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This High School Musical Ranks No. 1

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right Natalie Collins, Jack Dugoni Natalie Collins and Jack Dugoni from the original production of "Ranked the Musical."

What’s a kid to do these days? High school has become so cutthroat that perfect isn’t good enough. The saying these days is 5-point is the new 4-point. Do more. Test higher. To get into a good college these days, you almost have to beg, borrow and steal your way in.

“Ranked,” a new musical developed and first performed at Granite Bay High School, not only nails the stressful, dystopian world of public education, it presaged a national turmoil– the college-admissions scandal that revealed what some rich and famous parents would do to get their children into the “right” schools.

Kyle Holmes and David Taylor-Gomes, both on the high school’s faculty created the musical. Holmes has been director of theater arts at Granite Bay High School since 2012 and Taylor-Gomes has been musical director of the school’s theater arts program for the past six seasons. Holmes says he was disappointed in the quality and quantity of plays for high school student productions, so he decided to write his own. He wrote the book and the lyrics (some of which are truly incisive) and Taylor-Gomes wrote the music.

Work on “Ranked” began in 2018 and the musical debuted just weeks after the national scandal broke.

Holmes says it was his observation of Granite Bay students that suggested the plot. He could see the pressures put upon them – by themselves as well as by parents and others — and even incorporated some of their comments in his script.

“Ranked in Concert” will be filmed at the Crest Theatre at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 8. Twenty-eight of the original 35 cast members of the Theatre Granite Bay troupe will perform.

The Crest is at 1013 K St. Tickets are $15-$25 from Ticketfly via link from the Crest website. Don’t just Google for tickets; third party sites will charge $33 to $37.

For more information, call (916) 476-3356 or go to RankedMusical.com.

More Reality on Stage

We are NOT in the post-racial world some try to tell us we are. Witness the production of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” at Carmichael’s Chautauqua Playhouse.

This play, set in San Francisco in 1967, is based on the movie of the same name by William Rose. It’s about a couple of white San Francisco liberals who are shocked when their daughter announces her intentions to marry a black man.

You would think the fact that the African American fiancé was an eminent doctor and researcher would count for something – and ultimately, really, it does. Her parents, finding their brave talk about equality and freedom to love put to the test, have a lot to account for. Then, there’s the problem of the parents of the good doctor. They’re not happy with the situation, either. Sam Williams directs a strong cast that includes Kloe Walker as the daughter and Fetalaiga Faga as the fiancé. Steve Minow and Lynnette Blaney play her parents, while Rosie L. Winfield and Corey D. Winfield play his. Voress Franklin plays Tillie, the maid who pretty much runs the house – and the play. Rodger Hoopman plays Monsignor Mike Ryan and Chris Cay Stewart portrays Hilary St. George.

“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” is performed at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays and June 8, through June 9 at Chautauqua Playhouse. The theater is in the La Sierra Community Center, 5325 Engle Road, Carmichael. Tickets are $19-$21.

For tickets or for more information, call (916) 489-7529 or go to CPlayhouse.org.

The Ride is Almost Over

Disney’s “Aladdin” live-action movie is in theaters now, but an eye-popping live theater version is on stage at the Community Center Theater through Sunday. This is a musical theater-lover’s dream come true. Music styles range from pop to rock to jazz. The dances include the typical Arabian-influenced moves to tap dancing. Yes, tap dancing! The special effects are superlative and that magic carpet sure seems to fly.

Performances are at 2 and 8 p.m. Thursday (May 30), 8 p.m. Friday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are scarce at any price. The Community Center Theater is at 1301 L St.

For more information, go to: BroadwaySacramento.com.

Photo by Yarcenia Garcia.

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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