Archive for Blog-erviews!

More Gypsies, a Video – and $10 Off!

GYPSY opens in only FOUR DAYS! We’re so excited to entertain you, we can barely wait. (See what we did there?) In fact, we have a SPECIAL DISCOUNT for those who buy tickets NOW.

  1. Go to www.southbaymt.com/shows/gypsy2016.html
  2. Use code ENTERTAIN for $10 off any tickets purchased by Wednesday, MAY 18!

That’s right, this special offer lasts only until Wednesday at midnight. So buy NOW!

Meanwhile, our cast has more to share with you.

First, Zoe Wheatonfox, “Young Louise,” provides a kid’s-eye view of the show in backstage interviews with the youngest members of our cast:

Kid's-eye View of GYPSY!

Kid’s-eye View of GYPSY!
Video link

Second, we have two more “blog-erviews” for you. Meet Felicia Chang and Scott Knaster!


Felicia Chang, “Baby June”

Felicia Chang as "Baby June," with Zoe Wheatonfox ("Young Louise")

Felicia Chang as “Baby June,” with Zoe Wheatonfox (“Young Louise”)

Why are you excited to be in Gypsy?

I am excited to be in Gypsy to play a role that is young and naive, a girl that is supposed to be around seven years of age. It will be a big challenge for me while I am a junior high school student. Not only do I need to sing like a young kid, but I also need to dance and act like one. It will be super fun and interesting.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about the show?

I think the most important thing the audiences should know about the show is that everyone in the cast worked very hard and put a lot of effort in a show we hope you enjoy.

What attracted you to join an SBMT production? Why do you perform in community theatre?

I really like performing in the musical especially in the community theatre. By working with professional directors and actors, I can learn a lot from them in acting and singing. Besides, I can experience different cultures in different theatre companies and meet with new people. SBMT is very kind to cast children in Gypsy, and Elizabeth [our 'child wrangler'] is also super nice to the kids. I really appreciate SBMT offering me this opportunity to be in the show.

Madam Rose’s favorite food is Chinese take-out. What’s YOURS, and why?

My favorite food is mac and cheese. I like to eat all different kinds of mac and cheese and will never be tired of it. The best one is Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in Seattle Pike Place Market. It’s very creamy and smells very good. Although I already drank a cup of Starbucks coffee and ate a big bowl of clam chowder, I still ate a super big bowl of  mac and cheese there. It’s really good.

Felicia Chang (Baby June) is so proud to be a part of the Gypsy cast at SBMT! Her past shows were Young Fiona in Shrek (Starstruck) Jane Banks in Mary Poppins (Woodminister), Belle in Beauty and the Beast (Stage 1), and Amaryllis in The Music Man (PCRT). Her hobbies are doing gymnastics and singing. She wants to thank her parents, especially her sister, Vivienne, for supporting her and encouraging her through hard times.

Scott Knaster, “Pop”

Scott Knaster (Pops) celebrates a fellow cast-member's birthday

Scott Knaster (Pop) celebrates a fellow cast-member’s birthday during Tech Weekend

Why are you excited to be in Gypsy?

It’s my first community theatre show ever! I’ve been doing family theatre for a couple of years, but this is all new to me, so I’m enjoying all the learning and the new experiences.

Like all great shows, it’s about basic human events and emotions. Gypsy seems to be about the woman who became Gypsy Rose Lee, and it is, but to me it’s really about mothers and daughters, and the complicated relationships that change over many years.

What attracted you to join an SBMT production? Why do you perform in community theatre?

I didn’t perform in theatre in high school or as a young adult. I’ve long sat in audiences thinking “That looks like fun. I wonder if I could…”. With Gypsy, I finally left the audience to get up on stage, and it’s been even more fun than I imagined.

To strip, or not to strip – that IS the question. Would YOU?

No. You’re welcome.

Scott Knaster (Pop) is thrilled to be in his first SBMT show! Scott is a relative newbie to performing who recently went from I’d-like-to-try-that to wow-this-is-awesome, getting his start at Playful People Productions. Scott has appeared in Guys & Dolls (Benny Southstreet), Peter Pan (Chief Tiger Bamboo), and the original mashups Twister (Oz gatekeeper), Arabian Nights (Genie), and Alice in La La Land (Wilshire Cat). Scott thanks Janie and the amazing company of Gypsy; Barb, Katie, and Carey for the addiction; Devi for inspiration; and Barbara for absolutely everything.

Meet More Gypsies: Michael and Oscar!

A few Gypsy cast, staff, and crew with SBMT volunteers at load-in on April 30

A few Gypsy cast, staff, and crew with SBMT volunteers at load-in on April 30

The GYPSY cast and crew has moved into the Saratoga Civic Theatre. It’s only two weeks until OPENING NIGHT on May 21, so order your tickets now!

http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/gypsy2016.html

Meanwhile, meet two more of the Gypsy clan in our continuing blog-erviews!


Oscar: Chowsie

Oscar plays Chowsie, Mama Rose's dog

Oscar plays Chowsie, Madam Rose’s dog

Why are you excited to be in Gypsy?

