Friday, October 30, 2009

Casting for "Santaland Diaries" & "Fiction"

Announcement from Capital Stage

Casting for Santaland Diaries and Fiction

Santaland Diaries

Directed by Janis Stevens
Featuring Gary Wright* November 27 - December 27, 2009
(Opening Night: Friday, December 4, at 8 p.m.)


Directed by Peter Mohrmann
Featuring Stephanie Gularte*, Janis Stevens* and Eric Wheeler*
January 22 - February 28, 2010
(Opening Night: Friday, January 29 at 8pm)

*Denotes membership in Actor's Equity Association

This holiday season Capital Stage will present the David Sedaris cult-hit Santaland Diaries, adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello. Capital Stage associate artist Janis Stevens will direct actor Gary Wright (formerly of the Foothill Theatre Company) in this sardonic one-man holiday tour-de-force.

In January, Capital Stage continues its fifth season with Steven Dietz's Fiction. Part mystery, part romance Fiction will be directed by Capital Stage associate artist Peter Mohrmann and will feature Capital Stage regulars, artistic director Stephanie Gularte, associate artist Janis Stevens and Eric Wheeler. Performances for Santaland Diaries will begin with five previews on Friday, November 27, at 8 p.m., Saturday, November 28, at 7 p.m., Sunday, November 29, at 2 p.m., Wednesday, December 2, at 7 p.m., and Thursday, December 3, at 8 p.m. Santaland Diaries will open on Friday, December 4, 2009, at 8 p.m.. Performances continue through December 27, 2009.

Performances for Fiction will begin with four previews on Friday, January 22, at 8 p.m., Saturday, January 23, at 7 p.m., Sunday, January 24, at 2 p.m. and Thursday, January 28, at 8 p.m. Fiction will open on Friday, January 29, at 8 p.m. Performances continue through February 28, 2010.

Tickets to both productions are currently available at the Capital Stage Box Office, 916-995-5464 or online at For more information on Santaland Diaries, Fiction and the rest of the 2009-10 Capital Stage season visit:

Mission: Capital Stage Company's mission is to be a dynamic leader in the evolution of the contemporary live theatre landscape in the Capital region and to passionately engage audiences in the art of live storytelling with bold, innovative plays performed by professional artists, in an intimate, up-close setting. With a strong commitment to expanding the base of working artists in the greater Sacramento region, we shall develop a company of actors, directors, writers, designers, and technical staff who are dedicated to bringing bold, lively productions of contemporary and classic plays to our community.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

At Runaway Stage: Meet Me in St. Louis

Message from Runaway Stage

Meet us at the Fair!
November 6 - 29, 2009


The classic MGM film LIVE ONSTAGE!

Opens Friday November 6th
8:00 p.m.

Home is where the heart is, and you won't find more heart than in Meet Me In St. Louis! Based on the MGM film starring Judy Garland, Meet Me In St. Louis is a nostalgic look at love and family against the backdrop of the 1904 World's Fair. The classic score includes "The Boy Next Door," "The Trolley Song" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"

Multiple Elly Award winning Producer and Director Bob Baxter teams up again with Elly Award winning Choreographer Darryl Strohl to stage this heart warming Musical. Glenn Disney will direct the fabulous RSP Resident Orchestra through the beautiful score.


Tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling our box office at (916) 207-1226.

Recommended for theatregoers of all ages!
Special discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.

Tune in to Channel 10 - Sacramento & Co. (Friday, November 6, during the 9:00 a.m. hour) to get a sneak peek at the fabulous cast!

Runaway Stage Productions
(916) 207-1226
Runaway Stage Productions performs at the
24th Street Theatre (at the Sierra 2 Center)
2791 24th Street, Sacramento

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Imagination Theater Presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Imagination Theater

Imagination Theater presents a heartwarming story, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which opens Friday, December 4, and runs through Sunday, December 27. Belle, dissatisfied with life in her small provincial town, constantly tries to fend off the misplaced "affections" of conceited Gaston. The Beast is a prince who was placed under a spell because he could not love. A wrong turn taken by Maurice, Belle's father, causes the two to meet.

Tickets: $17 Adult, $14 Senior, $10 Child, Group 10+ $13, Group 20+ $12. Thursday shows all seats $10. Imagination Theater is located at 100 Placerville Drive, on the El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville. Call (530) 642-0404 to make reservations. For the most up to date seating availability, visit the IT! Insider’s Blog at

Friday, December 4 - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 5 – 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 10 – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, December 11 – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 12 – 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 13 – 2:00 p.m.

Thursday, December 17 – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, December 18 – 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 19 – 2:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 20 – 2:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 26 – 2:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 27 - 2:00 p.m.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Am My Own Wife challenges B Street Audiences

Courtesy photo

A startling play, with a bravura performance by Greg Alexander, "I Am My Own Wife" thrills audiences as it initiates a new B3 series at Sacramento’s B Street Theatre. American playwright Doug Wright became fascinated by Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a male German transvestite who survived the Nazis and the Soviet takeover of East Germany. Wright sought him/her out as the focus of what was to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning play.

Charlotte was a paradox who combined a childlike love of exquisitely carved objects and the toughness to murder her own father, a brutal Nazi. She and her friends faced imprisonment and even death, yet she protected herself by collaborating with the Stasis, East German secret police. Her final liberation came when she declared, “I am my own wife!”

With precise directing by David Pierini, Greg Alexander dazzles audiences as he plays 32 characters, mostly in the same costume.

For details and a review, go to

Monday, October 26, 2009

EDMT Announces Auditions for “Grease”

El Dorado Musical Theatre will audition for the Encore production, Grease, Monday, November 16th at 3:30 p.m. Auditions will be held at EDMT’s rehearsal facility, located in the El Dorado Hills Business Park at 5011 Golden Foothill Parkway, Suite #4.

