Jonathan Williams, producing artistic director of Capital Stage, oversees his first season for the growing midtown professional theater company. After moving to its new theater on J Street, Capital Stage had a 22 percent increase in subscription sales from last year (1,428 in 2014 from 1,172 in 2013) and a 37 percent increase in single-ticket sales this year to date. Nina Raine’s “Tribes,” a Sacramento premiere, won the 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and leads off Capital Stage’s season. Other plays to mark Capital’s 10th season include the Sacramento premiere of recent Glickman Award winner “Ideation“ by Aaron Loeb, and the company’s first “Rolling World Premiere” as part of the National New Play Network, a production of Thomas Gibbon’s “Uncanny Valley.” Information at www.capstage.org.
Frank Galati’s stage adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel opens Sacramento Theater Company’s 2014-15 Season of Legends, Epics and Icons. Michael Stevenson directs the production, which returns the epic play to STC 20 years after its last production. Set during the Great Depression, the play follows the Joads, poor Oklahoma tenant farmers who travel to California looking for a better life. The cast includes Kirk Blackinton as Tom Joad, Kurt Johnson as Jim Casy, Matt K. Miller as Pa Joad, and Laura Kaya as Ma Joad. Information at www.sactheatre.org.
Brazilian legend Caetano Veloso has an extraordinary record of achievement and influence on popular music around the world. A compelling singer, songwriter and guitarist, Veloso led the tropicália movement, which added rock, reggae, fado, tango and rap to traditional Brazilian rhythms like the samba. Veloso, who’s known for mesmerizing live performances, makes his regional debut here at the University of California, Davis. Information at www.mondaviarts.org.
Led by trumpeter David Weiss, this fierce all-star band of jazz hard-bop survivors have a depth of experience second to none. The members, who’ve been together for seven years, include pianist George Cables, saxophonist Billy Harper, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Billy Hart. Taking their name from the classic 1965 hard-bop album “Night of the Cookers” featuring trumpeters Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard, they’ve played with jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. The band is touring behind their fine just-released fourth album, “Time and Time Again.” Information at harriscenter.net.
“Jersey Boys” is the rare jukebox musical that actually makes sense and works as dramatic entertainment. Based on the lives and careers of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi – known collectively as the Four Seasons – the story tells how four working-class kids from New Jersey became one of the biggest acts in pop music history. The Jersey Boys’ 175 million records sold worldwide include hits “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Rag Doll,” “Oh What a Night,” “Sherry” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.”
The popular, award-winning show (Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning best musical) was created by two-time Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff, book writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, composer Bob Gaudio and lyricist Bob Crewe. The show comes to Sacramento for an extended three-week run with 24 performances. Information at www.californiamusicaltheatre.com.