Oscar is overly excited to be in his first production ever!

What is the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

No animals are ever harmed in this show. Oscar enjoys his time on stage.

What attracted you to join an SBMT production?

Oscar is happy to be in a show next to his mom (Alex Cox) and many new friends!

Madam Rose’s favorite food is Chinese take-out. What’s YOURS?

Oscar’s favorite take out is Panda Express Orange Chicken.

Oscar was born about 3 years ago on the streets of San Jose, until the day he met his forever family with Alex Cox, who sings and dances as one of the “Hollywood Blondes” in Gypsy.

Michael Saenz: Georgie/Weber/Angie

Michael Saenz helps out at move-in.

Michael Saenz helps out at move-in.

Why are you excited to be in Gypsy?

I’m excited because this is my first SBMT show, though not my first Janie Scott show.  What I love about Janie as a director is that she has a way of challenging people to do the unexpected.  Are you primarily a singer who moves well? Great!  You’re going to dance now; she challenges you to stretch beyond your comfort zone.  I’m also excited to be in Gypsy because it’s such an iconic show with larger than life characters; I knew I had to be involved. Here’s a fun game for you to try while watching the show.  Try and guess which character I am when I’m on stage!

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

Hmm… the MOST important? I’d say that the most important thing is that we have a wonderful cast/crew/production staff that have put together something pretty spectacular. Also, don’t be so quick to dismiss Rose as a two dimensional character.  There are several moments that give us some insight as to what makes her tick.

What attracted you to join an SBMT production? Why do you perform in community theatre?

This is my first SBMT show!  What attracted me to this production at SBMT are some wonderful people on the production staff who I knew would put together a great show.  (Wait, did I mention this already? It’s true!) There are several seasoned performers as well (who’ve done SBMT shows) that have really made me feel welcomed.  That’s definitely an attraction — especially when you’re spending most of your evenings in rehearsals with these folks! #loveyoumeanit!  As for why I perform in community theatre, I enjoy telling a story.  Musical theatre isn’t that much different from dance.  Both tell a story in a compelling way — when you simply cannot say it with just words, you have to take it to the next level with song and/or dance.

To strip, or not to strip – that IS the question. Would YOU?

Sure, why not! The only question is… which stripper would be my muse? Miss Mazeppa? Tessie Tura? Electra? Or Magic Mike?

Michael is excited to be a part of Gypsy as his first production with SBMT. He has danced professionally with sjDANCEco and has enjoyed several featured solos/roles in José Limón’s masterworks. Recent/favorite theatre credits include: Mary Poppins (Neleus) and Guys and Dolls (Featured Dancer/Gypsy Robe recipient) with Cabrillo Stage; Chicago (Featured Dancer/Dance Captain), Addams Family (Ancestor/Dance Captain) and Miss Saigon (Dance Captain) with Palo Alto Players; and A Chorus Line (Paul) with Sunnyvale Community Players.

Meet some GYPSIES: Molly, Elmer, and Marc

It’s time once again for … BLOG-ERVIEWS. Here’s your chance to meet some of our talented cast members for GYPSY. After you read these, we’re so sure you’ll want to see these dynamic actors in action that we’re adding the ticket link right here!

http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/gypsy2016.html

Show dates: Saturday, May 21 (opening night gala!) through Saturday, June 11
Venue: Saratoga Civic Theatre, 13777 Fruitvale Ave, Saratoga

Got those tickets? Great! Without further ado, meet some Gypsies:


Molly Thornton, Mama Rose

Molly Thornton, "Mama Rose"

Molly Thornton, “Mama Rose”

Why are you excited to be in Gypsy?

I get to play the role of a lifetime with a wonderful theatre company that always does first rate productions which are fun for the cast as well as the audience! This is definitely a bucket list role, and a thrilling challenge that I’m sure many actors dream of being able to tackle. I count myself as so fortunate to be able to do it here and now, with such an amazing staff, cast and company.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

The cast are all volunteers, doing it for the sheer joy and passion to perform….and we put it together in only 7 weeks of evenings and weekends. Most of us have other full time day jobs, or are students. We squeeze this into our busy lives in our “spare time.”

What attracted you to join an SBMT production? Why do you perform in community theatre?

I have been working with SBMT for over 15 years and can always rely on them to do high quality productions…both from the audience’s standpoint during the performance and from the actor’s standpoint during the process of getting the show on its feet. SBMT pulls in the best talent and staff, which make working with them a sheer pleasure.

I’ve been doing community theatre since I was 7. It is more a part of who I am than anything else.  I love the diversity of people I get to work with and the great and lasting friendships formed in each show.  That, and the joy of working toward a common goal and always meeting that one big deadline on time: Opening Night (being a Project Manager, meeting deliverable deadlines is part of my life). Theatre is something that you can be a part of for your entire life, tackling new and different roles in each phase of your life.

To strip, or not to strip – that IS the question. Would YOU?

At home or in public – and is there a pole involved?

