Weekend pick: ‘New Wrinkles’ returns live to Fresno City College with ‘Summer Nights,’ a new cabaret
The opening: “New Wrinkles,” the long-running senior musical revue that has generated such a fan base over the decades, is back after Covid. The show is a bit smaller than you might be used to, and it doesn’t play as many performances during its run, but it has returned!
The dates: The show opens tonight (Thursday, June 2) with a special benefit performance. It continues for two weekends through June 12. Tickets for regular performances are $5 (a steal!)
The director: David Bonetto has been tirelessly keeping up the spirits of his performers over the past couple of years. “New Wrinkles” is a big part of the emotional and social lives of the singers and dancers who participate, and to be without that regular “show biz contact” has been hard for some of them. Bonetto kept things going virtually during a time when older people especially had to fear the ravages of the coronavirus. I got the opportunity to experience one of those invitation-only virtual sessions, and it was memorable and meaningful. These people weren’t going to let anything stop them from performing!
The backstory: “New Wrinkles” is now in its 31st year. The last time the big summer show was performed was “California Dreamin’ ” in summer 2019. Two smaller shows (“A Little Night Music in October 2019 and “Season Premiere in 2020”) were staged — part of an effort to make the experience more year-round — before Covid shut everything down. The cast of 32 is smaller than in years past, but it wasn’t until March of this year that the show was a definite go, so some of the longtime performers auditioned elsewhere.
The show: Titled “Summer Nights,” Bonetto says the show started out as a small, simple, cabaret-style show that turned into 40 songs and dances of the cast’s favorite songs of summer.
The storyline: There isn’t anything fancy this years compared to the past — just themes of summer memories, camping, beach days, concerts in the park, summer nights gazing at stars and reflections of “where we have been, and where we are today,” Bonetto says. It opens with “As If We Never Said Goodbye” and closes with “No Day But Today.”
The soloists: They include Georgie Dayton, Mac MacIntosh, Ron Surabian, Marty Fleming, Jane Parsons, Clora Ann Crumb, Frank Gomes, Carol Robinson and Joe Zamora.
The takeaway: Bonetto is just happy to be going back to live performance. He’s spent way too much time staring at screens. He says of the show: “It is very emotional and has a message of hope through sharing the gift of music and dance.” Welcome back, “Wrinkles.”