Best known for star-studded and show-stopping live performances, Sonoma County’s Transcendence Theatre Company was forced to cancel in-person events and move things online this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This summer, the company let audiences relive the best moments from its annual “Broadway Under the Stars” festival—normally presented at Jack London State Park—by presenting online video showcases of the family friendly song-and-dance shows.
Transcendence Theatre Company also regularly treats North Bay crowds to a “Broadway Holiday Spectacular” stage show each December. This holiday season, Transcendence transitions to safely present “Broadway Holiday Experiences,” featuring entertainment at the drive-in as well as online.
Like their “Broadway Under the Stars” video showcases, Transcendence has collected five years of recorded stage performances from the “Broadway Holiday Spectacular,” and will screen those performances for socially distant crowds at drive-in events on Dec. 4–6 at SOMO Village in Rohnert Park, and Dec. 11–13 at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma.
“I have been fortunate to be part of four of the last five holiday concerts,” says Tony Gonzalez, Director of this year’s “Broadway Holiday Experiences” at the drive-In. “And we’ve got a fun momentum going, creating this warm holiday-in-the-home feel with friends and family, accentuating the best part of the holidays.”
The video collection of concert footage features over 60 performers from Broadway musicals including White Christmas, Hamilton and Frozen; and featured performers include Will Ray (Les Misérables), Brittney Morello (Young Frankenstein), Luis Figueroa (42nd Street) and others.
Those drive-in screenings will also feature live hosts Meggie Cansler Ness and David Gordon performing alongside the filmed entertainment.
“They’re two performing artists that have been in multiple shows these last five years, so they will share some memories and songs in person,” Gonzalez says. “It’s been fun to create this kind of hybrid form of entertainment to keep everyone safe.”
The drive-ins will also include in-car activities, and food from local purveyors will be available to purchase, along with popcorn and snacks.
“In an effort to have folks involved, we are creating a kit that goes in your car with props that go along with the songs,” Gonzalez says. “We’re also going to lead everyone in a sing-along because that just feels right at the holidays and you’re safe in your car because no one else has to hear you except for your family.”
The “Broadway Holiday Experiences” video showcase will then move online for free viewing via YouTube from Dec. 18 through Dec. 23.
“Transcendence over the years has wanted to reach out further than the Bay Area,” Gonzalez says. “We encourage everyone to share the link and watch along with friends and families.”
‘Broadway Holiday Experiences’ plays at the drive-in Dec. 4–6 at SOMO Village in Rohnert Park and Dec. 11–13, at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma. 5pm arrival, 6:15pm show. $59–$249 per car. Transcendencetheatre.org.