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.


Celebrate Pops this Father’s Day Weekend

Father's Train

Photo courtesy of Sacramento RiverTrain.

This Sunday it’s time to cheer for Sacramento’s doting dads and fabulous father figures! June 19 is Father’s Day, so why not give the men in your life — and maybe even yourself — a much needed day (or weekend) of fun. has curated a short list of local outings that’ll help you give thanks all weekend long:

For the real-life superhero:
Wizard World Comic Con Sacramento
Sacramento Convention Center; Fri 3pm-8pm, Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-4pm
Think your daddy-io has super powers? Let him show them off this weekend at the region’s ultimate gathering of sci-fi and animation fans!

For the foodie father:
Father’s Day BBQ Train
Sacramento RiverTrain; Sun 10am-1pm
Memories make the best gifts, so give the men in your life a Father’s Day adventure they won’t forget with a ride aboard the RiverTrain. Plus, they will appreciate the momentary break in BBQ duties!

The Great Race

Photo courtesy of Great Race.

For the auto aficionado:
Dad’s Day at Denio’s
Denio’s Farmers Market & Swap Meet; Sat 10am-2pm
Celebrate early and bring the father’s in your life to Roseville for classic cars, craft beers, live music, and hand-dipped corn dogs!

Great Race
Old Sacramento; Sat ~5:15pm-8pm
See 120 of the world’s finest collector cars as they make a pit stop in the historic district; these classics will be making their way to Moline, Illinois along the famous Lincoln Highway.

Father’s Day Celebration at the California Automobile Museum
California Automobile Museum; Sun 10am-5pm
Along with receiving free admission, dads of all ages can take a free ride in one of the riverside museum’s hottest cars. Other automotive treats will be on hand to show ’em how much they mean to you!

For the sports lover:
Maddbacker Celebrity Basketball Game
Sleep Train Arena; Fri 7pm
Does he love hoops? Take him out to celebrity game brings together 30 current and former professional athletes from around the country and includes many sports heroes from the greater Sacramento area.

Sacramento Republic FC v. Rio Grande Valley FC Toros
Bonney Field; Sat 8pm-10pm
Although Sacramento isn’t near the Copa América action, you can still see live soccer action this Saturday night! Their games are always action packed and fun.

Sacramento River Cats v. El Paso Chihuahua
Raley Field; Sun 1:05pm
Join the River Cats as they celebrate all things dad this Father’s Day! As well as peanuts, and Cracker Jack, families can enjoy a special pre-game barbecue.

To find even more Father’s Day festivities, visit the Holiday Events page. However you decide to celebrate the day, we hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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

Our Night Out with Elle Woods


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, 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.


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.

Music Circus - Legally Blonde - 06132016

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 event page.

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

On Board for BIG Day of Giving 2016

BDOG2016_Pos_736x599pxEverywhere I look, I see the Sacramento region in a state of transformation. Our region’s rich and diverse nonprofit sector is one of our greatest examples of this. Thanks to the BIG Day of Giving, we can add “philanthropic powerhouse” to our list of attributes. The Sacramento area’s spirit of giving is undeniable!

Pride in our region and last year’s record-breaking experience led us to believe that, together, we can reach the following goal on the BIG Day of Giving this year: Raise $6 million in online donations from over 30,000 donors for 570 local nonprofits with 100% board giving from participating organizations.

If we reach these goals on May 3, it will be an incredible achievement. Reaching these numbers is so much more than a check mark on a to-do list; the money raised can help a domestic violence victim find shelter, give children the opportunity to experience the arts, and match four-legged friends to loving homes.


Your giving on May 3 can support wonderful nonprofit programs and projects in the region, like art therapy classes at the WEAVE Safehouse. (Photo courtesy of WEAVE, Inc.)

As a board member, I know I must do more than cheer. I must lead with my own giving.

Last year, the WEAVE Board of Directors committed to 100% participation on BIG Day of Giving. I worked with the WEAVE staff to ensure giving was easy (we sent out a calendar invite with WEAVE’s Big Day of Giving link) and I followed up with thank you letters to those who gave early and “gentle prodding” to those who needed a reminder later in the day. At 10pm we achieved our goal! When our board met a few days later, we celebrated and several board members came up with the brilliant idea that we use BIG Day of Giving as the day we make our personal contributions to WEAVE in the future.

If you serve on the board of directors of a nonprofit that will be participating in BIG Day of Giving, I challenge you to lead by example with your gift. Give early. Give generously. As one of the thousands of donors throughout our region, you will be part of raising $6 million for the local nonprofits that make the Greater Sacramento region such a wonderful place to live. Even more, you will be a part of reinforcing our region as a philanthropic powerhouse.