Molly Thornton (Momma Rose) is thrilled and honored to try her hand at this iconic role. Memorable SBMT performances include Velma Von Tussle (Hairspray), Aldonza (Man of La Mancha), Matron Mama Morton (Chicago), and Babe Williams (The Pajama Game). Other favorite area roles include Pennywise in Urinetown (Sunnyvale Community Players); Mrs. Walker in The Who’s Tommy (City Lights); Kate in Kiss Me, Kate (West Valley Light Opera, ERMA Award); and Betty Blake in The Will Rogers Follies (Contra Costa Musical Theatre, Shellie Award). Love to my wonderful husband, James!

Elmer Min, “Yonkers”

elmer

Why are you excited to be in Gypsy?

I am exhilarated to be in this production because we have so many incredible talents – including children – and they will surely “entertain you” with their “versatile” skills. I’m excited to be on stage with the support of the wonderful staff and crew members as well.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

Everyone’s worked so hard on this show! Not only the cast members and the director but the vocal, musical, and technical director; dance captain; costume, stage, lighting, hair/makeup, sound designers; producers; house, stage, box office managers; and the child wrangler!

What attracted you to join an SBMT production? Why do you perform in community theatre?

As a new resident in the South Bay, I was looking for ways to contribute to the community and get in touch with performing again. SBMT was two birds with one stone! I also love making connections with excellent, talented people.

To strip, or not to strip – that IS the question. Would YOU?

Definitely YES… but don’t tell my girlfriend!!

[Uh oh – we think we just did!]

Elmer Min (Yonkers) is honored to be part of Gypsy with the wonderful company of SBMT! He has previously worked as a conceited Blues singer in Bye Bye Birdie (Conrad Birdie), a borderline snobby father in You Can’t Take it With You (Mr. Kirby), and a jolly Russian singer in Fiddler on the Roof (Sasha). He hopes to see you all again soon as a performer. He also wants to thank his family and his furry friend Tibbers!

Marc Gonzales, “Tulsa”

Marc Gonzales, "Tulsa"

Marc Gonzales, “Tulsa”

Why are you excited to be in Gypsy?

I am excited about being in Gypsy because I have loved this show ever since I saw AMTSJ do it when I was in high school. I was dazzled by the performances, the costumes, the sets, and just about every aspect the show had to offer. I knew that, one day, I wanted to be a part of this show.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

I think the most important thing audiences should know is that this show is smartly written, and that these characters are based on real people. These are very real characters, and it’s an honor to be cast in a show where I get to depict one of them and aid in telling the story.

What attracted you to join an SBMT production? Why do you perform in community theatre?

I have always enjoyed SBMT as a theatre company, whether as an audience member or performer/choreographer. They embody what it means to be a community theatre while still holding up the highest standards of performance. The casts bond, the staff is supportive, making for an all-around fantastic time at rehearsals and shows.

To strip, or not to strip – that IS the question. Would YOU?

I would TOTALLY strip! But the audience would need to be issued sunglasses so as not to be permanently blinded by my paleness.

Marc is thrilled to be back with SBMT! Previous SBMT credits: 42nd Street (Andy Lee), and choreographer of this season’s Forever Plaid. Other credits include: Kiss Me, Kate (Gremio) with BBBay; Grease (Kenickie) and Oklahoma! (Will Parker) with Playhouse Merced; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Frank Pontipee) and West Side Story (A-Rab) with Good Company Players; Once Upon A Mattress (Prince Dauntless) with Shoestring Theatre Company; The Wizard Of Oz (Scarecrow) with Bay Area EtC. Marc would like to thank his family and his friends for all their support.

Meet the Plaids! Week Four: Smudge

New Year’s Eve is around the corner – and that means our next show, FOREVER PLAID, is around the corner as well. Make sure you get your tickets now for this hilarious nostalgic romp through songs of the 1950s. Go to http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/foreverplaid.html for tickets and information.

Meanwhile, let’s meet the fourth member of the PLAIDS!

David Murphy: “Smudge”

David Murphy as Smudge

David Murphy as Smudge

Why are you excited to be in Forever Plaid?

It’s a super-challenging show, first off. The harmonies are tricky enough, and the fact that you have to learn so much material (and dancing, and lines, and movement, and…) just makes it even tougher. Plaid is definitely one of the hardest shows I’ve ever done, and that’s what excited me about it—the whirlwind aspect of it all. That, and I do like the style a lot, though I can’t say I own a ton of plaid clothing. Or, well, any plaid clothing.

What do you love most about portraying your character?

Smudge is constantly nervous, which is pretty much going to be method acting for me once we start running the show.

What attracted you to join an SBMT production? Why do you perform in community theatre?

I really enjoy the collaboration — working with other incredibly talented people to create incredible moments on stage (or behind-the-scenes, I suppose).

What do you think audiences will be most excited to see in this production?

Lady of Spain, which will likely be my least favorite song to do in the entire show since I haven’t been keeping up with my cardio lately. Oof.

