‘Les Miz’ to launch SRT season

Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

Sierra Repertory Theatre will celebrate its 35th anniversary in 2014 with what Artistic Director Scott Viets called "one of the most exciting and ambitious seasons in our entire history."

Commencing with the international sensation "Les Miserables," the 2014 season will include eight plays and musicals - three shows with live music, a sequel to last year's "Church Basement Ladies," an Arthur Miller drama, a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic and a new musical comedy about a spelling bee.

Season tickets are on sale now and general admission tickets go on sale Oct. 1.

The 2014 Gala will open the season with a special performance of "Les Miserables." Audiences will sweep through the musical masterpiece based on Victor Hugo's epic tale of passion and destruction during 19th century France. Convict Jean Valjean tries desperately to leave his past behind, avoid the relentless policeman, Javert, and keep his vow to raise the young orphaned Cosette.

With a soaring score ("Do You Hear the People Sing," "One Day More," "I Dreamed a Dream," and many more) that has delighted audiences worldwide for more than two decades, the musical will come to the intimacy of SRT's East Sonora theater March 1 through May 4.

The season will continue April 25 with Sierra Rep's opening Fallon House Theater production, "A Second Helping: The Church Basement Ladies Sequel," playing through June 8.

SRT is bringing back the humor and antics of last season's favorite flock of Lutheran ladies from rural Minnesota. "A Second Helping" picks up the story in 1969 with the world changing. As Vietnam War protests swell and women everywhere demand equal pay for equal work, the finely tuned ladies running the church basement kitchen face changes of their own, but they find strength in each other.

SRT will revive the popular musical "Pump Boys and Dinettes" June 13 to July 27 in East Sonora.

The "Pump Boys" sell high octane fuel on Highway 57 in Grand Ole Opry country and the "Dinettes," Prudie and Rhetta Cupp, run the diner next door. Together they fashion an evening of country western songs that received unanimous raves from critics and audiences across the country, on and off-Broadway, and in record-breaking runs at Sierra Rep.

With heartbreak and hilarity, they perform on guitars, piano, bass and even kitchen utensils.

The New York Times wrote, "It doesn't merely celebrate the value of friendship and life's simple pleasures, it embodies them."

Following "Pump Boys," another Sierra Rep audience favorite returns to the Fallon house July 11 to Aug. 31.

Possibly the most popular musical ever created, Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The Sound of Music" follows the true story of the Von Trapp family in Austria.

This show has it all - an irrepressible heroine who finds her calling, lonely children who find a mother, an aloof naval officer who finds a wife, and a united family who find courage in one another as they escape the approaching evil of the Third Reich. Well-known songs include "My Favorite Things," "Do-Re-Mi," "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," and "Edelweiss."

From Aug. 29 to Sept. 21, SRT will take on its first Arthur Miller drama, "All My Sons." The story of two families and a war-time catastrophe established Miller as a leading voice in the American theatre.

This Tony Award-winning drama examines Miller's familiar themes of fathers and sons, guilt, love and personal ethics.

When a company's defective airplane parts cause the deaths of many men in World War II, one partner went to prison and the other made a fortune. The tragedies left shadows of bitterness and guilt.

The Los Angeles Times wrote, "The quality of its writing hasn't tarnished, its moral issues haven't aged, and its tragic events can still pack a wallop."

In its regional premiere, the new musical "A Murder, A Mystery and A Marriage" finds its source in the recently published Mark Twain short story and features live music.

The production will run Sept. 26 to Oct. 26 at the Fallon House. With heroes, heroines and villains, this melodrama has plenty of goofy jokes and red hot fiddling. The zany small town of Deer Lick, Mo., is thrown into frenzy when a mysterious visitor arrives.

A young romance is tested and a town patriarch is murdered. Was it the local store clerk with a vendetta or the suave Frenchman? Who will Mary marry? Small town antics, homespun humor and bluegrass melodies deliver the clues in classic Twain style.

Closing the East Sonora season, "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" will play Oct. 24 to Nov. 23. A comicical tale of overachievers' angst, the musical chronicles the experience of six adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime.

The show's Tony Award winning creative team has invented an unlikely hit about an odd set of heroes for whom a spelling bee is the one place where they can stand out and fit in at the same time.

The Wall Street Journal wrote, "It's spelled W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L!"

The season at Fallon House concludes with the inspirational spiritual sounds of a travelling family band in "A Sanders Family Christmas," playing Nov. 14 to Dec. 21. It's Christmas Eve in 1941, just 18 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Sanctified Sanders Family Singers are heading up the annual Christmas celebration at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, while saying a bittersweet goodbye to their only son before he ships out with the Marines.

Rev. Mervin Oglethorpe and the Sanders family attempt to raise the spirits of their faithful flock - the audience.

Chicago Theatre Beat described the show as "an inspiring musical that is as smart as it is heartwarming."

For more information, call 532-3120 or visit www.sierrarep.org.

11907227
The Union Democrat
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