Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment


May 6, 2013
B Street Theatre announces three regional premieres for 2013-14


bstreet.jpg

B Street Theatre has announced that it will present three new plays in 2013-2014 that have enjoyed successful runs in New York on Broadway and Off-Broadway: David Ives' "Venus in Fur," Jon Robin Baitz's "Other Desert Cities" and Lisa D'Amour's "Detroit." All three are award-winning and will be regional premieres (the theater has yet to put dates on the shows). Here are their descriptions of the plays:

March 13, 2013
New Helvetia Theatre stages extraordinary "Ordinary Days"

OD-007.JPG

By Marcus Crowder

New Helvetia Theatre's sparkling production of Adam Gwon's satisfying "Ordinary Days" has so many charms it's hard to know where to begin. Set in contemporary New York, the funny and dramatic sung through chamber musical has a bright unaffected grasp of modern life, which for its characters is vibrantly comic, sad and hopeful. With Courtney Glass and Tristan Rumery (pictured), Kiera Anderson, and Connor Mickiewicz.

Read the complete review tomorrow. 8 p.m.

Thursdays - Saturdays, 2 p.m Saturdays through March 30. The New Helvetia Theatre, 1028 R St. Sacramento . Tickets: $20 and $30. Information: Call (916) 469-9850 or go to www.newhelvetia.org

January 30, 2013
Storytellers sought for live program about mothers

By Ed Fletcher

eflecter@sacbee.com

Talking about mothers is fair game as a national program seeks Sacramento storytellers for the live "Listen To Your Mother" show.

The selected storytellers will perform live on Mother's Day May 12 at the Crest Theater. The show will be recorded with segments available via YouTube. Twenty-three other cities will also host live shows. This is the first year Sacramento is involved.

The stories can come from mothers or be about mothers. Proceeds from the event fund the Sacramento non-profit 916 Ink, which promotes a love of written language among young people.

For more information on submission guidelines visit www.listentoyourmothershow.com/sacramento. The show is being produced locally by area bloggers Nichole Beaudry and Margaret Andrews.

August 13, 2012
Elly Award Nominees Announced

on Sunday, August 12 during

Last night SARTA (Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance) announced the list of 2011-12 Elly Nominees for awards in regional community theater. Over 400 nominees for productions in a 70 mile radius of Sacramento during the 2011-12 theater season were announced at Roseville's Tower Theatre. The 30th annual Elly Award winners will announced at two ceremonies in September. The Youth Elly Award ceremony will be Sunday, September 16 at 7 p.m. at Folsom High School. The Adult Elly Award ceremony will be Sunday, September 23 at 7 p.m. at the Crest Theatre.

For the past season, 244 shows were submitted by 78 theatres, with 61 theatres and 125 productions receiving nominations. Receiving the most nominations were Sutter Street Theatre with 32, Roseville Theatre Arts Academy with 29) and Runaway Stage Productions with 25.

The award categories are Comedy, Drama, Musical, Original Works, Education- Musicals, Education- Plays, Young People's- Musicals and Young People's- Plays.

Individual Awards are given in categories including Lead and Supporting Actor and Actress, Director, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Set Design, Overall Production, Musical Direction and Choreography. following categories: Elly Award nominations include Lead and Supporting Actor and Actress, Director, Costume Design, Lighting Design, Set Design, Overall Production plus Musical Direction and Choreography, if applicable. The nominations are announced for productions in the following categories: Comedy, Drama, Musical, Original Works, Education- Musicals, Education- Plays, Young People's-Musicals and Young People's- Plays.

The awards are judged by volunteers who are required to see all the entries in the particular category they judge. The Ellys are named for the late Eleanor McClatchy, the former publisher of the Sacramento Bee, a committed patron of theater and the arts. Professional theaters do not participate in the awards. A complete list of nominees and wards is online at www.sarta.com.

July 31, 2012
B Sketchy Adds Four Shows

B Street Theatre has extended the run of its popular "B Sketchy" Summer Improv and Sketch Comedy revue adding four more performances this week. The additional shows are this Wednesday through Friday at 7 p.m. with the final show on Saturday August 4 at 8 p.m. Revue members Dave Pierini, Amy Kelly, Brittni Barger, Stephanie Altholz and John Lamb are all from the B Street Acting Company, and have collaborated on creating the material. At the B Street Theatre's B3 Stage, 2727 B St., Sacramento. Tickets are $15, $5 student rush. The running time is two hours with one intermission. For information (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org

July 18, 2012
Shakespeare Festival Equipment Stolen

By Marcus Crowder

mcrowder@sacbee.com

The Sacramento Shakespeare Festival reported Wednesday evening that all of its technical equipment for lights and sound has been stolen from the William A. Carroll Amphitheatre.

The group has cancelled its Thursday night performance of "The Comedy of Errors" and rescheduled the rest of the weekend's performances.

"King Arthur" on Friday and Sunday, and "The Comedy of Errors" on Saturday all will start at 6 p.m. so they can be performed in daylight.

The festival has cut ticket prices to $10 for these performances, and representatives said they hope the public will show support by attending these shows.

Director David Harris said, "We want to encourage people to come to the park, have a picnic, and enjoy. We need the community to help us by attending the shows."

The Sacramento Shakespeare Festival performs at the William A. Carroll Amphitheatre, 3901 Land Park Drive in William Land Park behind Fairytale Town across from the Sacramento Zoo.

For information call (916) 558-2228 or go to www.sacramentoshakespeare.net

July 18, 2012
New Helvetia Takes Over the Studio Theatre

By Marcus Crowder

mcrowder@sacbee.com

New Helvetia Theatre will waste no time breaking in its new home at The Studio Theatre. The young professional theater company stages its first Sacramento New Works Festival next week end, less than a month into taking over the cozy 89 seat space at 10 th and R Streets. For artistic director Connor Mickiewicz signing the three year lease represents a huge step in the evolution of NHT.,

"It's a great location and it was time for us to have a space of our own," Mickiewicz said. The company which formed in January of 2009 had been performing in the Artisan Theatre on Del Paso Blvd. before producing its last show Stephen Sondheim's "Merrily We Roll Along" at the 24th Street Theatre. Lack of a permanent space though had kept NHT from completely implementing its artistic agenda.

"We can do so many more shows now and other types of programming as well," Mickiewicz said.

"We can get up to seven shows a year if we want and have a full season. Also we now have real visability."

To capitalize Mickiewicz and new Associate Producer Matthew Schneider are putting together the Sacramento New Works Festival which entails two free performances each of two plays they have been workshopping for the last two weeks. Thursday July 26, 8 p.m."Schooled" by Lisa Lewis; Friday July 27, 8 p.m. "One Good Day" by Liz Suggs & Rona Siddiqui; Saturday July 28, 2 p.m. "One Good Day;" Saturday July 28, 8 p.m. "Schooled;" Sunday July 29, 6 p.m. NHT 2.0 Benefit Bash. At The Studio Theatre, 1028 R St. Sacramento. The Sacramento New Works Festival is free. 40$ for the NHT 2.0 Benefit Bash. There are also special $100 VIP tickets with lots extra benefits to this event. For information call newhelvetia.org or (916) 469-9850.

May 17, 2012
Dragon to breathe fire at Power Balance Pavilion

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"How to Train Your Dragon," from 2010, is one of the best animated movies in recent years. Now DreamWorks, the studio behind that movie, has transformed the story of a boy and his dragon into an arena show.

The elaborate show, featuring animatronic creatures a la "Walking With Dinosaurs," will reach Sacramento's Power Balance Pavilion Jan. 2-6, 2013. Tickets are not yet on sale, but the clip above, from a recent "Today" show, offers a nice preview.

Further information on the arena show is available at the production's website.

April 13, 2012
Capital Stage Changes Schedule

Capital Stage Theatre company has announced a change to its 2011-12 production schedule. Paula Vogel's 1998 Pulitzer Prize winning drama "How I Learned to Drive" will switch slots with Christopher Shinn's "Dying City." "How I Learned to Drive" will now open on May 19 while "Dying City" moves to the company's summer production dates, July 18 - August 12, 2012. "How I Learned to Drive" features Capital Stage artistic director Stephanie Gularte and veteran Bay Area based actor James Hiser. Jamie Jones, Melanie Marshall and Eric Wheeler complete the cast. Janis Stevens directs.