Grease is the all-American musical, based on the sub-cultures of high school life in the 1950’s. The year is 1959 and Rydell High School’s rebellious, happy, thrill-loving students start a new year. Sweet Sandy Dumbrowski transfers to Rydell High, where she quickly wins the affection of Danny Zuko. When Danny refuses to conform to Sandy’s wholesome good girl image, Sandy dons tight jeans, changes to a bouffant hairdo and is determined to win back her one true love.

The story, written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, is the classic “boy meets/loses/regains” girl tale along with social conflict thrown in for interest. Come join Danny, Sandy, the Burger Palace Boys and the Pink Ladies as they take us back to a simpler time in life.

Featuring songs such as “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightning” and “We Go Together,” this production will be filled with high energy, slicked back hair, and a dance contest that will test your hand jive. Performances are scheduled for February 5-21, 2010, at the Oak Ridge High School Theater in El Dorado Hills.

All who audition should dress to dance and be prepared to sing a song of up to one minute in length to either a background CD, a capella or with the piano accompanist.

Pre-registration for auditions will take place online at beginning Monday, November 9 at 8:00 p.m. and ending on Friday, November 13 at midnight. Walk-ups on audition day will be accepted if time allows. Grease is open to performers between the ages of 13-22 years old.

For more information about registration, roles or fees, visit or call (916) 941-SING.

Falcon's Eye Presents Henry V

Folsom Lake College Department of Theatre and Arts
Artistic Director David Harris
10 College Parkway
Folsom CA 95630


The Falcon’s Eye Theatre at Folsom Lake College presents William Shakespeare’s thrilling war drama, The Life of King Henry the Fifth to inaugurate our 2009/2010 performance series.

PISTOL: The king's a bawcock, and a heart of gold,A lad of life, an imp of Fame,Of parents good, of fist most valiant: I kiss his dirty shoe, and from my heart-string I love the lovely bully.

HENRY V opens on Friday, November 6, 2009, and will continue until Sunday, November 22. There is no performance on Saturday November 14. There is a special performance on Thursday November 19. Performances begin at 8:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoons. Tickets are $15.00 General Admission, $10.00 Students and Seniors. The Falcon’s Eye box office can accept reservations at any time by calling 916-608-6800.

HENRY V will be performed at Oak Hills Church, 1100 Blue Ravine Road, in Folsom.

The Falcon’s Eye Theatre Artistic Director, David Harris (director of Reckless, 2-time-ELLY-Nominated The Rimers of Eldritch, and Six Degrees of Separation at the Falcon’s Eye Theatre, and of Proof at Capital Stage), directs the cast of thirteen actors portraying over thirty-five roles, and features George Sanford as King Henry V. Also featured are Nick Heacock, Dominique Jones, Stephen Miller, and John Reilly Saunders.

WILLIAMS: I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing when blood is their argument?

When King Henry the Fifth of England is insulted by the King of France, he leads his army into a battle of vengeance and bravado against the proud French elite. Along the way, the young king must struggle with the sinking morale of his troops and his own inner doubts

Director: David Harris
Producer: The Falcon’s Eye Theatre at Folsom Lake College
Location: Oak Hills Church
1100 Blue Ravine Road in Folsom

Scene and Media Design: Stephen Charles Jones
Lighting Design and Technical Director: Jonathan Williams
Costume Design: Rebecca Redmond
Stage Manager: Mariam Helalian
Cast: Brett Edson, Katherine Folsom, Nick Heacock, Dominique Jones, Samia Lavigne,
Nick Massa, Molly Miller, Stephen Miller, George Sanford, John Reilly Saunders, Mark Stone, Jacob Vuksinich, and Tim Yancy.

Join us for an Opening Evening Celebration following the show
with hors d’oeuvres from the time of Shakespeare

Performance Times/Prices November 6 through November 22
Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 pm/$15 gen admin, $10 students and seniors
Sunday afternoons at 2:00 pm/$15 gen admin, $10 students and seniors
There is no performance on Saturday November 14.
There is a special performance on Thursday November 19, 8:00 pm.

About us:
The mission of the Department of Theatre Arts at Folsom Lake College is to provide the people of the region with theatre that speaks to their lives and experiences and that challenges their expectations. We strive to enrich the community by providing performing arts opportunities for the people of the region as actors, designers, and technicians in a fully-supported educational environment. It is also our goal to provide a theatrical learning experience that gives students of the art a strong background in American classics, as well as both the classics of Europe and the works of modern authors writing today.

In fall of 2010, Folsom Lake College expects to complete construction of a multi-million dollar, three-theatre performing arts complex. It will house the college’s Performing Arts program, but most importantly it will be the home of The Falcon’s Eye Theatre at Folsom Lake College. We look forward to the community joining us in this exciting venue in the future!

Media Contact:
David Harris
Artistic Director

Stage Nine--Garbeau's Extends Agatha Christie

Announcement from Stage Nine--Garbeau's Folsom

Subject: “And Then There Were None” Extended to November 15

Because of sell-out audiences, Stage 9 Theatre – Garbeau’s has extended the Agatha Christie murder mystery “And Then There Were None” an extra weekend to November 15. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 4:00 p.m.. Tickets can be obtained by calling (916) 353-1001.

Stage 9 Theatre – Garbeau’s
717 Sutter Street
Historic Folsom, CA 95630
(916) 353-1001

Allen Schmeltz Productions

Saturday, October 24, 2009

B Street Announces coming productions

B Street announces next Mainstage and B-3 Series productions

B Street Theatre is pleased to announce the following plays as part of its 2009-2010 Season.

Mainstage: AN ALMOST PERFECT PARTY by Buck Busfield

As part of B Street's commitment to produce original holiday shows, AN ALMOST PERFECT PARTY marks the Theatre's 12th world premiere for the holidays. Styled after British Farce, AN ALMOST PERFECT PARTY follows the efforts of Kipling Pilliker who, mired in a custody battle with his estranged wife, tries to provide his young son, Percy, with the perfect Christmas.

