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The Maltese Waiter by John Minigan, a comedic spin on “The Maltese Falcon”- Alyssa Rempel, Tim Shippey and Michael Venson (back). Raven Players Short Plays Festival.
The Maltese Waiter by John Minigan, a comedic spin on “The Maltese Falcon”- Alyssa Rempel, Tim Shippey and Michael Venson (back). Raven Players Short Plays Festival.

Theater Preview
February 2020

Jan 29, 2020
by Jeanie K. Smith , San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle


Drought Got You Down? See Urinetown, the Musical!

Denise Elia-Yen and David L. Yen in Urinetown, the Musical. Photo by Jennifer Griego.This satiric musical-comedy takes aim at the justice system, capitalism, bureaucracy, politics— and public toilets. Sometime in the not-so-distant future, a severe water shortage leads to a ban on private toilets and a pay-to-pee scheme that makes the Urine Good Company rich. Violators are sent to a mythical penal colony named Urinetown. But there’s a revolution in the making, and the petty politicians protecting peeing protocols are in for trouble. Don’t let the title deter you— this is one funny show with great songs and characters.

Denise Elia-Yen and David L. Yen in UrinetownIt’s also the first time well-known director  Jay Manley  works with Spreckels Theatre Company.  Manley ran Foothill Music Theatre for many years and now directs the Mountain Play and freelances with theaters all over the Bay Area. Manley says, “One of the most fun aspects of the show is that it parodies Broadway shows, fromWest Side StoryFiddler and Evita to Les Miserables and Our Town. You have to look fast, but we’re loving the little send-ups of these classics.” 

Manley also praises his cast and creative team that includes music director Lucas Sherman  and choreographerMichella Snider, saying,  “I am hugely enjoying working with the wonderfully gifted staff and actors at Spreckels, and reveling in their magnificent facilities.” Put this one on your calendar now…

Urinetown, the Musical

Runs Feb. 14 - Mar. 1

Spreckels Theatre Company

Spreckels Performing Arts Center

5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park

(707) 588-3400

Raven Short Plays Festival

Raven Players  presents its first annual Short Play Festival, celebrating the popularity of plays in brief. The competitive festival, themed “Love Bites,” features 15 plays of 10-20 minutes selected from over 800 submissions from around the world in a blind adjudication. Playwrights were invited to submit original works focusing on joy, heartbreak, humor or tragedy in the context of love, and the final selections span all theatre genres, including comedy, farce, drama, and romance.

The Maltese Walter L-R: Michael Venson, Tim Shippey and Alyssa Rempel. Raven Players Short Plays Festival.

“The launching of this Festival has truly been a labor of love by many members of the Healdsburg and surrounding communities.” says Laurie Windham,  Festival Chair. “We are grateful for the dedication of our jurists and volunteers.” 

Eight plays will be performed on February 27, and seven on February 28; then the program repeats February 29 and March 1. Each performance runs about 90 minutes, with intermission. 

Raven Theater Love bites poster.Raven Short Plays Festival

Presented by Raven Players

Runs Feb. 27, 28, 29 - 7:30pm and Mar. 1 - 2:00pm.

Raven Performing Arts Theater

115 North Street, Healdsburg 95448
(707) 433-6335



Breaking News: SRJC opens the new Burbank Auditorium

The newly renovated Burbank Auditorium at SRJC. Photo by Thomas Chown.The long-awaited re-opening of the Burbank on the  Santa Rosa Junior College  campus happens March 6th, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2:00pm, followed by a 7:00pm presentation and reception, all free and open to the public. Get a first look at the brand new interior, and even go on a guided backstage tour.

Outside the new Burbank Auditorum. Photo by Thomas Chown.

The reception includes light appetizers in the Burbank lobby, followed by a short presentation by college president Dr. Frank Chong  and Department Chair/Artistic DirectorLeslie McCauley.

Continue the celebration by grabbing tickets for The Cripple of Inishmaan,  the first production in the new Studio Theatre opening that same night at 8:00pm, with live Irish music before the show.

The new Studio Theatre inside the Burbank Auditorium. Photo by Erin Bricker.Burbank Auditorium Grand Re-opening

Santa Rosa Junior College

March 6 - 2:00pm ribbon-cutting

               7:00pm reception & presentation

               8:00pm The Cripple of Inishmaan

Burbank Auditorium

1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa 95401

(707) 527-4307

Photos by vrs.

Sonoma County Theater Preview


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