Musicals coming to Sonoma County theaters this spring

  • JPEG attached: Woody Guthrie-8788
    Pictured are (L to R top row) Tyler Costin and Jim Peterson with (L to R bottom row) Shannon Rider and Mary Gannon Graham performing a music number from Cinnabar Theater's production of "Woody Guthrie's American Song." Photo by Eric Chazankin

    “ Woody Guthrie's American Song ”
    Opening at Cinnabar Theater for New Year's Eve Event
    and continuing with performances to Jan. 23, 2011

    WHO: Cinnabar Theater in association with Heritage Music Theatre presents

    WHAT: “ Woody Guthrie's American Song ”
    Songs and writings by Woody Guthrie
    Conceived and adapted by Peter Glazer

There is music in the air this spring, and a lot of it is coming from live local stage shows all over Sonoma County.

During the next month or so, audiences can see such classic musicals as "The Fantasticks" in Cloverdale, "Cabaret" at Santa Rosa's 6th Street Playhouse and "Jesus Christ Superstar" at Santa Rosa Junior College.

And if you're looking for something different, the Narrow Way Stage Company will present "Reefer Madness, The Musical," based on the infamous 1938 cult film, at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center next month.

But the county's theaters also offer plays that deal with music in other ways, like "Stand by Your Man: The Tammy Wynette Story" at the Cinnabar in Petaluma and Tom Stoppard's "Rock and Roll" at Sonoma State University.

Over the past couple of years, Elizabeth Craven, former executive director of the 6th Street Playhouse, has made a specialty of song-driven dramas about music stars.

Her first effort in this category, "Always ... Patsy Cline" sold out three local runs, and went on to play the Wells Fargo Center and the Uptown Theatre in Napa.

"We estimated the show has played to 15,000 people," Craven said.

Craven followed up with "Hank Williams: Lost Highway," and last year she formed the Heritage Musical Theatre to stage "Woody Guthrie's American Song," which opened in December for a month-long, sold-out run at the Cinnabar.

And tonight, Craven opens "Stand by Your Man," starring Shannon Rider as country star Tammy Wynette, also at the Cinnbar.

The show features a live stage band and 26 classic hit tunes, but it's not a tribute concert, Craven said.

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