In the tradition of farce, Pilliker'sefforts become more frantic and desperate and his perfect plan unravels perfectly. AN ALMOST PERFECT PARTY will feature a large cast of B Street Acting Company members: Michael Stevenson (Pilliker), Stephanie McVay (Miss Gilloway), David Pierini (Benny Cohn), John Lamb (Fid), Peter Story (Ginger), Kurt Johnson (Connie Cone) and Greg Alexander (Brisbane-Koheed). B Street Artistic Director Buck Busfield directs.

Previews: Saturday November 14 at 5:00 p.m., and Sunday November 15 at 2:00p.m.

Opens: Sunday November 15 at 7:00 p.m.

Runs: Tuesday-Sunday through January 3, 2010.

Schedule: Tuesday and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday at 8:00p.m. Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday matinees at 2:00 p.m. (Note that there are no performances on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day).

Tickets: $18.00-$30.00. Senior and student discounts available.

Contact: Box Office: (916) 443-5300,

B-3 Series: ENTERTAINING MR. SLOANE by Joe Orton.

The second offering of the 2009-2010 B-3 Series is a contemporary classic of British theater by England's edgiest playwright of the 1960's. ENTERTAINING MR. SLOANE bounces from the lascivious to the ludicrous when lonesome landlady Kath rents young Sloan a room. Unfortunately, Kath's amorous intentions are foiled by none other than her brother, and Sloan's random appetite for murder.

ENTERTAINING MR. SLOANE will feature B Street Acting Company members Jamie Jones (Kath), Jason Kuykendall (Ed) and David Silberman (Kemp). The role of Sloan will be played by Bay Area actor Chad Deaverman. Alan McKelvey directs.

Schedule: Previews Friday November 13 at 7:00 p.m., Saturday November 14 at 4:00 p.m. Opens: Saturday November 14 at 8:00 p.m. Special Press Opening: November15 at 1:00 p.m. Runs: Tuesday-Saturday through December 12. Special Thursday Matinees: November 19 and December 3. Special Sunday Matinee: November 22. (Note that there are no performances on November 17, 18 and 26.)

Tickets: $18.00-$30.00. Senior and student discounts available.

B Street Theatre is located at 2711 B Street behind Stanford Park Baseball Field at 27th and C Streets in Midtown Sacramento.

Box Office: (916) 443-5300.

A Halloween Tradition at Capital Stage

Message from Capital Stage

Join Capital Stage for an evening of Halloween fun this Wednesday, October 28, with our fourth annual performance of "The War of the Worlds," followed by a wine and dessert reception with the cast and company.

"The War of the Worlds" was arguably radio's single most famous broadcast! Our special, one-night-only fundraising event will feature Capital Stage Company favorites, such as Jonathan Rhys Williams and Eric Wheeler, telling the story, exactly as it was told by Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre on air over 70 years ago.

The true power of live storytelling made itself known on Halloween Eve in 1938 when a story told over the radio terrified a nation. Adapted for radio by Howard Koch and starring Orson Welles, "The War of the Worlds" was presented as a Halloween thriller. But, for those who tuned in late, "normal" programming appeared to be interrupted with the startling news that there were "explosions occurring on Planet Mars." Reports followed, stating that a huge flaming object had fallen to Earth on a farm near Grover's Mill, New Jersey. More landings were soon reported and an anxious radio audience came to the frightening conclusion that Earth was the target of a full scale invasion by aliens!

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS By H.G. Wells, adapted for radio by Howard Koch

Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 7 p.m.
Location: Capital Stage, Aboard the Delta King
Tickets: $20 Recommended Minimum Donation
Call: 916-995-5464

This is a fundraising event to benefit Capital Stage, a charitable, nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization. All proceeds from this event will help support Capital Stage and its mission to grow bold, dynamic, professional live theatre in our region!

Can't make it but want to support us? Click below!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Angelina Reaux comes to California Stage

California Stage presents DECEMBER SONGS: A CELEBRATION OF LOVE, LIFE AND THE HOLIDAYS conceived & performed by Grammy nominated artist Angelina Reaux

Soprano/chanteuse Angelina Réaux will perform her concert-cabaret in a five week run at Sacramento’s intimate California Stage. The concert runs from November 27 through December 31, culminating in a special New Year’s Eve cabaret gala.

This luminous soprano "with the velvet and diamonds voice" (VILLAGE VOICE) and "singing actress of the very first rank" (New York Times) is offering up a cornucopia/cabaret set in 1960’s suburbia where she takes us on a musical journey while preparing and recovering from her annual holiday party, singing a cornucopia of American standards and beloved holiday songs. Ms. Reaux will be singing songs of the holiday season, from Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” and Kurt Weills’ “The Saga of Jenny” to Tom Leherer’s “I’m Spending Chanukah in Santa Monica.” Be prepared for any song with the words snow, bell, tree, manger, virgin, love, joy, dreidel, or ding-dong— there's something for everyone! So come and enjoy Angelina Réaux's gift to you— an evening of joy and love, laughter and inspiration.

On December 31st, California Stage presents a New Years Eve Gala Concert entitled: "What are you doing New Years’ Eve?" There will be two shows that evening with one performance at 7:00 p.m. and one at 11:00 p.m.. Champaigne and refreshments are included with the special price of $60.00 a couple, $35.00 an individual.

Ms. Réaux has sung on the stages of opera houses, concert halls, cabarets, and theatres around the world, singing everything from Italian Opera to OKLAHOMA! She has won wide recognition for her performances of French and German Cabaret and "The American Songbook." She has collaborated with Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Charles Dutoit, John Mauceri, Kent Nagano, Marin, Alsop, and Ned Rorem; worked with Stephen Sondheim, Harold Prince, Stephen Wadsworth, Tony Taccone, Tony Kushner, sung with the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, St. Louis Symphony, Boston Pops, and the Accademia di Santa Cecilia; and with the Santa Fe Opera, Washington Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Boston Lyric Opera.