For more information about BIG Day of Giving, and to donate, click here.

***Blog post by Garry Maisel, CEO of Western Health Advantage and Board Chairperson of WEAVE™.

NEWSIES Gives You Something to Believe In

Newsies, a Disney Theatrical Production under the direction of Thomas Schumacher presents Newsies, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, book by Harvey Fierstein, starring Dan Deluca (Jack Kelly), Steve Blanchard (Joseph Pulitzer), Stephanie Styles (Katherine Plumber), Angela Grovey (Medda), Jacob Kemp (Davey), Zachary Sayle (Crutchie), Anthony Rosenthal or Vincent Crocilla (Les) and Matthew J. Schechter (Les) under the direction of Jeff Calhoun, choreographed by Christopher Gattelli, North American Tour premiere Thursday October 30 Philadelphia

Newsies, “the ragtag raggamuffins” with heart. ©Disney. Photo by Deen van Meer.

I am always down to see a musical, but I must admit when first getting the assignment to see Disney’s NEWSIES, I was a little confounded. The premise of the musical from outward appearances is odd; what would compel someone to write a musical based on the Newsboys Strike of 1899? Having not seen the cult 1992 movie of the same name, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Was the musical going to be Les Misérables set in NYC? Did I need to brush up on my history to understand its plot? Luckily, having an open mind paid off. Using my best Brooklyn accent, I can say that Disney’s NEWSIES was a delight “for shoire.”

The family-friendly musical is evergreen, detailing a feel-good story of David versus Goliath. Inspired by New York’s trolley strikes at the time, newsboy Jack Kelly and his gang of friends, affectionately called “newsies”, form a union when New York publishing kingpins raise distribution prices at their expense. Through rallies, a few fights, and the power of words, the boys successfully defeat corporate greed.

Along with touching upon the subjects of child labor laws and workers’ rights, the musical pokes fun of fame, the one-percent, and what today we call “clickbait” news. (There was even a musical number on the writing process, something to which I can relate!) It turns out, as mentioned tongue-and-cheekily by the youngest newsie, “theatre is entertaining and educational!”

The musical also shines because of its cast. While characters Jack Kelly (played by Joey Barreiro) and Katherine (played by Morgan Keene) give us “Something to Believe In,” the entire company blows you away with its talent; these young actors carry a tune through flips, tap dance numbers, playing the spoons, and even when swiveling on newspapers. Adding to the theatre magic was its impressive set. The stage, consisting of large maneuverable steel stairwells grew in size, replicating tenant homes, rooftops, and skyscrapers at the change of a curtain.

See this underdog story now through Sunday, April 17. A limited number of tickets are still available. For ticket show times and prices, visit the show’s page here.

Want more musicals in your life? Season tickets for the 2016-2017 Broadway Sacramento season are now on sale. For more details, click here.

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

Joshua Roman: Not Your Average Cellist

This Saturday, April 9, innovative Classical Cellist, Joshua Roman, will perform with the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera in Dvorák’s New World. Joshua, a TED fellow, gives us his take on new classical music and diverse collaborations.


Photo by Hayley Young.

You were the youngest principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony winning the position at 22 — wow — what was that like?
It was great — they seemed very excited to have me and, of course, I was excited to be there. The orchestra chose me through the audition process, so I didn’t feel skepticism from them regarding my level of experience, but I was definitely the youngest in the whole orchestra! I felt very much like they allowed me to step into that leadership role, and it was beautiful. I loved it. I love Seattle.

Joshua, you are one of only a handful of performers who get the designation of a TED Senior Fellow. How did you get involved with TED talks, and what type of innovation do you hope to showcase?
A friend of mine from Seattle first introduced me to TED through a TEDx event. I gave a talk and played at the Seattle event, TEDxRainier. Through that process, I learned about the fellows program, and attendees encouraged me to apply. TED is a wonderful organization for the melding of minds. Their theme of ideas is worth spreading and is very relevant, especially for those of us in classical music. It’s important to think about the role of music in a larger space, the role of the cello, and what I can do to go broader and deeper.

You are a leader in bringing change to classical music; to reinvigorate it. Why do you think classical music needs to have its envelope pushed? How did you decide that you were going to steer away from the role of the performer to a change maker?
To me, classical music isn’t about a particular repertoire or canon — that’s a byproduct, and a fantastic byproduct — I believe that classical music is a tradition of creativity and innovation. We [as musicians] absolutely have to keep that alive. I never feel like that idea ‘steers me away’ from being a performer. Innovation has to be at the center of what we do.