"How I Learned to Drive" previews at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 16 and 8 p.m. Thursday & Friday May 17 & 18. The production open at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 19 and continues at 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. through June 17, 2012. Tickets from $20-$32. Previews are $18; Student Rush tickets are $12; Senior Sunday Matinee Tickets are $26; Information at (916)995-5464 or at www.capstage.org.

March 5, 2012
Critic Marcus Crowder gives three stars to STC's 'Dial M'

By Marcus Crowder

mcrowder@sacbee.com

Frederick Knott's "Dial 'M' for Murder" has become a popular, iconic and much imitated thriller ever since the play first premiered on BBC television in 1952.

The stage version successfully went to both London's West End and New York's Broadway the same year. However, the play was indelibly stamped into the public consciousness through director Alfred Hitchcock's intense 1954 film version which starred Grace Kelly and Ray Milland.

The Sacramento Theatre Company opened its lumpy new production this weekend with a buoyant Matt K. Miller and a graceful Jackie Vanderbeck in the lead roles.

October 28, 2011
Sign up for free ballroom dance classes, if you dare

Everyone knows there is no such thing as a free lunch. But free dance classes? That's another story.

The Sacramento Theatre Company is using their upcoming show, "Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks," as an excuse to offer wannabe dancing stars in the region an opportunity to take free ballroom dance classes.

And, if you want to buy a ticket to the evening's performance, no one is going to stop you.

September 2, 2011
California Stage extends Latina comedy drama

The California Stage production of "How Else Am I Supposed to Know I Am Still Alive?" has extended its run with performances through Sept. 25. The comedy drama by playwright Evelina Fernandez about two middle-age Latina friends stars S.J. Andrea "Yaya" Porras and Nicole Limon with Antonio Juarez directing.

The show plays 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $12-$15. At the Three Penny Theater, 1719 25th St. in the R25 Arts Complex. Information: (916) 451-5822, www.CalStage.org

August 10, 2011
Auburn Rec. Dist. sponsors State Theater showing of To Kill a Mockingbird

The Auburn Recreation District is sponsoring the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center's Third Thursday Film Series showing of To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) on Aug. 18 and 21.

The State Theater, 985 Lincoln Way in Auburn, is showing the classic, Academy-Award-winning film about racial tensions in the Depression-era south.

The film, based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning book written in 1960, portrays the legal biases against African Americans and social biases against White lawyers who choose to defend them.

The showtimes are Thurs. Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. and Sun. Aug. 21 at 2 p.m. for a matinee. Tickets are $8 and may be purchased up to an hour before showtime and online at www.livefromauburn.com.

On Thursday at 5:30 p.m., Marybelle's Restaurant in Old Town Auburn will be serving a specially prepared dinner in the Marquee room adjacent to the State Theater lobby. The meal is $8 and beverages will be available at the State Theater beverage bar.

For more information, visit www.livefromauburn.com.

August 10, 2011
Make a date with Annie Oakley and her gun at Music Circus

By Marcus Crowder

mcrowder@sacbee.com

It's very tempting to call Beth Malone's clever, engaging performance of Annie Oakley a bull's eye, so let's just do it.

Malone hits the mark in every way including originality while bringing the great American sharpshooter to life in the Music Circus production of "Annie Get Your Gun."

The story is a fictionalized account of the real-life sharpshooter Annie Oakley and her eventual marriage to Frank Butler, whose Wild West show she joins. Oakley became an international sensation through the vaudevillian-styled shows that also included Buffalo Bill Cody and Chief Sitting Bull.

ANNIE GET YOUR GUN****
What: Beth Malone shines as Annie Oakley in this Music Circus production of the Irving Berlin play. Berlin got his big chance after the sudden death of Jerome Kern, and a legend was born.
Where: Wells Fargo Pavilion, 1419 H St., Sacramento
When: Continues 8 p.m. today through Saturday; 2 p.m. today and Saturday; 7:30 p.m. Sunday (last show)
Tickets: $42-$74; tickets for ages 4-17, starting at $30
Time: Two hours and 30 minutes including intermission
Information: (916) 557-1999, www.tickets.com

August 3, 2011
Gaines, O'Hare deliver bravura performances in 'Camelot'

By Marcus Crowder

mcrowder@sacbee.com

"Don't let it be forgot, that there once was a spot, for a brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot."

Those words, King Arthur's coda at the end of Lerner and Loewe's musical have come to symbolize so much more than the play they come from. Quoted by President Kennedy as his favorite lines from the play just a week before his assassination, the words came to symbolize his administration and its ambitions.

The musical itself still has much to recommend it as seen in the affecting production now at the Music Circus. Led by a powerfully compelling performance by Davis Gaines as the circumspect King Arthur, "Camelot" is one of the more heady productions that the Music Circus will present. Lisa O'Hare matches Gaines with her wonderful performance as his lusty queen Guenevere.


Camelot
What: The Music Circus produces the late Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe classic with bravura performances from Davis Gaines and Lisa O'Hare.

When: 8 p.m. today, Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. today and Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Sunday (last show)

Where: Wells Fargo Pavilion, 1419 H St., Sacramento

Cost: $42-$74

Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes, including one intermission

Information: (916) 557-1999, www. californiamusicaltheatre.com

3 1/2 stars

July 20, 2011
Miserable world of 'Oliver Twist' gets a softer view at Music Circus

By Marcus Crowder
mcrowder@sacbee.com

The Music Circus' new production of "Oliver!" has a rough, uneven charm about it, much like the story the musical tells.

Lionel Bart's truncated adaptation of Charles Dickens' novel "Oliver Twist" softens the edges on most every character, particularly Ron Wisniski's central Fagin, in telling the story of the foundling orphan boy Oliver.

Dickens' 1838 novel paints a considerably darker picture of Oliver's miserable world, though the musical suggests a bleak future for the boy who dares to ask for "more."

July 15, 2011
Critics' picks for this weekend: Music, theater, comedy

Here are The Sacramento Bee's critics' picks for the best things to do this weekend.

TONIGHT

Music

Keri Carr(1).jpgKeri Carr Band

WHAT: Rowdy Kate disbanded, but the group's former lead singer goes on. Carr says she's expanding, integrating country rock into her set list. She comes calling with Steve Randall on guitar, Richard March on guitar, Larry Carr on drums, RW Grigsbey on bass and Beth Grigsbey on supporting vocals.

WHEN: 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Palms Playhouse, 13 Main St., Winters

COST: $15

INFORMATION: (530) 795-1825, www.palmsplayhouse.com

- C.M. Anderson

July 7, 2011
Tickets available for Steinbeck Festival

By Max Ehrenfreund
mehrenfreund@sacbee.com

Tickets are available for the 31st annual Steinbeck Festival, which will be held August 4-7 in Salinas and on Cannery Row in Monterey.

The theme of the festival is "Friends and Foes." Speakers include:

Kirk Curnutt, novelist and author (Breathing Out the Ghost, Dixie Noir)

David Dominguez, poet (Work Done Right, The Ghost of Cesar Chavez)

Elda Rotor, Penguin Classics editorial director

Terri Schneider, endurance athlete (Triathlon Revolution: Training, Technique and Inspiration)

The festival will also feature the work of Pierre-Alain Bertola, the French artist who created De souris et des hommes (Editions Delcourt, 2009). The book is the first graphic novel adaptation of one of John Steinbeck's novels. Andrew Farago, curator of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, will speak on the significance of graphic novel adaptations of classic literature.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.steinbeck.org and over the phone at (831) 775-4721.

The price of $150 includes all admission to all events over the weekend except lunches and evening events after 7. Discounted tickets are available for $135 to members of the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas.

