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Drum roll, please. Announcing our 2018-2019 season!

The puzzle is solved! After five weeks of Facebook teasers and lots of playful guesses by our devoted fans, on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at our semi-annual members’ meeting, South Bay

“Peter’s” Opening Weekend

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER opened this weekend to cheers and laughter from our audiences. Here are some photos of Friday’s “Preview Night” awards, and of our Opening Night gala on

SBMT unveils its new season on Jan. 30!

It’s #SBMTeaser Tuesday! Our next season of shows will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 30, but for the past five weeks, we’ve been posting hints on Facebook. Since we’re down

So what is this show, “Peter and the Starcatcher”?

Even if you’re a musical theater fan, you may not know much about South Bay Musical Theatre’s winter production, “Peter and the Starcatcher,” playing Jan. 27 through Feb. 17, 2018.

On the fifth day till Christmas, I too have gift ideas…

The countdown to Christmas is now at five short days. If you are still scratching your head trying to think of the perfect gift for that loved one who has

Drum roll, please. Announcing our 2018-2019 season!

The puzzle is solved! After five weeks of Facebook teasers and lots of playful guesses by our devoted fans, on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at our semi-annual members’ meeting, South Bay Musical Theatre finally unveiled the shows that will anchor our 2018-2019 season. Without further ado, they are: Mame, Big River, and Thoroughly Modern Millie.

All three of these shows are well-known, perennial staples in community theater circles, and consistently attract sell-out crowds when they are performed well. But for those of you who want more details, here’s a quick summary…

  • Mame, which opened on Broadway in 1966 starring Angela Lansbury, with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman (Hello Dolly, La Cage aux Folles) is set in New York City and spans the Great Depression and World War II. This bubbly musical focuses on eccentric bohemian Mame Dennis, whose fabulous life with her wealthy friends is interrupted when her orphaned nephew arrives to live with her. They cope with adversity in a series of hilarious madcap adventures and leave the audience feeling happy and optimistic, humming tunes such as “We Need a Little Christmas” and “Bosom Buddies.” SBMT has enlisted Diane Milo to serve as Director, following her successful oversight of last fall’s acclaimed The Bridges of Madison County, SBMT’s first TBA-Recommended production. Walter Mayes will serve as producer.
  • Big River, based on Mark Twain’s classic 1884 novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, features bluegrass-infused music by country superstar Roger Miller. This show ran on Broadway in the eighties for more than 1,000 performances, and is viewed as one of very few successful American musicals during a decade that was dominated by British imports. The themes of prejudice, greed, freedom, and personal salvation are as appropriate today as they were 134 years ago. Songs like “Gov’ment” and “Worlds Apart” offer satirical and poignant commentary on today’s highly divided political environment. The show will be directed by community theater veteran Doug Brook, and produced by Jay Steele.
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie, based on the 1967 film of the same name starring Julie Andrews, Mary Tyler Moore, and Carol Channing. This show hit Broadway in 2000 after several workshops starring Kristin Chenoweth, but it was understudy Sutton Foster who got her big break when Kristin left the role to do a TV sitcom. Millie is the age-old tale of the small-town girl who comes to New York—this time to marry for money. She gets caught up in the flapper lifestyle, meets some deliciously dangerous characters, and engages in a lot of song and dance. Because the show is so dance-intensive, in fact, SBMT has recruited multi-talented director and choreographer Lee Ann Payne to helm the production.

Our fall survey of members revealed that while many of you enjoy newer productions like those in our current season, there is still a deep nostalgia for the classics of Broadway’s golden age. These three selections cover a wide gamut of the Broadway canon, with one from the sixties (Mame), one from the eighties (Big River), and a third that was adapted for the Broadway stage in 2000 (Thoroughly Modern Millie). All were highly acclaimed, netting a total of 17 Tony Awards and 13 other Tony nominations!

In addition to our season announcement, the SBMT Board honored the following persons with service awards:

  • Carol Srigley “Heart of SBMT” Award: House Manager Diane Hughes
  • Fred Hassett “Future Growth” Award: Production Manager Sara Dean
  • Silver Jacket Awards: Diane Milo, Richard Cartwright, Braden Taylor, Marty McHan, Sam Cisneros, and Mae Matos

Entertainment was handled by SBMT newbies and veterans, with Matthew Hall and James Creer opening the evening with a medley from Big River. Seph Ariel and Jenni Chandler performed a scene from Peter and the Starcatcher, then Juanita Harris wowed the crowd with her rendition of “If He Walked Into My Life” from Mame—accompanied by Bob Sunshine on the piano. Michael Saenz and Lee Ann Payne performed a lively, high-kicking tap number from Thoroughly Modern Millie. And Walter Mayes and David Mister closed the presentations with a hilarious rendition of “Bosom Buddies” from Mame. SBMT Chairperson Barbara Heninger and Walter Mayes (who leads the season selection subcommittee) were the evening’s “emcees.”

Congratulations to those of you who correctly guessed one or more of the shows from the clues we’ve been sharing—especially if you were eagle-eyed enough to notice that the jigsaw puzzle pieces illustrating our last clue were taken from the show’s posters, pictured above in their glorious entirety!

Matthew Hall and James Creer perform a medley from Big River to open the evening.


New winners of SBMT’s traditional “Silver Jacket” pose with past winners in attendance at the Jan. 30, 2018 members’ meeting.


Janet Miller and Kathy Switky, two previous silver jacket winners, minus jackets.


Diane Milo shows off her new silver jacket with previous winner Barbara Reynolds


Silver Jacket winner Marty McHan with Carole Srigley award winner Diane Hughes




Michael Saenz and Lee Ann Payne perform an energetic tap from “Millie.”


Juanita Harris sings “If He Walked Into My Life” from Mame. 