Do you find that classical music audiences are receptive to new works, collaborations, and innovations that you are bringing?
I find that if you create an environment where people have a chance to open up and experience something, you can go many places, and they will go with you. Sometimes, you have to put in a bit of extra effort to create an emotional entry point, but if you get that, people will come with you and explore.

Sacramento is going through a renaissance; “Be the Change” is quickly becoming the motto for 2016. How can we — as audience members, classical music enthusiasts, and people who aren’t sure they even like classical music — make a change in this genre?
With classical music, it’s important to focus on the passion. At the core of music are connections between people and people respond to passion. Sometimes this gets lost in certain aspects of tradition. If we can pull barriers down and allow the passion from the music, musicians, and audience to be the driving force while sustaining quality — who knows what can happen!

Why do you think so little contemporary classical music is performed?
There’s a lot of contemporary classical music being performed, but much of it is happening in smaller and nontraditional venues. However, there still needs to be more, and the growth that’s happening on the big stage should be encouraged. Exploration and discovery have always been the cornerstones of classical music, so there’s no reason to fear that new sounds will render great music of the past obsolete.

The argument could even be made that our best chance of establishing a connection with those around us is through sharing something created in our time, for our time.

What is your main goal when performing? What do you want your audiences to get out of your performance?
For every performance, I want to communicate what the music is saying, and get myself out of the way. I try to let the passion, emotional quality, and spiritual connection be the carrying force — and of course, it’s my interpretation of these qualities that I share, but the goal is to find whatever is intrinsic in the music and give myself to that emotion.

I want the audience to feel engaged and present, and have an experience that connects us on a fundamentally human level.

This weekend, you are playing something a bit more traditional, Dvorák’s cello concerto. Do you play with a different, perhaps modern approach, or do you find that you stick to playing it in the traditional sense? What should audiences know about this piece?
A piece like the Dvorák is so huge within repertoire that it’s impossible not to be influenced by some of the traditions that have developed around it. But what I actually do at this point is go back to the score and try to free myself from some of the performance traditions that have accumulated since the piece’s premiere. I want to try to find what I think Dvorák is trying to do and say. In a way, that’s not traditional. In my own way, I’m trying to get as close as I can to his idea of what the piece should be.

For me, it’s one of the greatest pieces ever written because it’s such a colorful musical story and there is background in Dvorák’s own life. There’s love, tragedy, and homesickness. The way these emotions play out, even in the way the musicians and musical instruments interact on stage, is extremely powerful.

Hear Joshua Roman and the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera perform Dvorák’s New World this Saturday! For ticket and time information, visit the concert’s page.

***This blog post was written by Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator Raymond James Irwin.

#BeTheChange: The Creative Changemakers of Emerge Summit

Metro Edge Emerge Summit

Photo courtesy of Metro Edge.

“In my own philanthropy and business endeavors, I have seen the critical role that the arts play in stimulating creativity and in developing vital communities – the arts have a crucial impact on our economy and are an important catalyst for learning, discovery, and achievement in our country.” – Paul G. Allen, Co-Founder, Microsoft

On Friday, March 18th, 600 young professionals from throughout the Sacramento region and beyond will gather at Memorial Auditorium for the 3rd annual Emerge Summit. Spearheaded by Metro EDGE with support from the Sacramento Metro Chamber, the Emerge Summit is a collaborative effort of the organizing leadership of 11 regional young professional programs. Simply put, it’s an insanely awesome and inspirational day dedicated to community, collaboration, and professional development.

As if the event itself wasn’t exciting enough…

  • Keynote speaker: Greta Gerwig – Sacramento-grown, Golden Globe nominee, actress, writer, producer, and director
  • Local speaker: Jay Sales – Innovation Strategist & Co-Lead at The Shop, VSP Global
  • 11 breakout session options
  • Awesome after party

…there will be some incredibly talented local artists doing what they do best – creating. These are just a handful of the creative changemakers (and a few Sacramento365 Featured Artists) at the helm of Sacramento’s resurgence, transforming the arts landscape.

Metro Edge Ballet

Photo courtesy of Metro Edge.

The Artists: What to Expect

To celebrate this year’s Emerge Summit theme, Metro EDGE is kicking off the day a little early with the Changemaker Space. Doors will open at 10:30am to give attendees the opportunity to experience this lively space that will feature artists, businesses, and nonprofits throughout the region that exemplify what it means to #bethechange.

Make sure you arrive early and check out all of the amazing talent and passion. We hope you will join the Sacramento365 team at the Emerge Summit on March 18th! For more information, head over to the event listing on

**This blog post was written by’s Content and Marketing Manager, Karlee Cemo.