David Murphy (Smudge) is excited to make his debut as a Plaid. Other favorite roles include Lurch (The Addams Family, PAP); Karl the Giant (Big Fish, PAP, regional premiere); Jud Fry (Oklahoma!, WVLO), where he won an ERMA award for Best Character Actor; Caiaphas (Jesus Christ Superstar, WVLO); Dr. Fogg (Sweeney Todd, Redwood Symphony); and Olin Britt (The Music Man, BBB). David is a member of South Bay Musical Theatre’s Board of Directors and is the Production Manager at Palo Alto Players. You can next catch him in Berkeley Playhouse’s spring production of The Addams Family (mruhuughughghh). In his copious amount of free time—around 17–20 minutes each day—he hangs out with his cat, Colbert.

 

Meet the Plaids! Week Three: Jinx

It’s beginning to look a lot like … FOREVER PLAID time! If you’re looking for holiday gifts, remember that a stocking filled with tickets to PLAID will make your loved ones happy! Shop online at http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/foreverplaid.html.

Want to help out behind the scenes? Sign ups are now open for lobby ushering and concessions. Go to http://sbmt.ivolunteer.com/forever_plaid_lobby for more details and to sign up.

And now, it’s time to meet the third member of our quartet:

Matthew Hall: “Jinx”

Matthew Hall as Jinx

Matthew Hall as Jinx

Why are you excited to be in Forever Plaid?

I’m excited for the chance to step into my biggest role yet and to belt out some seriously fun songs with three enormously talented guys.

What do you love most about portraying your character?

I can channel my own nervousness into Jinx’s nervousness, which really helps me make the character come alive. I also get to sing melody most of the time ;)

What attracted you to join an SBMT production? Why do you perform in community theatre?

I was mostly attracted to this show because of the great songs and because I already had the haircut. I perform in community theatre because it’s a safe place for weird people to be weird together.

What do you think audiences will be most excited to see in this production?

It’s a toss-up between “Crazy ‘Bout You Baby” and “Lady of Spain.”

Matt Hall is excited to perform in his first SBMT show! His favorite roles include “Rev. Parris” in The Crucible, “‘All aboard!’ guy” in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and “Frightened Inmate #2″ in New Warden. In addition to theater, he enjoys craft beer, properly-cooked scrambled eggs, and being a husband and dad. He would like to thank his beautiful, kind, and (very) patient wife for supporting him in his theatrical endeavours.

Meet the Plaids! Week Two: Frankie

Have you got your tickets yet for FOREVER PLAID? Our opening night on January 30 will be extra special — with food, champagne, and fun! Order now and surprise someone with a PLAID ticket for Christmas! http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/foreverplaid.html

And now it’s that time again – time to meet another of our four Plaids!

Derek DeMarco: “Frankie”

Derek DeMarco as Francis (Frankie)

Derek DeMarco as Francis (Frankie)

Why are you excited to be in Forever Plaid?

I am so excited to be a part of this Production of Forever Plaid! Since moving to California a couple of years ago, it has been a slow process of finding new groups to replace former theater families. This production has been a delight – from the cast, to the crew, and the membership at large, everyone has been warm and welcoming. The show itself is one of my favorites! It has been an amazing experience to sing with my talented cast mates, and I can’t wait to hear what we sound like come performance time!

What do you love most about portraying your character?

“Nothing feels as good as being inside a nice tight chord!” This line sums up Frankie’s unabashed love of music, and his delight at creating the perfect sound with his band of merry men. I have always loved music, and it such a treat to be playing someone who revels in it as well. I also have always wished that I had my own vocal group to perform with, so this show is a way to, even if only temporarily, realize that dream!

What attracted you to join an SBMT Production? Why do you perform in community theatre? 

I have been doing community theater since I was seven years old. I originally got involved because an aunt of mine performed on a regular basis, and I just never looked back. Sharing experiences with people create bonds that last lifetimes, and theater, specifically musical theater, is where my heart is happiest. This is the first time I have worked with SBMT, and the chance to be a part of this production was what brought me to the group. The talent and professionalism of all the members has convinced me that I will need to come back!

What do you think audiences will be most excited to see in this production?

My hope is when audiences are watching us, they will be excited each time a song starts that they know and love – that they settle in for the show and get swept up in the innocent delight of the characters so before they know it, the closing number is getting started. I hope that people who have fond memories of the songs we sing will be taken back to the times when those memories were made, and that for a little while at least, we can leave the present behind.

Derek has been in various theatrical productions since he was very young. Some of his favorite roles have included Lumiere in Beauty & the Beast, Pilate and Peter in two different productions of Jesus Christ Superstar, Enjolras in Les Miserables, and Lloyd in Noises Off.

Meet the Plaids! Week One: Sparky

Thinking about a unique gift to get that special someone? How about tickets to SBMT’s next show, FOREVER PLAID? It’s a tuneful tribute to music of the 1950s, sung by a terrific men’s quartet, the “Plaids.” The show plays January 30 to February 21, 2016, and we guarantee a toe-tapping time for all. Tickets make great stocking stuffers! Go to http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/foreverplaid.html to order yours now.

