by Lorie Lewis Ham
As we’ve said often here at KRL, Reedley and its surrounding communities are blessed with an overabundance of creativity and talent in theatre, art, music and more. One need not go to Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York to see a top quality piece of theatre, enjoy a great concert, see a beautiful piece of art, or meet an author.
July is overflowing with incredible theatre including many Valley premieres of Tony award winning shows, and while we will be reviewing many of them, here’s an overview of several of them up so you can plan ahead and get your tickets now!
Spring Awakening presented by The Underground @ CMT in Fresno is a Valley premiere of a Tony Award winning musical. Set against the backdrop of a repressive and provincial late 19th century Germany, this show tells the timeless story of teenage self-discovery and budding sexuality as seen through the eyes of three teenagers. Keep in mind because of the content this is not a show for the whole family. This is closing weekend for Spring Awakening so run to the theatre and check out our review. Ticket information can be found on their website.
Avenue Q is another Valley premiere and Tony winner, this one being presented by Fourth Wall Theatre Company in Visalia. Avenue Q is a laugh-out-loud musical that tells the timeless story of a recent college grad named Princeton who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. There he meets some interesting characters—Kate the girl next door, Rod the Republican, Trekkie the internet sexpert, Lucy the Slut, and other colorful types who help Princeton finally discover his purpose in life. The twist on this one is that the cast is made up of puppets—think a grown up Sesame Street. This show runs July 13-22 at Main Street Theatre in Visalia. Tickets can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets. Again, not really a family show but from what I hear, a fun one for the adults and teens.
Next To Normal is yet another Tony winning, Valley premiere, this one presented by StageWorks Fresno. I saw the touring company of this show and it is incredible, and StageWorks never disappoints. However, be warned that it is very dark and has some strong language as it deals with mental illness and the loss of a child. This one runs July 13-29 at the The Dan Pessano Theatre. Ticket information can be found on their website.
Fiddler On The Roof will be at the Reedley Opera House presented by the Reedley River City Theatre Co. from July 13-August 5. This is one of the older, more traditional musicals coming to the Valley this summer and a bit more entire family friendly. Set in Russia in 1905, it is based on Tevye and His Daughters by Sholem Aleichem. The story centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. Check the Reedley River City website for ticket information.
Calamity Jane is another slightly older musical coming to Roger Rocka’s in Fresno July 19 – September 16. The different twist on this one is that they are bringing in country music singer Louise Mandrell to star in the show. This show is a western romp adapted from a Doris Day film and filled with mistaken identity, romantic rivalry and a tomboy transformed. Beau Jest is at their 2nd Space Theatre in Fresno through August 12. Learn more about both of these shows on the Good Company Players website.
The Brothers Grimm Spetaculathon is a comedy being presented by Kingsburg’s Draper Street Theatre from July 19-22. The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm are turned on their heads in this fast-paced, rollicking ride as two narrators and several actors attempt to combine all 209 stories. Learn more about this show by calling E & e Performing Arts Center at 907-8471.
To Kill A Mockingbird is another familiar title the whole family should go see and is being presented by the Visalia Community Players at the Ice House Theatre and closing this weekend, July 8, as well. Ticket info can be found on their website and KRL readers get a ticket discount if you check out our article.
Big River is another classic musical being presented by Clovis Centerstage July 19 – 28. This company only does one show a year during the summer and is celebrating their 20th season. Ticket info can be found on their website.
Woodward Shakespeare Festival in Fresno is presenting A Street Car Named Desire July 12-28. This one is worth taking special note of, as it is free. You can learn more on their website.
There’s something here for everyone whether you are looking for the more classic family friendly musical, something newer with more of an edge, comedy or drama. This Valley is truly blessed with a lot of great theatre—let’s go out and support it so we never lose it!
Keep coming back to KRL for more great Valley entertainment information and reviews and a lot more shows coming in August and the rest of 2012! And keep an eye on our local theatre event pages for more information and watch our Local Live section for more theatre reviews.