Broadway Under the Stars

The Transcendence cast rehearses for the upcoming production of "A Chorus Line," which will be performed on the outdoor stage at Jack London State Park. 

SONOMA — Transcendence Theatre Company’s 2019 “Broadway Under the Stars” season opens with the award-winning Broadway musical “A Chorus Line,” directed by Amy Miller and featuring a cast of Broadway and national touring professionals.

The 2019 season line-up includes “A Chorus Line,” June 14 to June 30; “Fantastical Family Night,” July 19 and July 20; “Those Dancin’ Feet,” Aug. 9 to Aug. 25; “Gala Celebration,” Sept. 6, 7 and 8.

After seven seasons of award-winning Broadway concerts presented in wine country, this production of “A Chorus Line” marks Transcendence Theatre Company’s first Broadway musical presentation as part of its annual “Broadway Under the Stars” season.

A Chorus Line” pairs songs with the personal stories of 17 Broadway dancers baring their hearts and souls at a Broadway audition. It was conceived in 1974 during workshop sessions attended by several Broadway dancers, including eight dancers who appeared in the original cast. Early workshops were hosted by dancers Michon Peacock and Tony Stevens until an up-and-coming Broadway director and choreographer, Michael Bennett, was invited as an observer. Eventually, Bennett took full control of the workshops and development of the show.

Bennett ushered “A Chorus Line” to its Off-Broadway debut at The Public Theater in April 1975 and then to its Broadway opening July 25, 1975 at the Shubert Theatre. With critical praise and record-breaking box office sales, the musical won nine Tony Awards and received the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Shows are 7:30 p.m. on weekends, on the outdoor stage at the Jack London State Historic Park, 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen.

The “Broadway Under the Stars” experience includes pre-show picnicking at 5 p.m. in the park’s sprawling vineyard and meadow. Audiences are invited to enjoy musical entertainment before the main performance with homemade picnics or gourmet picnics purchased at nearby stores. At the venue, there are pre-show picnic options with a variety of food from local gourmet food trucks and vendors and fine wine representing several Sonoma County wineries at each performance.

Tickets are from $45 to $150 — with general admission tickets $45 to $79; premium tickets $85 to $99; and VIP tickets $139 to $150. Group tickets also available. Reservations recommended. Five dollars from every ticket sold is contributed for the support and maintenance of Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen.

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In Conversation with Donna McKechnie

Sonoma Speaker Series presents a conversation with Donna McKechnie from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29, at Hanna Boys Center Auditorium in Sonoma.

McKechnie is a professional dancer, singer, actress, choreographer, and author whose career has spanned more than 50 years. Regarded internationally as one of Broadway’s foremost singing and dancing leading ladies, she is best-known for her portrayal of Cassie in the original Broadway cast of “A Chorus Line,” for which she received the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. Her featured number, “The Music and the Mirror,” sheds a spotlight on the hopes and dreams of a struggling dancer, willing to return to the chorus for a job doing what she loves.

McKechnie will be in conversation with Amy Miller, artistic director for Transcendence Theatre Company. Members of Transcendence’s production of A Chorus Line will be in attendance to perform a song or two from the show.

Tickets are $35-$75, with a VIP experience available. Purchase tickets on SonomaSpeakerSeries.com.

Hanna Boys Center Auditorium is at 17000 Arnold Drive, Sonoma.

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