Sasha Motalygo and Dave Leon, assistant director and director of our upcoming production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”

Walter Mayes and David Mister perform “Bosom Buddies.”








“Peter’s” Opening Weekend

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER opened this weekend to cheers and laughter from our audiences. Here are some photos of Friday’s “Preview Night” awards, and of our Opening Night gala on Saturday, January 28.

Have YOU purchased tickets yet? Get them now: http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/peterstarcatcher.html


Chris Beer, Co-Props Designer and Co-Sound Designer: Harriette Hill Technical Award



Brad Wetmore, percussion: Barbara Weaver Special Merit Award

Michael Champlin, “Black Stache:” Bobo Reardon Newcomer Award

Mae Haegerty-Matos, costumes: Joan Huff Producers Award (for helping costume designer Michael Johnson)

Chuck Manthe, “Mrs. Bumbrake:” the Gypsy Robe Award, presented by previous winner Beverly Hansberry

Cast member Steve Sammonds celebrates with Production Manager Sara Dean

Michael Champlin, “Stache,” with a little stache!

Jenni Chapman, “Molly”, celebrates after the show

SBMT unveils its new season on Jan. 30!

It’s #SBMTeaser Tuesday! Our next season of shows will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 30, but for the past five weeks, we’ve been posting hints on Facebook. Since we’re down to the home stretch, here’s a summary of all the clues published so far. Put on your deerstalker caps and see if you can guess!

Hint #1 (published Dec. 26): Of our three shows, one has a one-word title, another has a two-word title, and the third has a three-word title—in that order. (So that means you can rule out any shows with longer titles like Sunday in the Park with George, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, or A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum!)

Hint #2 (published Jan. 2): All three of the shows were huge hits on Broadway, with a combined total of 3,453 performances (not counting revivals), and a combined haul of 17 Tony Awards and 13 other Tony nominations.

Hint #3 (published Jan. 9): All three musicals come from different eras in the Broadway canon: one from the sixties, one from the eighties, and one from this millennium.

Hint #4 (published Jan. 16): As we remember Martin Luther King, Jr., it’s appropriate to reaffirm that SBMT is a proud proponent of diversity. At least one of next season’s shows will enjoy a multi-racial cast. And two of the shows—featuring strong female leads—will also employ female directors!

Hint #5 (published Jan. 23): One show’s characters reside in the 19th century, another show’s characters live in the early part of the 20th century, and the third show spans the Great Depression and World War II.

REMINDER: The General Membership Meeting, where all of this mystery will be put to rest, takes place:

Tuesday, January 30, 7:00 p.m.
at the Saratoga Civic Theatre
13777 Fruitvale Ave, Saratoga, CA 95070

In addition to the new season announcement, you’ll also see an excerpt from Peter and the Starcatcher, which will have just opened a few days earlier, and you’ll enjoy an informal reception afterward!




So what is this show, “Peter and the Starcatcher”?

Even if you’re a musical theater fan, you may not know much about South Bay Musical Theatre’s winter production, “Peter and the Starcatcher,” playing Jan. 27 through Feb. 17, 2018.

So, what exactly is the show about? And why should you see it?

“Peter and the Starcatcher” is the prequel to “Peter Pan.” It tells the back story of the iconic boy who would not grow up, along with his familiar friends and adversaries who are portrayed so memorably in the classic tale. It’s a sprawling, swashbuckling adventure that will take you from the shores of Victorian England to the deck of a speeding pirate ship to an exotic desert island. The story is funny, fast-paced, song-filled, and wildly creative.

But the creativity goes well beyond the inventive script. In this show, scenes change in an instant, and a small troupe of actors transform from character to character and leap from locale to locate. Surprises, enchantment, and delightful twists or wait at every turn.

And although there is much silliness and revelry, the story has a heart and the characters a real soul. You’ll find yourself rooting for the heroes, hissing the villains, and perhaps a shedding a tear at a tender parting of ways – we hope to make you feel like the kid you were when you first experienced “Peter Pan.”

The New York Times said, “With grown-up theatrical savvy and a child’s wonder at what it can achieve, ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ floats right through the ceiling of the physical limits imposed by a three-dimensional stage.”

Please don’t miss this unique, clever, tuneful, rollicking, masterpiece of stagecraft. It’s a theatrical experience you will treasure for years to come. And if that doesn’t convince you: come and see it just to find out why Peter Pan can fly!

Peter and the Starcatcher is a play by Rick Elice, with music by Wayne Barker, and based on the novel by Dave Barry (yes, THAT Dave Barry) and Ridley Pearson. Buy your tickets now; great seats are still available!

On the fifth day till Christmas, I too have gift ideas…

The countdown to Christmas is now at five short days. If you are still scratching your head trying to think of the perfect gift for that loved one who has everything, consider the gift of entertainment. South Bay Musical Theatre has two more fantastic shows this season that would make great presents for those last-minute stocking stuffers: Peter and the Starcatcher and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

What type of people would most love tickets to these shows? I can think of at least five:

  1. Youngsters. Both of these shows are appropriate for all ages, including your kids or grandkids. Peter and the Starcatcher tells us the prequel of the Peter Pan story we all know and love, while The Hunchback of Notre Dame offers a message of acceptance and redemption for those of us who don’t “fit in.”
  2. Disney fans. If you know someone who is a fan of all things Disney, they won’t want to miss the opportunity to see how The Hunchback of Notre Dame was expanded and adapted for the Broadway stage from the acclaimed animated film. Peter and the Starcatcher was also developed by Disney Theatrical.
  3. Stephen Schwartz and Alan Menken fans. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was written by these great legends of musical theater. You probably know and love many of their other works, including Wicked, Godspell, Pippin, and Children of Eden (Schwartz) and Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and Little Shop of Horrors (Menken).
  4. Dave Barry fans. Best-selling humorist Dave Barry (who used to write a syndicated newspaper column and a long list of both fiction and non-fiction books) co-wrote the children’s book on which Peter and the Starcatcher is based.
  5. New works fans. Both of these shows are relatively new to the community theater circuit, fresh from their limited runs on Broadway. Unless your loved ones travel to New York regularly, chances are these are undiscovered gems they have not yet had the opportunity to enjoy.

