Please join us for this exciting musical!
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Assassins, A Musical, opens Thursday, Oct 25. It's been a wonderful experience mounting this unusual show, one of my personal favorites. I saw the original off-Broadway show in 1991, and loved it. Saw it again on Broadway in the revival in 2005, and still loved it. I played piano in the orchestra for a production in San Jose in 2008 or so, and had a great time. Once we had a director in place (Susan Mason) and realized that we really could find enough strong actors for the show, we went for it. And the actors certainly are strong! You won't find a finer collection of local actors anywhere.
Please join us for this exciting musical!
Since first seeing it in 1991, Assassins has continued to haunt me, and has continued to be one of my favorite musicals. It's certainly not your standard musical comedy (no boy-meets-girl, no dancing). It's more a vaudeville entertainment, focusing on nine presidential assassins (or would-be assassins) and their inability to get along in the world. Looking for some way to justify their existence, they turn to (you guessed it) assassination.
The show will be directed by Susan Mason, musical directed by Ken Getz, and will play in the intimate Off Center Stage in Grass Valley.
The show runs Oct 25 through Nov 17 at the Off Center Stage, and you can find information about the auditions here: http://www.sierrastages.org/auditions.html.
With "I WANT IT ALL! A Broadway Revue Celebrating Women" opening next Thursday, singer Janet Rossman and director Susan Mason met with KNCO interviewer Holly Grimaldi-Flores to discuss the show, and the state of local theater, over lunch. Listen to the entire interview here!
We continue rehearsing for I Want it All! Running March 15 through 25 at the Off Center Stage, this delightful revue includes some of Nevada County's most talented performers: Nancy Haffey, Rebekah Martino, Janet Rossman, Dawn Simmons, and Kim Wellman (with Ken Getz on piano and Steve Nicholson on bass), directed by Susan Mason. The songs range from fun, to funny, to sad, to touching. We laugh and cry at each rehearsal (and sweat a bit, perhaps, too, learning the dancing). It's going to be great fun, and proceeds from the show will help underwrite Sierra Stages' other 2012 productions (Death of a Salesman, The Music Man, Assassins). For more information and tickets, visit the home page.
Thanks to all who auditioned (80 people in all)! The production staff labored over how to cast the show, given that we only have 25 actors in the show. There were so many talented and enthusiastic audtionees, it was difficult selecting the cast. You'll find the full cast list (as of Feb 27 2012) here: http://www.sierrastages.org/auditions.html. Thanks again!
We've had our first round of auditions for The Music Man, and we saw 30 people the first night. Based on signups, we have 45 or so to see on Saturday (we had better be efficient)! If you want to audition and haven't yet signed up, please do so, or just come by the Center for the Arts in Grass Valley on Saturday, Feb 4 between 11 and 2. See you there!
Thanks to all who attended the Preview performances of Death of a Salesman. Now it's your turn: Get out and spread the word about this moving and intelligent performance of a great play. Tonight is Actor's Night (all proceeds from the event go directly to the actors) and tomorrow is the Gala Opening Night event. The show runs only two more weekends after this one, so make sure you tell your friends and come see the show. We'll see you there!
Jeff Mason, director for Death of a Salesman, wrote a piece that appeared in The Union on Wednesday, Jan 25, describing the impact of Death of a Salesman on modern audience. The text appears here:
An American Story
by Jeffrey Mason
The American dream is having a rough time. Three out of four citizens believe that the country is headed in the wrong direction.
We're worried about finding a job or holding a job. We struggle with the debts that have become routine but threaten to drown us. We stress over our kids getting into college, finishing college and supporting themselves. We don't know if we can afford to retire.
None of this is new, of course. There have been recessions and depressions, wars and famines and upheavals of all kinds.
Yet this is America, the land of opportunity, the nation built on freedom and unlimited possibilities. We won't settle for less.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller tackled all of these issues over 60 years ago in his signature play, “Death of a Salesman,” first produced on Broadway in 1949 with Lee J. Cobb in the leading role.
Willy Loman is a traveling salesman who has worked for the same company for over 30 years but now faces hard times. The man who hired him hinted at the prospect of partnership, but his son, the new boss, has different views, first taking away Willy's salary, leaving him to work on commission only, and then firing him.
At the age of 63, Willy has a stack of bills but no income, so he goes to his neighbor to borrow money and pretend to his wife that it's his pay.
His older son was a football hero in high school, the golden boy whose glamour dazzled everyone, but he failed to graduate and never trained himself for anything, and he's spent the last 10 years drifting across the West, working as a ranch hand in Texas and serving a few months for petty theft in Kansas City.
The younger son followed his father into business, but he's content with his apartment, his car, and his women, and he lacks the drive, skill and integrity to become anything more than an assistant to an assistant, brashly claiming friendships with executives who probably don't remember his name.
The wife is a housekeeper, the only member of the family who fully understands the truth of their circumstances but who is powerless to shape events. Of course, today's American women are no longer bystanders, so Willy's wife stands for all who feel frustration at putting up with what they can't control.
What does it mean to succeed in America? Willy frets over paying his bills, and he scorns his sons' paltry weekly paychecks, but in the end, it's not about money.
It's about respect. Willy takes pride in his conviction that he is known, that he can walk into any town in New England and find receptive smiles. More than the money, he prizes admiration and recognition.
Willy's high regard for his profession represents his absolute faith in business itself, an optimistic conviction that marks him as essentially American. The men who led the American Revolution and wrote our founding documents were farmers, merchants and craftsmen.
They declared independence for many reasons, but chief among them was their desire to do business as they saw fit: to buy, to sell and to provide for their families. Again, the point is not the dollars but what they mean, the liberty and autonomy that they confer.
“Death of a Salesman” is an American story, and American audiences have found it irresistible. Critics called the play “infinitely moving and bitterly splendid,” and “a triumph of the magic of theatre,” and “emotional dynamite.”
Willy Loman fascinates us because he will not be denied, because he never gives up. He is the ordinary man battling the system, the one who stands up for all of us.
Jeffrey Mason directs the Sierra Stages production of “Death of a Salesman” playing at the Nevada Theatre from Jan. 25 through Feb. 12.
Last night's audience (our first performance with a live crowd) seemed to love the show. Comments were over the top, like:
Tour de force performances headed by the magnificent Robert G Rossman. This is what theatre is all about. Don't miss it! (From Paul Micsan, on Facebook)
We're very excited to be able to bring this show to Nevada County, and are exceedingly proud of the cast and crew. Don't miss it!
Be a part of the show! Auditions for The Music Man are coming up next week (Tue Jan 31 and Sat Feb 4). Visit the auditions page for more information.