Donald’s list: Weekend choices (April 13)

Highlights for this busy weekend include “Guys and Dolls” (a collaboration between Fresno Pacific University and the Selma Arts Center), a concert for all proud band geeks, the not-to-miss StageWorks Fresno cabaret, and the tantalizingly titled play “Nana’s Naughty Knickers.”

‘Guys and Dolls’

You know her as a powerhouse actress who last gave us a walloping Hedda Gabler. Now Brooke Aiello, an adjunct theater professor at Fresno Pacific University, is making her directorial debut with “Guys and Dolls.”

guysdolls
A scene from rehearsal in “Guys and Dolls.” Photo by Karen Vargas / Fresno Pacific University

For the first time, the university is collaborating with the Selma Arts Center for a one-weekend run of a musical. The production includes students, community members and a special guest artist: professional actor Chris Carsten. (He just happened to play opposite Aiello in last summer’s New Ensemble production of “Hedda Gabler”). He will play a cameo as Arvide Abernathy, who sings the touching song “More I Cannot Wish You.”

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Theater roundup: Andrew Jackson gets ‘Bloody,’ while Fresno City explores a ‘Silent Sky’

Weekend openings also include “And Then There Were None” at Fresno State; and “Twelfth Night” at Fresno Pacific

Before there was “Hamilton,” there was “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.” (Or, as it could have been alternatively titled, “Old Hickory: The Musical.”) President Jackson might not have been one of the Founding Fathers, but the creators of “Bloody” knew back in 2008, long before “Hamilton” conquered the world, that mashing together American history and rock music could mean a big creative payoff. That’s why I’m leading off my roundup of a very busy theater weekend with a much-awaited new production at Visalia’s College of the Sequoias.

Illness as Metaphor
Let there be blood: Cheyenne Breshears as Rachel Jackson and Michael Seitz as Andrew Jackson. Photo / College of the Sequoias

College of the Sequoias

First Fresno City College and director Charles Erven broke new ground this season with a premiere production of the Broadway musical “Green Day’s American Idiot.” Now it’s time for Chris Mangels and the top-notch theater department at COS to offer another local hard-edged musical premiere.

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Donald’s list: Weekend choices (Sept. 15)

Options include Mexican pianist Mauricio Náder at Keyboard Concerts, poet Glover Davis at Fresno State and the opening of the Pacific Artist Series

Here’s a rundown on promising arts/culture picks for the weekend:

Keyboard Concerts

The Philip Lorenz Memorial Keyboard Concerts series at Fresno State kicks off its season with a performance by Mexican pianist Mauricio Náder, who has performed to critical acclaim in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East. This will be his second time performing for the series.

Mauricio Náder, pianist
Mexican pianist: Maurico Náder performs at Fresno State. Photo / Keyboard Concerts

Náder’s program will include works by Carrasco, Chávez, Castro, Morales, R. Halffter, Camacho, Nazareth, Águila, Gershwin and Muczynski.

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Hip hop and Shakespeare at the park

Here’s a quick pick for a worthwhile mid-week event:

Fresno Pacific University and Woodward Shakespeare Festival present a Wednesday performance of the YES! (Youth Engage Shakespeare) project at the festival stage in Woodward Park.

project yes

Ten high school students will present scenes, dances and original material from and inspired by on Shakespeare’s comedy “Twelfth Night.” A highlight will be hip hop led by Fresno Pacific senior Joy Ndombeson. The project is in its fifth year. Participants meet on the FPU campus for three weeks before going to Woodward Park for dress rehearsals and the performance.

Says project director (and FPU professor) Julia Reimer: “This is something new from the Renaissance dances of the past.”

The performance is 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 26, on the Woodward Shakespeare Festival Stage, near the Fort Washington entrance. Admission to the show is free. Entrance to Woodward Park is $5 per car.


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