And while you’re thinking about how many tickets to order, why not meet one of our cast members? For the next four weeks we’ll feature each of our charming gents. Today – meet Will Perez!

Will Perez: “Sparky”

Will Perez as "Sparky"

Will Perez as “Sparky”

Why are you excited to be in Forever Plaid?

This is my third go at “Forever Plaid” and I’m excited to say I now have had the opportunity to do three roles ( Frankie, Jinx and now Sparky). I love singing four-part harmony but what really made me decide to audition for Plaid was simply the music. Growing up I had older parents so listening to this type of music in my household was the norm. With both my mom and dad now gone from this earth, this music really hits home for me even more.

What do you love most about portraying your character?

Playing Sparky so far has been fun. I get to, so call, “let loose” a little more on stage … Be somewhat of a clown … Off stage I kinda do the same at times, so Sparky has been fun so far…

What attracted you to join an SBMT Production? Why do you perform in community theatre?

I have performed in over 8 productions with SBMT. I’ve become acquainted with staff and have made MANY theater friends. During the day I consider my “real job” a “real job,” so when I do theater I get a chance to “play” on stage, become someone different for a few hours, and to forget about my real life for just a while. Although there is a lot of time and dedication and work involved in putting up a show, I still consider it something fun I like to do as an outlet in life.

What do you think audiences will be most excited to see in this production?

This production, both for young [audiences] but especially for our older generation, will, I feel, really bring them back to a time when life was a lot simpler. To see how four-guy groups back then were a lot more humble and how they looked at life back then. To give the audience a bit of a laugh, a cry, and some emotion with this type of music is what I consider Real music, and what music was all about.

Will Perez is pleased to be back on one of his favorite stages in the Bay Area: SBMT! He has made several appearances with SMBT over the years but his most recent was in CURTAINS. By day he is a Clinical Manager in the field of Laser Vision Correction in his hometown of San Jose. Will’s favorite roles and shows include, Eric (Death Takes a Holiday), Victor (Smokey Joe’s Café), Frankie and Jinx (Forever Plaid) and The Del Tones (Breaking Up Is Hard to Do); Young Joe Hardy (Damn Yankees), and many more ! He would like to “Plaidly” thank his Family and friends for their support and is excited to be back with SBMT!

Meet some Fiorello cast members — and get tickets for Opening Night!

Opening Night for SBMT’s FIORELLO is only a few days away – we open on Saturday, September 19! The cast and crew are looking forward to sharing this wonderful show with you. The tune-filled story about New York’s Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia as he fights political corruption — and finds love along the way — will surprise you with its humor, its energy, and above all its big heart.

And our opening night gala will delight you with delicious hot and cold treats and a champagne celebration following the show. Make sure you get your tickets now for this special event! Go to http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/fiorello.html for show times and to order tickets.

Want to know a little more about the show? A few of the cast members share their insights below.


Jen Wheatonfox
image2

Role: Dora

Why are you excited about being in Fiorello?

I love that there are several really meaty roles for women in this show. That doesn’t happen often. My character, Dora, is very animated and (hopefully!) comedic, but I’m also finding so much joy in discovering her more poignant moments throughout the story. The show is a brilliantly-crafted piece of work.

I also feel like it’s such an asset that most people have never seen this show, so the actors get to really create their own interpretations of the lives of the characters, without the audience having many pre-conceived notions.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

I think it will be much more interesting for people to know a little about Fiorello La Guardia before they come see the show. For a start, he was a real person, and the play is actually based on real events in his life. He was a NYC mayor, who, throughout his life, felt compelled to actually take action to correct what he perceived as the ills of society. He was sort of like a real-life Superhero for the underdog, in a quirky little 5′ 2″ package.

The cast is super-talented and magically delicious. Everywhere I turn, someone is either saying something in a new or even funnier way, reacting spontaneously, singing a gorgeous song, or fleshing out the role in which they’ve been cast so perfectly.

Why do you perform in community theater?

I get bored with myself, so I enjoy transforming into a different person for a couple of hours a day.

What can we all learn from Fiorello’s story?

The story, for the most part, is uplifting. La Guardia, to me, represents the hope (and the reality, in Fiorello’s case) that one person can make a difference in the world. I think it’s it’s important to remember, exactly 100 years after this story begins, on this eve of an election year, that the struggle for integrity, truth, and equality is worth the fight.

Steve Sammonds
Sammonds Headshot

Role: Political Hack

Why are you excited about being in Fiorello?

Fiorello is a show most people have not seen or perhaps are even aware exists.  So we have an opportunity to give audiences a show which is both old and new. I was not familiar at all with this show and quickly grew to love the music, especially “‘Til Tomorrow” and, of course, the three numbers by the Hacks.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

It is difficult to just pick one thing as the most important. It is one of only eight musicals to receive the coveted Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and won the Tony for Best Musical in 1960 in a tie with The Sound of Music. So you have a musical that was regarded at the time as highly as The Sound of Music and won the Pulitzer in a year that included the plays “The Miracle Worker” and “A Raisin in the Sun.” This truly is one of the best shows many have never seen.

Why do you perform in community theater?

