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.

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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.

Sacramento365.com 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 Sacramento365.com Holiday Events page. However you decide to celebrate the day, we hope you have a wonderful weekend!


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

Make Memories this Memorial Day Weekend!

For many, Memorial Day weekend evokes the start of the summer season—warm days, cool nights, and lots of outdoor fun. On the other hand, Memorial Day itself serves as a day of remembrance for those that have given their lives for our country. Sacramento events this weekend take on both those meanings, with ways to honor those that have fallen, plus plenty of outdoor festivities and summery fun – See more at: http://blog.discovergold.org/blog/sacramento365-2/memorial-day-weekend-events-in-sacramento-v1#sthash.qAYFqN0I.dpuf
Vettes for Vets and American Muscle Car Show_ Photo courtesy of the California Automobile Museum

Photo courtesy of the California Automobile Museum.

For many, Memorial Day weekend evokes the start of the summer season — warm days, cool nights, and lots of outdoor fun! Memorial Day itself serves as a day of remembrance for those that have given their lives for our country.

Luckily, events taking place this weekend take on both meanings — giving you plenty of ways to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice AND hit up some outdoor festivities and summery fun. See below for just a taste of what to expect this long weekend in the Sacramento area:

Sacramento County Fair
Cal Expo
Thurs-Sun 10am-10pm, Mon 10am-7pm

Honor Sacramento’s agricultural heritage and eat carnival-style food for five days straight! New to this year’s festivities are the Welcome to the Jungle display and the Toughest Monster Truck Tour. Added bonus: Kids Ages 12 and under are free.

St. Anne’s Greek Food and Wine Festival
St. Anna Greek Orthodox Church
Fri 5pm-10pm, Sat Noon-10pm, Sun Noon-8pm

Come enjoy the smells and sounds of Greece at this annual Memorial Weekend festival. Specialty foods on the menu include souvlaki, lamb, pastitiso, mousaka, and baklava (full vegan and vegetarian dishes will also be available). Don’t forget to wash down these great flavors with a shot of ouzo or Greek beer!

Sacramento Music Festival
Old Sacramento
Fri & Sat 11am-Midnight; Sun 10am-11pm; Mon 10am-4pm

Old Sacramento will be the place to be this weekend! You could be dancing in the streets with over 60 world-class soulful and rockin’ blues, country, jazz and rock acts — including Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and The Stray Cat Lee Rocker.

Multicultural Family Festival
William Land Park Amphitheater
Sat 10am-4pm
Along with pony rides, magic shows, and jump houses, youth groups of different ethnic backgrounds will proudly perform song and dance numbers representing their cultures.

Inaugural Memorial Day Block Party
Track & Brewing – Curtis Park
Sat 3pm-9pm
Raise a glass of Track 7’s Roots Rock Red Ale as you jam to the sounds of Arden Park Roots this Saturday! Along with great tunes, you can welcome the long weekend with food from Squeeze Inn Burger, Masa Taco Kitchen, and Smokers Wild BBQ.

FamilyPalooza
Crocker Art Museum
Sun 11am-3pm
A family that plays together stays together! Come celebrate the arts, creativity, and good old-fashioned fun at the Crocker’s FamilyPalooza. This year’s event will turn the museum into Whoville! Note: The museum will also be open from 10am-5pm free of charge!

5th Annual Torch Fest
Torch Club
Sun 4pm-Midnight
Torch Fest is back and it’s better than ever! There’s no better way to celebrate this holiday weekend than with live music at the Midtown landmark!

Vettes for Vets American Muscle Car Show
California Automobile Museum
Mon 9am-3pm
The annual museum car show serves as a memorial to military veterans and to beautiful American made cars. Veterans and active duty military (and their family members) can also take advantage of free admission to the California Automobile Museum.


For even more ways to celebrate this Memorial Day, visit the Sacramento365.com’s Holiday Events page.


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

The Little Mermaid: The “Under the Sea” World Vibrantly Graces the Live Stage

I grew up on Disney movies. Now that I have a four-year-old daughter, I thoroughly enjoy watching them with her and impressing her with my song knowledge. One of my favorites is The Little Mermaid. For those unfamiliar with the plot, the story follows a headstrong young mermaid whose dream is to live as a human on land. She falls in love with a human, Prince Eric, and will do anything, even go against her father’s warnings, to be a part of the prince’s world and follow true love.

