During the past five seasons of its popular “Broadway Under the Stars” song and dance revues, performed outdoors at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen, the Transcendence Theatre Co. has established itself as a major player in the Sonoma County theater scene.
Having triumphed in the open air, this troupe of actors, singer and dancers — all with professional experience on Broadway and in national touring companies — has gradually begun working its way indoors, with performances at Santa Rosa’s Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, including holiday shows for the past two years.
Transcendence returns to the 1,600-seat Burbank Center this weekend with “The Best of Broadway Under the Stars,” a compilation of highlights from past summer shows presented in the natural outdoor theater formed by the winery ruins at Jack London Park.
And the following weekend, March 18-19, the Transcendence performers will take the show to the Marin Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael, for its first foray beyond the Sonoma County line.
“This is our first time taking a show down to Marin County, and it’s a big deal for us. It’s a 2,000-seat venue and we’ll be doing two performances down there,” said Stephen Stubbins, executive co-director of the Transcendence Theater Co.
“This gives us an opportunity to take these shows and do them in another area,” he said. “But the real focus when we perform in Marin, or other areas later on, is to bring those audiences back to Sonoma County for our outdoor summer season.” The sixth season of “Broadway Under Stars” will open June 16 at Jack London Park.
“For ‘The Best of Broadway Under the Stars,’ we wanted to share that Transcendence energy with both new audiences, and for our audiences that have seen us before,” said Amy Miller, the company’s artistic director.
“So we looked at the whole five years of hundreds of songs, and we picked some of the audiences’ favorite numbers,” Miller said. “A lot of people have requested we bring certain numbers back again. There’s a lot of focus on Broadway music, as well as some of our original medleys and arrangements, comedy songs and tap dancing.”
Transcendence performs about 100 songs during every summer season, so the directors had a lot of material to choose from, narrowing it down to roughly two dozen of the best numbers, Stubbins said.
Audiences can expect a medley from “West Side Story,” the 1920s classic “Bye Bye Blackbird” and “I Can Do That” from “A Chorus Line,” as well as some surprises. Stubbins and frequent singing partner Leah Sprecher will reprise one or more their popular “mashups,” squeezing an entire musical score into 10 minutes or less. The cast of “Best of Broadway Under the Stars” will feature a few new facess, but three-fourths of the performers have appeared with Transcendence before.
“Especially for this show, we wanted to bring back people that everybody knows from our shows,” including popular Sonoma County comic actress and singer Lexy Fridell, Stubbins said.
You can reach staff writer Dan Taylor at 707-521-5243 or email@example.com. On Twitter@danarts.