It is fun to have fun at Seussical the Musical

Jason Graae as the Cat in the Hat. Photo by Kevin Graft.

As we streamed through the front gates of the Wells Fargo Pavillion, my 9-year-old daughter and I were giddy with anticipation for the opening performance of Music CircusSeussical. The welcoming courtyard with fountain added just the right ambiance to assure us that we were going to have a wonderful time.

Once seated, we noticed the stage set up was simple, yet impressive; there was a giant red and white striped Cat in the Hat hat, placed in the center of the round stage. As soon as the show started, you were quickly drawn into the whimsical world of all your favorite Dr. Seuss characters. The main theme for Seussical is “a person’s a person no matter how small,” but there are many, many other familiar messages hidden throughout the show as well. My daughter loved the story line; she was especially impressed when Horton the Elephant saved the Who’s in the end of the play. Young actor Josh Davis and his wonderful voice were truly impressive.

Josh Davis as JoJo. Photo by Kevin Graft.

While this was not the first time we’ve seen Seussical, we were delighted to see that Music Circus had added a few embellishments of its own to the musical. Having the moving stage in the middle of the room, like a circus arena, made the performance very intimate and gave everyone in the audience a great view of the stage.

All in all, Seussical is a whimsically fun treat for people of all ages. Seeing audience members from ages 4 to 84 reminded me that Dr. Seuss’ stories are just as relevant today as they were when first published.

Seussical takes over the Wells Fargo Pavilion through July 17. For tickets and showtimes, visit the musical’s listing on Sacramento365.

Note: If you and your little one are planning to snack, head to the concession stands before the show (treats are welcome inside the theater during performances.) The 20-minute intermission gives you enough time to stand in line to purchase food, or run to the restroom, but probably not both.


This blog post was written by Sacramento Kids contributor Ida Christian.

Our Night Out with Elle Woods

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Lauren Zakrin as Elle Woods and Chico as Bruiser in Legally Blonde. Photo by Charr Crail.

In honor of the start of the Music Circus 2016 season, Sacramento365.com is giving you two perspectives of Legally Blonde the Musical. Read up on how two-thirds of our team — Karlee Cemo and Jamila Khan — rate the musical that proves staying true to one’s self never goes out of style.

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15 years ago a little film called Legally Blonde debuted on the big screen and left a big impact on our teenage selves. After watching the hilarious Reese Witherspoon-led comedy, we both became a little obsessed. Karlee wanted to be blonde, a lawyer, and Reese Witherspoon’s carbon copy, while Jamila wore a lot of pink accessories and would respond to her friend’s butchering legal jargon like Ms. Elle Woods. The film was Jamila’s first ever DVD and Karlee’s favorite film on VHS (Jamila’s note: Kickin’ it old school, Karlee!). To this day, it’s each of our favorite movies and we can pretty much recite the script from beginning to end.

When hearing that a musical rendition of the film would kickoff of the 2016 Music Circus season, we were stoked. Music Circus has been a summer tradition for both of our families, so seeing this non-conventional opener piqued our interest. Given that the film wasn’t originally a musical, we both wondered how exactly song and dance would be incorporated into the storyline.

Our excitement and expectations were high, and the luckily, the production did not disappoint. Elle Woods, played by Lauren Zakrin, sensationally channeled her inner Reese Witherspoon with a spunky performance that fantastically captured the perky essence of Elle Woods. We both coveted her chic pink wardrobe and well-trained Bruiser, Elle’s beloved chihuahua, played by two very cute dogs. Bruiser’s few appearances definitely provided for some hearty laughs from the audience; but then again…who doesn’t love a tiny dog “acting” on a live stage?

Karlee’s highlights:
– The clever and upbeat song lyrics lyrics incorporated a mixture of lines from the film, modern day references, and a pinch of adult humor. A few of my favorite numbers were “There! Right There!”, “Bend and Snap” (obviously), and “Whipped Into Shape,” which had fitness phenom and defendant Brooke Wyndham (Grace Stockdale) singing while jumping rope. Very impressive.
– The exaggerated mannerisms of hairdresser Paulette Bonafante’s (Ryah Nixon) love interest Kyle the UPS guy (Seth Danner) make him an unexpectedly entertaining and hilarious addition to the show.

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Seth Danner as Kyle in Legally Blonde. Photo by Kevin Graft.

Jamila’s highlights:
-Female empowerment and sisterhood is even more front-and-center in the stage production than in the film. Without spoiling the revised plot, let’s just say that mousy Vivienne Kensington (Shannon O’Boyle) is a little less witchy…
-Added to the story is a hilarious subplot related to Paulette’s Bonafante’s obsession with Ireland. I now will use the line “give my love to the leprechauns” whenever I can.

Were you a fan of the original Legally Blonde, too? Then make sure you grab a ticket to the pop-culture musical before it’s too late. Production runs through Sunday, June 19. Tickets start at $45. For times and ticket information, visit Legally Blonde’s Sacramento365.com event page.

