Wednesday, January 28, 2009

News and samples from Garbeau's

Notes from Garbeau's Dinner Theatre in Rancho Cordova

"We are actively in rehearsals for "I Love You Because" which opens Valentine's Day weekend. Cast members you might recognize include Norma Jean Russel ("My Way"), Aaron Boyer (Brad from "The Rocky Horror Show" who has also been in most of our children's theater productions), and Meg Masterson ("The Rocky Horror Show," "Tis the Season" and children's theater "O Christmas Cheese...O Christmas Cheese?"). We are having our second karaoke night this Thursday. Come check us out!"

Mark Ferreira, CEO of Garbeau's, adds a link to a guest appearance on TV by Zach Abdallah, 19, offering a sample from the current "My Way," with Ferreira accompanying on piano:

Click the title of this post for more information about Garbeau's.

Auditions for Stage Nine, Folsom

Audition for Rumpelstilskin

Stage Nine Theatre will be holding auditions for "Rumpelstilskin" on Sunday, February 1 at 7:00 p.m. at the Stage Nine Theatre, 717 Sutter Street in Historic Folsom. No appointment is necessary, just come at 7:00. Call backs if needed will be Tuesday, February 2 at 7:00.

Please bring a head shot or photo and resume if you have one. The audition will consist of cold readings.

"Rupelstilskin" will run March 21 through April 26 with performances at 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. There will be no performances the weekend of April 11. Rehearsals will be Sunday through Thursday evenings beginning March 1.

We will be looking for the following:

Rumplestilskin: Male child or teen small in stature

Ralphetta: Female late teens or looks 17-19.

Miller: Father of Ralphetta, should be age appropriate

Guard #1: Teen or Young Adult

Guard #2: Teen or Young Adult

King: Adult or older teen. The King marries Ralphetta so age should be in 20's or look that age.

The play is written by Rodger McDonald and Directed by Allen Schmeltz.

For further information email Allen Schmeltz at

Auditions for Seniors and for "The Company"

Don't miss auditions for our Senior Show and also for our "The Company" our young people's performing group.

For information go to, where you can also check out our new and ongoing workshops and classes.

Rebeck dissects the theatre world at Capital Stage

A worm in horseradish, according to an old Yiddish proverb, thinks the whole world is horseradish. The mission of Sacramento’s Capital Stage, besides entertaining us, seems to be helping the worm in us see past the horseradish.

“The Scene,” by the prolific and provocative Theresa Rebeck, is a case in point. Its horseradish is the environment of theater professionals, especially those involved in television who see each other only as threats and opportunities. Clea, an aspiring young actress, berates Charlie, a failed actor, for being “reductive,” because he defines an old school chum, now a producer, by a single obscene epithet.

But Clea herself is reductive, labeling Stella, Charlie’s wife and also a TV producer, as a “Nazi.” Only the self-effacing Lewis seems able to see people as complete human beings.

Under Stephanie Gularte’s astute direction, Elena Wright (Clea), Scott Coopwood (Charlie), Ken Figeroid (Lewis) and Cristina Anselmo (Stella) offer rich and nuanced performances.

“The Scene” continues through February 22 at the Delta King Theatre, 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento. Performances are Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $28 on Saturdays, $24 on other days. For tickets or details call (916) 995-5464.

For a detailed review go to and for more information click the title of this post.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Capital Stage Responds to Economy

In a recent message to supporters, Sacramento's Capital Stage announced a two-fold plan to meet the challenge of the recession. First, for the remainder of the season, the theater is replacing two of its more costly productions with worthy substitutes. The new roster lists the current offering, THE SCENE, and adds AMERICAN BUFFALO, THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF AMERICA (Abridged), and a world premiere of ERRATICA, AN ACADEMIC FARCE.

Second, Capital Stage is asking 2500 donors to contribute $25 each by August 3. Contributions are tax deductible.

