by Lorie Lewis Ham
2013 has been another interesting year of theatre in the Valley. While there weren’t as many new and edgy shows, there were a lot of really good ones.
This was definitely the year of Les Miserables. There were at least three productions that I know of–The League of Christian Actors in Visalia, Reedley River City Theatre Company, and StageWorks Fresno. While I was sadly only able to make it to the Reedley one, I’d have to say it was one of the best shows they have ever put on! Their Jean Valjean (Michael Westpy) and Javert (Grayson Ohnstad) were amazing, and it was surprising how well they were able to make this big show work on such a tiny stage!
Kings Players in Hanford celebrated their 50th anniversary with a fun 50 Years of Broadway review. RCTC celebrated their 10th anniversary by bringing back some of their early shows like The Valentine, The People Versus Mona and Blossoms Up.
Highlights for me in 2013 included seeing The Importance of Being Earnest at 2nd Space–I love Oscar Wilde! Also, Les Miserables, West Side Story on stage at Reedley High School, God of Carnage presented by StageWorks, Shrek the Musical at Roger Rocka’s was a lot of fun, and the “Puttin’ On The Ritz” number in Young Frankenstein was one of the best big musical dance numbers I saw this year, and as always the most fun show is always Rocky Horror Show–which Artists’ Repertory Theatre brought back again this year. I also enjoyed Legends Too! by RCTC which showcased many of my favorite singers come back to life, including Frank Sinatra and Barbara Streisand.
The most moving show I saw this year was Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde presented by The New Ensemble. Oh and I can’t forget I Am My Own Wife by StageWorks Fresno! Terry Lewis was amazing in this show and it definitely falls in the category as more edgy and a thought provoker. If there were local Tony awards for dramatic acting, Terry Lewis would win for I Am My Own Wife.
I also made it to my first Rogue Festival ever and I have to say, if you haven’t been, make it a point to get to the one in 2014!
There were so many more shows I wish I had been able to see (many of which our other reviewers made it to)–but planning my daughter’s wedding kept me from seeing nearly as many this year.
This Valley continues to amaze me with the level of talent that we are blessed with–actors, singers and directors. So if you didn’t go to a show in 2013–watch for our theatre reviews and go out to support local theatre. No need to head to San Francisco or Los Angeles for a great show.
Check out all of our theatre reviews in our Arts & Entertainment section.