June 16, 2011
This week, rock Joan Jett or tap your toes to 'Mary Poppins'

In one weekend, at one venue, you can catch a bluesman who had a seminal influence on rock and a woman whose persona and guitar work set a standard for both genders in the world of rock 'n' roll.
Every note and line of music from Bobby "Blue" Bland testify to the fact that he has lived the blues. Although he did not achieve the pop icon status of B.B. King, blues enthusiasts treat the "Lion of the Blues" as royalty. He has an impressive list of awards from a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement to a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
If you love rock 'n' roll, then you can probably sing at least the refrain of the song Joan Jett made famous:
I love rock 'n' roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock 'n' roll
So come an' take your time an' dance with me

Both artists will be at Thunder Valley. But wait, there's more. Here's the line up for the week:

TONIGHT-SUNDAY
Musical theater
'Mary Poppins'
WHAT: Few musical productions achieve the heights this one scales in every imaginable way. It is anchored by Steffanie Leigh as the magical, unflappable nanny.
WHEN: 8 p.m. today- Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
WHERE: Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento
COST: $24-$89
INFORMATION: (916) 808-5181, (916) 557-1999, www.tickets.com
- Marcus Crowder

June 2, 2011
Ticket to the weekend: Exotic cars or Grape Escape

You can't go wrong with stand-up comedy this weekend, but if you'd rather do something earlier in the day, we've got two festivals to tempt you to stroll.

TONIGHT-SUNDAY
Stand-Up Comedy
Bobby Slayton

WHAT: Racial profiling is part of this comedian's act. Known as "the Pitbull of Comedy," he doesn't shy away from saying anything that pops into his head.

WHEN: 8 tonight and Friday, 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

WHERE: Tommy T's Comedy & Dinner Theatre, 12401 Folsom Blvd., in Rancho Cordova

COST: $20, $30 Friday-Saturday; $15, $25 Sunday (plus fees)

INFORMATION: (916) 357-5233, www.tommyts.com

-C.M. Anderson

TONIGHT-SUNDAY
Stand-Up Comedy
Alex Reymundo

WHAT: He's got a great head of hair and big jokes. Born in Mexico but reared for seven years in Kentucky, he considers himself an expert on "hick-spanics" - and has done a Comedy Central special on the subject. He is one of the "The Original Latin Kings of Comedy."

WHEN: 8 p.m. each night, 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday

WHERE: Punch Line Comedy Club, 2100 Arden Way, Suite 225, in Sacramento

COST: $16 (plus fees)

INFORMATION: (916) 925-8500, www.livenation.com

-C.M. Anderson

SATURDAY-SUNDAY
Theater
"Extraordinary Things"

WHAT: "Extraordinary Things: Through the Eyes of Anne Frank" is lovingly written, exquisitely acted and smartly staged for people of any age. The Bee gives it 3 1/2 stars.

WHEN: 1 and 4 p.m., through June 5

WHERE: B Street Theatre Family Series Stage, 2727 B St., Sacramento

COST: $22 general, $15 children

INFORMATION: (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org

-Jim Carnes

SATURDAY
Guitar music
David Rogers

WHAT: This master of the classical guitar plied his trade as musician for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 18 years and studied historical plucked strings at Scola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland. But his expertise goes beyond 16th century Baroque music, as this evening of solo guitar work will attest.

WHEN: 8 p.m.

WHERE: Our House Gallery & Framing, 1004 White Rock Road, Suite 400, El Dorado Hills

COST: $15 advance, $20 at the door

INFORMATION: (916) 933-4278

- Jim Carnes

SATURDAY
Wine and food festival
Grape Escape

WHAT: Sample wines from Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, San Joaquin and Yolo counties. Buy food from Lucca Restaurant and Bar, Ludy's Main St BBQ and Catering, Mulvaney's B&L counties and more.

WHEN: 4-7 p.m.

WHERE: Cesar Chavez Park, 10th and J streets, in Sacramento

COST: $40 in advance, $50 at gate (Save $5 when you buy tickets at Raley's.)

INFORMATION: /www.raleysgrapeescape.com

-C.M. Anderson

SATURDAY
Car show
Foreign and Exotic

WHAT: Enjoy a stroll through one of the best preserved historic districts of our region as you admire 200 foreign cars and motorcycles at this inaugural event. There will also be live music and a wine stroll.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. car show, noon to 3 p.m. wine stroll

WHERE: Broad Street in Downtown Nevada City

COST: Car show, free; wine stroll, $20

INFORMATION: www.sierrasportscargroup.com

-C.M. Anderson

SATURDAY
Living history
"Twilight: Return to the Fort"

WHAT: Celebrate 35 successful years of the fort's environmental living program with a grand cannon fire welcome, a scrumptious pioneer dinner, Gold Rush-era entertainment, dancing, hands-on crafts and storytelling.

WHEN: 6 p.m.

WHERE: Sutter's Fort, 2701 L St., Sacramento

COST: $35 for adults, $20 for children (under 17 years of age)

INFORMATION: (916) 445-4422, www.suttersfort.org

-C.M. Anderson

SATURDAY
Percussion
TAIKO PROJECT

WHAT: This ensemble wins accolades for maintaining the symmetry and focus of the art of Japanese taiko tradition while also expanding the boundaries of the music.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Stage 1 at Three Stages at Folsom Lake College, 10 College Pkwy.

COST: $21-$39

INFORMATION: (916) 608-6888, www.threestages.net

-C.M. Anderson

May 26, 2011
Go big or go intimate for things to do this weekend

Looking for something to do? Take your pick from big-name entertainers such as Usher, Kiss or Jamie Foxx or the last weekend run of B Street's "Searching for Eden" or an array of intimate experiences with Boz Scaggs, the Sacramento Ballet and the Young Dubliners.

TODAY-SUNDAY
Theater
"Searching for Eden"
WHAT: This romantic comedy drops in on the original couple, Adam and Eve, and the actors' sweet, airy performances lift the clever idea without overburdening the story. The Bee gives it 3 1/2 stars.
WHEN: 8 tonight and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday (last show)
WHERE: Mainstage at B Street Theatre, 2711 B St., Sacramento
COST: $22-30
INFORMATION: (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org
-Marcus Crowder

May 5, 2011
A standup comic, a May fair and a cemetery tour - no joke!

We're ready for fair season, and the Dixon May Fair definitely fills that bill. The concerts draw from a wide spectrum of musicians. We're particularly pleased to see country legend Merle Haggard on the bill tonight, along with Trace Adkins. They have both weathered personal trials and have lived to sing their tales.

Then tomorrow, there's the fresh-faced Selena Gomez who's holding down a singing career in addition to television shows and big-screen movies.

If you're looking for other types of fun, here's a diverse list:


TONIGHT
Musical revue
'Grand Night'
WHAT: If you wanted to catch the elegant revue Rodgers & Hammerstein's
"A Grand Night for Singing," you'd better act quickly. The production, which received 3½ stars from The Bee, closes this weekend.
WHEN: 7 tonight, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
WHERE: Cosmopolitan Cabaret, 10th and K streets, in Sacramento
COST: $20-$43 (plus fees)
INFORMATION: (916) 557-1999, www.californiamusicaltheatre.com
-Marcus Crowder

April 21, 2011
Things to do: Buddy Guy, political satire and a stylish tribute

We didn't have to tell you that Buddy Guy would be a great show. You already knew that. Consider his appearance on this list to be just a gentle reminder that he's in town.

We are, however, concerned that you might have missed a couple of events on this list. Each features a national treasure -- but swirls in a bit of Sactown flava. We're talking about the fashion event at the Crest Theatre and the performance of Capitol Steps at this same venue.

Local boutiques and designers such as Bows and Arrows, Modaspia, Crimson & Clover, Thunderhorse and Babyfloss will have a trunk show ahead of the "Bill Cunningham New York" film, and fashion bloggers Bella Q (Sac Street Style), Lorena Beightler (Sac Cycle Chic) and Kari Shipman (Juniper James) will stay for a panel discussion when it's over. This event is a fitting tribute to the man who's kept his camera focused on New York fashion for decades.

April 14, 2011
Things to Do: 'Carwash' with Rose Royce, flashes of The Dead

May we suggest you go old school for this weekend's entertainment? Polish off those disco moves or invent some for Rose Royce and Evelyn Champagne King at Thunder Valley Casino. Flash back to psychedilic times with Deadheads aplenty as "The Grateful Dead Movie" hits theaters for one night only. See how tough life could be -- even for a demanding diva who lived large -- in Sacramento Theatre Company's "Master Class."

If you are not interested in these options, then read on because we've included other events for you.