Internationally acclaimed for both her performances and recordings of the works of Kurt Weill and Leonard Bernstein, Ms. Reaux has also worked on and off-Broadway, toured nationally with SWEENEY TODD, and has been presented by some of the world's leading theatres and concert houses. In California alone, Ms. Reaux has been featured with the Ojai and Cabrillo Festivals, Sinfonia San Francisco, Sacramento Symphony, Long Beach Opera, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Center Stage Santa Barbara, the Marin Theatre Co., and at San Francisco's Plush Room.

Her discography includes the Grammy-nominated LA BOHEME (Deutsche Grammaphon), Blitzstein's opera REGINA and Weill's STREET SCENE (London), Berg's LULU SUITE and Weill's SEVEN DEADLY SINS (Teldec), her two-CD set of Weill songs STRANGER HERE MYSELF (Koch Classics),Roberto Rodriguez's FRIDA (CRI), KURT MASUR AT THE NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC (Teldec), and two discs of song cycles by William Mayer and Ned Rorem (Newport Classics).

"Réaux is America's most dramatic singer. She can sing with a disarming sweetness, gentle longing, passionate regret, deep anguish, white-hot rage, engaging wit, high hopes and worldly-wise cynicism, the voice of innocence and the voice of experience--often in the course of a single song." (Boston Globe)

“December Songs” plays on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m., Tickets for “December Songs” are $20 general; $15 students, seniors, and actors. Tickets for the New Years Eve gala are $35 each, two for $60. For reservations or more information, contact California Stage at 916-451-5822 or Online Ticket sales on California Stage Theater is fully accessible.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Arthur Miller’s American tragedy

Gil Sebastian and Paul Fearn
Courtesy photo

Based on ancient Greek tragedy, Arthur Miller (Death of a Salesman, All my Sons, The Crucible) fashioned an American tragedy about a humble longshoreman. Set in Brooklyn, with a lawyer as Greek chorus, “A View from the Bridge” tells the story of Eddie Carbone, who destroys himself through jealousy of Catherine, his orphaned niece. Just entering adulthood, she falls in love with Rudolfo, a crew member from an Italian ship, and agrees to marry him. Defying the sage advice of Alfieri, the lawyer, Eddie suffers the consequences of refusing to let her go.

This rarely staged play can now be seen in a sensitive production at Carmichael’s Chautauqua Playhouse. For a review and details, see

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Capital Stage challenges with Speech & Debate

l to r: Matthew Rogozinski, Benjamin Ismail, Lindsay Carter.

Char Crail Photo

Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte continues to stimulate Capital Stage audiences with fresh and provocative plays. The current trend seems to be offerings by bright and youthful playwrights. In July we were stunned by Reina Hardy’s “Erratica,” written when the playwright was 20. Now on stage is the edgy and offbeat “Speech & Debate” by Stephan Karam. Though barely 30, he has already distinguished himself off Broadway, with a film of the show coming up.

The play is about a trio of contemporary high school students in Salem, Oregon. The theater’s release refers to them as “teenage misfits,” though the script itself suggests that they’re typical of the school population. They’re sexually savvy and brutally frank, despite a coy official admonition that “children should not be asked to touch anybody in the areas of the body that would be covered by a bathing suit.” What we get is something like a surreal view of what might be the inner lives of adolescents.

The play opens with an on-screen projection of a flirtatious internet chat between two unseen characters, codenamed BIGUY and BLBOI. The former is the mayor; the latter turns out to be Howie (Benjamin T. Ismail), a gay student. But their identities are not yet revealed.

We then jump to an exchange between a teacher (Katie Rubin, in one of several roles) and Solomon (Matthew Rogozinski) a reporter for The Trojan, the school newspaper. Passionate about his journalistic calling, Solomon has unearthed evidence against the mayor. “The facts are,” he says, “that he’s a right-wing Republican, an opponent of gay rights and is now accused of having secret online relationships with several teenage boys.” But the canny teacher squelches the story, because its evidence is slender.

Later we meet the third member of the trio, Diwata, singing to her own composition at her Cassio keyboard and embittered because her “talentless drama teacher” failed to cast her in “Once upon a Mattress.” She calls him “a crap sandwich” and a “gay guy with a receding hairline.

Each of the three students strives to develop a power base. Solomon pushes the influential power, however limited, of his task as a reporter. Diwata tries to develop a “Speech and Debate” team but Solomon is the only student who shows up at the first meeting. He refuses to join because he has no interest in public speaking. Howie bemoans his lack of success in finding “a teacher to be the advisor of the Gay/Straight alliance.”

After revealing that she wore a nude bodystocking during an audition, Diwata explains her motives for trying to become an actress: “To take a risk, to get noticed.” When Solomon expresses his own ambition to be a writer, she answers, “Yeah, but you’ll never hit it big if you keep pursuing stories you can’t get published.” Howie seems to have no ambition beyond becoming acceptable though gay.

Soloman finally achieve a modest, though ironic, success after attracting Jan Clark (Rubin) a reporter from the Oregonian, who gets radio time the evil deeds Solomon unearthed–then uses it to plug her own book.

Though the dialog is sometimes blunt in its sexuality, there is no nudity. The closest we get is a dance scene where the men strip to their underwear and Carter reveals herself in the bodystocking.

Stephanie Gularte directs, with an efficient set design by Jonathan Williams, plus costume design by Rebecca Redmond.

“Speech & Debate” continues through November 8 at the Delta King Theatre, 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento. Performances are Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m. (tickets $25), Saturday at 7 p.m. (tickets $29) and Sunday at 2 p.m. (tickets $25). For tickets or details call (916) 995-5464 or go to

Truth emerges in “A Lie of the Mind”

Shannon Carroll, Dan Featherston. (Courtesy photo)

Sam Shepard’s “A Lie of the Mind,” now offered by River Stage at Cosumnes River College’s Performing Arts Center in Sacramento, attracts audiences largely because of the author’s name. Famous as a movie star as well as a playwright, Shepard is author of the popular “True West,” “A Buried Child” and “Fool for Love.” The lesser known “A Lie of the Mind,” which won a 1986 Drama Desk Award, also continues to woo production.

