December 15, 2017 – 2018 marks the 10th Anniversary Season of Sierra Stages, a nonprofit community theatre in western Nevada County (Grass Valley and Nevada City). The 10th Anniversary Season is a celebration of heart, music, laughter and family, and includes two musicals and one classic American comedy: The zany and heartbreaking musical “A New Brain” by William Finn and James Lapine, the enchanting new musical version of Roald Dahl’s “James and the Giant Peach” by Timothy Allen McDonald and the songwriting team of Ben Pasek and Justin Paul, and the classic and enduring American stage comedy “You Can’t Take It With You” by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman.
For the first time in 2018, all three shows presented by Sierra Stages will be at the historic Nevada Theatre in Nevada City and all seating will be reserved seating. For the tenth year running, Sierra Stages is pleased to offer the Sierra Stages 3-Show Season Pass: Choose a $95 Season Pass which includes reserved seating in Rows A-H of the Nevada Theatre or a $65 Season Pass which includes reserved seating in Rows J-O of the Nevada Theatre, and see all three shows: “A New Brain”, “James and the Giant Peach”, and “You Can’t Take It With You”. Sierra Stages also invites everyone to become a Sierra Stages Member with a tax-deductible donation that supports quality local theatre. For more information about Sierra Stages 2018 Season Passes and Sierra Stages Memberships visit www.SierraStages.org or call Sierra Stages at 530-346-3210.
The 2018 season opens with “A New Brain”, an engaging and fast-paced musical based on the actual life experience of composer William Finn. When a frustrated children’s television composer is struck with a rare brain disorder he faces the possibility of his own mortality. The tumultuous, comical and surreal ordeal that engulfs him and those closest to him — his mother, partner and publicist — teaches everyone something profound about what is truly important in life, and in love. “A New Brain” plays from March 1 – 17, 2018.
“Sierra Stages has produced two William Finn musicals – ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ (2011) and ‘Falsettos’ (2015) – and both were well received by our audience, so we thought we would tackle ‘A New Brain’ for our 10th Anniversary Season,” says Sierra Stages music director Ken Getz. “It’s a bit of a strange musical in that the story concerns a character with a life-threatening medical condition, but at the same time, it is funny, relatable, and ultimately life-affirming. Also, the songs are absolute winners – there are moving and beautiful ballads, laugh-out-loud comic numbers, and songs that are just knock-out amazing.” “A New Brain” is directed by Robert Rossman and Jailyn Tafolla, with music direction by Ken Getz, and features local actors Brian Arsenault, Jay Barker, Heidi Grass, Jonathan Hansard, Michaela King, Sue Legate-Halford, Heather Lucas-Ross, Kevin Lucas-Ross, Ken Miele, and Sara Noah. The set design is by Robert Rossman, lighting design is by Erin Beatie and Hunter Schott, and costume design is by Paulette Sand-Gilbert.
From July 12 through August 4, 2018, Sierra Stages presents “James and the Giant Peach”, a new musical guaranteed to mesmerize theatregoers of all ages. In this compelling story by beloved author Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda), a young orphan named James accidentally drops magic crystals by an old peach tree, and strange things start to happen. James soon discovers a world of magic and adventure full of friendly insects and learns that love and family can be found in unexpected places. The score is by the award-winning team of Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, who won a Tony Award in 2017 for the Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen and wrote songs for the musical version of “A Christmas Story”, television’s “Smash”, and the movies “La La Land” and “The Greatest Showman”. Robert Rossman directs, with music direction by Ken Getz.
“After wowing audiences with the musical “Chicago” this past summer, we thought we would go for something completely different this summer and do a show which would be suitable for audiences of all ages,” says Sierra Stages managing director Peter Mason. “We were all immediately taken by the score for ‘James and the Giant Peach’ when we first heard it, and the story by Roald Dahl is an absolute winner that speaks to children, teens, and adults. If you have seen one or both movie versions of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ (with either Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp as Willie Wonka) or the recent stage musical version of ‘Matilda’, you know there are more serious themes that run beneath the surface of all Roald Dahl stories. Of course, the show has some challenges — we need to build and find a place for a giant peach in the limited confines of the Nevada Theatre – but we’re certain our audience will love this show!”
To close out the season, Sierra Stages presents “You Can’t Take It With You”, a classic American stage comedy that deftly blends elements of farce, slapstick, whimsical humor, social commentary, and romance, together with a generous dash of good-natured optimism about the human condition. First staged in 1936, at a time when the United States was only beginning to recover from the bleakest days of the Great Depression, “You Can’t Take It With You” was the third play written by the team of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, the most successful collaborators in the history of the American theater. “You Can’t Take It With You” from plays September 20 – October 6, 2018. Scott Gilbert directs.