***This blog post was written by Sacramento365.com’s Content and Marketing Manager Karlee Cemo and Content and Social Media Coordinator Jamila B. Khan.

A Good Feeling to Know

You can get that old-time feelin’ this Friday, August 21, and hear one of the greatest voices of rock and roll/country rock, singer-songwriter Richie Furay at Harlow’s! The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, inducted in 1997, is known for his groundbreaking work with Buffalo Springfield, a group he formed in 1966 with Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Bruce Palmer, and Dewey Martin; and Poco, formed with Jim Messina, Rusty Young, George Grantham and Randy Meisner. Each band has left an indelible mark on the rock and roll landscape: Short-lived Buffalo Springfield is best known for ushering in the folksy California Rock sound and Poco was part of the first wave of West Coast country rock.

Over his career, Furay has had success with his songs “Kind Woman” for Buffalo Springfield, and “Pickin’ Up The Pieces” and “Good Feelin’ To Know” with Poco. With two books under his belt, For What It’s Worth, which chronicles the life and times of Buffalo Springfield, and Pickin’ Up The Pieces, his own life journey — Richie will hit the road in support of his upcoming CD titled Hand In Hand, his first solo album in eight years. The first single, “We Are The Dreamers,” was written about the formation of Poco.

The quirky The Empty Pockets will open the show.

Don’t miss your chance to get nostalgic with one of rock’s greatest storytellers. Concert begins Friday, August 21 at 6:30pm. Tickets start at $37.50 ($40 at the door). For more information, visit the concert’s Sacramento365.com event page here.

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This blog post was written by Sacramento365.com’s Content and Social Media Coordinator Jamila B. Khan.

Music Circus Ends on a High Note with Hair

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Oliver Thornton as Claude (center) and the company of Hair. Photo by Charr Crail.

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself! But to be fair, my silly pun works. This week Music Circus closes out its 65th season with Hair, and the iconic anti-war musical soars higher than the simulated pot smoke that wafts through the Wells Fargo Pavilion.

Like the hippie generation it depicts, the production is less than conventional: filled with social commentary, paisley prints, and hair, the show breaks musical standards and skips the dialogue. Instead, it takes the audience on the melodic trip, complete with 38 songs. The back-to-back musical numbers weaves the story of Claude (Oliver Thorton), a flower child from Flushing, New York (or Manchester, England, as he wants the audience to believe) as he is drafted into the Vietnam war. You’ll rediscover ‘60s pop culture through hits like “Aquarius,” “Good Morning Starshine,” “Let the Sun Shine In,” and of course, “Hair.”

Complementing the psychedelic score is the beautiful set design. The pavilion transforms into a hippie den with a beautiful array of hanging lanterns, (you will undoubtedly be snapping pictures of them before the show like I did), graphic projections, and oscillating floor. These staging elements combined will have you believing that you too are “tripping out” with the tribe.

Other show highlights include the Claude’s deliriously wacky hallucination in the second act, and one lucky audience member’s chance to disrobe Berger, the “psychedelic teddy bear.”

If you’re feeling a little rebellious, put on your flower crown on and end your summer with Hair. Performances run through Sunday, August 23, with evening performances at 7:30pm. Matinee performances at Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets start at $40. For more information, visit the show’s Sacramento365.com event page.

Disclaimer: The musical’s depiction of free love, pot smoking, and its infamous nude scene makes the production inappropriate for younger audiences.

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This blog post was written by Sacramento365.com’s Content and Social Media Coordinator Jamila B. Khan.

West Side Story Rumbles Its Way to Sacramento

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The Jets in West Side Story. Photo by Charr Crail.

The sound of love and war rolled into Sacramento at Wells Fargo Pavilion’s theater-in-the-round Tuesday night, bringing with it the tale of star-crossed lovers determined to make their way in the world despite the disapproval of family and friends.

West Side Story, based on William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, is one of America’s favorite and most poignant musicals and has captivated audiences around the world since its Broadway debut in 1957. The story, set in New York City’s Upper West Side neighborhood in the mid-1950s, tells the tale of Tony and Maria — members of rival teenage street gangs of different ethnicities, the Jets (Caucasian) and the Sharks (Puerto Rican) — who are fighting for control of the neighborhood.

Tony, who is a former member of the Jets and is persuaded back to the gang for one last rumble in order to take the neighborhood once and for all sees beautiful Maria, sister of Bernardo and leader of the Sharks, across the room at a dance. As their eyes meet, the world fades away and they fall instantly in love. What follows is a love story turned tragedy infused with lighthearted songs like “I Feel Pretty” and captivating dance numbers like “America.” This show will stir your soul and bring tears to your eyes.

Desireé Davar as Anita in West Side Story. Photo by Kevin Graft.