Its quirkiness is emphasized by Managing Director David Czarnecki’s opening spiel to the audience. He assures us that it would be all right to laugh if we hear anything funny in the show. At the performance we saw, nobody seemed to laugh. But no one seemed to leave during either of two intermissions.

Like most of his plays, Shepard sets this one in the rural American West. It’s a kind of deeply disturbed modern “Romeo and Juliet,” involving two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Montana where we lay our scene. Actually one family is in Billings and the other in Carson, California.

Under Frank Condon’s shrewd direction, Kale Braden provides a minimal set. Most of the action focuses on a stage right bed for the California family and on a stage left couch plus chair for the Montana group. (We never learn the last names of either family.)

The play begins as we hear California’s crazy Jake (Dan Featherston) screaming into a telephone, confessing to his younger brother, Frankie (Dan Morin), that he’s murdered his wife, Beth (Allyson Finn). Suddenly the focus shifts upstage, where Beth, in a hospital bed, with her head swathed in bandages, seeks with deranged babbling some assurance from her brother, Mike (John Ousley), assurance that she’s not dead.

As the play unfolds we’re introduced to the two families. On the California side we meet Jake’s volatile mother, Lorraine (Shirley Sayers). She’s obsessively protective about Jake, who wraps himself, literally, in an American flag. Bitter about the husband who abandoned her and their children, she nevertheless berates daughter Sally (Shannon Carroll), when the girl disrespects her own absent father.

Heading the Montana side is the imperious Baylor (Michael Beckett). Obsessed with hunting, he takes no responsibility for having accidentally shot Frankie after mistaking him for a deer. Wounded in both legs, Frankie occupies the couch, where he has to fight Baylor for control of its one blanket. Baylor’s reasonably sane wife, Meg (Georgann Wallace) gradually nurses Beth back to near coherence with help from Mike.

Beth, now almost seemingly normal, believes she’s married to Frankie instead of Jake, who somehow wanders onto the Montana family’s property. Mike captures him and his flag, forcing him to confess his crime against Beth. In a grotesque moment, as Mike struggles to show Beth her real husband, Baylor and Meg ignore him as they patriotically fold up the flag they worship.

The acting is strong all the way through, and the action maintains a brisk pace in this lean production. Special plaudits go to Finn, for the complex transitions in Beth’s character, and Featherston, for his exemplary interpretation of a violent psychotic.

“A Lie of the Mind” continues through October 25, except for October 24 and 25. Performances are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. at 8401 Center Parkway, Sacramento. Tickets are $10 to $18. Call (916) 691-7364 or go to You can also get tickets by e-mail at

“Noises Off”: Funny as ever

Katherine C. Miller, Brett David Williams. Photo by Amir Sharapeh

A farce within a farce, Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off” is as funny today as it was when it opened 27 years ago. This English mockery of English theater captures the vulnerabilities and foibles of workers in theater, as they are and as they have been, here and abroad, as far back as anyone can remember. The Sacramento Theatre Company kicks off its new season with a stage full of witty actors mocking their witless colleagues (and maybe themselves), as the action takes place both on stage and behind it. For a review and details, go to

Friday, October 9, 2009


From El Dorado Musical Theatre:

Tickets on Sale Now

Take a brand new magical journey down the yellow brick road to see El Dorado Musical Theatre’s production of a timeless musical, The Wizard of Oz, November 6-22 at the Jill Solberg Performing Arts Theater in Folsom. Flying effects provided by ZFX, Incorporated, are sure to amaze audience members as they send Dorothy and Toto off to Oz in a tornado, sail the witch through the air on her broom, and float Glinda into Oz on a bubble.

EDMT’s charming production tells the classic tale of Dorothy Gale, a farm girl from Kansas who dreams of a happier place somewhere over the rainbow. She runs away to find it before being swept away with her dog Toto to the magical land of Oz by a fierce tornado . There she befriends the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the beloved Cowardly Lion, while making an enemy of one of the most villainous characters of all time, the Wicked Witch of the West.

As the four set upon their journey to the Emerald City, encountering a variety of characters and challenges along the way, they hope its Wizard will make their dreams come true. Filled with memorable songs such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead,” “King of the Forest” and “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” this production is sure to delight parents and children alike.

Debbie Wilson, El Dorado Musical Theatre's founder, directs and choreographs two casts of performers between the ages of six and twenty, including Krista Mackin and Katherine Sorgea sharing the role of Dorothy, Alex Levy and Terry Hicks as Scarecrow, Stefan Sorgea and Brian Farmer as the Tin Man, Joey Saffren and Andrew Wilson as the Cowardly Lion, and Jenna Lillywhite and Jordan Sharp as the nasty Wicked Witch.

EDMT is thrilled to welcome two of the original munchkins from the 1939 film, Jerry Maren and Margaret Pellegrini, who are touring the country promoting the 70th anniversary of the movie. Maren will be on site for performances November 13-16, while Pellegrini will be a guest November 20-22, both sharing experiences of working on the movie so many years ago. Maren and Pellegini will be available to greet audience members, take photos, and autograph memorabia during their visit.

Tickets to “The Wizard of Oz” are on sale now and can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at (916) 941-SING. Prices are $20 for adults and $16 for students and seniors. Group discounts are available. Visit the website to learn more about The Wizard of Oz and also EDMT's upcoming production, Holiday Reunion, to be performed by the company’s premier touring group, High Voltage, December 4-20th at the El Dorado Hills Town Center.

