Fresno Community Chorus Master Chorale offers a concert marking the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II
Anna Hamre and her illustrious singers in the Fresno Community Chorus Master Chorale knew they wanted to mark an important date: the 75th anniversary of when U.S. citizens of Japanese descent were forced into internment camps during World War II. But how would the programming for such a concert work?
Unlike past recent concerts by the chorale — which has tackled such provocative themes as the Armenian genocide and Alzheimer’s disease — there wasn’t a particular composition or cultural body of music that would work in terms of repertoire.
“These were Americans that were put in concentration camps,” says Hamre, the ensemble’s musical director. “It’s not like we could just do ‘their’ music. They were listening to swing bands back then, just like everyone else.”
But then came an idea: How about a program that included a modern-day version of the Latin Requiem, and then a piece that exemplifies healing and joy?
Good Company Players opens the Sedaka jukebox musical in a run that goes through Jan. 14.
When Jacob Cozzi was 8 years old, he had a crush on a girl who lived down the street.
Which explains why his favorite song in the Neil Sedaka jukebox musical “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” now in its opening weekend at Good Company Players, is the tune “Next Door to An Angel.”
“I don’t really know what she’s up to now,” says Cozzi, who in the overall scheme of things wasn’t 8 that long ago — he’s worked his way up through the GCP’s demanding Junior Company program — but is now nabbing roles in mainstage productions.
Wouldn’t it be cute if his crush showed up for a performance and recognized him?
Medieval Paris is built on stage in new production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”
The Selma Arts Center has recreated many settings in the world for its plays and musicals. But one of the most challenging has to be Paris’ iconic Notre Dame Cathedral. That’s the main location for the company’s new offering of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” which opens Friday, Nov. 17, in an ambitious production.
There’s a lot to unpack about this Disney musical featuring songs by Alan Menken, which is loosely based on the 1996 film. The title has recently been made available to community theaters. Children’s Musical Theaterworks offered the premiere youth production in July; now Selma tackles the title with an all-ages cast. I checked in with directors Dominic Grijalva and Juan Luis Guzmán, who collaborated on their answers, to come up with 10 Things You Should Know About “Hunchback.”
The set is a biggie.
Designed by Erik and Nicolette Andersen and built by Erik Andersen and Ken Grey, the set posed many challenges.
‘Silent Sky,’ in its final weekend at Fresno City College, offers a fascinating glimpse of a woman who made astronomical history
There’s a certain whimsy to the fact that “Silent Sky,” the delicate and meaningful new Fresno City College production about a prominent and mostly unknown woman astronomer, takes place inside at night.
Yes, there are a few matinees in the Studio Theatre, but the majority of performances are staged when the stars are just out of sight above us. When you’re sitting in the audience, it’s tempting to gaze skyward and think of those myriad bright points of light just beyond the ceiling. Many of us spend most of our time under roofs, both night and day, so it’s a chance for the theater to make us look at the world in a slightly different way.
Playwright Lauren Gunderson conceives of “Silent Sky” as a thoughtful and poetic homage to Henrietta Swan Leavitt, a trailblazing astronomer who died in 1921. She was mostly forgotten to history, or at least to popular culture, which isn’t all that uncommon for scientists. (I just finished reading a fascinating book about Alexander Von Humboldt, who essentially invented the idea of ecology — and predicted global warming — and who during much of the 19th Century was the most famous man in the world after Napoleon. He’s barely remembered today.)
At College of the Sequoias, ‘Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson’ is daring, profane and has a surprising amount to say about contemporary political times
Nearly 10 years before there was “Hamilton,” another Broadway offering plucked a pivotal and controversial figure out of American history textbooks. The show immersed him in an explosive musical score with provocative lyrics, and in the slick re-telling of his story managed to offer insights on the contemporary U.S. political scene.
That musical was “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”
A couple of weeks ago, by coincidence, I caught the national tour of “Hamilton” in Los Angeles. (Yes, finally!) The L.A production was all I expected in terms of musical impact, stagecraft and sheer theatrical presence. So when I saw the fiery new production of “Andrew Jackson” at College of the Sequoias last weekend, I couldn’t help but compare and contrast these two historical musicals. You can’t do an apples-to-apples comparison, of course; one is likely the most polished professional Broadway experience you can see these days; the other is a junior-college production that in some cases uses first-time performers. And Lin-Manuel Miranda’s music and lyrics in “Hamilton” are simply breathtakingly beautiful. They deserve every superlative that has been slung their way: groundbreaking, memorable, highest artistic achievement, etc.
In an extensive profile, get a glimpse behind the scenes of the busy life of the Fresno Philharmonic’s new music director
The first few rehearsals between a symphony orchestra and an unfamiliar conductor can be magical. And perhaps a little nerve-racking. Everyone’s on their best behavior. If things go well, the rehearsals can feel fresh and pitched with possibility, offering hints of great things to come. Or they can be dreary affairs, stolid and workmanlike, an exercise to simply get through and then move on to more encouraging opportunities.
They’re like a first date.
At this afternoon rehearsal in October, as Rei Hotoda stands on the podium in front of the musicians of the Fresno Philharmonic, preparing for her very first concert as the orchestra’s newly named music director, there’s little chance for the dreary option.
Options include Keyboard Concerts, the Fresno Film Festival and Fall Dances at Fresno City College. Plus: events at Bitwise and Sequoia Symphony
Here’s a roundup of promising arts/culture picks for the weekend:
This highly regarded series has brought some of the world’s most famous, seasoned pianists to Fresno. But the series is also a way to experience some of the most accomplished young talent as well.
That’s the case with Daniel Hsu, who will perform as part of the Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series at Fresno State. Hsu is winner of the bronze medal at the 2017 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which made him an instant star. The 19-year-old Bay Area native on Friday will present a virtuoso program consisting of works by Schubert, Chopin, J.S. Bach/Busoni, Rachmaninoff, and Marc-André Hamelin’s Toccata on “L’homme armé.
Though nothing is yet official, it looks very promising that Children’s Musical Theaterworks will have a home next year.
“I can say with confidence that we are doing everything we can to let CMT do their 2018 season as planned at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium,” city spokesman Mark Standriff told me Thursday after a meeting with Judy Stene, CMT’s executive director, and K.C. Rutiaga, the non-profit company’s board president.