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Spreckels celebrates 30th season with party

  • Spreckels Performing Arts Center offered a free event to the public celebrating the last 30 years and a look ahead to the 2019/2020 season. Sheri Lee Miller, Artistic Director for the Spreckels Performing Arts Center, MC'd the event at Spreckels Sat, March 9. Miller introduced a variety of singers who sang songs from past musicals and upcoming musicals. Photo by Jane Peleti

By: Janet and Lanny Lowery
March 15, 2019

Twenty-five show tunes performed by eleven highly talented musicians with light and humorous introductions and commentaries delivered by hostess and Spreckels Artistic Director Sheri Lee Miller led up to the big event, the unveiling of next season’s six major productions.  Spreckels knows how to throw a party!

Miller’s welcome on the main stage merely hinted at the wonderful evening awaiting the several hundred spectators nearly filling the main theater.  “Secretive Sheri” delighted in teasing the audience not only about having to wait in suspense to learn about the six shows in the next year’s season but also in downplaying the wonderful show about to begin.  She made it sound as if there would be a “few” numbers from past shows presented to build to the moment of announcement.

What followed in two parts were twenty-five show tunes magically performed by ten extremely talented singers accompanied by a very imaginative pianist, Nancy Hayashibara.  The first number, “Pure Imagination” from the Willy Wonka musical sung by the vibrant Daniela Innocenti Beam suitably set the show in motion.  Later Beam sung “I Wish I Could Forget You” from an upcoming show, “Passion.”

William O’Neill delivered the romantic Lancelot song from “Camelot,” “If I Should Ever Leave You” with flare enough to flutter the hostess, the MC.  And Tina Lloyd Meals sustained the somber mood with her rendition of “Send in the Clowns.”  Later Meals beautifully brings the audience to “Carousel” as she sings “If I Loved You.”

The lively and animated William O’Neill bounces everyone across the stage with his vocal and physical movements while chanting “If I Were a Rich Man” from “Fiddler on the Roof.”  Tim Setzer adds to the lighter tone with his version of “Comedy Tonight.”  Later in the show, he suggests the delight ahead as he sings “Cop Song” from next season’s show “Urinetown the Musical.”

“Come to Me, Bend to Me,” a song from “Brigadoon,” gave Sean O’Brien the opportunity to delight the ladies of the romantic ilk (especially MC Miller).   He also recalled the story of “Titanic” as he delivered melodiously “Mr. Andrews’ Vision.”

Three youthful performers demonstrated that the Spreckels youth program develops fine actors and singers.  Elizabeth Petro previewed a piece from “Legally Blonde, Jr.”  Mario Herrera reminded us about how Pugsley feared losing his sister as he once again sang “What If” from “The Addams Family.”  And Madison Griego previewed a song from the May musical, “Cinderella.”

Maureen O’Neill, warmly applauded by her drama camp students, recalled the recent “Guys and Dolls” production as she shared “Adelaide’s Lament.”  Later O’Neill presented “Foolish to Think” from “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,” Spreckels’ winter season musical.

Welcomed heartedly back to Spreckels, Sarah Wintermeyer once again soared with “Neverland” from “Peter Pan.”  Late in the show, she previewed the song “My House” from the beloved musical “Matilda the Musical” which will cap the new season.

The grand finale included all eleven performers as they sang and danced to the song that affirms their career choice and excites all to aspire to be performers, “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”

This highly professional musical cornucopia from shows past and future led to the grand finale as Sheri Lee Miller announced next year’s season.  Six shows, including four musicals runs, from Aug. 30, 2019 through May 24, 2020.  “Eureka Day” begins Aug. 30 and finishes Sep. 22.  “The Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder runs through Oct.  “Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley” plays from mid-Nov. through mid-Dec.  “Urinetown the Musical” appears the last two weeks of Feb. 2020.  “Passion” follows in March and April.  Then everyone’s new favorite “Matilda the Musical” caps the season with a run in May 2020.

Sheri Lee Miller complimented her staff, and especially Jennifer Griego, for the unforgettable 30th Anniversary party. She reminded everyone of Spreckels’ youth programs and the need for support.  At the event a silent auction, subscriptions and donations helped to sustain the ongoing efforts of the theater.  Most important and most rewarding is to subscribe to the season.  Single tickets for musicals run from $18 to $36 and for plays, $16 to $26.  Subscribing for a season is much more economical as for six shows’ prices run for $76 to $145.  Anyone may subscribe online at www.spreckelsonline.com or in person at Spreckels, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park, or call 707-588-3400.

Look for future articles about each of the upcoming plays for the new season.  In the meantime, stand by for information about “Barbeque Apocalypse” and “Cinderella the Musical.”  Spreckels offers such great shows with top-of-the-line performers, close to home and free parking.