Make this holiday season special by attending two wonderful shows that will entertain the entire family.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

MSTW offers "A Tuna Christmas" in Jackson

Bertha & Arles (Courtesy Photo)

Christmas News from MSTW

Main Street Theatre Works (MSTW) is wrapping up another successful season of good tidings and great laughs with the side-splitting sequel to Greater Tuna ~ A Tuna Christmas. A Tuna Christmas runs weekends from November 6th thru November 28th, with Sunday matinees November 15th and 22nd. Dinner theatre at Thomi’s Banquet Room starts at 7:45 pm; doors open at 6:15, dinner served at 6:30. Lunch matinees are at 1:45 pm; doors open at 12:15, lunch served at 12:30.

A Tuna Christmas was written as a sequel to Greater Tuna, which MSTW produced in 2007. In this soon-to-be holiday classic, all hilarious hell is about to break loose in the third smallest town in Texas ~ Tuna. It’s just 24 hours before Christmas and the citizens of Tuna are coping with all kinds for holiday traumas. The Little Theatre production of A Christmas Carol may be performing in the dark if Dixie Deberry shuts off their lights, due to an overdue electric bill. Bertha’s husband, Hank, hasn’t been home in days, the kids won’t help her decorate the tree, and the Christmas phantom is wreaking havoc on those participating in the annual Yard Decorating Contest. Will Vera Carp win for the 15th year in a row, or will the Christmas phantom strike again?

A Tuna Christmas is a two-man show, with each actor playing 11 characters. Shawn B. O’Neal, who was in MSTW’s 2007 Greater Tuna production, is back to do the sequel. Shawn was last seen in MSTW’s summer production of The Three Musketeers, where he played King Louis. Scott Adams is a newcomer to MSTW but not to the stage. He brings lots of experience and energy that is required for such a demanding show. Bring the whole family to meet the residents of Tuna, Texas, where the Lions Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies.

Main Street Theatre Works is a professionally oriented, rural theatre company performing in the heart of Amador County. Now in their 14th Season, MSTW continues to be dedicated to bringing professional and community theatre artists together to produce classical and contemporary plays, striving for a balance that stimulates both artists and audiences. An ensemble of gifted actors, directors, and designers lend their vision and skills to create rich seasons of comedy and drama.

Performance Dates and Times:

Friday and Saturday Dinner Theatre
Doors open at 6:15 pm, dinner at 6:30 pm, show starts at 7:45 pm
November 6th - November 28th
Sunday Lunch Matinees
Doors open at 12:15 pm, lunch at 12:30 pm, show starts at 1:45 pm
November 15th and 22nd only

Ticket Prices
$40 for Dinner Theatre
$28 for Lunch Matinee

Tickets available through:
On-line at
Charge by phone ~ (209) 304-6690

Thomi’s Banquet Room
627 S. State Highway 49
Jackson, CA

For more information, please visit our website at

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

At B Street "Maintenance Man" does more than maintain

“Maintenance Man,” the current production at Sacramento’s B Street Theatre’s mainstage, is about a man who tries to have his cake and eat it too. It’s also about a pair of women who unhappily endure him. By the sly and prolific English playwright Richard Harris, it features Kurt Johnson as Bob, who performs maintenance work around the home of his ex-wife Christine (Rebecca Dines) but lives with his mistress, Diana (Alison Lees-Taylor). We follow their intricate path in this serio-comedy as we wait for their world to implode. For details and a review, go to

Legally Blonde: A musical tribute to clever women

California Musical Theatre photo

Based on a movie, in turn based on a novel, “Legally Blonde the Musical” is clearly a crowd pleaser. The opening night audience virtually flew to its feet for a standing ovation at the end. But the production is a rare example of a show that thrills audiences while turning off many critics. Ben Brantley of The New York Times, for instance, called it an “expensive-looking hymn to the glories of girlishness.” The review praised the leading lady because “she sings and dances flawlessly, and she delivers silly lines as if she meant them.”

Produced by California Musical Theatre and directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell, “Legally Blonde” has a book by Heather Hach, with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin. It stars Becky Gulsvig as Elle Woods, the blonde of the title; Gulsvig also had experience in the Broadway production. She’s supported by a large and able cast.

The action starts with a shock for Elle, who is president of UCLA’s Delta Nu sorority. She expects a marriage proposal from her elite boyfriend, Warner Huntington III (Jeff McLean). Instead of proposing, he breaks off their relationship, clumsily explaining that he’s looking for someone “serious.” After a long sulk, Elle decides to win him back by following him to Harvard Law School. Though at first rejected, she gains admission by convincing the authorities that she’s motivated by love, as expressed by her chorus of supporters in the song “What You Want.”

Her troubles continue when the hard-nosed Professor Callahan (Ken Land), egged on by Warner’s new girlfriend, Vivienne Kensington (Megan Lewis), kicks Elle out of his class. But visions of her Delta Nu classmates, acting as a Greek chorus, revive her spirits through the song “Positive,” urging her to stay positive. Her next step takes her to Paulette (Natalie Joy Johnson), a sprightly beautician who dreams of Ireland while singing “Ireland,” and dissauades Elle from dyeing her hair black.

Rejected again in her attempts to win back Warner, Elle drops her pursuit and defeats him in a classroom debate, to the tune of “Chip on My Shoulder.” In the meanwhile she encounters an attractive fellow student, Emmett (D.B. Bonds), and the first act ends when she learns that, along with Warner and Vivienne, she’s chosen for a coveted internship by Professor Callahan. The act ends with the song “So Much the Better.”

The second act involves a murder case that challenges Callahan and the interns, with a side story involving a comic romance between Paulette and a UPS delivery man, Kyle (Ven Daniel), whose sexy walk almost walks away with the show. Of course there’a a happy ending, which I’ll avoid giving away.

