side Story" Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle 2012
Ovation Award - Best Production of a Musical (Intimate Theatre) "Jerry Springer the Opera" LA Stage Alliance 2011
Outstanding Arts Organization Arts Orange County 2009
Polly Warfield Award Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle 2007
Outstanding Los Angeles Theater Nominee for "Porcelain" GLAAD - Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation 2006
Outstanding Arts Organization Arts Orange County 2004


Affiliation Year
Theatre Communications Groups - Constituent Theatre 2003
Arts OC 2001

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 6
Number of Part Time Staff 2
Number of Volunteers 25
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100%
Staff Professional Development No

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 2
Caucasian: 5
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: --
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 4
Male: 4
Not Specified --

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 10
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No

Risk Management Provisions

Nondiscrimination Policy No
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A

Government Licenses


CEO Comments

I believe that theater is still a place where we can come together to share our ideas, our experiences, and to discover our neighbors, ourselves and our future. It is more important today than ever to stay physically and emotionally connected to those that cross the same streets, share the same zip codes and breathe air from the same trees. My parents and I came to this country as part of the evacuation of South Vietnam in 1975, having escaped during the final days of the fall of Saigon, in search of survival, of identity, and of building a new community. I have never stopped searching.
Community is the word that singularly defines the driving force of my artistic practice. Whether it is between me and the playwright’s words, designers and actors, the production and the audience, the Chance and Orange County, or my work and the theater industry as a whole, building a community as an idea fundamentally shapes what and how I approach my work. Building community begins with the words on the page. I’m looking to build the world in which these characters speak these lines. I’m looking for the reasons why other artists would join me on this journey and what our audience will gain from experiencing these few precious moments with us in a dark room full of little known neighbors. I’m looking for how we can all connect through this extremely localized experience since theater is not created on film, on a digital hard drive, or even on planks of wood, but in fact in the minds of all that have chosen to engage in the experience.
I have done the bulk of my work in the last decade at the Chance Theater, an intimate theater with a diverse ensemble of 30 artists in the middle of conservative Orange County, California. I have directed everything from Chay Yew to Sondheim. We continue to grow, thrive and surprise ourselves and our community by the work we choose and the growing number of audiences and artists that continue to stay on the journey with us.

Foundation Comments



Board Chair Rachelle Menaker
Board Chair Company Affiliation Attorney-at-Law
Board Chair Term Jan 2019 - Dec 2019
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Bette Aitken Keller Williams Voting
Martin Benson South Coast Repertory Voting
Robert Berman -- Voting
Susan Bowman Community Leader --
Larry Cripe No Affiliation Voting
Susie Dittmar Retired Voting
Bruce Goodrich Cal State Fullerton Voting
Elizabeth Jones Attorney --
Lisa Keating Attorney-at-law Voting
Andy Lamb Sunwest Bank Voting
Casey Long Chance Theater Voting
Guy Marr AT&T (Retired) Voting
Rachelle Menaker Lawyer Voting
Oanh Nguyen Chance Theater Voting
Terry Schomberg South Coast Repertory Voting
Laurie Staude Community Volunteer Voting
Laurie Staude Retired Voting
Georgia Well Cerritos College Voting
Scott Well No Affiliation Voting
Lisa Zaradich Attorney-at-law Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Additional Board Members and Affiliations

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 18
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: --
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 9
Male: 10
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % 86%
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Board Orientation Yes

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments


Standing Committees

  • Audit, Compliance and Controls
  • Board Governance
  • Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
  • Finance
  • Special Events (Golf Tournament, Walk / Run, Silent Auction, Dinner / Gala)


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2019 to Dec 31, 2019
Projected Revenue $1,006,894.00
Projected Expenses $1,006,894.00
Form 990s

2017 Form 990

2016 Form 990

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $859,760 $797,214 $975,683
Total Expenses $862,217 $771,433 $744,197

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Revenue By Revenue Source
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
$355,253 $312,560 $478,948
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- $0
Individual Contributions -- -- --
Indirect Public Support -- -- $0
Earned Revenue $403,111 $396,152 $381,114
Investment Income, Net of Losses $4,224 $129 $650
Membership Dues -- -- $0
Special Events $97,172 $88,373 $95,984
Revenue In-Kind -- -- $0
Other -- -- $-25,168

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Expense By Type
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $717,096 $650,427 $618,982
Administration Expense $80,521 $66,113 $66,411
Fundraising Expense $64,600 $54,893 $58,804
Payments to Affiliates -- -- $1,701
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.00 1.03 1.31
Program Expense/Total Expenses 83% 84% 83%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 14% 14% 10%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $1,074,836 $1,026,644 $1,075,360
Current Assets $283,913 $277,009 $245,975
Long-Term Liabilities -- -- $97,408
Current Liabilities $86,913 $53,428 $38,509
Total Net Assets $987,923 $973,216 $939,443

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 3.27 5.18 6.39

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 9%
Endowment Value --
Spending Policy N/A
Percentage(If selected) --
Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose We completed our Capital Campaign in August 2015. The completed facilities, the Bette Aitken theater arts Center, is fully accessible including a 150-seat venue, 50-seat cabaret space, lobby and restroom facilities, classroom, and a scene shop.
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates Mar 2013 - Dec 2015
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No

CEO Comments


Foundation Comments

Summary financial data is per the audited financial statements and Form 990s and 990s EZ along with consultation with the organization. Foundation/corporate and individual contributions are combined under Foundation and Corporation Contributions.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.