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Little Theater - Not So Little

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"Annie," and "Scrooged the musical"

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Well, “little theater,” ain’t always all that little. I had the great good fortune over the weekend to attend two really fine, theater productions. The venues of both performances may have been “little,” but the quality and enjoyment offered in both cases was certainly far from small.

ANNIE at the Cinnabar:

On Friday I attended the opening of Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma’s “Annie,” and WOW! This production was a project of their YOUNG REPERTORY COMPANY which for me made it all the better. Young people, in a production about young people, for young people. How cool is that? Nearly fifty young performers, ages six through seventeen did an outstanding job of bringing this charming piece, based on the classic cartoon strip “Little Orphan Annie,” to life. Should you come see it? Absolutely not! Why? Because it’s sold out for the run of the show.

You will have an opportunity to see these brilliant young thespians however, in several productions in the 2014 season, beginning with Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” which opens February 21 and runs through March 2. “Macbeth!” Wow! Now that’s a lot on any theater companies’ plate, let alone young people, but I’ll just bet these kids take it in their stride and so a splendid job.

I suggest you get your tickets now because the quality of these performances is well known and there’s a good chance this production will sell out as well.

Again, congratulations to all the great young performers who made “Annie,” such a success, and congratulations to The Cinnabar for making theater accessible to young people.

“SCROOGED,” at the Spreckles Performing Arts Centre:

On Saturday evening I saw “SCROOGED, the Musical,” at the Spreckles Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park. The Spreckles center has two theaters – a large stage where they are currently offering “The Nutcracker,” and their 99 seat theater where “Scrooged” is being performed through December 22. This charming and witty (with the help of Charles Dickens) performance is made all the more accessible by the intimacy of the theater. You damn near felt the cold poor Bob Cratchit felt in his fingers as he labors over the account books in Scrooges office. You are tempted to jump up an dance the Sir Rodger de Coverley with the young apprentices and Fezziwig’s daughters. You are blinded by the brilliant light emanating from the Ghost of Christmas Present. We hear a lot in theater about performers who are able to “connect” with their audience. Well, in this intimate venue the audience is able to connect with the performs, and it's a splendid experience.

The performers were excellent and the singing was damn good, but better than that – you were a part of it. For a truly fun evening, don’t miss “Scrooged,” at the Spreckles Performing arts Center, now through the 22. Bring the whole family and have a ball.

Little theater is alive and well in the North Bay. Embrace it. Support it. Enjoy it. This is what theater is all about.

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