Archive for Doug Hughes

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!

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

The Bridges of Madison County opens next week!

THE EXCITEMENT OF A NEW SHOW:

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.

Print

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.”

smile-blog-1-2-3

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.