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.

Get to Know July Featured Artist Steven Valencia

Profile CropEnchanting, colorful costumes. Skillful footwork. A high pitch grito (shout). These are the familiar elements that define Mexico’s ballet folklórico or “folkloric dance.” Our July Featured Artist Steven Valencia might add “his inspiration”, too.

This month, we connected with Calidanza’s Artistic Director to learn more about his life-long passion. As the leader of the Calidanza folk dance company, Valencia seeks to advance, celebrate, and preserve the culture of Latino, Chicano, and Native populations for generations. And he’s been pretty good at it. He’s worked and toured with some of the best instructors from across the border, choreographed traditional and modern professional productions in and around the Sacramento region, and was even awarded the 2011 Maestro Award from The Latino Arts Network of California for his efforts. What may be the most peculiar thing about Valencia’s success is that he juggles his time at Calidanza with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Read on and discover what quite literally moves our featured artist here.

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.

Get to Know June Featured Artist Maren Conrad

Profile Crop“Beware of artists: they mix with all classes of society and
therefore are the most dangerous.”

This month Sacramento365.com met up with one of Sacramento’s most sought out artists, Maren Conrad. Best known for striking metal leaf and layered resin paintings, her work, inspired by her subconscious, connects to universal truths and experiences through text and delicate koi fish and feathers designs. She’s also known for famously ruffling a few figurative feathers with her censored “Politically Vulnerable” collection.

This June we encourage you to get to know Conrad’s dangerous mind and her plans to keep shaking up Sacramento’s art scene here.

Hitsville, USA Comes to Sacramento

Motown the Musical CLIFTON OLIVER (Berry Gordy) Clifton Oliver is honored to be a part of the Motown family. Broadway: The Lion King (Simba), In The Heights (Benny opposite Jordin Sparks), Wicked (Fiyero). Nat'l Tours: The Lion King (Simba), Rent (Benny & Collins), Ragtime (Ensemble). Regional: Pal Joey (Arkansas Rep.), Kinky Boots (Lola's standby for Bill Porter), West Coast Tour of The Scottsboro Boys (Charlie/Victoria), Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Victor), Godspell (Judas) MUNY. Television: "Law and READ MORE ? ALLISON SEMES (Diana Ross) Chicago native. B.M. Opera at UIUC, M.M. from NYU-Steinhardt. Broadway credits: Motown the Musical, Florence Ballard & The Book of Mormon, Nabalungi U/S, Swing. Other credits include: The Color Purple National Tour, Dreamgirls, Bubbling Brown Sugar, The Wiz, Candide. I want to thank you Bethany and everyone at Telsey, Renee, my CCC/ KACC/ GIAME families, Momma & Poppa Bear, Emile, QVD, and my friends for the unconditional love and support! READ MORE ? NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER (Smokey Robinson) Born in Bermuda and raised in Boston, MA. Studied at both The Boston Conservatory and The Juilliard School. 1st National Tour: In The Heights. Off-Broadway: Rent, Hurt Village. Thank you family, friends and SMS for your lurve and support. JARRAN MUSE (Marvin Gaye) A native Jersey boy couldn't be happier living his dream. God is good yall. Broadway/NYC: Motown The Musical, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Dreamgirls; International Tours: American Idiot, Dreamgirls, Hairspray, 42nd Street. Regional Theater: Marriott Lincolnshire, Portland Center Stage (Will Parker in Oklahoma!), Goodspeed, Fulton Opera Houses, Pittsburgh CLO. Thank you to Mr. GORDY, Charles, and Telsey for this new opportunity to bring Marvin to stage READ MORE ? ERICK BUCKLEY (Ensemble) Broadway/National Tours: Valjean in Les Miserables, Uncle Fester in The Addams Family, Dave in The Full Monty, Piangi in The Phantom of the Opera, Gangster #1 Kiss Me, Kate, Roger in Grease

Photo by Joan Marcus.

“To get to [the people’s] heart, you have to get to their feet.” – Berry Gordy

And that’s what Motown Records and its hit-making artists did. Despite operating during the time of overt de facto discrimination, the black-owned powerhouse and its iconic Motown Sound persevered and, quite literally, moved a generation. Broadway Sacramento caps off its successful 2015-2016 season retelling the company’s vibrant origin story with Motown the Musical.

The musical’s book, penned by Motown’s founder Berry Gordy, begins and ends with Motown 25th Anniversary Show. Filling most of the 160 minutes of stage time are a series of flashbacks, highlighting the trials, tribulations, and artists that shaped the legendary independent record company. (You’ll see everyone from Marvin Gaye to Rick James.) Of course, Berry Gordy’s love affair with Diana Ross is examined as well. Projected TV clips and the company’s changing fashions give temporal clues for the 45 years covered during the show.

Lean on character development, the musical instead makes room for the legendary Motown catalog to shine; of the over 180 hits produced under Gordy’s leadership; 66 Motown songs were infused throughout the production. Diana Ross’s campy, interactive solo debut at the Frontier Hotel and any The Jackson 5 number were the hands-down highlights of the already spectacular show. Also impressive was the fact that many cast members played up to five different characters, makes sense given Motown’s revolving door of talent.

Motown the Musical CLIFTON OLIVER (Berry Gordy) Clifton Oliver is honored to be a part of the Motown family. Broadway: The Lion King (Simba), In The Heights (Benny opposite Jordin Sparks), Wicked (Fiyero). Nat'l Tours: The Lion King (Simba), Rent (Benny & Collins), Ragtime (Ensemble). Regional: Pal Joey (Arkansas Rep.), Kinky Boots (Lola's standby for Bill Porter), West Coast Tour of The Scottsboro Boys (Charlie/Victoria), Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Victor), Godspell (Judas) MUNY. Television: "Law and READ MORE ? ALLISON SEMES (Diana Ross) Chicago native. B.M. Opera at UIUC, M.M. from NYU-Steinhardt. Broadway credits: Motown the Musical, Florence Ballard & The Book of Mormon, Nabalungi U/S, Swing. Other credits include: The Color Purple National Tour, Dreamgirls, Bubbling Brown Sugar, The Wiz, Candide. I want to thank you Bethany and everyone at Telsey, Renee, my CCC/ KACC/ GIAME families, Momma & Poppa Bear, Emile, QVD, and my friends for the unconditional love and support! READ MORE ? NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER (Smokey Robinson) Born in Bermuda and raised in Boston, MA. Studied at both The Boston Conservatory and The Juilliard School. 1st National Tour: In The Heights. Off-Broadway: Rent, Hurt Village. Thank you family, friends and SMS for your lurve and support. JARRAN MUSE (Marvin Gaye) A native Jersey boy couldn't be happier living his dream. God is good yall. Broadway/NYC: Motown The Musical, Irving Berlin's White Christmas, Dreamgirls; International Tours: American Idiot, Dreamgirls, Hairspray, 42nd Street. Regional Theater: Marriott Lincolnshire, Portland Center Stage (Will Parker in Oklahoma!), Goodspeed, Fulton Opera Houses, Pittsburgh CLO. Thank you to Mr. GORDY, Charles, and Telsey for this new opportunity to bring Marvin to stage READ MORE ? ERICK BUCKLEY (Ensemble) Broadway/National Tours: Valjean in Les Miserables, Uncle Fester in The Addams Family, Dave in The Full Monty, Piangi in The Phantom of the Opera, Gangster #1 Kiss Me, Kate, Roger in Grease

Photo by Joan Marcus.

In Motown the Musical you’ll learn the lessons of loyalty, pride, competition, but most importantly, never giving up on your dreams.

Don’t miss your chance to hear the music and magic of Motown the Musical. The Motown Sound takes over the Community Center Theater stage now through Sunday, May 29. For ticket and show details, click here.

Disclaimer: While this is an all ages show, the “n-word” is used briefly in during the traveling Motortown Revue scene. There is also an implied (though hilarious) sex scene.

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

Get to Know May Featured Artist Mike Johnston

May FA 016 Profile Pic - CopyThis May, Sacramento365.com wants you to Make It a Music night. Throughout the month, we’ll be showing you ways to move and be moved, so, of course, we had to choose an artist fitting for the occasion. Drumroll to Mike Johnston, a Folsom-based musician and instructor who works to the beat of his own drum, literally.

From a charming studio (or as he calls it “hobbit hole”), Johnston inspires thousands around the world through Mikeslessons.com, a website allowing aspiring drummers to learn and practice on their own time. As if that’s not impressive, on YouTube, his riffs and rudiments have been viewed over four million times and Modern Drummer readers awarded Johnston the “Clinician/Educator of the Year” award. And, oh yeah, Johnston was a world-touring rockstar at 21 and lived to tell about it.

To say we were intrigued by Mike Johnston’s story is an understatement. Read on and discover what moves our May Featured Artist here.

Join Forces with the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera!

SPO-StarWars-WebSliderDarth Vader, Hans Solo, and Princess Leia invade the classical musical institution this Saturday!


This season the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera has had a true rebirth. They have been pushing the envelope of a typical philharmonic through pop-up concerts throughout the city, music invasions at libraries, concerts for over 4000 children, live tweeting (yes, people can join a crew to tweet throughout an entire concert), and innovative programming.

About that innovative programming…when was the last time you saw a Queen cover band perform front and center with a full orchestra playing as back-up…well, if you are like most Sacramentans, the answer is probably never. What about acrobats flying up, down, and around the Sacramento Community Center Theater to the classical hits? Maybe if you’ve been to Vegas, but did they have a full orchestra on stage or was it a recording?

Now to end Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera’s Pop Series for the year, they are bringing the music of John Williams, a.k.a. the music genius behind some of Hollywood’s most famous movies: Indiana Jones, Superman, Harry Potter, and of course…Star Wars. With the excitement of the new Star Wars film that came out last year, the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera decided to bring its great cinematic music to life!

On Saturday, April 23, come hear all of your favorites themes, songs, and catchy tunes from these blockbuster films performed by an entire live orchestra!

But let’s get back to Darth Vader, Han Solo, and Princess Leia joining the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera…in keeping with their envelope-pushing season, Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera wants you to come dressed up as your favorite Star Wars, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, and Superman characters — capes and all.  Yes, rep your fandom with pride this weekend! 107.9 The End will be joining the Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera to have a live costume contest. The best Princess Leia buns may just help you snag the top prize!

You will not want to miss this epic concert event. A limited number of tickets are still available by phone; may the force be with you! For more event details, visit the concert’s Sacramento365.com event listing.

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