TONIGHT

R&B and Funk

Rose Royce and Evelyn Champagne King

WHAT: Clear some space, everyone, for those disco dance moves invented just for "Car Wash," the Rose Royce melody that crossed over and ruled the airwaves in 1976 and 1977, and for "Shame" by Evelyn Champagne King.

WHEN: 8 p.m.

WHERE: Pano Hall at Thunder Valley Casino, 1200 Athens Ave., Lincoln

COST: $29, $39 (plus taxes and fees)

INFORMATION: (916) 408-7777, (877) 468-8777, www.thundervalleyresort.com

- C.M. Anderson


April 7, 2011
Things to Do this week: Bryan Adams, Sarah Silverman and more

This week in Sacramento, you can consort with some "Reel Classy Broads," take a seat on "The Bare Bones Tour" with rocker Bryan Adams, or get lectured by Sarah Silverman. If none of that suits your style, The Bee's staff has some other options for you. Just read on ...

TODAY-SUNDAY

Film festival

"Reel Classy Broads"

WHAT: This three-day film festival at Auburn's recently restored State Theatre will celebrate the great female stars of the Hollywood in classic roles. The festival starts with an ensemble of talented women, including Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford, in "The Women" (7:30 p.m. Friday) before moving on to the individual achievements of Myrna Loy ("The Thin Man," 11 a.m. Saturday), Barbara Stanwyck ("Double Indemnity," 3 p.m. Saturday) Bette Davis ("All About Eve," 7 p.m. Saturday) Judy Garland ("A Star Is Born," 3 p.m. Sunday) and Katharine Hepburn ("The Philadelphia Story," 7 p.m. Sunday).

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday-10 p.m. Sunday.

Where: State Theatre, 985 Lincoln Way, Auburn

Cost: $9 for individual films, $45 for festival passes.

Information: (530) 885-0156, www.livefromauburn.com.

- Carla Meyer

March 25, 2011
Vicki Lewis to star in benefit for California Musical Theatre

Vicki Lewis has suddenly become a go-to star for California Musical Theatre.

Lewis, a belter with style and heart, will come to Sacramento on May 8, performing a one-night-only benefit concert at the Cosmopolitan Cabaret. Lewis has been stunning in three Music Circus appearances debuting in 2008 as Mama Rose in "Gypsy," then returning in 2009 as The Baker's Wife in "Into the Woods" and then in 2010 as Fanny Brice in "Funny Girl."

This summer Lewis will bow as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter's "Anything Goes." California Musical Theatre artistic director Glenn Casale will help Lewis in developing the concert.

Lewis.jpg

Tickets for "An Evening with Vicki Lewis" are $125 for tables and $90 for the tiered seats. Proceeds will go to California Musical Theatre's artistic and educational efforts.

"An Evening with Vicki Lewis" starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Cosmopolitan Cabaret at 1000 K Street (between 10th and 11th). Tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. through the Wells Fargo Pavilion Box Office, 1419 H St. or at (916) 557-1999.

January 18, 2011
Natomas school needs your vote to win $25K for arts project

By Niesha Lofing
nlofing@sacbee.com

A Natomas school is vying for a $25,000 grant to fund a project that promotes understanding and peace among U.S. and Turkish teenagers through art.

Natomas Charter School is currently in 18th place in the Pepsi Refresh contest, a monthly grant program that gives $1.3 million to fund ideas intended to make positive impacts in communities throughout the country.

The school needs to be in the top 10 in order win the funding. Anyone can vote for the project or other contenders by logging on to refresheverything.com.

Natomas Charter School has partnered with a sister school in Nigde, Turkey in an artistic exchange aimed at discovering commonalities between different cultures and promoting peace through the arts, according to a news release from the school.

The eight core values identified are individual self-expression, family, faith, opportunity for growth, education, connecting with others, helping others and peace through understanding, Chaney Briggs, a Natomas student wrote in an e-mail to The Bee.

Each value is expressed through various forms of art taught and studied at Natomas Charter - drama, dance, music and visual arts, Briggs wrote.

The first phase of the project led to the creation of a multimedia performance titled "One Voice" in last April. Ten teenagers from the Sungurbey School in Nigde traveled to Sacramento to perform with the Natomas students. This April, the second phase of the project will involve 12 Natomas students going to the sister school to conduct artistic workshops and create a performance piece for Turkish audiences illustrating the same core values.

The students also are hoping to take the performance to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., a school news release states.

If Natomas Charter School wins the Pepsi Refresh grant, it will be used as follows: $5,000 for production and class expenses, $2,000 for promotion, $10,000 for future student exchange and $8,000 to be used for the Kennedy Center performance, according to the project proposal on the Pepsi Refresh website.

The proposed budget does not include previous trips to Turkey for planning, the travel for Turkish students to the U.S., personnel involved in the project and facility expenses, the website states.

Voting ends Jan. 31. Supporters may cast their votes online by clicking here to go to the project's page or by texting 105107 to Pepsi (73774). Standard texting rates apply.

December 24, 2010
Sacramento Theatre Company adds 'Christmas Carol' performance

By Laurel Rosenhall
lrosenhall@sacbee.com

The Sacramento Theatre Company has added a new show to its scheduled performances of "A Christmas Carol."

The final performances of the season are today at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

For more information, call (916) 443-6722 or go to www.sactheatre.com.

Call The Bee's Laurel Rosenhall, (916) 321-1083.

November 11, 2010
Civic Theatre West ceases operations Wednesday night

By Marcus Crowder
mcrowder@sacbee.com

Roseville's Civic Theatre West ceased operations Wednesday night, board president Calvin Stevens has confirmed.

The community theater produced shows in two venues, Roseville Theater and Tower Theater.

Stevens said the theater's continuing debt of $500,000 had become untenable, and the board decided the responsible course of action was to close its doors.

"We had continuing unpaid obligations, but no operational buffer," Stevens said. "The responsible thing to do is to stop operations rather than keeping the wheels turning and hoping against hope when it really can't be done."

The nonprofit Roseville community theater was founded in 1987 by Bob and Rosemarie Gerould as Magic Circle Theatre. In 2009, the Geroulds were dismissed by the board, then led by Brent Null, who eventually became the artistic director. Null was let go from that part time position last month. In April of this year, the name was changed to Civic Theatre West.

Last year, the theater company's annual operating budget was $1.1 million. Civic Theatre West also has one the largest children's theater workshops in the state, and had more than 1,200 subscribers for its season last year.

Actors were told to go home Wednesday night as they came to theater for rehearsals of the upcoming productions of "Forever Plaid." Michael Coleman, director of "Deathtrap," which had opened last weekend, was told Wednesday night by Michelle Raskey, Civic Theatre's program director, that his show was closed.

"We could not in good faith continue to ask people to rehearse when we knew we would not be making these productions," Stevens said. "We called a meeting of the board last weekend to discuss options. All of the discussion were about ceasing because we did not see a way to continue."

Call The Bee's Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120.

November 8, 2010
From Yuba City to Washington Heights

By Jim Carnes
jcarnes@sacbee.com

Anna Louizos, who designed the Tony Award-nominated set for the Broadway musical "In the Heights," which is playing through Sunday at the Community Center Theater, is a graduate of Yuba City High School. Her biographical entry in the show's program omits that fact, but classmates remember her well. The bio entry does mention that Louizos, now 52, attended Mills College (for two years) before transferring to New York University, where she earned a master's degree in scenic design.

Louizos, whose mother lives in Paradise, runs her own Manhattan design firm, Anna Louizos Designs and has created the sets for such other Broadway productions as "Avenue Q," "Curtains" and "Irvin Berlin's White Christmas." She also was nominated for a 2007 Tony for her set design for "High Fidelity," which lasted only two months on Broadway. A review of the show in the New York Times said, "The most compelling movement onstage is achieved by Anna Louizos's set."

Call The Bee's Jim Carnes, (916) 321-1130.

April 15, 2010
Theater review: 'Little House' shows pioneer spirit

By Marcus Crowder
mcrowder@sacbee.com

There's plenty of plucky American pioneering spirit - together with waves of old-fashioned sentiment - in the national touring production of "Little House on the Prairie, The Musical."

The musical, at the Community Center Theater, was developed at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and has gone from its run there to this national tour, with a New York production under consideration.