For more information and to donate visit

Friday, January 23, 2009

Auditions at Falcon's Eye

The Falcon’s Eye Theatre
at Folsom Lake College announces

Six Degrees of Separation
An hilarious comedy by John Guare
directed by David Harris

The story follows the trail of a young con man, Paul, who insinuates himself into the lives of a wealthy New York couple claiming he is the son of actor Sidney Poitier, and that he has just been mugged. Captivated by Paul's charm, they invite him to stay overnight. But in the morning the picture begins to change. Intrigued, they turn detective and piece together the connections that gave Paul access to their lives. Meanwhile, Paul's cons lead him into darker territory. As the final events of the play unfold they find that their once idyllic life was not what it seemed to be.

Audition Dates: January 26, 2009 at 7 p.m.
Audition Location: Aspen Hall room FL1-20, on the FLC campus.Rehearsal Dates: February 2 – March 19, 2009, evenings and Sunday afternoons.Performance Dates: March 20 – April 5, 2009, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm

Looking for experienced actors from the community as well as college students and newcomers to acting. Especially looking for African American actors. Students of Los Rios may peruse a copy of the play at the library reserve desk. No roles have been pre cast. Please bring a photo and resume, if available. Auditions will consist of cold readings from the play and will be held in a first come first served basis. No appointments taken.

Also we are looking for people interested in scenery, costume, lighting, and sound design, and people interested in Stage Management.


Also click title of post for link to Falcon's Eye web site.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Escanaba at B Street Rivals Earlier Productions

Having seen and reviewed two previous productions of “Escanaba in da Moonlight,” we expected the current offering at Folsom's more modest Stage Nine Theatre to be something less, especially when this outrageously goofy comedy is the maiden effort by Director Sean Mitchell.

Yet we were surprised and delighted that Stage Nine more than held its own. Not that we can say one company's work is better than the other's. Like any inspired and well-written play, “Escanaba” is subject to interpretation, and the Stage Nine version, on its intimate stage, holds its own among the many successful productions of Jeff Daniels' singular and gut-busting comedy.

What distinguishes the current effort is a pervasive innocence in the face of its numerous and grossly scatological jokes, delivered by a polished cast who seem to revel like schoolboys exchanging toilet jokes.

Though it’s hard to believe, Escanaba represents a real place, located in “Yooperland,” the upper peninsula of Michigan. The setting is the Soady Deer Camp on a November weekend in 1989. From the beginning we know that our story is going to be a tall tale–indeed a very tall tale–by Albert Soady (Mike Jimena), the family’s patriarch. He reminds us that the love of his life was “the only girl in Escanaba to own a toothbrush,” though she used it only to brush her eyebrows.

The men of the family are about to embark on their ritualistic deer hunt, which includes drinking whiskey distilled out of syrup and eating lard-laced pasties. The opening day of deer season is “like Christmas with guns,” when men set out to prove their manhood by their ability to put meat on the table. Albert keeps a journal, almost like a family Bible, and our story starts as Reuben (Ron Randolph), his son, is about to set the family record for failure to bring down a buck.

Reuben upsets his brother Remnar (Jim Rollans) by demanding a break in custom. Instead of pasties he brings a magic potion from his Indian wife, Wolf Moon Dance (Elise SummersBair). It consists of milk laced with ground worms and bugs, plus a moose testicle.

Joining the Soadies in this repast is The Jimmer (Stan Bautista), who has returned from captivity in outer space, where he was conditioned to bellow doubletalk. When the action can’t possibly get more absurd, it does. Enter Ranger Tom (Steven Read), in full uniform. Gazing transfixed he announces that he has seen God and then performs a clumsy strip tease before passing out.

Topping even that, Reuben falls into a trance that’s cured by plunging his nose into the slumbering Jimmer’s buttocks. When Reuben wakes up, after some dousing with magical porcupine urine, we learn that he has encountered a being even higher than God, an entity known as E Yah Ee, who takes possession of Jimmer’s body to help Reuben break his curse. Wolf Moon Dance appears briefly to certify Reuben’s worthiness.