I did some plays and one musical in high and college. Most of my hobby time as an adult, however, has been with the Barbershop Harmony Society. But theater has always been something I have wanted to get back into.  This is my fourth show in two years. Community theater has now become my primary creative outlet. I love to perform, but I also love the creative process during rehearsals, collaborating with fellow actors and the creative team, and making a whole new circle of friends. The theater is exhilarating and fun, but the “community” part of it is just as important.

What can we all learn from Fiorello’s story?

This is the story of Fiorello LaGuardia during the years before he became one of New York City’s most famous mayors. What we can learn is the other important thing audiences should know about this show, which is that one individual can make a difference. Though the story starts about a century ago, it really is amazing how much of LaGuardia’s story still resonates today. It is always interesting and informative to reflect on a slice of our history. Hopefully some people will leave the show wanting to learn more about this man’s fascinating life.

Dina Jacobson
DSC00128 - Copy

Role: Mrs. Pomerantz

Why are you excited about being in Fiorello?

It’s so much fun to be in a show. So different from my work existence and a great creative outlet.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

Audiences do not need to know anything before seeing the show. The show give a great high level view into the life of a great man. He championed the “little guy” and loved his city. They will be happily surprised to learn of a time when Republicans could be moderate.

Why do you perform in community theater?

Community theatre is very different from my “real” job. It provides a great outlet & release. There’s nothing more fun than performing and connecting with similar people who love to perform. Community theatre truly is for the joy.

Meet the cast of Hairspray #4 – Phaedra and Phillip

Here’s number four in our series introducing members of the HAIRSPRAY cast: Meet Phaedra Tillery and Phillip Jaco. And hurry to buy your tickets – Sundays are close to sold out, and the other dates will go soon! http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/hairspray.html


Phaedra Tillery – Dynamite

Phaedra Tillery

Phaedra Tillery

Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

I am excited about being in Hairspray because being on stage is my passion. I was excited for the opportunity but as soon as we started rehearsal, the energy was great, the actors were great, the choreography is amazing, and the message in the play still affects our communities today. I am happy to be able to share this message and hope that it touches someone, changes their views on racism and how we treat one another. Currently the City of Baltimore is enraged about how the police have killed a young black male. What are the odds of us perfoming this show 50+ years later, and we are still looking for equality in Baltimore and throughout the US? I am glad I can be a part of something that reminds people that we as a country have come a long way when it comes to racism, but we still have a long way to go until we are where we need to be.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

The most important thing that they should know is that even though this show was set during the time of segregation and the civil rights movement, the message of acceptance and equality is still needing to be taught today. It’s important to bring children to see this show. Let’s show our children that we are all equal.

Why do you perform in community theater?

I perform community theatre because it is my hobby. I currently work two jobs, one being full time and one being part time. I am also a mother of two. Being on stage is what I do to relieve my stress, to make me happy and to show my girls that anything is possible and to never give up on your dreams.  I have been performing since I was a child and it brings me joy. So I perform for my enjoyment, hoping it brings others joy.

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962″ most to you?

“Welcome to the rhythm of a brand new day, take your old fashion views and just throw them away.” That line in the song speaks the loudest to me. That times are constantly changing, views about racism, sexuality, equality are all changing. We can either live in the past with stereotypes and negativity or we can live equally and learn acceptance and continuously improve our society.

Phaedra has performed in theatre shows since the age of 12. Dancing and singing has been her love since childhood.  She most recently performed in the cast of The Color Purple as an ensemble character at Hillbarn Theatre.  Prior to that she has appeared in shows in Half Moon Bay, Oakland, Modesto and Merced which include: The Winter Wonderettes (Betty Jean), RENT (Mrs. Jefferson), To Kill a Mockingbird (Calpernia), The Marvelous Wonderettes (Betty Jean), HAIR (Dionne), Children of Eden (Eve), Chicago (June), West Side Story (Anybodies) and Grease (Patty Simcox).


Phillip Jaco – Gilbert (Record Shop Kid)

Phillip Jaco (second from right) with Hairspray cast members at load-in

Phillip Jaco (second from right) with Hairspray cast members Jennifer Medieros, Alea Selburn, Kevin Cornelius, and Molly Thornton at load-in

Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

Ever since I saw the movie in theatre as a high school student (yes, I’m talking about the Queen Latifah version), I told myself I had to be in this show. Being a record shop kid is a bucket list role that I’ve had since I started doing shows my senior year of high school.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

From my own experience with this production I can say that the most important thing about it is the knowledge we all acquired of the show and its time frame. The effort by the staff to educate us was eye-opening to someone like me who admittedly wasn’t as informed about the events during the 1960′s.

Why do you perform in community theater?

One of the reasons I perform in community theatre is the outlet it provides for me, with a busy schedule, and mainly the love I have of being on stage. The reason I perform with South Bay Musical Theatre is because of the great quality of the shows and the feeling of family and the fun I have during rehearsals and the overall run of the show.

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962″ most to you?

Welcome to a time when change happens, when we hear music as a form of change in a community. When we look at the past and can still see our present day in some form.