Based on the enduring series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, this production features Melissa Gilbert, who came to popular prominence from 1974-1983, starring in a television series sourcing the same material. Gilbert played Laura on television, but here she has appropriately moved on to play Ma, with the bright Kara Lindsay taking the central Laura role.

The musical's story airbrushes Laura's teen years, at first focusing on her family's homesteading in DeSmet, S.D., and then the courtship of Almanzo Wilder, who of course eventually becomes her husband. The musical's creative team, book by Rachel Sheinkin with music by Rachel Portman and lyrics by Donna Di Novelli, fashion an often-affecting, though limited narrative.

The musical's dynamics feature the homesteaders dealing with unyielding elements including a brutal winter and Laura's competition with Nellie Oleson. While Kate Loprest gives Nellie a real spark, the weak character occupies too much prominence in the thin story.

Director Francesca Zambello smartly distracts from the flat storytelling with stylized tableaux and an attractive, minimalist visual approach. Portman, who has mainly done film scores, writes some beautifully evocative music here, but Di Novelli's lyrics are mostly cumbersome and trite, minimizing the songs. Only on the duet "Faster," between Kevin Massey's determined Almanzo and Lindsay's Laura, do we get a song that really reaches inside the characters.

Still, the heart of the story, the selflessness of the Ingalls family and the remarkable resilience of the settlers have an undeniable strength. Steve Blanchard as Pa, Alessa Neeck as Laura's older sister Mary, and Anastasia Korbal as younger sister Carrie form the tightknit family.

Though Gilbert's voice didn't really pack much strength or assurance, she still delivered the musical's pivotal number "Wild Child" with an emotional clarity that really defines this production.

Call The Bee's Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120.

April 9, 2010
Review: Performance matches the original art of 'Brundibar'

By Edward Ortiz

eortiz@sacbee.com

Anyone who doubts whether music can outlast an evil moment in history should see the Sacramento Children's Chorus' winsome production of the children's opera "Brundibár."

Written in 1938 by Czech composer Hans Krasa before his incarceration in the Terezin Nazi concentration camp in World War II, this opera has survived as a joyous example of how music triumphed during the darkest of times.

3W21ELLIE.highlight.prod_affiliate.4.JPGIn this production, a combination of local forces was used. Those included the chorus members under the direction of Lynn Stevens, along with the members of the Sacramento Youth Symphony under the direction of Sacramento Opera conductor Timm Rolek.

Thursday's performance at Hiram Johnson High School's auditorium was made more powerful because Ela Weissberger (left), who was in the original cast when the opera was performed at Terezin, accepted an invitation to attend, coming to Sacramento from her home in Tappan, N.Y.

September 10, 2009
Student stars take center stage in Aladdin Jr. production

A group of local elementary and middle school actors are hoping to transport audiences to a whole new world during performances of Disney's Aladdin Jr. at the California Stage Theatre this weekend.

The play is presented by Flying Monkey Productions, a nonprofit organization that gives young students an opportunity to perform on stage and run the artistic elements of theatre production, according to a news release.

Fourth- through eighth-grade students are starring in the play, which is a stage adaptation of the animated Disney hit. The production includes songs from the movie's Academy Award-winning score, such as "A Whole New World" and "Friend Like Me."

Four performances will be held, beginning with a show at 7 p.m. Friday. Additional shows will be at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The California Stage Theatre is located at 1723 25th St., Sacramento.

For tickets, call (916) 215-9077 or purchase them at the door.

September 3, 2009
Local theater company calls it quits

The quirky, adventuresome Beyond the Proscenium Productions announced Thursday that it's calling it quits. "After a series of unfortunate occurrences, the board of directors has decided that BPP has already served its mission to enrich the cultural climate of Sacramento," a theater company press release said.
"Personal matters coupled with dwindling arts funding" were cited as "sealing the deal to close the tent."
The company was found in 1994 with two goals, according to founding artistic director Ann Tracy: "to expand the styles of theater produced in town (and) to pay the actors and other artists at least a small stipend." Sacramento now has "new theater companies that weren't out there in '94, staging provocative new works by up and coming playwrights," Tracy said.
Among the shows presented by BPP are the one-act performance piece "Dancing With Desire: A Poetic Fandango with the Erotic and the Bawdy," which it presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland; "Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches in 1998 and "Part Two: Perestroika" in 1999, "Orestes 2.5," Tracy's adaptation of Euripides' "Orestes" in 2002; "The Al Hamlet Summit" by Sulayman Al-Bassam in 2006 and "Symphony of Rats" by Richard Foreman in 2008. The company's last production was "My Name Is Rachel Corrie" in May.

May 26, 2009
Fine art, dance unite in local performance

Can't decide between a night at the ballet and an evening at an art gallery?

Look no further than Mergence 2009.

The performance, which opens Friday at the Northern California Dance Conservatory's Black Box Theater, combines nine new dance pieces created by internationally-recognized choreographers with artwork inspired by the performances.

The performance is hosted by the conservatory and JoinTheArts.com, a cultural arts advocate organization based in Roseville.

Tickets are $45 per person for the opening night gala, which includes a reception at 6:30 p.m. catered by Robert Mondavi Winery, SuedeBlue and CRUSH29. The performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the theater, 920 Reserve Dr., Roseville, and will be followed by a reception with the performers, artists and choreographers, according to the JoinTheArts Web site.

Additional performances will be held at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets for those shows are $18.

An art auction also will be held at the events Friday and Saturday. Online bidding also is available until 9 p.m. Sunday.

For more information or to buy tickets, go to the JoinTheArts Web site.

February 14, 2009
Walking with Shakespeare and the Hulk on Valentine's Day

The poetry of Shakespeare will break out in on the streets of Davis today, courtesy of the Valentine's-themed Sonnet Walk beginning at 10 a.m., just in time for the Davis Farmers Market.

According to organizer Peter Lichtenfels, a UC Davis theater professor, the plan is for participants -- a man dressed as the Incredible Hulk, a punked-out Juliet, a bluegrass band and others -- to recite poetry to the unsuspecting along routes that have yet to be revealed even to the performers. All routes begin at the Hattie Weber Museum, 445 C St. near Central Park, home of the farmers' market.

Lichtenfels will also talk about Shakespeare's sonnets.

The innovative Sonnet Walk is sponsored by the UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance, the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts and the Davis Arboretum.

Visit www.dateline.ucdavis.edu for information.

-- Anita Creamer
February 6, 2009
Former Phantom performs in Davis

Franc D'Ambrosio, the Broadway performer best known for his long-running role as the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera, appears in Davis tonight at a fundraiser for the fledgling Sense Theatre, a nonprofit that hopes to unlock the future for local autistic children through what its organizers call "theatrical intervention."

Co-founded by UC Davis MIND Institute neuropsychologist Blythe Corbett and board member Christine Totah, the Sense Theatre aims to use performance as a way to teach the social skills, movement and communication that autistic children characteristically lack.

"We're just beginning the process," says Corbett, a former performer herself. "Our formal auditions will be in March for Disney's Jungle Book. We'll have 10 children with autism co-cast with typically developing peers. They'll work on the same role together."

Future productions will include shows of different lengths and genres, she says. As a researcher, she plans to assess the progress of the autistic children who participate.

"We'll collect neurological and biological data, because we want to be able to show that we're making a difference," she says. "We want to demonstrate tangible changes."

Tonight's event begins at 7 p.m. at the Davis Musical Theatre Company, 607 Pena Dr. in Davis. Tickets cost $50. For more information, go to www.sensetheatre.com.

-- Anita Creamer
February 5, 2009
New team joins Lake Tahoe Shakes

When the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival begins it's 37th season on July 11 it will have undergone an artistic makeover. A new creative team replaces last year's creative team who replaced the Foothill Theatre Company who put up the plays the year before that.

Henry Woronicz a former artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (from 1991 to 1995) is the new executive producer and John Grüber is the new production manager. Woronicz followed the legendary Jerry Turner and preceded the recently retired Libby Appel at OSF. He recently has been acting and directing throughout the country and appeared on Broadway in Julius Caesar.

He has directed at the Illinois Shakespeare Festival and the Utah Shakespearean Festival while also performing with the American Repertory Theatre, the Indiana Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville and the American Players Theatre.

