The List: From ‘Janka’ to Hanford’s Kings Players, some promising picks for the weekend

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

1. Another chance at ‘Janka’ 

Last month I told you about a special performance in Visalia of “Janka,” the powerful one-woman show starring Janice Noga. Now you get an opportunity to see it in Fresno. Better yet, the two performances this weekend are a benefit for the Fresno Art Museum.

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 much 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 report on the New York production.

These performances, which are produced by Jerry Palladino, are dedicated by Noga and Speace to Janka’s cousin Clara Notovitz, a Holocaust survivor who recently passed away at age 90.


A wine reception with Noga and Speace will be held after each performance.

If you go: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, Fresno Art Museum. Tickets are $30.

Fresno State

2. Celebrate art songs

Quick: Who’s the biggest fan of art songs you know? For me, that would be Fresno State opera professor Maria Briggs, who is busy this weekend with the university’s Second Fresno Art Song Festival.

Two highlights for the public on Saturday are the Festival Showcase (5:15 p.m., Fresno State Concert Hall) featuring the best singer and audience prize; and the Faculty Recital (7:15 p.m., Concert Hall).

An addition to this year’s festival is a composition competition. The winning student composition will be presented at a future Fresno Philharmonic concert.

Guest faculty members include soprano Robin Fisher and tenor Alex Boyer.

If you go: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, Fresno State. Tickets (all-day) are $10 general, $8 students and seniors.

A scene from ‘The Dining Room’ at the Temple Theatre.

3. Take a seat in ‘The Dining Room’

The Kings Players in Hanford this weekend opens A.R. Gurney’s “The Dining Room.” Director Hugh Munro Neely (a great middle name!) writes:

I am new to the valley. I moved to Hanford last March, and this is the first production I am directing in the area. Previously I directed a number of productions for the Palmdale City Players, Desert Opera (also Palmdale), the Santa Monica Theatre Guild, and the City of Santa Monica.

The play runs for four weekends on Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as Sunday matinees beginning on the second weekend.

If you go: Through March 17, Temple Theatre, 514 E. Visalia St., Hanford. Tickets are $12-$14.


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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