Archive for May 2016

GYPSY Earns Top Reviews – And Forbidden Broadway Beckons

Molly Thornton as Mama Rose

Molly Thornton as Mama Rose

Audiences and critics agree, SBMT’s production of GYPSY is a hit! Take a break from your Memorial Day festivities to see the show this weekend, May 27 through 30, or join us for shows in June (3, 4, 5, 9, 10, or 11). Tickets available NOW at

Marlene Berner (Louise), Molly Thornton (Mama Rose), and Tim Reynolds (Herbie) perform "Together"

Marlene Berner (Louise), Molly Thornton (Mama Rose), and Tim Reynolds (Herbie) perform “Together”

Critics rave:

Molly Thornton sparkles in ‘Gypsy’

“I have seen Gypsy four times, once on Broadway with Merman and three other productions throughout the years and Molly Thornton’s Rose in this production is as close to Merman as you will get in this lifetime. …

“Marlene Berner as Louise sheds her dumpy awkward persona by accident with a push from Rose to become the sleek, clever, grand, Gypsy Rose Lee. …

“South Bay Musical Theatre gives a heartfelt production of Gypsy. Molly Thornton scintillates; her performance is an experience theatre lovers should not miss.”

Gilroy Dispatch

This Gypsy is headlined by a Rose who will once again knock the socks off her audience

“I am here to say that not only does South Bay Musical Theatre’s Molly Thornton join a long line of Roses, she takes her place with full acting gusto and vocal bravado. …

“Tim Reynolds brings a fully pleasing voice in song and a charming, endearing demeanor with twinkles in his eyes for Rose’s daughters and resignation in his shoulders for Rose’s delayed “yes” to his ongoing proposals for marriage. …

“As Louise, Marlene Berner … has her own diva moment in various stages of elegant dress and undress as she finally leaves timid, no-talent Louise behind to bring a full, mature, and invigorating voice to “Let Me Entertain You.”

“In this large cast of over twenty-five, every actor brings pizzazz and personality as well as voices that sell their songs and roles. … much applause is due this fine cast and its starring, stunning Rose. …

South Bay Musical Theatre has brought to its local audience a Gypsy well worth seeing and one that will leave big smiles, humming voices, and a full heart with every exiting patron. “

Talkin’ Broadway (Regional)


Meanwhile – FORBIDDEN BROADWAY opens this weekend! Don’t miss this special event, poking lovingly playful fun at Broadway’s biggest shows, stars, and composers. TWO SHOWS ONLY Sunday, May 29 at 7:30pm, and Saturday, June 4, at 2:30pm. Tickets at

Don’t miss your favorite SBMT stars – including our own Mama Rose – in this irreverent send-up of all things Broadway!

GYPSY Opens May 21 – 57 Years After the Original!

Marlene Berner as Gypsy Rose Lee

Marlene Berner as Gypsy Rose Lee

On May 21, 1959, a new show opened on Broadway with Ethel Merman in the starring role of Mama Rose: GYPSY! And tonight, May 21, 2016, SBMT is proud to open our production of GYPSY! Starring Molly Thornton as Mama Rose, Marlene Berner as Louise (the future Gypsy Rose Lee), Tim Reynolds as Herbie, and Rhona McFadyen as June, we guarantee this is one show you will not want to miss.

Tickets are available for the run, May 21 through June 11, at

Molly Thornton knocks it out of the park as Mama Rose

Molly Thornton knocks it out of the park as Mama Rose

At last night’s preview, the staff gave out their thank you awards to cast and crew members who went above and beyond. Following are a few photos from the event. Congratulations to all — and have a marvelous opening night. Break a leg!

Newcomers’ Award: Michael Cai
Technical Award: Emily Pye
Orchestra Award: Joe Kelly
Producers’ Award: Marlene Berner
Gypsy Robe Award: Alex Cox and Oscar

Michael Cai won the Newcomers' Award.

Michael Cai (Ensemble) won the Newcomers’ Award.

Marlene Berner won the Producers' Award.

Marlene Berner (Louise) won the Producers’ Award.

Alex Cox and Oscar won the Gypsy Robe.

Alex Cox (Ensemble) and Oscar (Chowsie) won the Gypsy Robe.

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
  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.

Seeking New Board Members!


South Bay Musical Theatre is seeking candidates for the positions of the six board members whose terms end this summer. Each position will have a two-year term, from July 2016 through June of 2018.

If you are interested or would like more information about board membership, we’d love to hear from you!

Please email current Board President Jay Steele at by May 27, and you will receive more information about board membership requirements and expectations, as well as our board of directors application. You are also welcome to get more information by discussing the opportunity with any of our current board members:

Kevin Cornelius*
Barbara Heninger*
Jeffrey Henson
Walter M. Mayes*
Howard L. Miller
Janet Miller*
Diane Milo
David Murphy
Jordan Selburn*
Jay Steele
Braden Taylor
C. Michael Traw*

(* indicates member whose term ends in July 2016)

We look forward to hearing from interested candidates! Join us!

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!

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.