If you want to buy tickets in time for Christmas, just go to our website and you can buy them online, pick your own seat, and print them right at home. Keep in mind that your recipients can exchange the tickets for a different date if they have a conflict on the date you choose for them. All they need to do is to call our box office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. at 408-266-4734, and our friendly volunteers will be happy to assist.

May your holidays be filled with music, love, and laughter!

—Your friends at South Bay Musical Theatre


Broadway by the Decade: 1920s — Cast announced

Broadway by the Decade - 1920sOne of SBMT’s most popular enduring traditions is Brad Handshy’s always-entertaining, fun-filled “Broadway by the Decade” series. Each show covers a ten-year period in American Musical Theater history as some of our most talented (and popular) performers turn out for a one-night-only production that invariably sells out.

This year’s show reaches w-a-a-ay back to the early beginnings of Broadway as it turns our spotlight on the fabulous Roaring 20s. During the 1920s, the popularity of Broadway’s music reigned supreme—a decade of songwriters such as the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, Irving Berlin, and Jerome Kern. The concert will be packed with hit songs from the shows of the ‘20s, as well as some “undiscovered gems” you’ve probably never heard (but may well love!).

Need a last-minute stocking stuffer?

To get your tickets now, please visit our website and order online or call our box office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. at 408-266-4734.

Need more convincing? Take a look at this list of talented SBMT regulars who will bring this year’s production to life:

Nicholas Adams
Steve Allhoff
Stephane Alwyn
Beverly Blount
Afton Bolz
Jason Brittsan
James Creer
Adrien Gleason
Matthew Hall
Barbara Heninger
Carly Honfi
Walter M. Mayes
Elizabeth McClelland
Corey Miller
Shawn Miller
Diane Milo
David Mister
Nick Nakashima
Ron Packard
Erin Reis
Barbara Reynolds
Tim Reynolds
Michael Rhone
Minna Rogers
Kereli Sengstack
Katherine Stein
Alicia Teeter
Molly Thornton
Marisol Urbano
Rebecca Lipon Weekly

Jay Steele, host
Brad Handshy, pianist and musical direction

SBMT announces cast of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

SBMT is proud to announce the cast for its upcoming production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. This show not only has a wide variety of characters but also a full choir to give voice to the beautiful, soaring score and lyrics by Broadway legends Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz.

With a cast this large and a story this beloved, the demand for tickets is sure to be high. Reserve your seats now by going to southbaymt.com.


Quasimodo: Seph Ariel
Frollo: Jay Steele
Esmeralda: Jen Maggio
Phoebus: Steve Alhoff
Clopin: Alea Selburn

Sarah Bylsma
Francesca Cipponeri
Daniel Dominguez
Jessica Ellithorpe
Cami Jackson
David Murphy
Christine Ormseth
Smita Patibanda
Will Perez
Michael Rhone
Steve Roma
Michael Stahl
Tori Stamm
Braden Taylor

The Choir:

Vanessa Alvarez
Jennifer Medeiros
Janet Miller
Barbara Reynolds
Jennifer Seguin
Christy Wait
Jaime Walker

Barbara Heninger
Natasha Medeiros
Mary Melnick
Libby Moore
Jennifer Packard
Megan Pittman
Molly Thornton

Daniel Burns
Derek DeMarco
Andy Gipson
Johnny Moniz
Chris Nasser
TJ Paganini
Kaeo Tiwanak

Dallas Carter
Jason Herrera
Michael Johnson
Walter Mayes
Ron Packard
Keith Pennings
Steve Sammonds

Choir Alternates:
Puukani Tiwanak
Diane Milo


Director: Dave Leon
Assistant Director: Sasha Motalygo
Musical Director: Joe Kelly
Vocal Director: Diane Milo
Choreographer: Libby Cox
Producers: Howie Miller and Jen Young
Stage Management: Carla McCreight, Kim Beals, and Shelby Kahn
Sound Designer: Dan Singletary
Lighting Designer: Mike Munoz
Set Designer: Stephen Wathen

Five Reasons We Offer Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving weekend, and we want to pause amid all the feasting and festivities to express our heartfelt gratitude to the people in our organization and our community that make it possible for us to continue bringing quality musical entertainment to the South Bay.

Our blessings are many, but in the interest of brevity, let’s talk about five that have touched our hearts in 2017:

The recognition of our peers

Our most recent production of The Bridges of Madison County was endorsed by Theatre Bay Area with their “TBA Recommended” seal of approval. We take great pride in the quality of our shows, and it was gratifying to be recognized in a region where there are so many other amateur and professional theater groups competing for attention.

The dedication of our staff

For the past year, we have been especially fortunate to enlist the services of Sara Dean as our paid Production Manager. Sara has been an invaluable addition to our team, providing a smiling face to the community while offloading countless tasks from our shows’ producers.

Sadly, Sara is leaving us for a job with the YMCA. She made such a positive impact in her short time with us, however, that our Board of Directors unanimously voted to maintain Sara’s momentum by looking for another professional to whom she can pass the baton.

Are you Interested in the job or do you know someone who might be? See information here.

The talent of our volunteers

Like most non-equity theater groups, our cast, crews, and Board of Directors put in countless hours of rehearsal, performance, and outreach. We know how precious their time is, and value each person’s contribution. Our volunteers are the backbone of SBMT; without them we would cease to exist.

