Sacramento Stages Are Filled With Music & Drama

By Chris Narloch

Area theaters have wasted no time getting underway in 2018, and Sacramento stages are currently filled with not-to-be-missed plays and musicals, including the four titles below.
Jersey Boys
The one and only Frankie Valli is 83 now, and he is still on the road performing live. “Jersey Boys” is his story and the story of his band-mates Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi.



This is the blockbuster Broadway musical biography of how four blue-collar kids became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. They wrote their own songs, invented their unique sound and sold 175 million records worldwide – all before they were 30.

 

“Jersey Boys” is the Tony®, Grammy® and Olivier Award-winning Best Musical about Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons, featuring their hits, their happy times and their heartbreaks.

The musical is a well-oiled machine that never gets old, and you can see it again -- or see it for the first time -- all this week at Sacramento’s Community Center Theater.

“Jersey Boys” plays Tuesday, Jan. 30 – Sunday, Feb. 4. Visit www.calmt.com.  

The Nether
If your theatrical tastes run to darker fare, you will definitely want to check out this edgy dramatic mystery by Jennifer Haley that dives headlong into the ethical questions presented by the dark web.

The fascinating sci-fi story is set in the near future, where the inter-net has evolved in to the Nether, a vast network of virtual reality realms that allow users to log in, choose an identity, and indulge their darkest desires.

In “The Nether,” The Hideaway is a realm that allows pedophiles to live out their fantasies involving children, but at what cost?

Is the Nether providing a safe place for aberrant behavior to be expunged, or is it normalizing deviant activity?

Director Kirk Blackinton’s crisp, effective direction and an excellent five-person cast bring those difficult questions to thrilling life in this Sacramento premiere production.

“The Nether” plays through Feb. 25 at Capital Stage. Visit www.capstage.org.  

Winter’s Waltz
This two-person play at California Stage is an intriguing drama about a pair of men from different worlds who collide one evening in 1970s-era New York City.

Local playwright Richard Broadhurst creates a suspenseful set-up in “Winter’s Waltz,” which involves a meeting between a much older Caucasian gay man and an African-American delivery man in the gay man’s apartment.

Just what is being delivered and what occurs after the delivery would be spoiler alerts, but I will say that the fascinating premise has much more potential than is ultimately realized in Broadhurst’s somewhat predictable script.

I didn’t buy the ending, for example, but the play is still well worth seeing for the very skillful direction by Janis Stevens and for two superb performances, by Loren Taylor and Tory Scroggins.

“Winter’s Waltz” plays through Feb. 18. Visit www.calstage.org.

The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)
Sacramento’s own Brad Bong returns to town to delight audiences in this very entertaining musical comedy satire, and he is joined by an equally gifted cast that features local favorites Martha Omiyo Kight, Michael RJ Campbell, and David Taylor Gomes, plus Kelly Ann Dunn, a talent to watch who is relatively new to the area.

This powerhouse, five-person team must be exhausted after every performance (in a good way) because director Michael Laun really keeps them and the show moving.

Ms. Omiyo Kight is especially winning during the first two sections, which spoof the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber, respectively, and Mr. Campbell shines in the final section, which has fun at the expense of Kander & Ebb.

Less cutting than, say, “Forbidden Broadway,” the show has a similar appeal, making affectionate fun of musical theater and the geniuses that create it.

Gomes is the game host, music director and pianist, and Bong and Dunn expertly play the male and female ingénues, respectively, who effortlessly transition, as do Campbell and Omiyo Kight, from one character and musical style to the next.

“The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)” plays through Feb. 11 at Sacramento Theatre Company. For more information, visit www.sactheatre.org.

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