Phillip is happy to be returning to SBMT as a record shop kid (Gilbert) after playing John in “Anything Goes.” When not rehearsing for the show he can be found at Great America where he created and choreographed the kids’ shows that include the Peanuts gang. He also works at Bay Club and as a choreographer for Cupertino High School’s Musicals. He gives thanks to his family and friends for the support and a very deserved shout out to his fiancé for the continuing support and love. He promises a vacation is in the near future.

Meet the cast of Hairspray #3: Anthony and April

It’s time for another pair of “blog-erviews” with our HAIRSPRAY cast and crew members. Meet Anthony Stephens and April Valenzuela! We move into the theatre this weekend … so don’t forget to order your tickets at http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/hairspray.html.


Anthony Stephens – Sketch

Anthony Stephens

Anthony Stephens

Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

Although I’ve performed in many musicals, dance is still something that I am not entirely well-versed in. The intricate dance numbers in this show are very challenging to me and sometimes out of my element. Having to remember harmonies while dancing all around the stage is challenging, but incredibly valuable. The show is really pushing me physically and vocally and taking me out of my comfort zone. As an actor, I want to stretch myself as much as I can and gain knowledge during every show I’m in, and I’m certainly learning a lot from Hairspray! And of course, the music for this show is just wonderful to listen to and I think it’s a real crowd pleaser.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

I think it’s a common misconception that this show is full of fluff with no real substance. While it’s a fun and silly show with a lot of hilarious moments, there are some strong themes and messages in it that resonate with the world today. A lot of parallels can be drawn between 1962 and 2015. That being said, it isn’t a show that you should have to think too much about either! It’s really a fun night of theatre where you can relax and enjoy what you’re seeing.

Why do you perform in community theater?

My passion is theatre and I just can’t imagine doing anything else. I always want to be in a show or be involved in a production in some way. I’ve met so many terrific people and established a lot of strong friendships through performing. I am transferring to university in a couple years and majoring in theatre and I think the skills I am currently learning in community theatre here in the area will follow me for the rest of my life. I hope to do theatre for a living.

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962″ most to you?

The hip swivels.

Anthony is thrilled to be in his first show at SBMT. He performed in various productions in high school, with memorable roles such as Rum Tum Tugger in Cats and Eddie in Love Awkwardly. He was recently in “Kimberly Akimbo” at The Pear Avenue Theatre and understudied in Foothill Music Theatre’s production of Sunday in the Park With George. He is a student at Foothill College and is majoring in theatre. Enjoy the show!


April Valenzuela – Assistant Choreographer

april

April Valenzuela

Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

Hairspray is all about dance–you don’t have time to sit, eat, drink , breathe…so what’s not to love!  This is my first time working behind the scenes with our choreographer Lee Ann and I love the fun and joy in her pieces.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

Tracy is a strong female lead who isn’t in her role because of her legs, chest, or ability to look like arm candy next to a more important male lead. She stands out of her own accord and you can’t stop the beat when she’s onstage. She earns our respect for her belief in love, justice and equality.

Why do you perform in community theater?

Dance is better than therapy!  And where else can you find community exercise and adult-dress up in one place?

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962″ most to you?

Mod-fashion: those hats (oh how I love hats), long leather boots, color-blocking dresses…it was so much fun.  The revolution in the fabric of society splashed across the everyday threads of American garb.

April Valenzuela is ecstatic to participate as one of the dancing staff at SBMT.  She debuted with SBMT in 42nd Street, followed by Funny Girl, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and most recently in Kiss Me Kate.  April teaches dance to little ballerinas in Santa Clara and gross motor skills at a Spanish Immersion preschool  in Campbell.

 

Meet the cast of Hairspray #2: Matt and Jennifer

Here’s round two of our posts about the cast and staff of HAIRSPRAY. Meet Matt Busbee (IQ) and Jennifer Medeiros (Pit Singer)! And don’t forget to buy tickets at  http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/hairspray.html


Matt Busbee: IQ

MattBusbeeHeadshot

Matt Busbee

Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

Hairspray has been on my “must do” list of shows since I started doing theatre, and now that the time has come, I couldn’t be more ecstatic! I have loved the music since the moment I heard it, and I’m so excited to be a part of such a joyful musical! Also, the dancing is a great workout! ;)

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

Although I know that our audience will be delighted by the catchy songs and super crazy dance numbers, sometimes we have to stop and think about what this show is really about. I have always loved Hairspray’s overall message of accepting others and embracing what makes us special. I hope audiences will leave the theater feeling better about themselves and the world around us!

Why do you perform in community theater?

I have met some of the best friends I could ever ask for through doing shows. The sense of connection that I feel with my cast mates is what makes community theater so addicting. Also, after months of hard work and rehearsal, the feeling when I finally get to see an audience having a good time is the best feeling ever!

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962″ most to you?

The choreography, of course! The dances that Lee Ann has worked incredibly hard to put together paint a picture that I think beautifully represents this time of change and progress in the United States. Also, the hairdos help tremendously!