The generosity of our patrons

In addition to money you spend for tickets, many of you help us financially in a variety of ways: by donating back unused tickets so they can be resold, by responding to our fundraisers, and (we hope) considering us among the beneficiaries you remember this week on #GivingTuesday.

The loyalty of our audiences

Finally, we are grateful to all of you who come to our shows, join the applause, tell their friends, and renew their subscriptions year after year. To that end, we remind you to save the date—Tuesday, January 30—for our membership meeting and 2018-2019 season announcement. You are the best, and we thank you for supporting us year after year. Not many theater companies are still around after half a century of service, but as long as you keep coming back for more, we promise to deliver.

Happy holidays to each and every one of you!


“Giving Tuesday” is November 28

You’ve heard of Black Friday after Thanksgiving. You may have heard of Cyber Monday. But what about #GivingTuesday?

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their end-of-year philanthropy. (To learn more, watch their 80-second video.)

To join in the spirit of this global movement, we at South Bay Musical Theatre are kicking off our year-end fundraising drive on Giving Tuesday! On that evening, members of our Board of Directors will be stuffing, stamping, and mailing our 2017 fundraising drive letter to YOU, our wonderful supporters.

Why help SBMT?

South Bay Musical Theatre has been bringing music, laughter, and art to our community for over half a century. But ticket prices cover less than 75% of our costs. Your year-end gift will help keep live theater alive and well at a time when we need it most.

So we invite you to watch for your letter! Or, even better, why wait? In the words of Broadway legend Jerry Herman, “We need a little Christmas right this very minute!” To get a jump on Giving Tuesday “right this very minute,” just go to www.southbaymt.com/ye17 and join in the wonderful spirit of generosity that we celebrate at this time of year!

Thank you for your ongoing support, and may your entire holiday season be filled with love!

January Membership Meeting to unveil new season


It’s time to mark your calendars for SBMT’s next General Membership Meeting. At this meeting we celebrate our members, share SBMT news, and … drumroll … announce the shows lined up for the coming 2018-19 season! Thank you, by the way, for your wonderful response to our recent survey. It’s great to see such keen interest in the type and quality of shows we produce. We think you’ll be very pleased with the announcements we will be making.

The General Membership Meeting will take place:

Tuesday, January 30, 7:00 p.m.
at the Saratoga Civic Theatre
13777 Fruitvale Ave, Saratoga, CA 95070

You’ll also see an excerpt from Peter and the Starcatcher, which will have just opened a few days earlier, and enjoy an informal reception afterward! Join us at the theater!

Next year’s shows: Tell us what you’d love to see!

As South Bay Musical Theatre starts the selection process for our 2018-1019 season, we want to hear from you, so we have just released a brief survey that we’d love you to fill out! Here is your chance to let us know your likes and dislikes so we can bring you the kind of shows you will find most entertaining.

Just tell us a little about yourself, and what you prefer. You can suggest some of your favorite shows, or let us know what TYPE of shows you like. We’ve provided several categories for you to choose from in the survey. Maybe you like all of these categories, or maybe you lean emphatically toward one or two. Here are some examples of the categories we are considering:

Family Friendly – Shows like Annie, Beauty and the Beast, Big River, Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz

Mature Themes – Shows like Assassins, Avenue Q, Cabaret, Chicago, La Cage Aux Folles,

Newer Shows – Shows like Big Fish, Legally Blonde, Motown the Musical, The Wedding Singer

Golden Age Classics – Includes well-known shows like Hello Dolly, Mame, The Music Man, The Sound of Music, and West Side Story as well as lesser-known treasures like Finian’s Rainbow, Pal Joey, Silk Stockings

Dance Shows – Shows like 42nd Street, Grand Hotel, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Rock Score – Shows like American Idiot, Jesus Christ Superstar, Rent, The Who’s Tommy

So… what type of shows (or specific shows) get you humming as you leave the theater, inspire you to tell all your friends, and motivate you to come back again? Are they… brand new, or tried-and-true? Edgy theme, or more mainstream? Well-known fare, or something rare? Let us know and we’ll make it worth your while!

Our thank you for your time

As an incentive for your time, at the completion of the survey you will receive a coupon code valid for a $10 per ticket discount to any remaining Adult or Senior price tickets to Peter and The Starcatcher (Winter 2018), and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Spring 2018). Additionally, you will have the opportunity to enter a drawing to win a pair of 2018-19 Season Tickets.

Please click here to take the SBMT “Voice of the Audience” Survey.  This survey should only take 5 minutes, and your voice is very important to us.

Thank you!

Love a Matinee? Join Us This Weekend!

There are just three more performances of SBMT’s Theatre Bay Area recommended production of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY. And for those of you who love matinees, we want to remind you that Saturday, October 14 is a MATINEE. That’s right, Saturday’s performance is at 2:30 pm.

So if you thought you missed your chance for a matinee, you haven’t! And if you thought you missed your chance to see BRIDGES … well, you’re getting pretty close. Order tickets today before they – and this production – are gone! Final shows:

  • Thursday, October 12 at 8:00 pm
  • Friday, October 13, at 8:00 pm
  • Saturday, October 14, at 2:30 pm

And remember to use the code WONDERING for a $10 discount! http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/bridgesmadisoncounty.html


We hope you’ve purchased your tickets for THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, our Theater Bay Area Recommended production! Performances continue October 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, and 14. You can even use the discount code, WONDERING, to get a $10 DISCOUNT on your ticket!

Our story revolves around Francesca Johnson, a young woman born in Naples, Italy, who met her American-soldier husband at the end of World War II and came to the US as a ‘war bride.’ Of course, there have been many such war brides over the years. The company of “Bridges” was happy to meet the son of a real war bride from Naples – Francesca Sorvillo Stewart! Sarah Miller (who plays “Carolyn” in our production) met Francesca’s son Richard Stewart at a members meeting of the Italian American federation this summer. One thing led to another, and Richard attended our September 25 Sunday matinee, bringing photos of his mother and father, Clarence “Stefano” Stewart.

