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Arts Community Voice Review

STC is Busy, Busy, Busy These Days

Photography by Charr Crail
The cast of Sacramento Theatre Company's "The Musical of Musicals: The Musical."

Things are really hopping at Sacramento Theatre Company these days. In addition to just closing its annual cabaret-style fundraiser (this year’s title was “Walkin’ After Midnight: Broadway Loves Country”), STC is presenting a fine musical comedy on its Pollock Stage (through Feb. 11) and preparing for its next Main Stage production – “Macbeth” – opening Feb. 21.

Add to that a couple of Youth Series events, and you can see why Michael Laun, STC’s executive producing director, seems so at ease as he introduces each performance on the Pollock Stage. A lover of Broadway musicals from way back, Laun is in his element directing “The Musical of Musicals: The Musical.”

“The Musical” was first staged by STC in its 2010-2011 season and returns now with additional new material. Rather than being a collection of parodies of Broadway musical types, this show has a plot and a through line. A community theater troupe is about to lose its home for failure to pay its rent. The singer/actors and their accompanist have gathered for one last pitch to the landlord for an extension. If they can persuade him that they have a sure-fire hit to present, he will allow them to stay in the theater.

They give him a series of potential plays, each in the style of successful Broadway composers and lyricists, including Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jerry Herman, Stephen Sondheim, John Kander and Fred Ebb. Each mini-play concerns a person in peril because he or she can’t pay the rent. It’s quite clever, really, with some of the parodies approaching brilliance. The Sondheim-inspired “A Little Complex” is perfection.

Sacramento State alumnus Eric Rockwell (who also wrote STC’s world premiere musicals “A Little Princess” and “The Donner Party”) wrote the music with lyricist Joanne Bogart. Both wrote the book.

A strong ensemble performs the material with gusto. Each plays a typical melodrama type: the villain (Michael RJ Campbell), the hero (Brad Bong), the ingénue (Kelly Ann Dunn) and the wise matron (Martha Kight Omiyo, an especially convincing diva). David Taylor Gomes plays the accompanist who intercedes with the landlord between musical pitches.

“The Musical of Musicals: The Musical” continues through Feb. 11, at STC’s Pollock Stage, 1419 H St. Performances are at 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Tickets are $20-$38.

Coming Up

Next on the STC Main Stage is William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” playing Feb. 21 to March 18. William Ellsman stars as Macbeth, the brave Scottish general who, after he receives a prophecy that he is fated to become King of Scotland, is overtaken by ambition – and the will of his equally ambitious wife Atim Udoffia as Lady Macbeth.

Youthful Offerings

The STC School of the Arts present “Kiss Me Kate” for a limited run Feb. 1-4. Members of the school’s Young Professionals Conservatory program perform this story about a problem-plagued production of a musical version of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” There’s conflict on- and off-stage, primarily involving the show’s director and its star, his ex-wife

The Young Professionals Conservatory is a 10-month program of master classes and performance opportunities for students 12-18. The goal is to prepare students for careers in the theater through study and working with profession actors, directors and designers.

Performances of “Kiss Me Kate” will be on the STC Main Stage at 7 p.m. Feb. 1-2, 2 and 7 p.m. Feb. 3 and 2 p.m. Feb. 4. Tickets are $15-$17.

Next (Feb. 28-March 4), the Young Professionals will tackle an American classic, “Our Town,” by Thornton Wilder. This drama, set in the fictional small town of Grover’s Corners, tells a story of love, loss and carrying on with life –in other words a depiction of the true American spirit – through the lives of ordinary citizens of the town. It’s an ambitious undertaking for the students, for this simple-seeming story is not for amateurs.

For more information, call (916) 443-6722 or go to SacTheatre.org.


About the author

Jim Carnes

Jim Carnes has masters degrees in English and journalism and is a former National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow in popular culture at Stanford University. He has covered Sacramento arts and entertainment for more than 20 years. He currently writes about and reviews theater, dance, music and events in the Sacramento area.

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