Transcendence Theatre Company’s fundraising gala plays Broadway’s greatest hits

About the time you stow what’s left of a wine-accompanied picnic dinner and head into the stone ruins of a Valley of the Moon winery for a rousing, professional, beneath-the-stars stage performance of some of the greatest show tunes to emerge from Broadway, you’re thinking that life is pretty good.

It happened again at Friday’s opening of a three-night run of the Transcendence Theatre Company’s Gala Celebration at Jack London State Historic Park.

The nonprofit troupe’s largest fundraiser of the year, the gala started off with open-air dining just outside the rock walls of the park’s former Kohler & Frohling Winery. Some guests brought their meals in baskets; others chose from an enticing selection of food trucks and wine booths.

Dinnertime amusements and attractions included also live music and a silent auction.

Then it was showtime.

Transcendence set the night aglow with dance and song numbers from some of Broadway’s greatest hits. Among them: “South Pacific,” “Cabaret,” “West Side Story,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Chicago,” “Dreamgirls,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Ragtime,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” “The King & I,” “Oklahoma,” “Hair,” “Beautiful,” “42nd Street” and “Mamma Mia.”

Most memorable moments included the dancing of Evan Ruggeiro, who lost a leg to cancer nearly a decade ago.

The Gala Celebration and the 2019 Transcendence season conclude with Sunday night’s show.

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