Follow this link to read their lovely story: http://madeintoamerica.org/italian-war-bride-francesca-tommasina-niccolino-sorvillo-stewart/

And then … follow this link to buy tickets to OUR lovely story! www.southbaymt.com/shows/bridgesmadisoncounty.html  We hope to see you at the theater very soon!

Photos of a real Francesca, and her American soldier, Clarence “Stefano”

Francesca Sorvillo Stewart

Clarence “Stefano” Stewart


BRIDGES is a TBA Recommended Production

South Bay Musical Theatre is proud to announce that our production of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY is a Theatre Bay Area RECOMMENDED production. TBA adjudicators agreed that our production is exceptional.

We’re thrilled that “Bridges” is our first TBA Recommended production. Even more than that, we excited that our audiences are raving about this very special show. “A really exceptional production.” “Thrilled by the music.” “A truly memorable night of theater … kudos to all involved.”

Make sure you see the show that everyone is talking about!


Congratulations to our BRIDGES winners – Now get your tickets!

Opening weekend of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY was a success! Audiences raved, with comments like “MORE shows like this!” and “buy your tickets right away before the inevitable word of mouth renders it impossible!”

Opening weekend is also when SBMT honors members of the cast, crew, and staff for their efforts to bring the show to the stage. Receiving honors during our Friday, September 22 preview performance, were:

Our sincerest thanks and appreciation to Kelly, Ruth, and Beverly!

Word-of-mouth is going strong for this show. Get your tickets today at www.southbaymt.com/shows/bridgesmadisoncounty.html


Beverly Hansberry receives the Gypsy Robe from director Diane Milo, while producer Janet Miller and members of the cast applaud.


Kelly Weber-Barrera and Mike Barrera celebrate a successful show – not only is Kelly our Stage Manager, but Mike is ASM!


Alicia Teeter (“Francesca”) and Michael Hirsch (“Bud”) celebrate opening night.


Janet Miller (Producer), Diane Milo (Director), and Sara Dean (SBMT Production Manager) at the opening night gala.

Opening night audience raves: SEE THIS SHOW!

Photo credit: Scott McClelland

Our Facebook feed lit up this weekend, following the full house performance at the opening night gala for The Bridges of Madison County. Friends from the theater community (who know a good thing when they see it) had unanimously high praise for the show, the music, the acting, and the production values.

Two season ticket holders in their 70s who come all the way from Hollister stopped SBMT Board Chairperson Barbara Heninger in the lobby during the gala to say, “I want to tell you, you should do MORE shows like this!” They said they particularly enjoyed seeing something new and that they found the both music and story “beautiful.”

Other patrons enthusiastically agreed. Take a look at this sampling of the rave reviews we’ve received, and then go to southbaymt.com to get your tickets before they sell out.


OMG! This is one of the best shows ever! It is brilliantly constructed, and exquisitely performed. I came completely unaware of the book, the movie, and the Broadway score, and was immediately drawn into the true life dilemmas which we all meet on this journey we call life, and how we choose which crossroad to travel. We may always have that “if only I had taken the other road”, but that is reality! — Bill Ereneta


I was at the opening night performance of The Bridges of Madison County at South Bay Musical Theater last night, and it is a SPECTACULAR production. Alicia Teeter and Chris Janssen are giving amazing performances in the lead roles, supported by a very, very strong cast. Gorgeous lighting and scenic design, as well. This is the first production of the show in the Bay Area, and some theatergoers who won’t see shows they haven’t heard of are staying away. Don’t be that person. Get your tickets now. Support a theater that is committed to producing excellent shows, even (or especially) if it’s new to you. GO. — Mike Rhone


Last night I attended the opening night of SBMT’s production of The Bridges of Madison County. Wow! Just wow. I was completely blown away. It is not a happy show, but what a gorgeous production and a beautiful and tear-jerking story. The orchestra lead by Dan Singletary is just stunning. The entire cast is so committed and dedicated to telling this story with an intense level of sincerity and purpose. Alicia Teeter is perfection, plain and simple. She was born to play this part and she takes what is an extremely difficult score and makes it look effortless. Chris Janssen’s Robert is soul achingly beautiful. Ruth E Stein and Michael Johnson are comedic geniuses. There are so many great shows out there, but this one makes you feel all the feels. I felt sad, regret, turmoil, longing, passion, fear, and even uncomfortable watching what is a very intimate story. Most of all I felt the love on that stage and in the show. I loved feeling all of those feelings. I love when art moves me and this is art and the entire audience was moved. There were several numbers where the number would end and the audience collectively paused because they wanted to applaud but they didn’t want the moment to end. Pure and amazing magic. Thank you to the entire company of Bridges, (Diane Milowicki, Janet Miller, Sara Dean, and everyone else) for putting on one of the best shows I have seen in this theater. 3 weekends left. GO SEE THIS SHOW!!!! — Braden Taylor


Just returned from opening night of “The Bridges of Madison County” at South Bay Musical Theatre. Oh my! If you live anywhere close enough to Saratoga, GO SEE THIS SHOW. All the elements work so well, and the score is beautiful and glorious. Top-notch performances all around from the entire cast and orchestra. The show runs the next three weekends. — Steve Sammonds