Though you’ve likely seen this musical before, on stage and possibly on the big screen (the 1961 film starring Natalie Wood), you’ll want to see California Musical Theatre tackle the unforgettable story. The cast is chock full of experienced actors who’ve commanded the Music Circus stage, as well as Broadway and film. Justin Matthew Sargent (Tony) last appeared as Peter Parker on Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. Carolann M. Santina (Maria), who’s voice is absolutely to die for, toured with the European and Asian tours of West Side Story. Most recently she went on the road as Marian in the first national tour revival of The Music Man. The supporting cast member resumes are equally impressive.

West Side Story through the Wells Fargo Pavilion until Sunday, August 9. Evening performances are Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30pm; matinee performances on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2pm. For more information, visit the production’s Sacramento365.com event page.

Want to have a night on the town? Grab a drink or a bite to eat nearby before or after the show using Sacramento365.com’s Make It a Night map! To learn more, click here.

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This blog post was written by Sacramento365.com contributor, Alyssa S. Green.

Take a Trip to Neverland with Music Circus

Jenn Colella will cast a spell on you as Peter Pan. Photo by Kevin Graft.

Where under one Sacramento roof can you find a slithering crocodile, a faithful fairy, and a ship full of pirates? Easy! Just “think of lovely things” and make your way over to the Wells Fargo Pavilion stage where Peter Pan flies into town for this week only. In this production, Music Circus takes you, Michael, John, and Wendy from the nursery to a grand adventure in Neverland. Under the direction of Glenn Casale, the incredibly talented cast of actors will help you live out your childhood dreams throughout the show.

Peter Pan, played by Jenn Colella, has quite a vocal gift for a Lost Boy and quickly convinces the crowd to never grow up. With vocal talent soaring in “I’m Flying,” and exceptional rooster crowing in “I Gotta Crow,” Peter Pan delivers a powerful lyrical performance on land and in flight. Children, of all ages, will gasp and giggle as theatrical magic allows Peter to play with his shadow and coach the children how to fly.

The production’s many set changes and intense choreography will also steal your attention. With excellent props and lighting the stage transforms into the Lost Boys’ underground home, Marooner’s Rock, to the Pirate Ship, and other Neverland landmarks. During set changes, dazzling choreography charms the audience. Tiger Lily, played passionately by Desiree Davar, The Indians, and Lost Boys perform intense tribal dance numbers, complete with synchronized beating drums and impressive aerial flips. The pirates, led by the creepiest creep Captain Hook, played by Paul Schoeffler, deliver a comical display of dance moves and sword fights, made most memorable during the “Tango,” and the “Pirate Waltz.”

Paul Schoeffler as Captain Hook and Michael Nostrand as Smee with the Pirates in Peter Pan. Photo by Charr Crail.

Throughout the show be sure to keep your eyes open for the bouncing light of Tinker Bell — Peter Pan just might need your help to help save the fairy. One cannot leave Neverland without the famous tick-tock that signals the Croc to crawl around and haunt Captain Hook — be sure to enter the Pavilion with caution!

Peter Pan flies through the Wells Fargo Pavilion until Sunday, July 26. Evening performances are Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30pm; matinee performances on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2pm. For more information, visit the production’s Sacramento365.com event page.

Disclaimer: Though content is appropriate for all ages, Tinker Bell calls Captain Hook a naughty word that maybe considered inappropriate for small children.

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This blog post was written by Sacramento365.com contributor, Sarah Stephenson.

Be A Total Knockout at the Sacramento Hair and Fashion Battle


12 teams. 2 prizes. 1 very haute night.

Mark your calendars for this Saturday, July 18, for one of the most fashionable events of the year! A Berry Special Event’s Sacramento Hair and Fashion Battle and Expo continues its legacy of showing off Sacramento’s most avant garde creations at the Sacramento Scottish Rite Center. Part expo, part runway show, the Battle brings together Sacramento’s top salons, designers, and stylists for a healthy dose of friendly (and fierce) competition. After using up hundreds of cans of hairspray and reams of fabric, two local creatives will earn top honors as the “Best Fashion Designer” and “Best Salon and Make-Up Artists,” all in the name of raising money for the after-school program, Designing for a Difference.

Complementing the model showcase will be an interactive vendor expo, allowing guests to shop ‘till they drop and learn more about the ins-and-outs of the fashion industry. Hosting this night of glitz and glam is Project Runway Season 11 contestant Daniel Esquivel.

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Ready to bring out your inner fashionista/o? Dress to impress and make your way to the Sacramento Scottish Rite Center Saturday night from 6:30pm-10pm. To learn more about this fashionable fete, visit the Battle’s Sacramento365.com event page. Note: An exclusive VIP cocktail reception will be held at 5pm.

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This blog post was written by Sacramento365.com’s Content and Social Media Coordinator, Jamila B. Khan.