Mike Jimena provides a rough-hewn set, the cabin's interior, decorated with deer skulls, where the action continues smoothly. Transitions between Albert's narrative and the events he narrates are marked by Albert moving forward as the background light dims slightly. The colorful costumes are provided by the cast.

“Escanaba in da Moonlight” continues through February 22 at The Stage Nine Theatre, 717 Sutter Street in Historic Folsom. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 to $22. Call (916) 353-1001 for tickets and reservations.
Click the title for more information.

(This see the review in Village Life of El Dorado Hills on January 21, go to )

A Molière double-header at California Stage

Suppose a producer put on a show with the first half in French and the second half, in English, a mock version of the first half. You’d probably say the guy was nuts. But, if you pardon the cliché, Ray Tatar, artistic director of Sacramento’s California Stage, is crazy like a fox.

Years ago he started a successful tradition, pairing Molière’s “Les Préciouses Ridicules,” performed in French, with his own comic translation, “Them Ridiculous Little Ladies.” The first is set in 1660 Paris, France; the second in 1880 Paris, Texas. Playing to a full house the current production (directed by Tatar of course) draws howls of glee echoing through both versions.

An attack on “preciosity”– a false and pretentious display of exquisite refinement and love of the arts, especially literature – was common among seventeenth-century French courtiers and the social-climbing wealthy. The play was so successful that Molière doubled the admission price. It was later performed before the king, who showered the playwright with cash.

"The play easily adapts to Paris, Texas,” Tatar says, “because the comic themes are universal.” Like Shakespeare Molière lards his characters with stereotypes, especially phonies of all stripes who get their comeuppance at the end. In the Paris, Texas, version, the same theme repeats, with Magdelon replaced by Maggie (both played by Amira Judeh) and her equally silly cousin, Cathos, replaced by Katie (Claire Langton).

Gone are the tall pompadours and the elegant trappings of the first, replaced with the décor of an affluent ranch house. Again we have the angry father (Scott Taylor) trying to marry off his silly daughter and her cousin. He’s outraged that his two burdensome charges have snubbed marriage to a pair of worthy suitors, who revenge themselves suitably.

Enter Mascarille/Matt Carillo, played by the redoubtable comic actor James C. Anderson, who over the years has made this central character his own. Strutting in outrageously pretentious costumes, he parades his effeteness like a deranged Oscar Wilde, winning the hearts of both silly girls. But the ending provides a shocking revelation that humbles the girls.

At the show’s end a number of the audience revealed that they actually preferred the original version, even though they scarcely understood a word of the French. We were accompanied at the performance by Bonnie Antonini as a consultant. An actor and poet, she speaks fluent French and has performed in French in plays by Molière.

She offered a perceptive insight: even if our French is next to nothing, we can appreciate Molière’s farces because they depend so heavily on the visual.

“Les Précieuses Ridicules” runs through February 15 at California Stage, 1723 25th Street (25th and R). Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. General admission is $20; students, seniors and SARTA members, $15. Call 916-451-5822.

For more information click the title of this post.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

El Dorado Musical Theatre Correction

Please Note Date Correction - MulanEDMT Announces New Summer Shows!

Disney's Mulan, Jr. will be a Rising Stars show and will run June 19-28 at Oak Ridge Theater in El Dorado Hills. Les Miserables will be a Mainstage show and will run from July 3-12 at the Jill Solberg Performing Arts Theater in Folsom. Auditions for both shows will be held May 2.

Click title of this post for more information.

Monday, January 19, 2009

New and Ongoing classes at Stage Nine

Stage Nine Theatre in Folsom has announced the opening of three new classes;

MUSICAL THEATRE WORKSHOP: Starts January 23 for ages 7-12, with limit of 22 students.

INTRODUCTION TO OIL PAINTING: Starts January 20 for ages 10-teen; January 26 for ages 6-10. Limit 4-12 students each group.

