Donald’s list: Weekend choices (June 23)

On my list for promising cultural weekend options:

‘Bye Bye Birdie’

Put on a happy face and experience the season opening production of Sanger’s Blossom Trail Players. The Broadway classic “Bye Bye Birdie,” which spins a thinly veiled tale of an Elvis Presley-type character drafted into the military, includes such well-known songs as “Honestly Sincere,” “The Telephone Hour,” “How Lovely to be a Woman” and, of course, the iconic title tune.

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All shook up: Greg Guerra makes the girls swoon as Conrad in the Blossom Trail Players production. Photos / Madlyn Esquer

The show opens Thursday, June 22, and runs through July 1.

There are more than 40 in the cast and an orchestra of 20 — let’s hear a cheer for live musical accompaniment! — in this production directed by Brittany Zenz and choreographed by Shannon Pelletier. (Andrew Esquer is music director.)


This is the third season for the Blossom Trail Players, which has actually trademarked the slogan “Theatre in Bloom”:

Founded by theatre enthusiasts, professionals and educators through the support of Sanger Unified School District, the BTP’s mission is to put on high-quality theatrical productions for the entertainment of the community, to offer an outlet for performers and creatives to apply their talents in a group setting, and to provide training and educational opportunities to those interested in learning more about the theatrical arts.

A special dinner theater fundraiser will be held Saturday, June 24, prior to the show.

Details: 7:30 p.m. June 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 and July 1, Sanger High School Multipurpose Room, 1045 Bethel Avenue, Sanger. $12, $10 students and seniors.

‘O, Brother’

Here’s an intriguing adaptation: Oakhurst’s Golden Chain Theatre is performing a live version of ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou,” an homage to the celebrated 2000 movie. The film’s notable bluegrass score will be “recreated with soloists and dancers in full costume as we bring you on up to the mountain,” the company promises. It’s a two-night-only affair.

Details: 7 p.m. Saturday, June 24, and 7 p.m. Sunday, June 25, Golden Chain Theatre, 42130 Hwy 41 Oakhurst. $15, $12 seniors, $10 students, $8 children 12 and under.

Star gazing

Though this falls more into the “outdoors” category rather than arts and culture, I just think it sounds really cool. Get out of the city (and maybe the heat) in North Fork by luxuriating in the night sky. From the Sierra Star:

Enjoy an evening of gazing at the stars on the beautiful Sierra Vista Scenic Byway on Saturday evening, June 24.

All interested parties are invited to gather at the North Fork Post Office parking lot at 7 p.m. to carpool to Mile High Vista, about a 45 minute drive.

Bill Dodge will be assisting in viewing and identifying stars and constellations from this fantastic viewing spot. Mile High Vista provides 360 degrees of clear, light free star gazing.

The expected return time is about 10:30 p.m.

Bring a telescope or binoculars if you’d like, but most viewing will be done with the naked eye.

I love the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway but have never gone up it at night. Bet there’s a whole lot of stars up there.


Get thee to Selma

Elsewhere on this blog I’ve let my feelings be known about “35MM: A Musical Exhibition” at the Selma Arts Center. I won’t belabor the point. Don’t miss it.

The second weekend kicks off with a special event Thursday, June 22: $5 off student tickets and an artist talk-back after the performance. And after the Friday, June 23, performance, you’ll get a bonus: an art showcase and cabaret night.

Details: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with an additional 2 p.m. Saturday matinee. The show runs through July 1. $19, $17 seniors and students,

Summer Arts

Finally, it’s time to put on your Summer Arts hats. The month-long festival at Fresno State gets its unofficial kickoff Sunday with a performance by the FOOSA Festival/ Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy.


Free concert: The FOOSA Festival/ Fresno Summer Orchestra Academy performs Sunday.

This ensemble of outstanding young musicians will just be returning from a Friday trip to Los Angeles to perform at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. (And I’m going to tag along to give readers a first-hand account!) The Fresno concert is part of a co-branding arrangement with Summer Arts.

Details: 4 p.m. Sunday, June 25, Roosevelt High School, 4250 E. Tulare Ave. Free.

The first official Summer Arts performance, by the way, is Monday, June 26, when the Los Angeles-based Latin dance ensemble Contra-Tiempo performs at Fresno State. Much more on that later.

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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

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