Friday focus: Hotoda performs on piano, GCP opens ‘Rachel,’ and CMT gets talented

You might have noticed that my coverage on The Munro Review has been quite light for the past week or so. After July’s marathon theater season, I’ve been taking it easy as I prepare for the start of the Fresno State semester, spend some time with my mom (Hi, Mom!) and work on some longer-term projects.

Pictured above: Rei Hotoda with the Tower Quartet.

I do want to remind you, however, of three notable events taking place on Friday: Fresno Philharmonic music director Rei Hotoda performs on piano in a free chamber music concert with special guests at the Shrine of St. Therese; the play “My Cousin Rachel,” based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier, opens an extended run at the 2nd Space Theatre; and “CMT’s Got Talent,” a one-time competition, performs at Fresno Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

Here are the details:

Hotoda and friends

The event: In Fresno, we know Hotoda best as a conductor, but she’s an accomplished pianist as well. This informal, hour-long chamber concert in beautiful St. Therese features her with flutist Henry Woolf and the Tower Quartet (Lianna Elmore and Erin Adams, violins, Matthew Smoke, viola and Kelvin Diaz Inoa, cello).

When and where: 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, Shrine of St. Therese, 855 E. Floradora Ave., Fresno.

What to expect: Music by Bach, Telemann, Faure, Beethoven, Shostakovich and Mozart.


Tickets: The concert is free with donations accepted for the Anita M. Shanahan Music Endowment Fund at St. Therese. The concert honors the 100th birthday of Ms. Shanahan, a director emeritus of the Fresno Philharmonic and member of the St. Therese parish. No advance reservations are necessary. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. for seating.

Quotable: “I’m thrilled to perform in the beautiful setting of St. Therese with this group of exceptionally talented young musicians from Fresno,” Hotoda says. “Live music is truly a gift for our community, which we are all delighted to share in celebration of Anita Shanahan’s 100th birthday and the extraordinary contribution she has made to music in Fresno.”

A thinking person’s whodunit

The event: Good Company Players opens “My Cousin Rachel.” The widow of a man who dies suddenly inexplicably bewitches his heir.

When and where: Opens 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, 2nd Space Theatre, 928 E. Olive Ave. Continues through Oct. 13.

What to expect: Director Heather Parish notes that Gothic novels commonly feature an inexperienced ingenue who becomes infatuated with someone years older, with a past, and who is possibly a danger. But du Maurier always has a twist: In this case, the ingenue is a young man and the “menace,” as she called such characters, is an attractive widow. Rachel who wields the power and possesses the mystery, sensuality, and ambiguity that people often find threatening. The cast includes Brooke Aiello, Anthony teNyenhuis, Emily Kearns and Noel Adams.

Tickets: $20 general, $18 students and seniors.

Quotable: “Doubt is everywhere in this story, even through to the end,” Parish says. “People’s assumptions are questioned, the facts of the case reversed, and reversed again, until everyone involved has doubts — including the audience. And while the play has a definite resolution, it doesn’t offer easy answers. It’s my favorite kind of theater. The kind that we keep turning over in our heads for days after we’ve seen it.”

Video interview: I welcomed teNyenhuis and Kearns to the August episode of “The Munro Review on CMAC” to talk about the show. The interview begins at the 19:05 mark.

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A talented bunch

The event: Children’s Musical Theaterworks presents “CMT’s Got Talent.”

When and where: The evening kicks off with a 5:30 p.m. reception with a no-host wine bar, h’ordeuvres and silent auction (premium ticket holders only.) It’s followed at 7 p.m. by a talent show featuring current and former CMT performers.

What to expect: Ten semifinalists have already been selected. The lineup includes vocalists, dancers and instrumentalists.

Tickets: There are two ticket levels. Section A tickets are $40 for adults, $10 children (includes pre-show reception and show); and Section B and C tickets are $20 adults, $10 children (show only).

Quotable: Here’s what I say: “I’m not familiar with all the finalists on the list for next week’s “CMT Got Talent,’ but I know enough of them to predict that it’s going to be stiff competition for this year’s title.”

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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