A revue of classic Broadway musical numbers, the Transcendence Theatre Company’s holiday show is becoming a North Bay tradition. And this year, after the fires destroyed so many people’s homes and livelihoods, the show is taking on special resonance.
The “Broadway Holiday Spectacular,” Friday through Sunday in Santa Rosa, aims to bring people together through music and dance and give audience members their “best night ever” (or “best day ever” for matinees).
“Love is a big theme of the show,” said Amy Miller, artistic director for Transcendence. “And we celebrate that: Even though people have lost their homes, you can find that home is all of the people you love, not the possessions.”
At least one song, “Rise Up,” was added to the show after the disaster that struck the North Bay last month.
Transcendence is completing its sixth season, Miller noted, and has always been about overcoming obstacles and transcending limits.The theater company’s hauntingly prescient theme for the 2017 season is “Rise Up, We’re All in This Together.”
It’s ironic, since the theme was picked in 2016, Miller said.
“Our mission as a company has always stayed the same: Appreciate the present moment, be with your community, inspire people to go beyond usual limits,” she explained.
Transcendence is donating more than 1,000 tickets during its five-show run (two a day on Saturday and Sunday) to those left homeless by the fires and to first responders, said Transcendence co-executive director Stephan Stubbins.
The tickets were distributed through Transcendence partners including Sonoma Valley Rotary and Redwood Credit Union. And five percent of proceeds from ticket sales are going to fire relief efforts.
Stubbins, who like Miller, is a Transcendence actor and will appear in the holiday shows, said the recent disaster has heightened the theater company’s commitment to bring communities together.
He noted that the venue for the show, the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, was damaged by the fire and nearly consumed by the flames.
“I think it sends a message that we can create an energy so positive and inspiring and energizing to really be the phoenix rising from the ashes,” Stubbins said.
Many people displaced by the fires don’t want to talk about the disaster any more, he said.
“They want to find a way to laugh again and to feel a sense of family and normalcy,” Stubbins said. “This, more than ever, is a time when they feel they want to be connected with Transcendence.”
It’s “so much more than any song or any note or any performer or dance,” he added. “It’s about the energy, and that’s what we’re hearing from people that they really need right now.”
Transcendence, known for its summer shows at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, is closely connected to its audience. At the summer shows, the actors pour wine and tear tickets, mingling with theater-goers in the park.
“That connection is really what feeds us,” Stubbins said. “There’s no boundary between the audience and the performers.”
And though Transcendence shows can get a bit bawdy, they’re appropriate for kids.
“We get a lot of families that come to the show,” he said. After the fires, the performance is a way to “welcome in the holiday through this new lens that we have as a community.”
Who: Transcendence Theatre Company
What: “Broadway Holiday Spectacular”
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday to Sunday, Dec. 1-3; matinees 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3.
Where: Luther Burbank Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa
Tickets: $39 to $89; VIP $129 to $139
Information: 707-546-3600, lutherburbankcenter.org