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14• August 2018 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC.


UPBEAT ENTERTAINMENT ~ SONOMA COUNTY & BEYOND


Stairway to Paradise located at Jack London State Park, CA!


By Shekeyna Black, Upbeat’s Director of Entertainmet~ shekeyna@gmail.com Through September 2018 Rodney Strong Summer Concert Series


The Temptations & The Four Tops August 26, 2018


Sonoma County, CA. ~ Another summer vacation, another Rodney Strong Vineyards summer concert series to get excited about. The popular Sonoma County winery is opening up their outdoor venue and terrace to the best voices in music, including Motown legends, singers, songwrit- ers, and guitarists. Attendees are encour- aged to pack up their


picnic supplies for some outdoor music and fun, right in the middle of the vineyards. Rodney Strong wines (like their Rosé of Pinot Noir, Alexander Val- ley Cabernet, or Sonoma Coast Chardonnay), non- alcoholic beverages, and farm-to-table eats from North Bay Area food trucks will be available to pur- chase at each event.


www.sonomacounty.com/blog/music-vineyards-2018-rodney-strong-concert-series Sept. 1, 2018 12pm to 4pm


Taste of Sonoma


Rohnert Park, CA. ~ After decades as the highly suc- cessful Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, this delicious and decadent wine-and-food exploration has evolved into the popular Taste of Sonoma — the event of the year when hundreds of wines, delicacies by celebrated local chefs, and the Sonoma County way of life are presented for guests’ enjoyment.


Green Music Center, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. Tickets and more information available at www.TasteOfSonoma.com.


14 • August 2018 • UPBEAT TIMES, INC.


Hi Paul, we are some of the Broadway professionals performing in Transcendence Theatre Com- pany’s 2018 “Broadway Under the Stars” summer series. We are pictured with your June issues of Upbeat Times at the open-air venue at the historic winery in Jack London State Historic Park, Glen Ellen. Thank you for all you do for Sonoma County! ~ Photo by Ray Mabry Photography


S tion it


Stairway to Paradise, the season opener by Transcendence Theatre Company, deserving of the standing ova- received,


delighted the


audience. Nestled in the old ru- ins of the stonewalled winery at Jack London State Park, there is no other outdoor venue quite like it. Imagine the last Sunday in June just before sunset, the clouds rolling over the canopy of trees in the distance; which cre- ated the perfect backdrop to the showmanship on stage. Envision a crow flying overhead, seem- ingly on cue, while a talented duo sung a creative arrangement of two familiar vintage songs, “Get Happy” and “Happy Days” as Courtney Markowitz and Shaleah Adkisson brilliantly wove their beautiful voices together. The cast of TTC sang their hearts out and danced enthu- siastically on the stage, and at one point, could be seen danc-


ing down the aisle amongst the audience members. The relaxed and confident entertainers, both in song as well as in the creative choreography by Director and Choreographer, Tony Gon- zalez, were mesmerizing. The “Blue Skies” number featured adorable costumes complete with fedoras as the performers struck a pose in a dramatic tableau. The showstopper at the end of Act One engaged the full company as they sung in harmony to the Rodgers and Hammerstein song, “Oklahoma” with lyrics that were changed to, “Oh Sonoma.” The audience was all smiles with this clever adaptation that hon- ored beloved Sonoma County. The production elements worked well together as a whole; including, the sound quality and the dramatic theatrical lighting. The simple yet strategic set de- sign with its creative use of stair- cases and platforms appeared at home in the ad hoc venue. The


9-piece Transcendence Orches- tra added another artistic layer to the special event. It seemed as if the grapevines, visible in the sur- rounding vineyard, were sway- ing to the live music. Stairway to Paradise balanced serious ballads interspersed with comedic tunes, and even an audience participa- tion segment, akin to Family Feud, “survey says…” had the audience roaring with laughter. Other memorable moments in- cluded a solo by Libby Servais as she sang, “A Wonderful Guy” from South Pacific and later in Act Two, when most of the cast sang Van Halen’s rock anthem, “Right Now.” Part of the charm of Broadway Under The Stars is that not all the songs are Broad- way hits! The brainchild of Ar- tistic Director, Amy Miller and Co-Executive Directors, Brad Surosky and Stephan Stubbins, Transcendence Theatre Com- pany, was once only a figment ... continued on page 20


“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” ~ Harvey Pekar


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