JOY OF PAINTING: Two sections, starting February 2 and 3, each open to students of all ages and levels. Limits per section: 4-12.

For more detail and to reserve space, call 916-353-1001.

Call 916-353-1001, for details and reservations.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

EDMT Announces New Summer Shows!

On January 16 a large crowd assembled at EDMT's Rehearsal Hall to hear the big news. As Artistic Director Debbie Wilson started to play the song "Reflection," Executive Producer Jeanette Caruso flipped the "Mulan" poster to face the eager crowd of people assembled. Next, as Wilson played a song from Les Mis, the Les Mis poster was revealed, and then the loud cheers followed. Chairman of the Board Rick Wilson explained that Oak Ridge High School's decision to postpone construction on the campus is what made this change in our Season possible.
Disney's Mulan, Jr. will be a Rising Stars show and will run June 19-26 at Oak Ridge Theater in El Dorado Hills. Les Miserables will be a Mainstage show and will run from July 3-12 at the Jill Solberg Performing Arts Theater in Folsom. Auditions for both shows will be held May 2.

Click title of this post for more information.

Mending Fences: a new first for B Street

Phil Comwan and Stephanie McVay
In its U.S. premier, “Mending Fences”– by Norm Foster, Canada’s most prolific playwright–entertained, baffled and stimulated an opening night B Street audience that rose to its feet for a standing ovation. This is the fifth of Foster’s plays to visit what’s probably its most welcoming stage.

The setting is rural Saskatchewan in the Canadian West, which Foster sees as much like the American West, a place where masculine independence, pride and toughness are often carried to a fault. But that world view goes farther and existed long ago, at least as far back as Macbeth in Scotland, who said, “I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none.”

At the center is Harry Sullivan (Phil Cowan, who also play’s Harry’s father), caught between memories of his own philandering, steely father and his cold, distant son, Drew (Michael Navarra, who also plays Young Harry). Drew has suddenly arrived at Harry’s farmhouse after a 13-year estrangement. Harry is long divorced from Lori, Drew’s mother, and is the beer-swilling lover of Gin, widow of a man who hanged himself (Stephanie McVay plays Gin, Lori, and Harry’s mother).
The knife-like dialog, especially in the first act, mark Foster as a master craftsman. As the action progresses, more of the tangled past is revealed. Harry’s coldness, and the coldness of the cattle ranch, alienated Lori, taking young Drew with her to resume her teaching career. Harry dismissed them as if they didn’t exist. Much of Harry’s emotional numbness is a response to his own father’s philandering, which drove Lori to drink.

The play’s action revolves around the reaching out and suspicious resistance between Harry and Drew. Their mutual attraction draws them together as part of a team in a hockey game, where they end up fighting with each other. Ironically Drew’s hockey stick wounds Harry in the groin.
The barrenness of the land reflects the spiritual barrenness shared by father and son. BSE, popularly known as mad cow disease, has attacked local cattle, forcing Harry to shoot his entire herd, reducing him to clean shop floors at night for a living. In the end, thanks largely to heroic intervention by Gin, Harry and Drew, chips off the same block, achieve reconciliation. And Harry can finally express love.

Under Elisabeth Nunziato’s finely tuned direction, a well-chosen cast brings out the complex nuances marking the relationships among the characters. The flaws in the play rise not from any clumsiness of the playwright. Rather they come from Foster’s overreaching. When a cast of three play so many roles, including their own parents and children, it’s difficult to follow what’s going on.

In Act One Scene 4 we get this stage direction: “Lori has not left the stage. She is now Gin.” This transformation, though, is invisible to the audience. Foster seems to be trying to concretize the close bonds of identity that may be in the minds of the characters, particularly Harry’s mind. The problem is that we can be reduced to confusion. On the other hand, the hoped-for effect would be lost if there was a clear distinction among the identities.

