by Lorie Lewis HamWell another year of theatre in the Valley has come to an end and as always, there were some really great shows.
Valley premiere’s included Bonnie & Clyde in Visalia, which was also one of my favorite shows of the year. On the more traditional end of things, there was Oklahoma, Music Man, The King And I, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, and West Side Story. On a sad note, we lost one of our local theatre gems this past year with the passing of George Akina, who was last seen in GCP’s The King and I. He is greatly missed.
I saw Sondheim’s Company for the first time at COS in Visalia, and it featured one of my favorite local actors, Terry Lewis. I also saw Side by Side By Sondheim presented by Visalia Players, which was a lot of fun. This year also saw The New Ensemble back in the ring after a break with the very edgy (but when aren’t their shows edgy) Gidion’s Knot.
StageWorks Fresno moved me with their amazing production of The Normal Heart, and it was definitely another highlight of the year for me. Reedley River City Theatre Company’s production of Hairspray this past summer was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen there! It is right up there with their production of Les Miserables last year–and yet another highlight of the year.
Other shows I absolutely loved this past year include Les Liaisons Dangereuses (featuring again Terry Lewis and another Valley favorite of mine, Haley White) at 2nd Space, The Mystery of Edwin Drood at COS was a delight, and The 39 Steps at 2nd Space may be one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen! I also got to see a new up and comer that is AMAZING in GCP’s production of Smokey Joe’s Cafe–young Isaac Brown. Speaking of Smokey Joe’s, I enjoyed once again getting to hear the wonderful voice of Brandon Delsid of Basically Brandon fame.
The Addams Family at Roger Rocka’s was another fun highlight of the year–Tyler Branco is also another favorite performer of mine, and he did a wonderful job as Gomez Addams. The Addams Family seems to be another show that is showing up everywhere now as there are at least two productions coming up in 2015 that I know of, one of which being COS in Visalia.
I would remiss if I didn’t also mention Broadway Fresno’s Jersey Boys! This may now be one of my favorite musicals.
2015 will also be the year of Mary Poppins in Selma and Clovis, and Into the Woods presented by StageWorks Fresno, and the Jr. version by CMT. And what I believe is another Valley Premiere is headed our way in StageWorks Fresno’s production of Dog Fight. I can’t forget to mention that Reedley River City is doing Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd in 2015.
So with another great year of theatre behind us, and another ahead of us, I can’t wait to see what this year holds. If you aren’t attending Valley theatre all I can do is ask why? We are so blessed–we don’t need to go all the way to LA or San Francisco–we have some great theatre right here! Don’t forget to support the arts in 2015 and keep an eye on KRL for reviews, announcements and show information! And for the actors out there, we also have a local auditions page.
Feel free to share with us some of your favorites we may have missed and you can check out many more theatre reviews from 2014 in our A & E section!
Check out more local arts and entertainment articles in KRL’s A & E section.