With 20 original numbers, a cast of 27 and a 13-member orchestra, the lavish production is a banquet for the senses though a holiday for the brain. Still there are subtle artistic touches, like the ubiquitous Greek columns in David Rockwell’s scenic design. Thus it echoes the double-edged theme of the seriousness of learning and the frivolousness of sororities (and fraternaties) with Greek letters.

“Legally Blonde the Musical” continues through October 11 at the Community Center Theater, 1301 L Street, Sacramento. Performances are Tuesday through Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 to $65, on sale at the Wells Fargo Pavilion box office (1419 H Street), the Community Center Box Office, on line at or by phone at (916) 557-1999 and 808-5181, or (800) 225-2277. Call (916) 557-1198 for group orders of 12 or more.

For more information go to or

A famous streetcar comes to Sacramento

Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire,” now staged by Big Idea Theater on Del Paso Blvd., is a heroic yet uneven struggle to catch the tragic nuances of this theater classic. Set in the New Orleans of its day, 1947, the play reflects, painfully, the anguish of failure in a clash between two crippled cultures. On the one hand there’s the crude immigrant of Polish stock, Stanley Kowalski, and the romantic throwback to the gentility of the Old South, Blanche Dubois.

Ironically, what they share is a sense of helpless failure.

The impoverished Blanche, sister of Stanley’s wife, Stella, has just arrived from Mississippi, where she lost the family estate after being discredited for her profligate ways. She fancies herself a daughter of the chivalrous “Old South” that died with the Civil War. Stanley, a former master sergeant in the Marines, can be crude and violent. He views as a threat her very presence in his tiny home.

Stella, meanwhile, pregnant with her first child, tries to stand between them. She struggles to calm Stanley while soothing her obviously distraught, alcoholic and somewhat demented sister.

Directed by Jessica Berkey, Alexandra Ralph, as Stella, comes off as a complex and believable woman trying to make the best of an impossible situation. Shannon Mahoney, as Blanche, starts off like a parody of Williams’ complex character but with the second act comes close to rescuing the woman who utters the famous line, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

As Stanley, Matt Thompson dutifully projects the sadistic cruelty of Stanley. It’s his defense against a complex culture he cannot master as he rails against Blanche for calling him a Polack. As a second generation American he’s still somewhat of an alien. It’s a common feeling among native-born Americans whose parents were unable to communicate the refined niceties of their adopted culture.

But there is much more to Stanley, something that great actors, like Marlon Brando, brought out. Inwardly Stanley is a frightened little boy, and those who’ve seen the 1951 film remember Brando’s plaintive wail for Stella, as if she were his mother. Although it’s bad strategy for an actor to imitate another actor’s interpretation of a character, it’s every actor’s job to find a truth in the character he portrays.

After intermission, Streetcar comes to life in the striking first scene of Act II. Stanley’s friend Mitch (Justin Lee Chapman) and Blanche have just returned from a date. Although Blanche is on the verge of returning to Mississippi, she and Mitch have clearly hit it off. They like each other. For once the actors project real empathy, rather than imitating alien emotions.

The success of this scene reveals the major weakness of the overall production. The mid-century clash between old and new cultures was not unique to New Orleans. And it still exists in many parts of this country as well as other parts of the world, partly intensified by the ease of migration. The cast seems to catch the play’s subtext late in the performance, but without it the essence of the play is lost.

The cast, the director and others involved in the production are clearly skilled and experienced, but “Streetcar” is a play that cries out for method acting. Unlike Shakespeare, Williams doesn’t offer thrilling poetry to carry the weight of emotion, like the barge that Cleopatra sat in.

Despite its shortcomings this production of a play rarely performed on stage today should be of interest to students and others interested in American theater.

“A Streetcar Named Desire” continues through October 24 at 1616 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 to $16, with group rates available. Call 916-960-3036. See also

Agatha Christie loses her way at Folsom’s Stage Nine

l to r: Nicholas Palleschi, Simon Hunt, Delaney Eldridge
photo: Allen Schmeltz Productions

A generation ago Life Magazine had this to say about the popular Batman series on TV: “It’s so bad that it’s good. If it were better it would be terrible.” The same could be said of the adaptation of the play “And Then There Were None,” based on Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel. Like the Batman series it operates on two levels: as a thriller with murder lurking everywhere and as a parody of itself.

The story follows a Christie formula, though the script is more klutzy than the one for “The Mousetrap,” which has been running continuously since 1952 on the London stage and which appeared at Folsom’s Stage Nine in 2007. We have a crowd of elegant suspects trapped in luxurious surroundings with a killer in their midst. The result is something like a board game with live actors as chess pieces. In fact “And Then There Were None” seems to be more popular now as a game than in any other form.

Based on a nursery rhyme, the 1939 novel and its original play adaptation were titled “Ten Little Niggers,” but for obvious reasons that had to be changed. So it became “Ten Little Indians,” which also required remediation. So now we have ten little soldiers, each dying in turn by colorful means. This too may require change as we struggle to support our troops.

The setting is a fictional Soldier Island off the Devon coast of England. Eight guests and two servants have been lured to a mansion by a mysterious UN Owen, where a gramophone record tells them that each is guilty of a murder and all will die before they can be rescued. They discover ten figurines on a mantel, the number reduced as one by one the characters are bumped off through increasingly gruesome means.

Last year’s Chautauqua production, directed by Paul Fearn, caught on to the tongue-in-cheek ironies, inspiring audiences to laugh in the right places as the veddy veddy British characters, with spot-on accents, conveyed the spirit of the era’s conventions, guests helping themselves to poisoned whiskey while dining on biscuits and tinned tongue. But the seasoned Maggie Adair Upton, as director, somehow decided to play the show straight. After intermission the audience was smaller than it had been before.

There are the predictable romantic leads: the high-class secretary, Vera Claythorne (Delaney Eldridge) and the dashing but stuffy Captain Philip Lombard (Nicholas Palleschi). They become our romantic leads, almost as an afterthought.