Folks, I have no dog in this hunt, so believe me when I tell you that you MUST get a ticket to see The Bridges of Madison County at South Bay Musical Theatre. It is easily one of the best productions this group has ever done and contains performances that rival anything I have seen onstage all year. I am very proud of director Diane Milowicki and everyone involved and I told them so. With uniformly excellent design and execution, this was an extraordinary achievement. Diane’s direction was clear, every intent was realized, and the people of that Iowa town were there on that stage. Special credit to Michael Hirsch who brings great depth to the role of Bud, and to Ruth E Stein & Michael Johnson who offer a master class on how to bring three-dimensional life to supporting comic relief roles. Dan Singletary‘s orchestra was outstanding. And the voices of the cast were incredible. I started crying right around “Wandering” and pretty much didn’t stop except for the rodeo sequence. Alicia Teeter makes very specific and really intimate choices that are a hallmark of her work as an actor, and they pay off amazingly well in her portrayal of Francesca. She sings this role as if it were written for her and exceeds my already high expectations of what I thought she could do with this role. Chris Janssen works his way out of Robert’s shell and fear of connection magnificently; his naked, aching need to connect with Francesca creates the most beautiful and heartbreaking arc, culminating in a devastating “It All Fades Away.” When I saw this show the first time, on tour, I was crying for myself; tonight I was crying for Robert and Francesca. GO👏SEE👏THIS👏SHOW — Walter Mayes

Behind the Scenes in “Madison County!”

SBMT’s production of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY opens this Saturday, September 23, 8:00pm at the Saratoga Civic Theatre. Be sure to join us for an unforgettable night of theater, then stay for our opening night reception. Enjoy champagne and light snacks as you mingle with the cast after the show. There are still a few seats available – order now and use coupon code SBMT2017 to pay just $20 per ticket (a $19 savings!)! http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/bridgesmadisoncountry.html

To whet your appetite for this beautiful show, watch as Director Diane Milo takes you behind the scenes with our actors and musicians:

VIDEO LINK: Behind the scenes of “The Bridges of Madison County”


The Bridges of Madison County opens next week!


How SBMT’s musicals are selected


At the most recent SBMT membership meeting on August 27, Board member Walter Mayes explained to attendees the philosophy our play selection committee follows when choosing a slate of musicals each year to present to our subscribers. It’s a tricky balancing act, because if you ask people what musicals they want to see, they are likely to suggest the old chestnuts that have been around for half a century (e.g. My Fair Lady)—or at the other end of the spectrum, they may list shows that are still on Broadway and have not yet been released for amateur production (e.g. Wicked).

Faced with this dilemma, what’s a play selection committee to do?

The first titles we consider are the new shows that have been released in the past year, since it’s always exciting when we can be among the first to bring a new work fresh from Broadway. Our first show of the upcoming season, The Bridges of Madison County, is a great example of this, and SBMT jumped at the chance to present such a high-quality (Tony winning) show that gives our subscribers something they haven’t seen before.

Once we lay claim to such an “undiscovered gem” to add spice to the season, we look for an anchor show that is well known and beloved—but hopefully not overexposed here in the Bay Area. Finally, we search for a third show that will help us attract the most talented actors and volunteers. It’s an unfortunate fact of life in community theater that more women turn out for auditions than men, and yet most shows feature primarily male roles (e.g. 1776). So it’s always nice when we can find shows with a fair share of great parts for our wonderfully talented divas who love to perform for you.

Since The Bridges of Madison County opens in just one week, I did a little research to answer some of the frequently asked questions about this remarkable show.


Where are the bridges of Madison County?

Although there are counties named Madison in numerous states, this story takes place in Madison County, Iowa. The movie version, in fact, was partially filmed on location there in the town of Winterset. There are still six covered bridges standing there, which provides the raison d’être that brings the lead characters together.

Is The Bridges of Madison County based on a true story?

No. It’s a moving love story about a National Geographic photographer from Bellingham, Washington on assignment to create a photographic essay showcasing the historic covered bridges of Madison County. He meets a housewife whose husband and children are away on a trip. A romantic relationship blossoms that is never sordid, but rather one of “two soul mates who have met too late.” The novel is presented as a novelization of a true story, but it is in fact entirely fictional.

Why are the bridges of Madison County covered?

The bridges were covered to protect the roadway, because it was cheaper to replace the boards of the roof and walls, than the heavy beams of the actual bridge.

How do I get tickets?

Tickets for the entire season—or for this show only—are on sale now either online or by telephone. Go to southbaymt.com to pick your own seats, or call 408-266-4734. The phone is usually answered between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., but you can leave a voicemail 24 hours a day and we will get back to you promptly.

Seductive and romantic. The palpable chemistry between Robert Kincaid (Chris Janssen) and Francesca Johnson (Alicia Teeter) reaches a fevered pitch in the musical version of The Bridges of Madison County, playing September 23 through October 14 at the Saratoga Civic Theater. Don’t miss this fresh-from-Broadway masterpiece. Call for tickets today: 408-266-4734 or visit our website! See you at the theater.






Two talented newcomers will star in Bridges of Madison County

Community theater groups like SBMT tend to be tightly knit organizations, and it’s common to see the same actors appearing in show after show. Our audiences enjoy following their favorite artists and seeing what roles they will tackle next. Once in a while, however, a show is announced that is an actor’s dream, and it attracts very talented people from outside our pool of perennial performers to our auditions.

That’s exactly what happened with SBMT’s upcoming production of The Bridges of Madison County. Both of our romantic leads, though highly credentialed elsewhere, are making their SBMT mainstage debut with this show, and we are thrilled to welcome them!

Playing the role of Francesca is Alicia Teeter, who comes to us following performances at Tabard, Lyric, Hillbarn, Palo Alto, and Foothill theatres, and the Woodland Opera Company. She has also performed as a soloist for the Las Vegas Master Singers and the Las Vegas Philharmonic. Those of you who attend SBMT’s shorter-run “bonus” shows may have seen her in The Genius of Leonard Bernstein, Jerry’s Girls, or Broadway by the Decade: 1980s. Alicia grew up in Saratoga, and her parents still live here, so she is thrilled to be performing for a home town crowd.