“Mending Fences” continues through March 1 at 2711 B Street, behind the Stanford Park Baseball Field. Performances are Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday at 2 and 6:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 5 and p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $22-$30 with student and senior discounts available. Call (916) 443-5300.

“Mending Fences” contains adult language and content and is recommended for audiences 16 years and older.
This review has appeared previously in the newspaper Village Life (El Dorado Hills, CA). For more information, click the title of this post.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"High School Musical 2" Auditions & Online Registration

Online registration for High School Musical 2 opens Monday, January 12th at 8:00 p.m. and closes January 21st at midnight or until the cast is filled to capacity. This show is open to ages 10-20. Auditions will be held January 24th at 9:00 a.m. at EDMT. Walk-in auditionees will only be accepted if there is room in the cast after online registration. Those who would like to get an advance copy of the script/score, may purchase one at the EDMT office for $5.00. Rehearsals will be held Mondays (for leads), Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at EDMT, beginning February 16. Performances will be held at the Folsom High School Theatre April 17-26, 2009. More information including a calendar is available at

Friday, January 9, 2009

Audition Notice from Stage Nine

Stage Nine in Folsom announces upcoming auditions for two young people's shows and one show for its new senior series. The young people's shows are "The Company" and "Rumpelstilskin." The senior show brings back "Carsino," a take-off on the Johnny Carson show. "Seniors" includes people of all ages. For details, e-mail the theater at

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Capital Stage to host first GLBT Night

Capital Stage will host its first GLBT Night on Friday, February 6. Thanks to Cap Stage, this will be the first "Out & Bold" night for the GLBT community in Sacramento. Out & Bold is an opportunity for members and friends of the GLBT community to meet new people, enjoy a drink, and experience Capital Stage's bold, intimate, live theatre.

The series will feature a pre-show wine reception with delectables by Patty Kates of El Dorado Hills starting at 7:00 p.m. aboard the Delta King. It will be followed by a performance of Theresa Rebeck's The Scene at 8:00 p.m.. A post-performance chat with the artists will immediately follow the performance.

The regular ticket price of $24 includes admission to the show and both the pre-show and post-show events. Tickets are currently available at the Capital Stage Box Office, 916-995-5464 or online at The Scene is what Rebeck calls a "perverse retelling of (W. Somerset Maugham's) Of Human Bondage."

The lives of four New Yorkers on the fringes of the entertainment industry are explored in this shrewd and racy comedy centered around Charlie, an out-of-work actor, and his TV producer wife, Stella. When Charlie meets Clea - a knockout fresh off a bus from Ohio - his life is turned upside down.

Using the surreal world of Manhattan partygoers as its background, Theresa Rebeck's stylish drama examines the empty narcissism of American pop culture. Charles Isherwood of The New York Times called The Scene "the most accomplished and rewarding play in the 2006 Humana Festival."

Stephanie Gularte, Capital Stage's artistic director, directs actors Christina Anselmo, Scott Coopwood, Ken Figeroid, and Elena Wright.

The Scene is intended for mature audiences.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

At Garbeau's: a tribute to Sinatra

Left to right: Zach Abdallah, Norma-Jean Russell, Jeff Labowitch, Ruth Phillips

Through much of the mid-twentieth century Frank Sinatra was an icon of popular music and symbol of individuality. He now seems to have a growing revival among today’s younger generation.

“My Way,” the current revue at Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre in Rancho Cordova, captures his spirit through savvy staging and a cast of four who deliver 58 of his favorite hits. Conceived by David Grapes and Todd Olson, the revue wisely avoids having an actor trying to portray Sinatra. Instead the action plays out at a minimalist bar, where Zach Abdallah, Norma-Jean Russell, Jeff Labowitch and Ruth Phillips play out scenes with romantic duets embodying the messages in the songs.

They’re backed by the “Rat Pack” trio of Mark Ferreira (leader and piano), Chelsea Gordon (bass), and Alfornzo Portela (drums). Ed Gyles, Jr. directs.