Others condemned by the mysterious Owen include Sir Lawrence Walgrave (Jon Beaver), a hanging judge; the excitable General MacKenzie (Paul Greisen); William Blore (Mike Jimena), a detective masquerading as somebody named Davis; the sly Anthony Marston (Eric Rhea); the super-pious and prudish old maid, Emily Brent (Connie Mockenhaupt); the alcohol-avoidant surgeon, Dr. Armstrong (Simon Hunt); and the elegant servant Rogers (Frank Hickox) and his wife (Cathy Rasmussen).

Considering the interpretation, the energetic cast gives the play its all. Hunt, by the way, is a genuine Londoner, though the others pretty much get away with the upper-U accents. It’s a shame though, that the consistently top-notch Stage 9/Garbeau’s Theatre, which swept this year’s Elly awards, could go so far astray with this production.

“And Then There Were None” runs through November 8 at Stage Nine Theatre, 717 Sutter Street in Historic Folsom. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Tickets are $22 general, $20 for seniors and SARTA, $15 for children. For reservations, call (916) 353-1001. See also

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Lie of the Mind comes to River Stage

From River Stage in Sacramento....

Sam Shepherd's A Lie of the Mind comes to River Stage

By one of America's finest playwrights, this three-act play explores family dysfunction and the nature of love.

Set in the gritty American West, the story alternates between two families after a severe incident of spousal abuse leaves all their lives altered until the final collision at an isolated cabin. The two families joined by marriage are shaken after Jake, the groom, beats Beth, his bride, leaving her with brain damage. Exploring family dysfunction and the nature of love, the play follows Jake as he searches for meaning.

Winner of three major rewards, the play received this comment from Frank Rich of the New York Times (12/6/1985): ''A Lie of the Mind'' is the unmistakable expression of a major writer nearing the height of his powers.” Frank Rich, N.Y. Times 12/6/1985

For information and reservations, call the Box Office at (916) 691-7364,
or email

"A Lie of the Mind" continues through October 25. For more information go to

Friday, October 2, 2009

From B Street Theatre: Take That, Hedwig!

Announcement from B Street

2009-2010 B-3 Series opens with...


B Street Theatre is pleased to announce I AM MY OWN WIFE,
winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, as its B-3 Series opener.
Written by Doug Wright, I AM MY OWN WIFE tells the fascinating
tale of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a real-life German transvestite who
managed to survive both the Nazi onslaught and the repressive East
German Communist regime. Based on a true story, I AM MY OWN
WIFE was inspired by interviews conducted by the playwright over
several years.

Running time is two hours including intermission. David Pierini

The Cast:

I AM MY OWN WIFE is a one-person show featuring B Street Acting
Company member Greg Alexander as Ms. Von Mahlsdorf. Most
known to B Street patrons as a versatile comic actor, Greg will play
35 characters in the two-act, theatrical whirlwind.

The Playwright:

Doug Wright wrote the book for the Broadway production of THE LITTLE
MERMAID. In 2006, he received Tony and Drama Desk nominations for
his book for the Broadway musical GREY GARDENS. In 2004, he was
awarded the Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk
Award, a GLAAD Media Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama
League Award, and a Lucille Lortel Award for his play I AM MY OWN

Earlier in his career, Mr. Wright won an Obie Award for outstanding
achievement in playwriting and the Kesselring Award for Best New
American Play from the National Arts Club for his play QUILLS. He went
on to write the screenplay adaptation, making his motion picture debut.
The film was named Best Picture by the National Board of Review and
nominated for three Academy Awards. His screenplay was nominated for a
Golden Globe Award, and received the Paul Selvin Award from the
Writer’s Guild of America.

For director Rob Marshall, Doug penned the television special

“Tony Bennett: An American Classic”, which received seven
Emmy Awards. His stage work has been produced in New York, Los
Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, London, Stockholm, Bucharest,
Krakow, Dublin, Budapest, Brasov and Viterbo, among other cities.

CANDY. For career achievement, Mr. Wright was recently cited with an
award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Tolerance
Prize from the KulturForum Europa. He is a member of the Dramatists
Guild, the Writer’s Guild of America, East, the Screen Actor’s Guild and the
Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. Directing credits include
Philadelphia and London. Acting credits include the films “Little Manhattan”
and “Two Lovers.” Currently, Doug serves on the board of the New York
Theater Workshop. He lives in New York with his partner,
singer/songwriter David Clement.

The Schedule:

Previews: Friday October 9 at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday October 10 at 8:00 p.m.
Opens: Sunday October 11 at 1:00 p.m.
Runs: Tuesday-Saturday through November 8.
Times: Tuesday-Friday at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
Special Sunday Matinee: Sunday October 18 at 1:00 p.m.

Special Thursday Matinees: October 15, 22, 29 at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets: $18.00-$30.00
The B Street Theatre is located at the corner of 27th and B Streets in
Mid-Town Sacramento, behind Stanford Park Baseball Field at 27th
and C Streets.
For further information contact the B Street Theatre box office:
(916)443-5300 or visit our website at

Stage9/Garbeau's opens “And Then There Were None"

Announcement from Stage Nine-Garbeau's in Folsom

What: “And Then There Were None”
By Agatha Christie
Directed by Maggie Adair Upton
Playing October 2 – November 8
Times: Friday and Saturday at 8:00, Sunday Matinee at 4:00 (Note: Special opening on Friday, October 2 at 8:00 with a reception with the cast following the show.)
Tickets: $22 general, $20 seniors & SARTA, $15 children
Reservations: Call (916) 353-1001
Stage 9 Theatre – Garbeau’s
717 Sutter Street
Historic Folsom 95630

Details: The master mystery writer, Agatha Christie, does it again in this classic who-done-it. Ten people are invited to an old house on Soldier Island, off the coast of Devon, England in the early 1940’s. One by one they mysteriously die. Who is the murderer? Come and see if you can guess.

For further information contact Connie Mockenhaupt at or (916) 353-1001.