Archive for September 2017

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!
www.southbaymt.com/shows/bridgesmadisoncounty.html

 

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!

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!