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STC alum Surges teams with fellow Sac State grad Tavianini for cabaret

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Matt Surges, who was recently featured as Hero in Sacramento Theatre Company’s production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” is offering musical theater fans a locally grown appetizer to June 8’s Tony Awards with “Broadway Here and Now: An Evening of Musical Selections Spanning the Century.”

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Part-recital, part cabaret, the revue – which features Surges, along with longtime friend and fellow Sacramento State University alum Anthony Tavianini, and “special guests” Josh Smith and Clara Regula, as well as accompanist Samantha Arrasmith – is a one-night-only affair set for 8 p.m. this Saturday (May 24) at Sacramento’s Suite 2:10 (2830 G St.).

Free and open to the public, the show also serves as something of a bon voyage party for Surges and girlfriend Regula, who are packing up their Broadway aspirations and heading to New York this summer for additional training at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and Circle in the Square Theatre School, respectively.

“Tavi came to me with the idea for this about six or seven months ago,” said Surges, who attended Shingle Springs’ Ponderosa High School before enrolling at Sac State where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music in 2013. “And we came up with this show that features songs we’d always wanted to do.”

Surges said he and Tavianini wanted to recognize the contributions such iconic songwriting teams as Kern and Harbach, Lerner and Loewe, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and Bacharach and David have made to the Great White Way, as well as introduce comparably new musical theater collaborations to Sacramento audiences, including Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez (“The Book of Mormon”), and Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (NBC’s “Smash”).

“It’s been a blast,” said Surges about working on the show, which features a number of solos and duets presented in a comfortable and casual format that may evoke memories of Surges’ cabaret debut in Sacramento Theatre Company’s November 2013 staging of “Sounds of Their Music: A Salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein.” Other STC credits include "Pride and Prejudice."

Originally focused on a career as an instrumentalist (clarinet, piano), the Cameron Park resident became addicted to acting while in high school, where he made his musical theater debut as a chorus member in the Mary Rodgers-Marshall Barer tuner “Once Upon a Mattress.”

He’d go on to appear in several high school musicals, as well as in productions with El Dorado Musical Theatre such as “Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.” It was also at EDMT where he first worked with Regula.

“By the time I started college, I realized this is what I want to do.”