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News: 06/01/2016

Broadway returns to wine country

Broadway under the stars performers
Transcendence Theatre Company performers at last season’s Broadway Under the Stars. Photo by Rebecca Call.
Transcendence Theatre Company takes the stage again this month with its popular outdoor theater series Broadway Under the Stars in the winery ruins at Jack London State Park. Kicking off the fifth season of outdoor Broadway concerts in wine country is the opening production of “This Magic Moment,” a celebration of life and living in the moment, running June 17, 18, 24-26 and July 1-3. In signature eclectic Transcendence Theatre Company style, the production mixes classic Broadway songs and dynamic dance numbers with pop music hits.

Formed in 2012, Transcendence has drawn more than 57,000 visitors to Jack London State Park and raised more than $187,000 ($5 of every ticket sold for Broadway Under the Stars shows benefits the park).

Attracting talent from Broadway, television and beyond, about 40 performers are scheduled to appear. Many will come from New York City this summer and stay with host families in Sonoma Valley, although some have even elected to move to the Sonoma area on a more permanent basis. In addition to co-founders Amy Miller, Brad Surosky, and Stephan Stubbins, all who have lived full time in Sonoma for the last four years, former New York City performers Eric Jackson, Meggie Cansler, Roy Lightner, Nick Dalton, Shannon O’Bryan, and Dylan Smith have also become full-time Sonoma residents, assisting with building Transcendence’s reach throughout the community.

Their hard work is paying off. This year, Transcendence offered its first-ever Broadway-inspired dance classes in Sonoma. They started afterschool programs with the Boys & Girls Club of Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Charter School, and they continue to offer a kids and teens theater camp, which culminates with a performance in Transcendence’s annual production of “Fantastical Family Night” (held this year on July 15 and 16).

They have also won awards. Broadway Under the Stars has been named by USA Today’s 10 BEST as the #2 “Outdoor Concert Venue You Shouldn’t Miss” in the United States, and received 12 2015 Broadway World San Francisco awards, including “Best Special Theater Event” for the fourth consecutive year.

“We’re very excited for our fifth season of Broadway Under The Stars. This summer promises to be an even more amazing one than the last, and we have many years and adventures to look forward to with this amazing community,” said Stubbins.

All Broadway Under the Stars events begin at 5 p.m. with pre-show picnicking on the grass of Jack London’s Beauty Ranch with gourmet food truck fare, an assortment of local wineries pouring, and pre-show music. Sunset (7:30 p.m.) heralds the start of each show and the stage sparkles as dusk descends and the Broadway stars sing and dance under a starlit nighttime sky.

Tickets range from $42 to $134. Season Flex Passes are available (3-4 shows). A 501(c)(3) nonprofit regional theatre company, Transcendence Theatre Company is always looking for donations, sponsorships and volunteers to help make these performances possible.

Jack London State Historic Park is located at 2400 London Ranch Road Glen Ellen. Contact the box office for more details at (877) 424-1414 or visit

In addition to Broadway Under the Stars at Jack London State Park, Transcendence Theater is also producing Skits Under the Stars at various wineries around Sonoma Valley. Free for all attendees, these open mic nights encourage community participation and also offer a way to get up close and personal with some of these talented performers. The next one will be at Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa on June 21. After that, the line-up includes Little Vineyards in Glen Ellen on July 18 and Muscardini Cellars in Kenwood on Aug. 10. Skits start with sign-ups at 6 p.m.

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