Photo by Bruce Bennett

Photo by Bruce Bennett

Most of the movie takes place underwater and I was curious to see how they were going to portray an underwater world on stage. I was fascinated by the quick and realistic scene changes from ocean to land. The underwater swimming scenes were impressive and I was surprised with how the use of lighting, props, and flying ropes truly gave the effect of them swimming with the greatest of ease! I noticed right away that even when the sea characters were standing, they were moving their bodies in a way to show they were staying afloat in water. I appreciated the attention to even those small details. The cast was amazing, especially Alison Woods as Ariel, Jennifer Allen as Ursula, and Melvin Abston as Sebastian.

Photo by Bruce Bennett

Photo by Bruce Bennett

There were some significant changes from the movie, but they added to the experience in a positive way. There is a part about Ariel’s mother and her death that is completely glossed over in the movie. It helped to make more sense of the over-protective, King Triton. Another major change was that Ursula, the evil sea witch, is actually King Triton’s sister and Ariel’s aunt in the play. They also played up the fact that Flounder, Ariel’s best friend fish, has a major crush on her. There is a certain animosity between Ariel and her six sisters in the movie, but they were a lot more vindictive and jealous of Ariel in the performance, which made for some amusing scenes.

Theatre Under the Stars - Disney's "The Little Mermaid" at TUTS, September 2015.

Theatre Under the Stars – Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” at TUTS, September 2015.

One of the most memorable acts was the “Under the Sea,” performance. The vibrant visual perfectly matched the upbeat classic, which called for audience participation to help sing-along. Sebastian led the chorus of brightly colored characters as they tried to persuade Ariel why the ocean life is the best life. There were giant “floating” jellyfish, vibrantly colored sea creatures, and whimsical fish! Another brief, but extremely memorable and hilarious act was “Les Poissons” with Chef Louis (played by Jeff Skowron).

All in all, The Little Mermaid, was an entertaining experience. It’s a great show for adults and children alike. It’ll have you singing out loud or, at least, wanting to learn the words so you can join in. The show will only be running until this Sunday, so don’t miss your chance to see this Disney classic live!

***This post was written by the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Lindsey Adams.

Not Your Mother’s Cinderella

STC Young Professionals Conservatory student Angel Hermosillo as Cinderella. Photo by Barry Wisdom Photography.

STC Young Professionals Conservatory student Angel Hermosillo as Cinderella. Photo by Barry Wisdom Photography.

After a six-year absence, Cinderella and her glass slippers make their way back to the Sacramento Theatre Company’s Main Stage. While it may seem odd to run a fairy tale production during the month of December, there’s a method to the madness. Not only does the show fit well with the Company’s “Friends, Foes, and Family” 71st season’s theme, the show builds on a tradition originating across the pond. Cinderella is written and performed in the style of a British Panto, a holiday musical production format introduced in 1717. Mixing a well-known story with slapstick, innuendo, audience participation, and a pinch of complete nonsense, Pantos appeal to all age ranges and add variety in a sometimes supersaturated Christmas theatre market.

So what does this production of Cinderella bring to the table? For starters, it’s nothing like the more familiar Disney rendition of the classic tale – and that’s what makes it great. You’ll be cheering for a dancing bear, a Kris Jenner-esque stage stepmother (aptly named Mrs. Baden-Rotten), and a sassy Lil Bo Peep (and her flock of baaaad, baaaad sheep)…guaranteed. For me, the highlights are when the cast breaks the fourth wall and engages the audience in its buffoonery – prepare to yell “Buttons” and possibly try on that famed glass slipper.

The cast of STC’s holiday production of Cinderella.

The cast of STC’s holiday production of Cinderella. Photo by Barry Wisdom Photography.

The production also celebrates homegrown talent. Cinderella’s music, written by local songwriter and composer Gregg Coffin, comes to life with a live band led by Samuel Clein. As well, much of the cast stems from the Sacramento Theatre Company’s Young Conservatory, including the belle of the ball, Cinderella, played elegantly by Angel Hermosillo.

The production’s feel-good message isn’t limited to the what happens on the Main Stage. For the show, Sacramento Theatre Company has partnered with the River City Food Bank, in an effort to alleviate hunger in the Sacramento County. Attendees who bring non-perishable food items to the Sacramento Theatre Company Box Office will receive $5 off per item on a full-price adult ticket. (Up to four donated items. Limit four tickets per customer.)

And to add to the cuteness factor, at the end of each performance, your prince or princess can take a photo with the cast of characters. (Crowns and tiaras are even available onsite for purchase.)

Make it a festive night and hitch a pumpkin carriage to see Cinderella through December 27. Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday at 7pm, with matinee performances on Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm. For more information, visit the production’s Sacramento365.com listing here.

