“Fun in the Vineyard” © Dennis Eamon Young
Heading to the California Mid-State Fair? This week music lovers still have plenty of concerts to choose from, including Lady Antebellum, The Doobie Brothers and the three-pack of Journey/The Steve Miller Band/Tower of Power. Buy your tickets here. &&& And if you find yourself looking for an original work of art or just looking for some inspiration, stop by the “Pop-Up” Studios that Studios on the Park (usually found in downtown Paso Robles) is presenting every day til Sunday with artists Carol Timson Ball, Robert Simola, Dennis Curry, Debra Jurey, Sharon Sobraske, Lauriel Carlisle, Hap Happoldt and Grace Iaquinto.
Arts organizations are among the biggest users of annual fund campaigns, a new nonprofit survey reports. The study says more charitable organizations with annual funds reach their fundraising goals than those organizations without such funds. Survey results are available FREE from the Nonprofit Research Collaborative.
Sarah Linn, a reporter for the last nine years with The Tribune, has been named editor of Ticket, the newspaper’s arts and entertainment section that appears in print each Thursday. The Tribune
Classical music lovers can find Festival Mozaic performances throughout the county from July 21 to 27, ranging from a baroque concert in Mission San Luis Obispo to an evening with the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet. Buy tickets here.
Book Notes: Thinking about writing a novel? Check out what mistakes Anne R. Allen suggests you avoid on Page One. Anne R. Allen &&& Another independent bookstore closes, this time down in Glendale. David Allen writes the obituary for The Brand Bookshop. The David Allen Blog &&& Jason Diamond introduces you to the 35 writers who run the “Literary Internet.” How many do you know? Flavorwire
Planning to visit Santa Barbara towards the end of the month? The city is celebrating its 90th Old Spanish Days Fiesta from July 30 to August 3, with everything from a downtown parade to a rodeo to heritage tours. And the food should be pretty good, as well.
According to San Luis Obispo Little Theatre officials, the organization may have to cut off sales of its season tickets to ensure there are enough seats available throughout the year for non-subscribers. For $115 ($99 for seniors 62+) subscribers get to see all five season shows and may exchange their tickets at any time, for any reason, as many times as they would like.
Actor James Garner, known for a wide body of television and film work, died at his Brentwood home Saturday night. He was 88. Garner starred in two classic television series, Maverick and The Rockford Files, plus a slew of made-for-television movies. He achieved wider fame starting in the 1960s with a series of movie roles including The Great Escape, 36 Hours, and The Americanization of Emily. Pete Hammond provides an appreciation of the late actor’s work. Deadline: Hollywood
Looking for grants? Calls for entries? Auditions? Ideas for professional or personal creative growth? For artists and those who love the arts, we select some morsels for thought each week under the label “OPPORTUNITIES in the Arts.” Be sure to check them out in the right-hand column each week as you browse Two for the Show.
Oklahoma!: To Dance and To Dream
By Charlotte Alexander
July 19, 2014 (Santa Maria, CA ) — So . . . invariably, whether you’re sitting in a high school gymnasium or a Broadway theatre, by the time cast members get to the title song in Oklahoma! you’re ready to admit that Rodgers and Hammerstein got it right.
For the uninitiated, the song comes at the end of the production, and it is so invigorating that whatever the level of talent displayed by the cast and crew of a particular show, most audiences are on their feet before the final “OK!” practically singing their own ovations.
The popularity of the show, not to mention its age (it opened on Broadway in 1943), has assured its place in the musical theatre pantheon. That is likely the reason PCPA, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, chose to include Oklahoma! in its 2013-14 season.
Described in the program notes as a “quintessential piece of American Musical theatre” and “one of the anchors for America’s Golden Era of musicals,” it is thanks to director and choreographer Michael Jenkinson that this production rises above all the historical hype and is, simply, a delight.
While the acting and singing and music and set design and lighting and costuming and sound are all of the high caliber we expect from PCPA, it is the dancing that provides the enchantment of this production. That Jenkinson plays choreographer as well as director ensures the smooth and at times joyous integration of uninhibited physical movement into the proceedings. His buoyant cast, particularly the men, seem exhilarated, even intoxicated by what he demands of them, and the audience is clearly captivated by the choreography.
For lack of talent or time, many productions of Oklahoma! cut short or eliminate the 15-minute “dream ballet” that concludes Act 1, which was one of the Broadway show’s most notable features. The sequence is certainly one of the best reasons to see PCPA’s production. Here George Walker as Curly and Jackie Vanderbeck as Laurey—both strong performers with voices perfectly pitched for their roles—hand the spotlight over to Alex Stewart as Dream Curly and Katie Wackowski as Dream Laurey. Representing Laurey’s inner turmoil, the movements of Stewart, Wackowski and company boldly intensify the darker themes of desire and rejection running through the show.
The second act explores those themes when confrontation erupts over Laurey between Curly and Jud Fry, played by a believably menacing Galloway Stevens. His lament about getting a woman to call his own in “Lonely Room” is foreboding and fearsome.
Of course Walker as Curly is winsome as well as handsome from the first strains we hear of his “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’.” Some of the other musical numbers are a hoot, especially those designed to let the cocky cowboys show off. Will Parker (played by Jake Delaney) and the male ensemble establish their dancing credentials in “Kansas City” and “The Farmer and the Cowman.”
This production, rather than downplaying the underlying tensions between farmers and cowhands, between Curly and Jud, between men and women, seems to embrace turmoil and turn it into a motive to move—to drive forward, to take action, to sing and, most wonderfully, to dance.
If you think you just can’t see Oklahoma! performed one more time, or you think you’ve seen it as good as it gets, think again.
Judy Salamacha, Director, Central Coast Writers Conference
“Experience is not as important as the passion . . .“
“Experience is not as important as the passion . . .“