The List: From Mozart to ‘Janka,’ some promising picks for the weekend

Welcome to The List, a curated offering of promising events for the weekend. Why stay home with Hulu when there’s a whole world of local stuff to enjoy and support?

1. Spend a Moment with Mozart

Looking for a way to spend a grand and relaxing Sunday afternoon? The chamber group Moment Musical celebrates Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with a program titled “Happy Birthday, Amadeus.” It includes a string trio playing a Divertimento; a clarinet, viola and piano trio; and a rondo from the Oboe Quartet in F, all by Mozart.

To add a little composer spice, there will be selected duets by Respighi for violin and harp and also four-hand piano sonatinas by Kuhlau.

If you go: 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, Westminster Presbyterian Church, 50 E. Santa Ana Ave. Suggested donations $10 general, $5 college students, $20 for family of 3 or more. Details: 559-432-2473. 

Janice Noga in the New York production of ‘Janka.’

2. Experience ‘Janka’

Have you heard about the local one-woman play “Janka” over the years but never gotten the chance to see it? You have some good opportunities ahead.

Janice Noga for more than a decade has been perfecting her role in this show about her mother-in-law, Janka Festinger Speace, who survived a Nazi concentration camp. Janice’s husband, Oscar Speace, wrote the play about his mother using original source materials, and the pair have toured with it across the nation and around the world.


To read a lot more about the history of the production, which played in New York in 2015, read my 2018 interview with Noga. And for even more coverage, read my Fresno Bee coverage of the New York production.

The latest production this weekend, at Visalia’s Ice House Theatre, will be a “lobby show” that will give the audience an intimate experience. There’s a Fresno engagement coming up, too, on Feb. 23-24, which will be a fundraiser for the Fresno Art Museum.

If you go: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, and Saturday, Jan. 12; 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, Ice House Theatre, 410 E. Race Ave., Visalia. Tickets are $16-$20 adults, $12-$16 students. 

3. Winter symphonies

The Sequoia Symphony gets brisk and snowy with a program titled “Winter Wonders.”  will feature two symphonies that celebrate “Winter Wonders” on Saturday, Jan. 12 at the Visalia Fox Theatre. From the symphony:

Tchaikovsky’s short, sweet “Winter Daydreams” opens the program, a delightful piece that music director Bruce Kiesling describes as a snowball fight. It was the composer’s first symphony and one of his favorites, inspired by Russian folk songs. Sibelius’ “Symphony 2” is his best-known symphony and has the feeling of a Scandinavian winter. Kiesling says the last movement is one of the most thrilling in the repertoire. Sibelius called it a “confession of the soul.”

If you go: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, Visalia Fox Theatre, Visalia. Tickets are $22-$45.

4. And don’t forget …

Fresno Filmworks screens “Burning,” South Korea’s 2019 Oscar selection for Best Foreign Language Film, “at 5:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at the Tower Theatre.

I’m giving away a great prize package for “The King and I”: a pair of tickets to opening night, dinner for two at Cosmopolitan Tavern & Grill, and free parking! Enter here. Deadline is noon Saturday.

Selma Arts Center opens “High School Musical” featuring its talented teen performers. I interviewed cast members Alyssa Martin and Katie Greene on the January episode of “The Munro Review” on CMAC. The show runs Jan. 11-19. Interview starts at the 12:25 mark:

Plus: It’s closing weekend for Good Company’s “Footloose.” (I bet those dancers are tired.) Which means that “Mamma Mia” isn’t far behind …


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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