Woronicz also was recently appointed as the Head of Graduate Acting for the School of Theatre at Illinois State University.

The shows announced for the season, which runs until Aug. 23, are Measure for Measure and Much Ado About Nothing which will rotate nightly Tuesday through Sunday at stunning Sand Harbor State Park amphitheater on the shore of the lake.

Tickets are available at www.LakeTahoeShakespeare.com or by calling (800) 747-4697.

The festival will be holding local auditions for the season on Saturday, Feb. 21 at the University of Nevada, Reno's Redfield Proscenium Theatre, 1664 N. Virginia St., Reno. The time is from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

A festival press release states: "Headshots will be processed and audition slots assigned beginning at 12:30 p.m. Actors may send resumes and headshots in advance to: Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Attention: Casting, 948 Incline Village Way, Incline Village, NV 89451. All auditioning actors must prepare two contrasting Shakespearean monologues no longer than one minute each in length. Due to space and time limitations, the Festival screens for all non-Equity resumes before scheduling audition times."

There will be national auditions on March 9 and 10 at the Colony Theatre, 555 N. Third St. in Burbank. The hours will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Actors may send resumes and headshots in advance to:  Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Attention: Casting, 948 Incline Village Way, Incline Village, NV 89451

For either audition, actors must prepare two contrasting Shakespearean monologues no longer than one minute each in length.

For information concerning auditions contact production Manager John Grüber at jgruber@tahoebard.com or (775) 298-0150.

-- Marcus Crowder
April 23, 2008
One actor to watch

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While timing is key in most endeavors, having talent and a positive attitude doesnt hurt.

Maurice Whitfield had it all going for him when he caught Scott Eckerns eye at a California Musical Theatre audition. Eckern is the CMT artistic director, and when looking for Music Circus actors, he auditions over a thousand performers every year at calls in New York, Los Angeles and Sacramento.

Anyway, Whitfield is from Durham, N.C., but hes been spending the past year in Sacramento as an intern at the B Street Theatre. He's the first B Street intern to move directly from its professional training program to the Music Circus.

Eckern says he was looking for a bass and liked what he heard from Whitfield. Whitfields audition piece was a contemporary song from composer-lyricist Michael John LaChiusas The Wild Party.

Eckern asked if the 23-year-old actor had anything with a more classic sound, so Whitfield then came back with Ol' Man River, which is about as classic as it gets. Though Eckern was looking primarily for a singer, he also asked Whitfield to try a couple of dance combinations.

He was very game for every thing I threw at him, Eckern says. Plus, hes a fine singer in the range I needed so I hired him.

Eckern will have 16 ensemble members on hand this summer - eight men and eight women. Whitfield will work in Sweeney Todd and Evita.

This past year for B Street, he's also appeared in Gold Country Tales for B Street Theatre School Tours, and on the main stage, the world premiere of Buck Busfields Make Someone Happy (pictured).

Hell also be seen in the upcoming intern showcase, Seven Ten Split, which will encompass seven 10-minute plays specifically written for the seven graduating interns. The show will run May 17June 1.

April 18, 2008
'Wicked' this way comes?

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Theres good news and bad news coming out of SHN regarding its 2008-09 Best of Broadway season in San Francisco. The company has announced a sit-down, open-ended engagement of Wicked beginning in late January 2009 at the Orpheum Theatre. Meaning the uber-hit musical will be just 90 minutes down the road for the forseeable future.

Thats the good news - but also the bad for Sacramento. Because it probably pushes any potential Sacramento dates for the phenomenally successful show back to 2010, according to Richard Lewis, executive producer of California Musical Theatre and Broadway Sacramento.

Lewis was hoping to get Wicked in 2009 and still could - but now, hes not as hopeful.

Wicked had its world premeire in San Francisco at the Curran Theatre on May 28, 2003, before moving to Broadway and opening at the Gershwin Theatre on Oct. 30, 2003. It has been virtually sold out since, reigning as Broadways highest-grossing show.

The musical recently set records for the highest one-week box office take in each of its four North American markets: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and the National Tour.

And early next year, you, too, can check out how the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch got to be that way. Youll just have to do it in San Francisco.

April 18, 2008
Keeping the faith

The reviews are in. Following up on the item I posted Monday about Faith Prince, the lapsed Broadway star moonlighting as a Sacramento stay-at-home mom, reviews of her latest New York outing in "A Catered Affair," were published this morning. And as they often are, the opinions are mixed.

Actually, the opinions are fairly consistent from the two writers I trust and read the most consistently, Ben Brantley of the New York Times and Linda Winer of Newsday.

The show itself is mixed, which is how it usually goes. A show is rarely just one thing (as in all good or all bad) - there are levels of what works and what doesnt.

For the most part, the performers (including our Faith) are thought to have done well - its the dour story and lack of engaging songs that disappointed the critics. Hopefully, they can still get a nice run for the show, especially considering it has additional Sacramento roots.

The associate director of A Catered Affair is Adam John Hunter, a Sac native who went through the Sac High VAPAC program and attended UC Davis. Hunter has been working professionally since 2005 with the acclaimed British director John Doyle, and recently he was bumped up from stage manager on Sweeney Todd to the associate director position for Company and now A Catered Affair.
Adam also writes to say that Geoff Vaughn, the scenic automation programmer on the show was the technical director at Sac High when he was there.
There are photos of both Hunter and Prince on Harvey Fierstiens blog about the production; click here.

By the way, the reason the reviews come out the day after the show opens is that critics have been seeing press previews for the last couple of weeks and they hold the story until the day after the opening.

March 26, 2008
Revolutionary writing at Sacramento's Capital Stage

Capital Stage has selected three plays for its Playwrights Revolution Series, with a fourth and final play rounding out the program to be chosen soon.

For those not familiar with it, the Revolution series is supported by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation for new play developement and production.

Each play will receive a staged reading at the Delta King between June 8-11; the company will choose one to present as a world premiere in its 2008-09 season, says Producing Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte.

The three plays already selected are Potential Literature by Anthony DJuan, Erratica, An Academic Farce by Reina Hardy, and Megans Baby by Mark Jackson.

While each writer is paid for participating in the readings, most of the grant money will be used for producing the world premiere.

To learn more about Capital Stage, check out my cover story in Sunday's Ticket+.

March 7, 2008
Oregon Shakespeare 2009

Oregon Shakespeare Festival artistic director Bill Rauch announced the festivals 2009 season today. The slate of 11 plays, anchored by four plays by Shakespeare, continues Rauchs agenda of producing works from other parts of the globe.

The group of plays also demonstrates a renewed commitment to American classics and expanding the festivals boundaries - in this case with the first non-Shakespeare classic in the New Theatre and the first play by an artist of color on the Elizabethan Stage.

The 2009 schedule is as follows:

ANGUS BOWMER THEATRE

Macbeth by William Shakespeare, directed by Gale Edwards, from February November.

Death and the Kings Horseman by Wole Soyinka, directed by Chuck Smith, from February July.

The Music Man, book, music and lyrics by Meredith Willson, story by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey, directed by Bill Rauch, from February November.

Equivocation by Bill Cain, a world premiere, directed by Bill Rauch, from April November.

Paradise Lost by Clifford Odets, directed by Libby Appel, from July November.

NEW THEATRE

Dead Mans Cell Phone by Sarah Ruhl, West Coast premiere, directed by Christopher Liam Moore, from February June.

The Servant of Two Masters" by Carlo Goldoni, directed by Tracy Young, from March November.

Alls Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare, directed by Amanda Dehnert, from July November.

ELIZABETHAN STAGE/ALLEN PAVILION

Henry VIII by William Shakespeare, directed by John Sipes, from June October.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, with a world premiere adaptation by Octavio Solis, directed Laird Williamson, from June October.

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, directed by Kate Buckley, from June October.

March 4, 2008
Don't abandon this

Director and performance creator Doniel Soto created truly special work with his collaborators at Abandon Productions.

First with sweat, hard work and much of their own money, they transformed a junked-up warehouse space into a habitable performance venue now known as The Space.

At the same time, Soto trained his actors in the demanding style of physical theater that he favors. Finally, they created exciting original productions using their movement and vocal skills.