Matt Busbee is very excited to cross this amazing show off his bucket list! This is Matt’s first show with SBMT, and he is very proud to be a part of such a phenomenal cast. Favorite roles include A-Rab in West Side Story (Stage 1), Boy in Headband in “A Chorus Line” (PCRT), and one of the Three Pigs in “Shrek” (TVRT). Shoutout to Arrah Ibale for being a wonderful, supportive friend and always seeing his shows! Enjoy the show, and “Welcome to the 60s!”


Jennifer Medeiros: Pit Singer

JenniferNoelMedeiros

Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

I am excited to get to sing this music every night. The harmonies are awesome. The music is GREAT! I have really enjoyed our vocal rehearsals and working on this music.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

This show has some important messages about acceptance in it. We should all love ourselves for who we are and what we have been given and accept other people’s differences.

Why do you perform in community theater?

For the GLORY… and it’s good for my social life. Doing theatre is a great way to meet people and make new friends. I have many amazing friends I have met while doing community theatre, people that are now life-long friends.

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962″ most to you?

Helmet hair.

Jennifer Noel Medeiros is excited that all she has to do is sing for this show. This is Jennifer’s second show with SBMT, she last appeared with SBMT as part of the Greek Chorus in Promises, Promises. Favorite roles include: Delilah Strict (Zombie Prom), Joy (Cinderella), Scent-of-Lilies (The Rose of Persia), Phoebe (The Quaker Girl), Celia (Iolanthe), Vittoria (The Gondoliers), Edith (Pirates of Penzance), Susan (Company), Marie Dindon (La Cage aux folles), Cousin Hebe (H.M.S. Pinafore), Annina (La Traviata), and a Pick-A-Little Lady (Music Man). http://jennifernoelmedeiros.weebly.com

Meet the cast of Hairspray, #1: Kevin and Rachelle

For the next few weeks, as we prepare HAIRPSRAY for our May 23 opening night, our SBMT blog will introduce members of the cast, staff, or crew. Up first: Kevin Cornelius, playing Edna Turnblad, and Rachelle Abbey, playing Penny Pingleton. (Buy Hairspray tickets at http://www.southbaymt.com/shows/hairspray.html!)


Kevin Cornelius: Edna Turnblad

Kevin Cornelius tries on one of Edna's housedresses

Kevin Cornelius tries on one of Edna’s housedresses

Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

I’m excited to have the chance to play such a wonderful role, Edna Turnblad, in a show that I love. I’ve been a fan of Hairspray since the original John Waters film, and when it was adapted into a musical, I fell in love all over again. I think “Welcome to the 60′s” is one of my all-time favorite musical theatre moments. I feel so happy to have such a wonderful opportunity to play a dream role in a production with a fantastic group of people.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

Come ready to join the party and have a fabulous time!

Why do you perform in community theater?

I’m impressed by all of the amazingly talented people who participate in South Bay Musical Theatre. I enjoy getting the chance to act, sing, and dance in high-quality productions of classic and new musicals. I love our audiences, and I enjoy the connection we all share at the Saratoga Civic Theatre. There is nothing like live theatre, and it’s a privilege to be a part of it.

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962″ most to you?

The music and dancing. “Hairspray” has such a delightful score, and the dances in this show will take you back in time and lift your spirits to the stars.

SBMT audiences may remember Kevin as Albin in “La Cage aux Folles,” Gus in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” Eddie in “Funny Girl,” Father in “Ragtime,” and Cornelius Hackl in “Hello, Dolly!” He directed our “Kiss Me, Kate,” “42nd Street,” and “The Will Rogers Follies,” and has served on our Board of Directors for over eight years. A San Jose native, Kevin has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from San Jose State University. For the last fourteen years, Kevin has worked as the Director of Roberta Jones Junior Theatre in Santa Clara.


Rachelle Abbey: Penny Pingleton

Rachelle Abbey

Rachelle Abbey

Why are you excited about being in Hairspray?

I am excited about being in Hairspray because it is one of my favorite musicals! I have wanted to be in this show since I first saw it 10 years ago. The music is so much fun you can’t help but dance and sing along.

What’s the most important thing you think audiences should know about this show?

The most important thing audiences should know about Hairspray is that even though it is a super fun dance and high-energy show, the more subtle and poignant plot points are really important and make us appreciate the past and how far we have come.

Why do you perform in community theater?

Because it allows me to meet the most amazing people and it fulfills my passion to be on stage.

Welcome to the 60s! What says “1962″ most to you?

The thing that says “1962” most to me is the hairstyles since they are so iconic.

Rachelle Abbey is thrilled to be making her debut at SBMT in a dream role! Favorite roles include “Maisie” in The Boyfriend (WVLO), “Val” in A Chorus Line (SCP), “Angel City 4″ in City of Angels (SVCT) and “Audrey” in Little Shop of Horrors (SCP). When not on stage she enjoys forms of social dancing such as lindy hop and ballroom as well as tennis, choir and soaking up the sun. She currently works in the Wyss-Coray lab at Stanford investigating rejuvenation in the brain.