Archive for January 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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




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


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

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

Walter Mayes and David Mister perform “Bosom Buddies.”








“Peter’s” Opening Weekend

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

Have YOU purchased tickets yet? Get them now:


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



Brad Wetmore, percussion: Barbara Weaver Special Merit Award

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

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

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

Cast member Steve Sammonds celebrates with Production Manager Sara Dean

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

Jenni Chapman, “Molly”, celebrates after the show

SBMT unveils its new season on Jan. 30!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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