“I was drawn to this production because of the material,” she says. “Jason Robert Brown has written such a lush, gorgeous, and moving score.  I can’t believe how lucky I am to get to sing it!

“My experience working with SBMT has been lovely,” she continues. “It is a very warm and welcoming group of people.  (Director) Diane Milo and I met years ago performing in a show together, and it is a treat to work with her as director.”

The role of Robert Kincaid will be played by Chris Janssen, who has some funny things to say about how he prepared to tackle this demanding part.(Hint: it has something to do with popsicle sticks! Be sure to read his biography in the program when you get to the theater.) Chris has performed in New York in such shows as The Secret Garden, Pippin, Children of Eden, and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Bay Area audiences may have seen him at Palo Alto Players or CMTSJ.


Bottom line? This is a show that captured the Tony Award for its score and orchestration—and we are blessed with some professional-caliber singers to bring it to life. Don’t miss this high-quality, soul-stirring production. Get your tickets today while great seats are still available! Once the show opens, word of mouth typically spreads like wildfire, resulting in sold-out performances.


For more information about the show itself (plot synopsis, performance dates, complete list of cast and crew, online ticket info) visit the SBMT website. Thanks! See you at the theater!



Bridges of Madison County to debut this month!

South Bay Musical Theatre is hard at work getting ready for the first production of our 2017-2018 season, The Bridges of Madison County. The show opens Saturday, September 23 and runs through October 14 at the Saratoga Civic Theater.


Most people know the story of Bridges of Madison County because of the best-selling 1992 novel by Robert James Waller or the Oscar-nominated 1995 movie adaptation starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. Two decades later, it was transformed into a musical in 2014 that won a Tony Award for Best Score and Orchestrations and garnered the Drama Desk Award for Best Musical. South Bay Musical Theatre is proud to introduce this soaring work to our Bay Area audience.

Helpful tip

For years, SBMT has enjoyed sellout crowds for its Sunday matinee performances. Due to the popularity of the afternoon time slot, we will be adding an extra matinee for the upcoming season, on the final performance of each show. For Bridges, that will be Saturday, October 14. That means, if you act quickly, you have a rare opportunity to reserve some prime seats that are not already allocated to long-time season ticket holders. To subscribe, you can download a subscription order form by clicking here. If you’d like a brochure with more information, please call our box office at 408-266-4734. And if you simply want tickets for Bridges of Madison County, you can buy them online.

For more about the show, refer back to our October 16, 2016 blog post, in which we first announced our acquisition of the performance rights. See you at the theater!

How SBMT can profit from your online purchases

Amazon-Smile-logoIt only takes a few keystrokes on your part, but it can add up to big bucks for SBMT. The amazon.com “Smile” program allows you to designate a favorite non-profit (like us!) to benefit from most everything you buy online—from disposable diapers to a ten-grand TV. Amazon then makes a donation to your designated charity equal to one half percent of your purchase.

Amazon has a detailed description of the program on their site, but it’s not all that complicated. The trick is to make sure you go to smile.amazon.com to start your purchase process. (If you forget or omit the “SMILE” in the web address, there’s no retroactive credit.)

You only need to set up your account once to designate South Bay Musical Theatre as the beneficiary of your buying power. It’s easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Go to smile.amazon.com, type “South Bay Musical” in the “Search” dialog box, and hit “Search.”
  2. When the search results are displayed, click “Select” next to “South Bay Musical Theatre.”
  3. In the final dialog, check “Yes I understand that I must always start at smile.amazon.com to support South Bay Musical Theatre.”


Once you have completed the setup, just bookmark smile.amazon.com and use it to start all your future online transactions. You can search and order the same as always, but now you’ll see an acknowledgement under your search box saying that you are “Supporting South Bay Musical Theatre.” (see photo)

Supporting: South Bay Musical Theatre

Our fundraising team will be forever grateful, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing your painless philanthropy will help ensure the continued quality of our future endeavors! One half of one percent may sound insignificant, but with everyone participating, it adds up quickly. In fact, we just got a check for $50 from Amazon for our members’ Q2 purchases.

Volunteer Appreciation Event / SBMT Board and Staff Announcements

Volunteer Appreciation Event – YOU Are Invited!

Summer is here, and South Bay Musical Theatre is already preparing for our exciting 2017-18 season. As part of that, we would like to take a moment to celebrate YOU – our wonderful supporters, members, and volunteers! We will hold our semi-annual membership event on

Sunday, August 27
2pm – 5pm
1611 Corte Via, Los Altos (the home of Barbara Heninger, Board Chair)

Join us for snacks, conversation, and a quick membership meeting. Chat with our newest Board members, introduce yourself to Production Manager Sara Dean, meet fellow volunteers and SBMT supporters, and contribute your ideas to our plans for 2017-18 and beyond!  Mark your calendars now. We’ll send an email invitation to members with maps and more details. We hope to see you there!

SBMT Board and Staff Announcements

Speaking of new Board Members, the SBMT Board election results are in, and the following members were elected/re-elected to 2-year terms on the Board:

  • Kimberly Kay (returning)
  • Howard Miller (returning)
  • Braden Taylor (returning)
  • Doug Hughes (joining)
  • Steve Sammonds (joining)
  • Molly Thornton (joining)

Thank you to our active SBMT membership for their votes! Other members remaining on the Board are: Ron Bowman, Barbara Heninger, Walter Mayes, Jordan Selburn, Dan Singletary, and Jennifer Young.

We thank retiring members Jay Steele, Jeffrey Henson, and Diane Milo for their years of service on the Board! We truly would not be where we are without your tireless efforts. We’re especially glad that Jay will continue his efforts as our Marketing Director, and Jeffrey as our Facilities Director.