Though for several reasons, Abandon hasnt produced work in more than two years, Soto and the company are still name-checked (whether or not the allusion applies) as the standard-bearers for a type of nontraditional theater that is based in movement and sound.

Recently, Soto has surfaced with a production as electric as anything Ive ever seen of his. Its called Maxbeth, and its Sotos take on Shakespeares Scottish play.

Ive been moved at the finale of several productions that Ive seen over the last few months. At Maxbeth, I was nearly overcome after the first 10 minutes. It was that powerful and that beautiful. By the way, it was at a high school, Mira Loma, with high school actors. And it was brilliant.
MAXBETH.jpg

Soto doesnt try to do stuff that is consciously edgy or arty. He makes work that has artistry in it. Soto is the kind artist who cant walk a straight line. Anybody could do that. He takes you off the deep end.

There were human trees, surging flesh amoebas, and some of the most electrifying battle scenes youll ever see, with kids flying off the second level of the two-part set into the arms of comrades below - the kind of stuff that makes you gasp and laugh at the sheer audacity, ingenuity and artistry of it. Of course, it takes tremendous dedication and commitment from the actors because Soto doesnt put them in front of audiences until theyve trained extensively in his methods and practices. This is Shakespeare - broken down, reassembled, looped, magnified and uncovered.

The audience of the full 120-seat Black Box theater was at least half teenagers who were as enthralled as I was. Though the production was scheduled to close last weekend, there has been such a strong response that shows were added for this weekend - and there may be some seats. Call (916) 331-9663 for information.

February 13, 2008
Get your funny on

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The original African American Touring Sketch Comedy and Improvisational Theatre Company a.k.a. Oui Be Negroes is coming to town. This Friday and Saturday, SacActors.com presents the troupe at its rented home in the Geery Theatre, 2130 L St.

The company features Shaun Landry, Marcus Sams and Hans Summers (who is actually not a Negro, but it most likely funny anyway).

Landry (pictured), co-founder and artistic director of the group, trained and performed in the touring company of Second City Chicago. She is founder of the San Francisco Improv Alliance and producer of the San Francisco Improv Festival.

And she will lead a class in the basics of long-form improv from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the theater. Cost for the class is $30; for the performances, $12.50-$14.50. For more information, go here.

February 11, 2008
The Topdog

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Theres only one week left of the current production of Topdog/Underdog at Sacramento Theatre Company. While Im not enamored with the play itself, this is a worthy production with smart direction from Benny Sato Ambush and particularly strong performances from Hassan El-Amin and Adrian Roberts.

Thinking of Topdog always reminds me of seeing it in New York in 2002. It ran on Broadway with Jeffrey Wright and Mos Def. About 10 minutes into the show at the Ambassador Theatre, it seemed the dilapidated-apartment set had its own olfactory special effects when it started to smell of smoke. Suddenly, an announcement came over the house PA telling everyone to evacuate the theater immediately because of a fire.

The next thing I knew, I was standing on the sidewalk next to Wright, somewhat surreal in his white-face makeup. Wright shook his head, Thats too bad. We were really getting into it tonight.

Three nights later, I was back at the theater and found myself seated next to legendary writer-director Melvin Van Peebles. The scowling Van Peebles is a famously grumpy cat, but I told him I was from Sacramento and had once seen a rather amazing production of his play Aint Supposed To Die a Natural Death.

Van Peebles immediately brightened and said that production by the original Sons and Ancestors Players and directed by Paul Carter Harrison was the reason it went to Broadway in the very theater we were sitting in.

Van Peebles opened the program to a page that acknowledged notable productions at the theater and his play was there. At intermission, the house manager approached Van Peebles, saying that Wright and Def had heard he was in the house and wanted to invite him backstage after the show. Van Peebles just kind of shrugged and said, No thanks. Maybe some other time.

February 1, 2008
CSUS students stepping out

Some noteworthy happenings in theater and dance at California State University, Sacramento:

* The Department of Theatre and Dance has 24 students participating in the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival on Feb. 11 in Los Angeles.

* While there, 10 student actors - two each from the departments last five productions - will compete for Irene Ryan Acting scholarships with 200 other students from across the West. They could win a $500 scholarship and trip to the Kennedy Center in Washington to further compete for a $3,000 scholarship in April.

Among the students participating: Scarlette Bustos (My Visits With My Grandmother Marta), Stephanie Zito and Michael R.J. Campbell (Seussical: The Musical), Diana Tercero (My Visits With My Grandmother Marta), Candace Nicholas-Lippman and Kamra Jacobs (North Star), Sara Perry and Renee DeGarmo (Loose Knit), and Tygar Hicks and Amira Judeh (Afghan Women).

Graduate student Karen Nylund, director of Afghan Women, has been nominated for a student director fellowship, and alumnus Elizabeth Keller for a fellowship in stage management.

* The department will stage a scene from its production of North Star (pictured) at the festivals opening ceremony.
NorthStar1.jpg

To get a taste of what they'll be doing, theater and dance student groups, the Dramatist Society, and Sons and Ancestors Players will present a special showcase at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Playwrights Theatre in Shasta Hall.

Admission is pay what you can, with a $5 minimum to help with travel costs to L.A.

January 28, 2008
Pssst !!

Sacramento Theatre Company quietly revealed its 2008-09 season by slipping the titles into the program for Topdog/Underdog and sending out postcards to current subscribers only. Though my posting undermines the integrity of that stealth campaign, heres whats coming:

The Main Stage season opens with Treasure Island (Oct. 8-Nov. 2), an adaptation by playwright Ken Ludwig (Lend Me a Tenor), based on the well-known adventure novel by Robert Louis Stevenson.

The English panto-based Cinderella returns for the holidays (Dec. 3-Jan. 4, 2009), with book and lyrics by Kate Hawley and music by Gregg Coffin (his rightnextto me is playing now at the B Street Theatre).

The company then follows with the opening installment of its pledge to present the complete 20th Century Cycle by August Wilson with Gem of the Ocean. It will be the first professional Sacramento production of a Wilson play in nearly 20 years.

Another playwright who doesnt get as much exposure as he used to, Aristophanes, gets some play with his 411 B.C. comedy Lysistrata (March 11-April 5, 2009), as the women of Greece try forcing an end to war with a sex strike.

The Main Stage closes with what may be a perfect play, Michael Frayns devastatingly funny Noises Off (April 22-May 17, 2009).

Managing director Mark Standriff says subscriptions will go on sale some time in March. For more information, call (916) 443-6722 or go to www.sactheatre.org.

Meanwhile, there are also plans for a Stage 2 season and a naming announcement for that smaller theater, which the company will doubtlessly reveal in its own inscrutable way.

January 7, 2008
A MLK 'Legacy'

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It seems like Lisa Lacy and Charles Cooper of Images Theater Company are making a venue tour of Sacramento. After working at Benvenuti Performing Arts Center in Natomas, Magic Circle Theater in Roseville, and Chautauqua Playhouse in Carmichael, among others, the pair will bring their new musical Legacy to the Guild Theatre in Oak Park on Jan. 18.

Lacy, who writes and directs, and musical director Cooper, who writes the songs, have created the new work to acknowledge and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Its a subject the pair know well from their work on the California Musical Theatre-sponsored Keeping the Dream Alive in 2003 and And the Dream Goes On in 2004. The two also wrote the musicals Evangalize, Everyday People, A Musical Revue and Wings of Freedom together.

The Legacy production, which features Bill Miller, Sara Von Davenport, Derrick Miller and Michael Turner, is a fundraiser for ITC. It will play four times at the Guild Theater, 2828 35th St. (35th and Broadway).

The 8 p.m. Jan. 18 performance will be preceded by a 6 p.m. reception. The $50 ticket for the event includes hors doeuvres, music by the Charles Cooper and the Images Band, a show souvenir and VIP seating.

The other shows are 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Jan. 19, and 3 p.m. Jan. 20. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $18 for seniors (65 and older) and $15 for children (12 and younger). Tickets are available at ITC (www.imagestheater.org), at Underground Books (2814 35th St.) or at The Culture Collection (6391 Riverside Blvd.) For more information: www. imagestheater.org or (916) 428-1441 for reservations.