“My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” runs through February 8 at Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre, 12401 Folsom Blvd. at the Corner of Hazel Ave. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays, with dinner seating at 6 p.m., curtain at 8 p.m.; Sundays, with lunch seating at 12:30 p.m., curtain at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15-$23.50. Optional entrees are $12-$21.50. Wine and cocktails are also available.

Call (916) 985-6361 or go to For an extended review, click the title of this post and go to E-16.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What's ahead for STC

Message from the Sacramento Theatre Company

Here's what you can expect from us in the month of January:

--A Sondheim celebration from our popular Cabaret Series this weekend (Mark is performing so watch out for his fan club in the lobby!)

--A weekend of world-premieres as the New Works Festival presents staged readings of three exceptional new plays (one by STC resident actor Matt K. Miller!)

--The first production in STC's decade-long August Wilson Century Project, GEM OF THE OCEAN.
Click the title of this post for the web site.

Stage Nine Theatre Opens “Escanaba in da Moonlight”

Left to Right: Stan Bautista, Mike Jimena, Jim Rollans, Ron Randolph
Photographer: Allen Schmeltz Productions

From Stage Nine Theatre in Folsom:

In a hunting story to beat all hunting stories, ESCANABA IN DA MOONLIGHT spins a hilarious tale of humor, horror and heart as the Soady clan reunites for the opening day of deer season at the family’s Upper Peninsula camp.

“Escanaba in da Moonlight,” written by Jeff Daniels and featuring the directing debut of Sean Mitchell, presents a talented cast: Mike Jimena, Ron Randolph, Jim Rollans, Stan Bautista, Steven Read, and Elise Summersbear. Set is by award winning designer Mike Jimena.

Performances are January 16 through February 22 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 4:00 p.m.

Seating is reserved, Reservations are recommended and may be made by calling (916) 353-1001.

Stage Nine Theatre is located at 717 Sutter Street in Historic Folsom and our box office is at 705 Sutter Street.

What: “Escanaba in da Moonlight” by Jeff Daniels
Where: Stage Nine Theatre, 717 Sutter Street, Historic Folsom
Dates: January 16 – February 22
Times: Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00pm and Sundays at 4:00pm
Director: Sean Mitchell
Reservations: (916) 353-1001
For the web site, click the title of this post.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Staged reading series scheduled at STC

Struggling local economy prompts restructuring of Pollock Stage productions

SACRAMENTO, CA. –The Sacramento Theatre Company has made significant changes in their production schedule for 2009 in response to the struggling local economic climate for poor ticket sales and donor support.

The newly named J. Arliss Pollock Stage was scheduled to host STC’s first New Works Festival featuring three new plays to be performed in repertory, and Tobias Andersen’s Illustrated Bradbury based on Ray Bradbury’s brilliant short story collection. The New Works Festival has been consolidated into three staged readings of each of the new plays scheduled, Black Pearl Sings, Brownie Points and Beat Aside Apollo’s Arrow. The Illustrated Bradbury will be postponed until the fall and will be included in STC’s 2009-2010 production season.

"It's important for any arts organization to be extremely prudent during these troubling times,” says Mark Standriff, Managing Director at STC. “The New Works Festival is such an unknown quantity that we felt taking a proactive approach toward reducing production costs without totally eliminating these exciting new plays was the best option for STC. The staged readings will allow us to get important artistic feedback without breaking the bank, while pushing back the Bradbury piece into next season gives us some breathing room to be able to present the show with the resources the work and our audiences deserve."

The staged readings for The New Works Festival will take place in the Pollock Stage January 16th through the 18th and are free to the public. Black Pearl Sings on February 16th at 8 PM, Brownie Points on February 17th at 8 PM and Beat Aside Apollo’s Arrow on February 18th at 2 PM. For more information on the staged readings or to reserve your seat, please call the Wells Fargo Box Office at 916-443-6722.

Click the title of this post to view details on the STC web site.