In addition to welcoming new members to the Board, we are excited to introduce our new Bookkeeper (formerly called Treasurer), Tammy Foley. Tammy is an experienced professional accountant, licensed and bonded, who is also a strong SBMT supporter. You can contact her at accounting@southbaymt.com.* We are very pleased to have her on board!

We also take this time to thank Michael Saenz for his service as our Treasurer during the 2016-2017 season. Thank you, Michael, for your work supporting SBMT!

–Barbara Heninger
for the SBMT Board of Directors

*SBMT volunteers who have expenses and receipts to report can submit them to accounting@southbaymt.com or mail them to SBMT at PO Box 700215, San Jose, 95170.

MY FAIR LADY Opens to Applause / CHESS Opens Sunday

Audience members and local media agree: MY FAIR LADY is terrific!

An absolutely enjoyable, exceptionally well-done show … This production captivates the audience from the moment the curtain rises to the closing scene. — Camille Bounds, Morgan Hill and Gilroy Life

Opening night audiences cheered the entire production, and then enjoyed a sparkling champagne reception by Laura Hager. There are still three more weekends to catch this production, now (May 27) through Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 8:00pm – but hurry, tickets are going fast! Click below to order your tickets now:


Erin Reis (Eliza Doolittle) and Dina Jacobson (Mrs. Higgins/Ensemble)

Erin Reis (Eliza Doolittle) and Dina Jacobson (Mrs. Higgins/Ensemble)

Director Morgan Dayley and Co-Producer Walter Mayes

Director Morgan Dayley and Co-Producer Walter Mayes

Ray D'Ambrosio (Henry Higgins) with Elizabeth Lawrence, Vocal Director Rachel Michelberg, and

Ray D’Ambrosio (Henry Higgins) with audience member Elizabeth Lawrence and Vocal Director Rachel Michelberg



Meanwhile, CHESS opens for one of its two concert productions this Sunday evening, May 28. SBMT Performer Matt Blank describes his experience rehearsing the challenging music (and lyrics!) for CHESS in an online article for Broadway World San Francisco.

Some of the challenging music for CHESS

Some of the challenging music for CHESS

From Vocal Director Anita Carey:

“Most theatre companies now produce Chess in concert because no one version makes sense. We are definitely doing a hybrid production! This SBMT version pulls from the British, American, and some other score whose origin I don’t know. Music director Asa Stern found the extra sheet music. … One of my contributions is that we are doing both the British and American versions of “You and I,” the number where the married chess master and his mistress express their wrong love for each other. The American version adds in the chess master’s wife, thus layering a gut-wrenching poignancy to an already sad situation. By having both versions, we will show the audience an example of why this show keeps being rewritten as well as why it is so addictive.”

And from Director Walter Mayes:

“It isn’t Chess; it’s Chess in Concert! We have a full orchestra and a gorgeous choral ensemble of 25 voices who will sing all the good songs (we did some editing) from both the UK and US productions, no one person playing any single role, and in full concert style–holding their books and using music stands. We leave out the script except where absolutely necessary and rely on a narration I am writing to sew the story together and poke a little fun at the, as you say, “peculiar animal” it is.”

(Both quotes from the Broadway World SF article by Matt Blank)

To experience this event, get your tickets for Sunday, May 28, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. or Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 2:30 p.m. TWO PERFORMANCES ONLY! Find out what this “pious waffle” is all about!



MY FAIR LADY Opens Saturday – CHESS Follows!

My Fair Lady

SBMT’s production of MY FAIR LADY opens this Saturday, May 20! Opening night features a complimentary catered champagne reception following the show – don’t miss this chance to mingle with the cast, staff, orchestra, and crew. We’ve got a stellar cast for you, plus a terrific orchestra, beautiful production, and even some surprises — make sure you get there early enough to see our “flower-bots” during the pre-show!


Lerner and Loewe’s score is packed with so many hits that it’s difficult to select the highlights: “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?,” “The Rain in Spain,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “On the Street Where You Live,” “Get Me to the Church on Time,” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.” Join us for this crowd-pleasing classic, and you’re sure to fall in love with My Fair Lady all over again.


Then, on Sunday, May 28 and Saturday, June 3, enjoy CHESS IN CONCERT. The creators of Chess are giants of rock music and rock musicals, and Time Magazine called their collaboration on this dynamic show “one of the best rock scores ever produced.” Here the ancient game becomes a metaphor for romantic rivalries, human competition, power politics, and international intrigue. The pawns in this drama form a love triangle: the loutish American chess star, the earnest Russian champion, and the Hungarian-American female assistant who arrives at the international chess match with the American but falls for the Russian. Presented in concert with orchestra.


BRIDGES Cast Announced


South Bay Musical Theatre is proud to announce the cast for its first show of the 2017-18 season, BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY. Opening September 23, 2017 and running through October 14, BRIDGES is based on the best-selling novel and captures the lyrical expanse of America’s heartland along with the yearning in the eternal question “What if…?”

Alicia Teeter – Francesca
Chris Janssen – Robert
Michael Hirsch – Bud
RuthE Stein – Marge
Michael Johnson – Charlie
Sarah Miller – Carolyn
Derek DeMarco – Michael
Cami Jackson – Marian/Chiara
Gwyneth Price – State Fair Singer/Ensemble
Barbara Heninger – Ensemble
Rebecca Brownson – Ensemble
Dina Jacobson – Ensemble
Beth Anne Wells – Ensemble
Beverly Hansberry – Ensemble
Mike Cuddy – Ensemble
Jeff Tuttle – Ensemble
Tyler Pardini – Ensemble

Director & Vocal Director: Diane Milo
Music Director: Dan Singletary
Producer: Janet Miller

Congratulations to our cast!

And don’t forget our next shows coming up:

MY FAIR LADY – May 20 to June 10, 2017

CHESS IN CONCERT – May 28 and June 3, 2017 (two performances only)