1. PUT A LITTLE OPERA IN YOUR LIFE
The best opera deal in town returns as California Opera Association’s performance-packed summer festival opens 7 p.m. today with a “Festival Artists Showcase” at the Fresno Art Museum. Admission is free. I have a rundown on the festival, which includes seven smaller-scale performances at the museum and two fully staged operas at the Mercedes Edwards Theatre in Clovis — all free! — in Friday’s 7 section. You can find a complete schedule on the festival’s website. Below, Zachary Sheely — who will star in this year’s “Lucia de Lamermoor” — is pictured in last year’s “Madama Butterfly.”
2. THUMBS UP FOR ‘GLORY DAYS’
Squeeze into the very small (only 55 seats!) space at The Voice Shop for the beautifully sung and acted “Glory Days,” a four-character musical from the Organic Theater Factory. You can read the Beehive interview here. I’ll be posting a review of the show later today.
3. MORE THUMBS UP FOR ‘DROWSY CHAPERONE’
I just saw “The Drowsy Chaperone” last night at Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater, and it’s a gem. Here’s a link to my interview with set designer David Pierce. (I’m glad I highlighted him, because the set for this show is fantastic.) I’m still on a musical-theater high from this one. I’ll be posting a review early next week.
4. EVEN MORE THEATER
I haven’t yet seen director Leslie Mitts Martin’s production of John Patrick Shanley’s “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea: An Apache Dance,” which opens tonight at Fresno State’s Lab School theater, but it comes with stellar credentials: Martin is a longtime Fresno State faculty member, and she’s enlisted two veteran Fresno State students to star: Aaron Few and Brittney Caldwell. I also like Martin’s gumption in getting this thing off the ground: She never gets to direct shows at Fresno State (she only assistant directs), so she decided to make her own opportunity by staging a piece in the summer. The show only plays four performances: 8 p.m. today and Saturday, and then again Aug. 5 and 6. The danger is that it’ll get lost in the crush of all the other theater going on right now.
5. LAST CHANCE FOR HOMELESS EXHIBITION
The Fresno Art Museum made a splash with its big homeless-themed exhibition. The centerpiece of the show is “Whispers From the Streets,”a project contributed to by more than 100 McLane High School students. Old doors have been transformed into canvases depicting real-life Fresno scenes, and in one “shanty” that you can walk into, you get a sense not only of individual stories but of personal space. With its raw, powerful images, the McLane show brings a complex issue close to home. The exhibition closes Sunday.