For thirty years the Performing Arts Center, located at 5409 Snyder Lane in Rohnert Park, has been bringing plays and musicals as well as other events to Sonoma County. On Sunday, Mar. 8, they threw a free party to celebrate past seasons and preview their line-up for the 20-21 season. A couple of hundred attendees were present for this presentation. Sarah Lee Miller, the Artistic Director for the center, acting as emcee, skillfully guided the audience through the evening activities. Mixing humor, gratitude and experience, she gracefully controlled the festivities.
The performances showcased ten accomplished singers accompanied on the piano by Lucas Sherman, the center’s music director. The Marketing Coordinator, Jennifer Griego, and the many volunteers put on an outstanding event. The first half of the program were performances from seasons’ past. The second half of the evening included both preview and descriptions of the upcoming season. The performers chose their own songs to represent both the past and future seasons. A no-host concession with beer and wine were available for purchase. Dessert was provided by Your Sweet Expectations Bakery. A raffle with many great prizes to bid on was held. Door Prizes were handed out. General auditions were announced for those 18 and older scheduled for March 21 and 22.
The first half of the evening started a few minutes after 7 p.m. Ariana LaMark led the way with a song from the play “A Little Night Music” called “The Millers Son.” Madison Griego followed with one of my favorites “Younger Than Springtime” from “South Pacific.” A bit later a rousing rendition of “Anything You Can Do” from “Annie Get Your Gun” was performed by Elisabeth Petro and Mario Herrera. Griego, Petro, and Herrera are members of the Spreckels Youth Ensemble. Daniela Innocenti Beem belted out “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Kirstin Pieschke had the final performance before intermission with “Fly, Fly, Away” from the musical “Catch Me If You Can.”
After a thirty-minute intermission the long-awaited reveal of the upcoming season commenced. Miller started with introduction of the Youth Ensemble line-up. Their will be two summer shows and one winter event. The winter show hasn’t been decided yet. But for the youth between 12-18 years of age, the play will be “Once Upon a Mattress” and for the 7-11 age group it’ll be “Aristocats.” Moving on to the adult schedule Miller revealed that for this season there will only be five shows not the usual six. She explained that given the history of fires in the month of October they decided not to place a show in that slot. She did reserve the right to change her mind, however.
The musical “Mame” will lead off the season in September. Three songs from that play were performed including “Bosom Buddies” by Maeve Smith and Daniela Innocenti Beem. A non-musical will hit the stage during the holiday season in the November and December time frame. It is “Ham for the Holidays” and yes the title is a take-off of “Home for the Holidays.” As you can imagine it’s a comedy.
In February next year they’ll bring to the stage, the North Bay premier of “Something Rotten.” James Raasch and Kirsten Pieschke sang “I Love the Way” while Sarah Wintermeyer performed “Right Hand Man” from the play. The Trial of John Brown is the performance scheduled for March and April. The final show scheduled for the season is “Tuck Everlasting” in May of next year. Elisabeth Petro sang “Good Girl Winnie Foster” while Andrew Smith sang “The Wheel” from that play. The final performance of the night was “Mame” from the play of the same name performed by Beem & company. Miller previously announced that Beem would be the lead in this play. If you haven’t attended a performance at the Performance Arts Center in the past, consider attending one soon. Congratulations Spreckels on 30 years and may you have many more years to come.