Dense fog

Transcendence opens with a splash

No one in the audience of the Transcendence Theatre Company’s opening night performance was surprised to hear that <em>USA Today</em> had rated the company’s “Broadway Under the Stars” concert series at Jack London State Historic Park as one of the 10-best “Outdoor Concert Venues You Shouldn’t Miss.”

<p align="left">The rating placed the production of Broadway and Hollywood stage and screen veterans second on a list of 14.</p>

<p align="left">A cheer went up from the sold-out crowd when Artistic Director Amy Miller made the announcement at the start of Friday’s opening program, “One Singular Sensation.”</p>

<p align="left">The Glen Ellen event, held in the open-air winery ruins embraced by old stone walls that open onto vineyard views on the flanks of Sonoma Mountain, is in the third year of a contract running through 2019. The performances of the nonprofit troupe have so far raised some $72,000 to support Jack London State Historic Park, which is now being operated as a joint, public-private partnership with the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association. Prior to the partnership, the park was on a list of 70 state parks slated for closure during the height of the state budget crisis of the past four years.</p>

<p align="left">The company’s 2014 season includes three more productions of the opening show, a two-night production of “Fantastical Family Night,” which includes performances by members of the Transcendence children’s camp; a six-performance production of “Music of the Night,” between Aug. 14 and 24; and the season-closing Gala Celebration, on Sept. 5 and 6.</p>

<p align="left">In between the all-cast shows is a program of special “artist series” headlined by an Aug. 9 one-man show by Tony Award-winning singer-dancer Ben Vereen. Also appearing in special shows will be Sonoma Valley’s own Lexy Fridell in “Brace Yourself” on July 12 and 13 at Chateau St. Jean Winery: Singer/songwriters Carrie Manolakis and Morgan Karr on Aug. 1 and 2 at Landmark Vineyards. Manolakis has achieved global fame with her rendition of the Radiohead song, “Creep,” and was cheered by a crowd of 100,000 when she sang the national Anthem at the start of the Sonoma Raceway NASCAR race June 22.</p>

<p align="left">Also on the artist series agenda is “Witness Uganda,” a compelling concert of Afro-pop music and social commentary on Aug. 19, that asks the question, “Can the world really be saved?”</p>

<p align="left">Finally, Transcendence stars and founding members Stephen Stubbins and Leah Sprecher will present a night of “duets, vignettes and jazz hands” in a special performance at Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa on Aug. 28.</p>

<p align="left">Besides the numerous concerts on the summer-long program, Transcendence Theatre Company members, now home-based in Sonoma, have presented numerous programs and fundraising events for Valley nonprofits as part of a mission to spread joy and happiness through music and dance.</p>

<p align="left">Complete details on the company’s season can be found at <a href="http://TTCsonoma.org">TTCsonoma.org</a>.</p>

<p align="left"><a href="http://sonomanews.com/galleries/transcendence-theatre-company/">For more photos, click here:</a></p>

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