After attending over 100 Bay Area theatrical productions in 2019, it’s time to clear the theater programs out of the file cabinet and select my Top Torn Tickets. Here, in alphabetical order, is my list of the best and/or most interesting work done in the musical genre by Wine Country–theater artists in the past year:
Cinderella (Spreckels Theatre Company) I had a problem with the storyline (a bit too much Prince Charming for my taste), but this production had great voices and clever stagecraft.
Forever Plaid (Lucky Penny Productions) Get past the hokey pretense and you’ll find that as jukebox musicals go, this was a pretty darn entertaining one.
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Spreckels Theatre Company) This macabre musical ended up a casualty of the Kincade fire and PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoffs with its run cut short. A true shame that more folks didn’t get a chance to see it and Tim Setzer’s tour-de-force performance.
Jesus Christ Superstar (Santa Rosa Junior College) Thank God Andrew Lloyd Webber’s first musical was the last musical that the SRJC theater folk had to perform in a high school auditorium.
Little Shop of Horrors (Cinnabar Theater) One of the most entertaining musicals of the last half-century got a terrific staging in Petaluma and had audiences clamoring to see more Seymour, proving that you can’t keep a bad plant down.
Matilda the Musical (Napa Valley College) This delightful production showed that the youth-talent pool in Napa is deep.
Merman’s Apprentice (Sonoma Arts Live) This original musical featuring Dani Beem and Emma Sutherland as the title characters got its first full staging in Sonoma and, with a few rewrites, just might have legs.
Million Dollar Quartet (6th Street Playhouse) This fictional look at the gathering of four musical giants with an impressive set and imported talent was the closest thing to a touring production this area has seen in a while. And oh, that music.
My Fair Lady (Sonoma Arts Live) A charming lead performance from Sarah Wintermeyer anchored a luverly show with some stellar supporting work by Chad Yarish and the ubiquitous Tim Setzer.
The Sound of Music (Santa Rosa Junior College/Sonoma State University) The hills of Rohnert Park came alive with the sounds of this musical, a harbinger of good things to come when SRJC’s Burbank Auditorium reopens in the spring.
Next week: Top Torn Tickets: The Plays!