There are angels among us.
Saturday night, some supernatural beings spun a Broadway-caliber web of musical magic around the winery ruins at Jack London State Historic Park and, while they were at it, announced they have decided to adopt Sonoma and save the park.
Sure, you're thinking, and then the Tooth Fairy arrived on a unicorn sprinkling pixie dust with a magic wand.
This would sound more like inspired delusion than theatrical logic were it not for the extraordinary benefit performance produced by the Transcendence Theater Company under a crescent moon that floated magically in and out of the marine layer mist and hovered like a movie prop over the crown of Sonoma Mountain. In the space of 85 minutes, 14 performers sang and danced their way into Sonoma's heart with a show of such stunning and seamless perfection that it looked like it was lifted straight from a Broadway stage.
In a sense it was.
Los Angeles-based Transcendence is composed of New York stage veterans, many of whom have parallel careers in TV and film. They share the insouciant quality of theater professionals but they are utterly serious about there commitment to finding a home in Sonoma and turning theatrical gold into enough revenue to keep Jack London State Historic Park open to the public. As performer, founding artist and artistic director Amy Miller made clear, this is not a casual commitment, and it is not Music Man Harold Hill hustling band instruments and uniforms. This is a cadre of professional performers who can sing and dance up a storm and who have decided, after an extensive, nationwide search, that Sonoma is where they want to live and Jack London State Historic Park - threatened with closure in 2012 - is where they want to perform in the years to come, under the stars.
To make that point clear, they emptied their musical closets and threw an eclectic wardrobe of song and dance onto the outdoor stage erected at the back of the old stone ruins with the vineyards of Beauty Ranch climbing the flanks of the mountain behind. Songs from "A New World," "Bye Bye Birdie," "Beauty and the Beast," "42nd Street," "Company," and more flooded the night. Singer Brian Golub offered up a haunting version of John Lennon's "Imagine," that fit perfectly into the tapestry of hope and community woven on stage.
And at the end of the evening, State Parks Director Ruth Coleman stood to praise the performers as an example of how people can play a defining role in the future of their own parks.
That this marvel of theater and song, stitched together by people who, mere months earlier, had never even seen the park and knew little about Sonoma, came together at all is remarkable. That it came together just as the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association - the beneficiary of the evening's income - was ramping up a campaign to both keep the park open and raise funds for the restoration of the Beauty Ranch lake, seems almost mystical. Is Transcendence Theater Company heaven-sent? Are these people not angels?