Edgy dramas to classic musicals
THE SONOMA THEATRE ALLIANCE is back for its third season, and this year it will be in the newly renovated Andrews Hall at the Sonoma Community Center.
Misbehave to the music of Cole Porter. Find solace in the big numbers at a little nightclub in 1920s Berlin. Watch a 1904 sit down between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso as imagined by one of the most beloved comedic minds of the 20th century, Steve Martin.
The Sonoma Theatre Alliance’s third annual summer season of stage shows will extend its run this year, with performances set from May through November in the new Andrews Hall at the Sonoma Community Center.
“We’re taking a leap into the unknown and hoping Sonoma is ready for this much entertainment,” said Jaime Love, executive director of the nonprofit alliance, “I think they are.”
Season tickets will go on sale Friday, March 15, at the Sonoma Valley Box Office, svbo.org. The Theatre Alliance’s well-liked summer season in Andrews Hall was one of the incentives to revamp Andrews Hall in order to create a dedicated performance venue for the Valley. Working with Sonoma Valley Rotary Club and the Sonoma Community Center, the alliance helped raise funds to bring new life to the historic hall, which is being enhanced with professional grade lighting, sound and other equipment. The redesign, which is currently under construction, also calls for a new lobby complete with a marquee sign, ticket booth and more extensive bar.
“Right now we’re pinching ourselves, we can’t believe it’s all happening,” Love said of the new space.
Made up of a collection of independent theater companies, the Sonoma Theatre Alliance has found power in numbers by creating a diverse season that appeals to a wider range of audiences. Each production company funds its own show, but by working together, the various groups are able to offer a more well-rounded season that helps draw in larger crowds. New this year, the award-winning Narrow Way Stage Company, headed by Sonoman Chris Ginesi, joins the alliance and is bringing two of the edgiest shows of the season.
“We wanted to push the boundaries of what was being produced in Sonoma,” said Ginesi, executive director of Narrow Way. “Generally, we like to bring things that have been critically acclaimed.”
Ginesi will direct “The Lonesome West,” which runs June 13 to 30. Written by Ginesi’s favorite playwright, Martin McDonagh, the story follows two Irish brothers who try to cope with their father’s “accidental” death in vastly opposing ways. The show earned a nomination for Best Play at the 1999 Tony Awards. In the fall, Narrow Way Stage Company brings the absurdly amusing “Marisol” from Oct. 31 to Nov. 17. Written by Jose Rivera, this OBIE award-winning play tells the story of an average copywriter in Brooklyn who learns her guardian angel will no longer protect her, as the angels have joined together in a rebellion against God.
“It really speaks to a lot of the current issues in America – what is love? And community? And redemption?” Ginesi said.
But before that, the 2013 season will begin on a musical note with “Let’s Misbehave,” an original comedy revue written by Valley residents Tom and Sue Martin about a small town theater company putting on a showcase of Cole Porter music. Filled to the brim with his classic tunes, the show runs May 9 to 26.
On June 1 and 2, the finalists for Sonoma Stage Works’ inaugural PlayFest will read their 10-minute plays. The winner, as chosen by the audience, will have their show produced by the Sonoma Theatre Alliance in September.
The previously mentioned “The Lonesome West” is next in the summer’s line-up; followed by the popular Broadway musical “Cabaret,” which runs July 12 to 28. Directed by Cat Austin, this production is seeking donations to cover the cost of the show.
“Musicals are the most popular shows we offer, but they’re also the most expensive to produce,” Love said, explaining that producers must pay for both the book and song rights, along with the costs of hiring a choreographer and musical director to make the numbers pop. “This show is looking for a ‘theater angel.’”
Also new to the alliance this year, M and G Productions will present Grammy award-winning comedian Steve Martin’s hilarious play “Picasso at the Lapin Agile” from Aug. 8 to 25. In this show, Martin explores a conversation that never actually happened between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in 1904, a year before both men made quantum leaps in their respective careers.
“Troublesome Creek,” an original show by Valley playwright Todd Evans, explores life alongside the coalmines in eastern Kentucky in 1962, and runs from Sept. 5 to 15. Nellie Cravens directs the Silver Moon Theatre Company’s offering of “No Sex Please, We’re British” from Oct. 3 to 20. The comedic play tells the story of young newlyweds in 1960s England who mail-order a set of glassware, only to get a shipment of risqué postcards instead. The aforementioned “Marisol” will end the season.
Throughout the Sonoma Theater Alliance’s season, shows will run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; with matinees on Sunday at 2 p.m. Season ticketholders can select which performance of each play they’d like to attend. Go to svbo.org for tickets.
From Monday through Wednesday, the alliance is again booking its “Summer Nights” series, in which any author, musician or performer can rent Andrews Hall for their own show. The Sonoma Theatre Alliance is also looking for volunteers who can help out as ushers or in the main lobby pouring wine and taking tickets before each show. To learn more, volunteer or donate to the Sonoma Theatre Alliance’s third annual season, visit sonomatheatrealliance.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So you want to be on stage? Auditions set for Sonoma Theatre Alliance’s summer season
Many of the shows featured in the third annual Sonoma Theatre Alliance’s summer series are looking for local talents to light up their shows. The following is a list of upcoming auditions planned throughout the spring.
On Saturday, April 6, the Sonoma Theatre Alliance will be hosting auditions for the winner of the inaugural PlayFest competition. With more than 30 scripts under consideration, actors of all ages and backgrounds are desired for this open audition. After audiences select a winning script in June, that show will be produced for a short run from Sept. 20 to 22. For audition details, email email@example.com.
That same day, Saturday, April 6, the Sonoma Theatre Alliance will hold auditions for its summer musical, “Cabaret.” The location has not yet been announced, but those interested are asked to prepare a song and come dressed to dance. Call 363-8721 for more details.
Narrow Way Stage Company will hold auditions for “The Lonesome West” on Sunday and Monday, April 14 and 15, at 7 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in Sonoma. The director is looking for three male actors, aged 20 to 40; and a younger female actor. Actors should expect to do a cold reading, and will be seen on a first come, first serve basis. Visit narrowwaystage.com for more information.
Auditions for “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” written by Steve Martin, will take place on Saturday, May 4, between 1 and 5 p.m. in the Sebastiani Theatre office of Wine Country Group Realtors, 470 E. Napa St., Sonoma. Call-back auditions will be on Sunday, May 5. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for an audition appointment, and bring a prepared reading. The two male leads playing Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso are both meant to be 25. Another five male actors and two female actors of various ages are needed as well.