October 11, 2007
In memoriam

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Sacramento Bee/Michael A. Jones

As many of you know, Ivan Sandoval, who made such a lasting, necessary mark in Sacramento theater as a producer, director and actor, passed away on Sept. 25.

While there has already been a memorial Mass at St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, where Ivan directed the choir, a theater-based tribute is being planned for later this month at CSUS. (Along with complete details of that event, being organized by Adrienne Sher, I also will have a more in-depth appreciation of Ivan later this month.)

Just after Ivans death, I was able to spend some time with John Beaudry, Ivans long-time professional partner at the legendary Show Below, where the two oversaw so much memorable theater. (That's John in the photo above with Ivan, at left, working on "The Gospel At Colonus.") Beaudry now lives in Korea, but he e-mailed me recently and here is a bit of what he wrote:

I think about Ivan daily and thankful doesnt begin to capture what my heart feels. For me, theater is now finished. Collaborations of that intensity rarely even happen once, much less again. And after experiencing that level of 'the thing,' Im not about to start 'settling' now. Ivan, of all people, would understand.

If you have thoughts or memories about Ivan, feel free to share them here.

June 17, 2007
Ashland: OSF and August Wilson

Ashland, Ore. - Oregon Shakespeare Festival artistic associate Tim Bond did some of his growing up in Sacramento. Bonds father, James, was president of CSUS in the '70s, though the former university president now lives in Ashland near his son.

Bonds production of August Wilsons Gem of the Ocean is a highlight of the current season, and Wilsons plays have become a Bond speciality.
Bond says he has had many opportunities to speak with the playwright about his work.

I had the good fortune of having August tell me the story of three or four of his plays while he was writing them. Id see him and hed say, Hey Tim, have you got a minute?

"No matter how busy I was, Id say 'of course. Wed just go sit somewhere and hed just tell me the story of the play. He was a storyteller, a real griot. The monologues and conversations would just flow out of him, and 45 minutes later, he would have told me the story of the play he was writing or thinking about.

"Im proud of the productions we did here at the festival because I felt like August was our modern-day Bard and it was appropriate to put him next to Shakepeare.

However, Bond (and his father) will be relocating soon, as Tim, who has been with OSF for the last 12 seasons, will be moving to a new position, likely on the East Coast; his father will come with him and his family.

Tim Bonds leaving is part of the administrative changes by incoming artistic director Bill Rauch that has eliminated some positions. Bond now hopes to lead his own mid- to- large-size theater company and hopes to have something definite by the end of the summer.

June 16, 2007
Ashland: Opening weekend

Ashland, Ore. - The Oregon Shakespeare Festival was established in 1935, so a fair amount of history and tradition exist here. The full-scale Elizabethan theater where the outdoor season opens this weekend is the oldest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

When the trumpets (recorded) sound, signaling the raising (live) of the flag, it's a nod to the Elizabethan tradition letting the public know a play will be performed. Friday night was the opening of "The Tempest," Shakespeare's last full-length play. (Look for my full reviews of the outdoor season in The Bee's Scene section on Monday, June 25.)

The production is artistic director Libby Appel's last in her tenure leading the festival. Appel steps down after this season, with young Bill Rauch taking over, though she'll be back directing Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge" next year.

Like any outdoor arts festival, the first determiner of the overall experience is the weather. Leaving this week's first blasts of 100-degree Sacramento summer for the mid-80s of Ashland was certainly a pleasing development that bodes well for the weekend's two other outdoor shows - "The Taming of the Shrew" Saturday and "Romeo and Juliet" Sunday night.

May 14, 2007
'Supernatural and Surreal'

Beginning next Monday, the B Street Theatre will present An Evening of the Supernatural and the Surreal, a 2006-07 Intern Company showcase. The showcase will feature two one-act plays: John Patrick Shanleys Wheres My Money and Richard Dressers At Home. Curtain will be at 8 p.m. next Monday (May 21), Sunday, May 27, and Monday, May 28, with artistic associate John Lamb directing the productions.

Nine college graduates, who were recruited from around the country, make up the Intern Company. While in residence in Sacramento, they received professional training through seminars led by B Street Theatre Acting Company member Kurt Johnson. And they performed monologues after each Wednesday night performance.

Interns were also conscripted for numerous duties at the theater, including house management, stage management and facility maintenance.

Interns making their professional debuts this year were Charles Keenan and Lindsay Carter, in the world premiere Throwing Parties, and Nicole Disson in What the Butler Saw. Laurie Geigel, Vickie Hall, Jennifer Baumgardner, Josiah Correl and Mark Richardson all worked in the B Street Theatre Family Series (formerly Childrens Theatre of California).

This year, B Street also had its first scenic design intern, Toi Whitaker, who designed the sets for What the Butler Saw, The Princess and the Pauper and the currently running The Clean House.

No admission will be charged to the intern showcase, but donations will be accepted, with proceeds benefiting the interns. Reservations are encouraged.

The B Street Theatre is at 2711 B St., behind Stanford Park Baseball Field. For information: (916) 443-5300.

April 6, 2007
STC's new familiar face

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Sacramento Bee/Michael A. Jones

Mark Standriff (shown above as the Ghost of Christmas Present), whos made such an impact on stage with the Sacramento Theatre Company this season, will assume an even larger role, off stage, quite soon.

On Monday, STC will officially announce Standriffs appointment as managing director, succeeding Kendra Lewis, who steps down after two and half years on the job. Standriff will leave his position as a morning DJ on The Fish (KKFS, 105.5 FM) at the end of the month to concentrate on his new duties.

Standriff has more than 25 years of experience in theater and radio, including a stint as the artistic director of the Toledo Repertoire Theatre in Ohio. He became an artistic associate at STC this fall and appeared in To Kill a Mockingbird, A Christmas Carol and Private Lives.

Hell still be seen on stage, even though his off-stage visibility will increase.

This is going to be a labor of love for me, says Standriff earlier today. Im excited about the opportunity."

July 25, 2006
Art and craft

RP OTHELLO EMILIA.jpg The art and craft of the repertory actor has long been seen at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. There, the excellent actors may have a leading role one night and a one-scene walk-on at the next days matinee. In either case, they are on top of their game.

Theres a similar strength at this years Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, where the level of performance continues to grow and one sees it in especially strong supporting work.

Two of the actors making outstanding character contributions are Carolyn Howarth, pictured above, and Barzin Akhavan, pictured at right, below. Both play supporting roles in the two shows playing in rep, Othello and Twelth Night, but the roles are vital.

Howarth has been a stalwart artist with the Foothill Theatre Company for 12 years and her versatility comes as no surprise. RP TWELFTH ANTONIO.jpg In Othello, she plays the essential role of Desdemonas lady-in-waiting, Emilia, who also happens to be Iagos wife. Then in Twelfth Night, she plays Maria, Olivias gentlewoman and the ... ehh ... romantic interest of Sir Toby Belch. In each play, Howarths character is integral to the plot and her supple characterizations elevates the production.

Similarly Akhavan, a Seattle-based actor making his third appearance at the LTSF, is entirely invested in both his weak-willed Roderigo in Othello and his more-vigorous Antonio in Twelfth Night. Akhavan gives the productions more overall depth as well - another plus.

Read my review of the show.

To see more images, check out The Bee's photo gallery.

June 21, 2006
Romantic theatrics

There's nothing quite as dramatic as a real surprise. Theater people know that better than most so it's probably not a shock that two local actors pulled off some real live drama.

Friends and family of Katherine Pappa and Matt Miller knew the two planned to be married in Jamaica. They had planned a pre-wedding send-off party in the lobby of the Sacramento Theatre Company. The giddy fun of the Polynesian- themed party spun into a whole other level, however, when the two casually dressed hosts briefly disappeared.

Suddenly a rumor rippled throughout the room that Katherine and Matt would be getting married then and there. People quickly arranged themselves to watch the spectacle, all asking, "Is it really happening?"

There was now a feeling of emotional electricity in the room and when they re-appeared, dressed for the occasion (their wedding, that is), the reactions ranged from laughter to tears to applause.

Kim McCann officiated, Michael Stevenson and Cheantell Munn read sonnets, and the bride and groom both said "I do" to whoops and hollers. It was dramatic. It was real. It was a wonderful surprise.

-- Marcus Crowder



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