June 1, 2020
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Entertainment News

By: Janet and Lanny Lowery
August 16, 2019

Good and not so good news from Leslie McCauley, Chair and Artistic Director of Santa Rosa Junior College’s Theatre and Fashion Department.  And the not so good news is not so bad.

McCauley tells us that we shall have to wait a while to get into the newly refurbished Burbank Auditorium.  She says, “Good things to those who wait!  Our move into the remodeled Burbank Auditorium has been delayed a bit—-you know how construction goes!”

But the waiting is only a few months as she gleefully states, “But we are happy to report that Burbank Auditorium and the new Studio Theatre will be ready for the SRJC Theatre Arts spring productions.  And we will be moving into our teaching spaces and offices in early January.”

Always excited and ebullient about coming attractions, McCauley’s energy about this new season mixes potently with her anticipation about the restored theaters and offices.  “We’ve chosen an uplifting and dynamic season:  Neil Simon’s ‘The Good Doctor’ will be our final show in Newman Auditorium.”

Wendy Wisely will direct this play that connects two legendary literary figures, Anton Chekhov and Neil Simon.  In Simon’s play, a young writer, meant to be Chekhov, suffering writer’s block, tells ten stories based on various works by Chekhov.

“The Good Doctor” will run from Oct. 4 through Oct. 13 with evening performances beginning at 8 p.m. Oct. 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, and 12, and with three matinees beginning at 2 p.m. on Oct. 6, 12, and 13.

McCauley tells, “Our holiday spectacular ‘The Sound of Music’ will be performed in the gorgeous Person Theatre at Sonoma State University.  Many thanks to the faculty, staff, administrators at SSU for hosting us for this collaborative production between our two programs.”  “The Sound of Music” begins its run Nov. 22 and finishes on Dec. 8.

And then the new excitement starts as Martin McDonagh’s “The Cripple of Inishmaan” inaugurates the new Studio Theatre as the first show in the remodeled building. Leslie McCauley will direct this show.  Beginning Mar. 6, “Inishmaan” closes Mar. 15.

In April, the Adam Sandler hit, “The Wedding Singer,” will christen the new Burbank Auditorium.  John Shillington directs this play that goes from Apr. 17 to May 3.

McCauley thanks theater lovers for their continued support “as we take our show on the road for one more semester.  Our season brochure has been delayed, but will be arriving in mailboxes within the next few weeks.  The Theatre Arts box office will reopen on Sept. 11 in the Haehl Pavilion on the SRJC campus.”

In spite of these remodeling conditions, the junior college continued to see increased student success.  McCauley proudly proclaims, “We had a record number of theatre students complete their degrees and certificates, and (she tells theater goers), thanks to your support, we produced two seasons of successful productions!”

As we noted last week, live theater thrives in Sonoma County.  Dramatic training begins in our public schools, primary and middle and secondary, and flowers in colleges such as the Santa Rosa Junior College Theatre Arts program.