***
This post was written by Jamila B. Khan, Content and Social Media Coordinator at Sacramento365.com.

Elf-tastic: Spreading Holiday Cheer for all to Hear

Elves are known to be musical creatures who love to share joy through song and dance. After seeing Broadway Sacramento‘s production of Elf: The MusicalI felt compelled to join them. I watch Elf (the movie) every year around Christmas with my family, so when I heard Elf: The Musical was coming to town I knew I had to go. I loaded up my family into my version of Santa’s sleigh (a Honda) and headed down to Community Center Theater.

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

The Christmas musical is the tale of Buddy the Elf, a human orphan who was accidentally brought to the North Pole by Santa. Though raised by the elves of Santa’s workshop, it becomes apparent that Buddy just isn’t cutting it as an elf. He is sent on his way to meet his real father…who just so happens to be on the naughty list. While most people would be devastated to learn their whole life was a lie, Buddy heads on his journey to magical New York City with pep in his step. Once Buddy arrives in NYC he seems to be the only person with any joy in town — he bothers every New Yorker he comes across. Furthermore, his first interaction with his father doesn’t go as planned and Buddy ends up in the Christmas section of a high-end department store. Buddy is then conscripted into the “elf force” to help prepare the store for Santa.

Anticipating the Jolly Good Soul’s NYC arrival, Buddy encourages the department store staff to decorate like they never had before. In the process, he meets his love interest, Jovie. Far from jovial, she turns out to be the link Buddy needs to finally reconnect with his family.

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

The rest of the tale of Buddy the Elf is full of songs, tinsel, and enough cheer to raise Santa’s sleigh. The entire production, from the whimsical set changes to the spot on casting, will help get you and your family ready for the holiday season.

Buddy, who is played by Daniel Patrick Smith in this production, will make you say, “Will Farrell, who?” Smith fills the elf suit perfectly with his overexuberant spirit. His dancing and singing would even bring a smile to the grumpiest Grinch. While the whole production is hilarious — the rest of the cast are no slouches! — Smith’s Buddy the Elf is lively and more cheerful than Santa gobbling down a plate of cookies.

Photo by Joan Marcus

Photo by Joan Marcus

This production is perfect for any and all ages; you’re guaranteed to see children and adults alike bursting at the seams from laughter.

Buddy the Elf will only be in town this until November 15, so if you want to see some holiday magic you better get on it! For more information on Elf: The Musical, check out the Sacramento365.com event listing.

***This blog was written by Sacramento365.com’s Content Specialist, Dylan Fisher.

Simone Porter: Bringing “Hip” Back to Classical Music

Simone_Porter (5)Let’s face it. As young adults, millennials, and even those born after the baby boomer age, it’s been hard for us to connect to classical music. The cliche is that concert halls are stuffy, the music is boring, and the performers are equally mundane. However, with 19-year-old violin phenomenon, Simone Porter at the helm of a Classical Arts Renaissance, this is not the case!

First, let’s talk about the excitement of seeing someone not even old enough to drink literally shred it on the violin. Simone Porter puts so much passion into her playing that last month, while performing the dazzling and exhausting Samuel Barber violin concerto with the Houston Symphony, a string on her violin broke in the middle of the performance. Not only did Ms. Porter stay calm, cool, and collected, she borrowed the violin of the concertmaster and played on…continuing to “shred it”, albeit, potentially more consciously.

This is a woman who made her professional debut with one of the world’s major orchestras at the age of 13 (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra). She has performed with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Symphony along with conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who it should be mentioned, is being considered to become the next music director of the Metropolitan Opera. This is just a small amount of the awesomeness that this 19-year-old violin prodigy embodies. When she plays, you see the excitement, the passion, the joy, the exuberance — all things that you want to see when not only listening to but watching live classical music.

On Saturday night, October 17th, Sacramento audiences will get a chance to hear Ms. Porter and to see what makes classical music exciting, why this artform is in no way dying, and why it is important to keep supporting it. When there are performers like Simone Porter, it doesn’t matter your age or even if you have never heard classical music before — after hearing an artist deemed by LA Times as “on the cusp of a major career,” you will see why classical music is still (and always will be) “hip.”

To see the virtuoso perform the Bruch Violin Concerto with the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera on Saturday, October 17th, visit the concert’s Sacramento365.com event page. Tickets can be purchased at Sacphilopera.org or by calling (916) 808-5181

For more information on Simone Porter, please visit her website — or better yet, follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

TweetSeatsAs part of its Resurrection season, the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera will offer a limited number of expert Tweeters complimentary tickets, so that they can provide commentary in real time before, during, and after each concert. No classical music experience is necessary to participate!  If interested in the Tweet Seats program, complete this survey.

***This post was written by Raymond James Irwin, Marketing and Communications Director for the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera.