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.

Not Your “Normal” Musical

Photo courtesy of Runaway Stage Productions.

Starting this Friday, grief, suburbia, and the field of psychiatry get the musical treatment in Runaway Stage ProductionsNext to Normal. Leaving its 24th Street Theatre home base to the West Sacramento Community Center Black Box Theatre, the company sets off to tackle the not-so-typical musical on a grander stage  — a move that makes sense given the show’s storied Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning history.

With provocative lyrics and a thrilling pop/rock score, Next To Normal follows a family’s struggle to cope with its matriarch’s bipolar disorder. The result? A deeply moving piece of theatre.

Andrea Thorpe, Darryl Strohl-de Herrera, Michael Roivas, Kristina Dizon, Taylor Presnall, and Tylen Einweck star in this Runaway Stage Productions show.

Next to Normal takes the West Sacramento Black Box Theatre stage July 10 through August 16. Friday and Saturday shows will be held at 8pm; Sunday matinees at 2pm. For more information, visit its Sacramento365.com event page.

Because of its dark subject matter, this show is recommended for Ages 16+.

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

Bye Bye Birdie: A Rock-and-Roll Delight

MUSIC CIRCUS -Bye Bye Birdie dress - 07062015

Photo by Kevin Graft.

Before the Beibs, girls were in a tizzy over the crooning, hip-shaking Conrad Birdie. Hot on the heels of the Antebellum musical, Big River, Music Circus lightens its mood with the nostalgic musical, Bye Bye Birdie. Set in the early sixties, the delightful pastel colored rock-and-roll show follows the crackpot scheme — devised by mama’s boy music manager Albert Peterson (played by Larry Raben) and his secretary/lover Rosie Alvarez (perfectly portrayed by Janine DiVita) — to bring a little publicity to the struggling Almaelou record company. The plan: Have teen heartthrob and Elvis doppelganger, Conrad Birdie give a lucky fan “One Last Kiss” before he joins the Army. A pelvis is thrusted; girls faint; parents call to arms; and tongue-in-cheek hilarity ensues.

Despite what the title implies, the pompadour-coiffed singer is not the main point of interest of the musical, but merely the glue to the plot line’s antics. Truly, the female characters take center stage in Bye Bye Birdie. Anytime Rosie “The Spanish Rose” Alvarez takes the stage it is pure magic. DiVita’s drunken Shriner’s Ballet was easily the show’s highlight. Her nagging future mother-in-law, Mae Peterson (Mary-Pat Green), adds a comic relief with biting put-downs and one liners. And of course, the lucky kiss recipient, Kim MacAfee (Amanda Jane Cooper) is a perfect blend of cheer and teen angst.

Audience members will easily sing along to hits “Put On A Happy Face,” “How Lovely to Be a Woman,” “Kids,” and “A Lot of Livin’ to Do.”

The California Musical Theatre Academy’s Junior Company adds energy (and fan girl excitement) to Bye Bye Birdie. Photo by Charr Crail.

Another feel-good moment: Peppered into the cast are members of the California Musical Theatre Academy’s Junior Company, a program that trains young performers to participate in a Music Circus production alongside actors and crew.

Bye Bye Birdie bounces through the Wells Fargo Pavilion through Sunday, July 12. Evening performances are Tuesdays through Sunday at 7:30pm; matinee performances at Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2pm. For more information, visit the production’s Sacramento365.com event page.

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

Ring in the Fourth Locally!

Photo courtesy of Folsom Pro Rodeo.

This Saturday marks the 239th birthday of the United States of America. Not sure how to celebrate our nation’s big day? Sacramento365.com searched high and low to find the best Independence Day events happening in the Sacramento region this weekend.

With fireworks, parades, and even a bit of croquet, you are guaranteed to have plenty of patriotic fun!

 Get in the Spirit Early

Folsom Pro Rodeo & Historic Cattle Drive
Dan Russell Rodeo Arena; Thurs-Sat 6pm

This annual tradition is a tribute to the cattle ranches which used to be spread across the Folsom foothills. Before the official start of the Folsom Pro Rodeo, don’t miss out on the cattle drive down historic Sutter Street.

Rancho Cordova Fourth of July Celebration
Hagan Park; Fri 4pm-11pm, Sat Noon-11pm

The fun starts a day early with a carnival, concert, and fireworks mini-show. On the Fourth, start off with a brisk 5K run, watch a Fourth of July Parade, then spend the rest of the day in Hagan Park for more family-friendly activities.

Red, White, and Brews
Old Sacramento; Fri 6pm-Midnight

Be the first to celebrate the Fourth by having a little fun on the Third! Ten participating Old Sacramento bars are offering select American beers for only $3.

Those Flashing Lights:

19th Annual Salute to the Red, White, and Blue
Elk Grove Regional Park; Sat 4pm-10pm

Elk Grove’s premier Fourth of July celebration is a patriotic salute to the birth of the nation. The festivities begin in the evening with live music and food – and ends with a bang!

Independence Day Celebration
Cal Expo; Sat 5pm

Cal Expo will join the City and County of Sacramento and CBS Radio to produce the largest-scale pyrotechnics display in the area on the Fourth of July.

Fourth on the Field
Raley Field; Sat 6pm-10pm

The ballpark is bringing back the feel of a neighborhood block party with delicious food trucks, live music by Nunchuck Taylor, and a dazzling display of fireworks over the Sacramento River.

Ring in the Fourth Uniquely

4th of July Picnic and Croquet Tournament
Old Sacramento; Sat 11am-2pm

Play ball? Join the Sacramento History Museum’s Living History re-enactors as they celebrate Independence Day in historic style.

Celebrating American Music
Midtown BarFly (formerly Club 21); Sat 9pm

Want to avoid the big crowds while celebrating America this year? Join the Midtown Moxies burlesque troupe for an intimate evening with their very own brand of fireworks.

Sacramento Moonwalk: In Loving Memory of Michael Jackson
Harlow’s; Sat 9:30pm

Hosted by Reggae star Xsample, this contest will give $500 to the best Moonwalk contestant and $500 to the best Michael Jackson impersonator.

To find even more Fourth of July festivities, visit the Sacramento365.com Holiday Events page.

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

Much Trouble, Much Joy in Big River

Phillip Boykin as Jim and Ben Fankhauser as Huck Finn float on the Mississippi in Big River. (Photo by Charr Crail.)

The sounds of the antebellum South come alive with the debut of Big River on the Wells Fargo Pavilion stage. Based on the Mark Twain’s classic, yet controversial story, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the musical tackles the challenging topics of identity and race as Huck Finn rafts down the Mississippi River with his aunt’s slave, Jim, in search of freedom in the West. Oddly, a musical about one of the darkest periods of American history is wildly entertaining. Like Huck Finn’s fortune, audiences will find “much trouble, much joy” in this Music Circus production:

The Points of “Trouble”:

-Interestingly enough, recreating the mighty Mississippi at the Wells Fargo Pavilion appears to be no trouble at all. Copious amounts of fog hide the track system that allows the duo’s raft to glide over the round stage. (Note: It will be smart to bring a jacket. The fog machine makes the theatre a little chilly.)

-And then there are characters you love to hate: Duke, King, and Pap all complicate Jim and Huck’s relatively “simple” plan to reach the Ohio River. These villains add much needed slapstick humor to the plot, lessening the blow of their nefarious intentions.

The Many Odes of Joy:

-You’ll live for the witty wordplay. Mark Twain’s folksy – and slightly bawdy — dialogue is not lost in the Roger Miller musical. Trust me, you’ll laugh at a funeral.

-The musical numbers will move you. Inspired by negro spirituals, you might shed a tear at the performances of “Free at Last”, “The Crossing”, and “How Blest We Are”; their lyrics given life by Phillip Boykin’s rich baritone and Jennifer Leigh Warren’s emotive mezzo-soprano. Company highlights include the reprises of “Waiting for the Light To Shine” and “Muddy Water.”

-Lastly, watching Huck Finn, played earnestly by Ben Fankhauser, defy the moral conduct of his time is a ray of hope amongst the evil that surrounds him. He will surely “go to heaven” for that.

Big River rolls through the Wells Fargo Pavilion through Sunday, June 28. Evening performances are Tuesdays through Sunday at 7:30pm; matinee performances at Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2pm. For more information, visit the production’s Sacramento365.com event page.

Disclaimer: Like the novel, the “n” word is used throughout the play.

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

Top 6 Sneak Peek: Week of 6/22

This Week: Tee Up At One Of These Events

USSenior_open2015 U.S. Senior Open
Del Paso Country Club
June 22 – 28
Various Times
Watch 156 of the world’s best professional & amateur senior golfers at the country club.

HelloKittyHello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival
Sleep Train Arena
June 26-28
Various Times
Hello Kitty is hitting the road with her first-ever North American live tour event!

Midsummer_GregFlaggA Midsummer Night’s Dream &
Crystal Ice Cream Fantasy

Fairytale Town
June 27
Sat 5pm-9pm
Celebrate Shakespeare’s fairy-themed play while enjoying all-you-can-eat Crystal ice cream!

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