Pop culture, entertainment & all things Fresno

Notes from the theater beat

Sara Gettelfinger 1

‘GREY GARDENS’ CASTING NEWS:  Joel Abels, artistic director of StageWorks Fresno, had hoped to feature Fresno native and Broadway professional Jacqueline Antaramian, who charmed audiences in last year’s “Master Class,” in the leading role in the upcoming “Grey Gardens.” Antaramian would have made a lot of hometown fans happy, but she ended up having a scheduling conflict.

Abels found a big name to fill Antaramian’s shoes, however. Sara Gettelfinger originated the role of Young Little Edie in the original production of “Grey Gardens” Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. (Which I saw!) She’s also featured in the cast recording. Now she’ll be tackling the demanding dual roles of Big Edie in the first act and Little Edie in the second act — the roles played by Christine Ebersole in her 2006 Tony Award-winning performance.

That’s a real coup for StageWorks. Here’s Gettelfinger’s bio:

Most recently appeared as “Morticia” in the first national tour of The Addams Family. BROADWAY: “Dona Athene” in John Guare’s A FREE MAN OF COLOR at Lincoln Center. Suessical the Musical,The Boys from Syracuse, “Carla” in NINE with Antonio Banderas, “Jolene Oakes” in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels opposite John Lithgow, as well as the first national tours of FOSSE and 101 Dalmatians “Cruella De Vil”. Other NYC area credits include: “April” in Company (Helen Hayes), “Fastrada” in Pippin (Papermill Playhouse), Tenderloin and Carnival at City Center ENCORES!, Anything Goes at Lincoln Center, and “Little Edie Beale” in the world premier of Grey Gardens at Playwrights Horizons. In 2009, Sara starred as “Fastrada” in the Deaf West production of Pippin at L.A.’s Mark Taper Forum. Television:The Big C, Georgetown, Guiding Light, Ed, and Without a Trace, Film: 10 to Midnight, Sex In the City, Forbidden Love. In 2006 Sara was signed to DECCA/Universal Records with the classical-crossover trio Three Graces. Their self-titled,debut album was released in stores/online in March 2008,reaching the top 10 on the BILLBOARD/CROSSOVER Charts, followed by a world wide, critically acclaimed concert tour.

These are busy, busy times for StageWorks, by the way. The company’s big production of “Les Miserables” opens Friday at the Shaghoian Hall. Read my Sunday column for more about the show.

A VERY DIFFERENT ” ‘NIGHT, MOTHER”: This sounds like an amazing concept. Anthony Taylor, artistic director of the Organic Theater Factory, writes:

I am producing the beautiful, two-woman play, ‘Night Mother, with Danielle Jorn and Leslie Martin this summer. The show will run Aug 23-Sept 8 for NINE performances.

Adam Schroeder will be directing before he leaves for grad school in Irvine. The really exciting part of this production is that we’ll be producing it in a house in Prather, CA. About a 20 minute drive up to the foothills, the play will be staged and run in real time with a maximum of 20 audience members sitting practically INSIDE the drama. The setting for the show requires a living room, kitchen and a bedroom where the show concludes and our audience will be experience it all in a real house, making for a truly unique, intimate and engaging theater experience.

We will be putting together music downloads to set the mood and tone of the piece on the way up (not a requirement, but a nice prelude) and a 15 minute talkback with the director and cast for the ride back down. Tickets will be sold online and no tickets may be purchased at the door.

Much more on this to come, I’m sure. Sounds like it’ll be the hottest ticket in town.

FRESNO CITY COLLEGE SEASON: Christopher Boltz, chair of the FCC Theatre Arts and Dance Department, passes on the college’s upcoming season:

“From up Here,” by Liz Flahve. FCC Main Stage: Oct. 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 at 7:30 Oct 6, 11, 12 at 2:00 PM. The Barretts just want to make it through one day unnoticed, but that’s going to be hard now that Kenny has to publicly apologize to his entire high school for publishing his enemies list and brandishing a gun at school. “From Up Here” is a timely new family comedy-drama about the inexpressible connections and concrete love a family learns to give amidst the chaos of the first week back to high school. Nominee! 2008 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Play.

“Year Zero,” by Michael Golamco. FCC Studio: 105 Nov 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 at 7:30. Nov 17, 22, 23 at 2:00 PM. Vuthy Vichea is sixteen years old, Cambodian American. He loves hip hop and Dungeons and Dragons. He has thick-ass glasses. He is a weird kid in a place where weirdness can be fatal: Long Beach, California. Since his best friend moved and his mother died, the only person he can talk to is a human skull he keeps hidden in a cookie jar. Year Zero is a comedic drama about young Cambodian Americans — about reincarnation, reinvention, and ultimately, redemption.

“City Dance Fall Workshop,” artistic director Jimmy Hao. Nov 22, 23 at 7:30, Nov 24 at 2:00 PM. A workshop dance production of exciting dance highlighting both student and faculty choreography. It will include different dance forms, such as Modern, Jazz, Ballet and Post Modern.

“Fantastic Mr. Fox,” by David Wood. From the Book by Roald Dahl: Feb 28, March 1, 6, 7, 8 at 7:00. March 2, 7, 8 at 2:00 PM. Roald Dahl’s much-loved story follows the vain attempts of three farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean, one fat, one short, one lean, to get rid of the fox who regularly steals food from their farms. They try to kill him by any means possible. Outwitted at every turn, the farmer’s ploys backfire. Fantastic Mr. Fox devises a plan which will ensure full stomachs for not only his family, but all his friends, who celebrate with a sumptuous feast.

“City Dance Spring Performance,” artistic director Jimmy Hao: April 10, 11, 12 at 7:30 PM, April 13 at 2:00 PM. A fully staged dance production of classic and contemporary dance works choreographed by faculty and students.

“Performance Showcase,” faculty advisor Janine Christl.  May 2, 3 at 7:30 PM. Enjoy the best and most dynamic student scenes, monologues and other performances of the year

“Teasers: An Evening of 10-Minute Plays,” faculty advisor Chuck Erven.  May 6, 7, 8 at 7:30 PM. One of the most popular events in the Theatre Arts Season, “Teasers” is an evening of student written, student performed, student directed plays.

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