MONROVIA ( — Thieves have struck a nonprofit theater company, stealing tens of thousands of dollars worth of audio and lighting equipment two months before students are scheduled to perform their musical.

“There was a lot of crying involved,” said Keely Milliken, the president of Centre Stage, a nonprofit theater company that teaches children to dance, sing and act in musicals.

On Friday night, the company’s trailer — which held $30,000 worth of audio and lighting gear — was stolen from its Irwindale location. The trailer was later recovered in El Monte, but the equipment was gone.

The items stolen included soundboards, wireless body microphones, and monitors, among others.

“I just think of the amount of pounding the pavement that went through to get that equipment. We took it very personal,” Milliken said Tuesday.

To make matters worse, students are rehearsing to perform the musical “Tom Sawyer” in January. KCAL9’s Rachel Kim reports that the shows are the culmination of months of work.

“I was just beyond devastated,” said Kelsi Barbata, a16-year-old student who has been a student at Centre Stage for 11 years. “Even though one little microphone may be really simple to most people, it’s not to us.”

Milliken said the company does have some insurance, but not enough to replace all that was stolen.

Anyone with information or looking to help is asked to email Milliken at


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