What do Broadway entertainers do when they’re not doing their thing on the Great White Way? Some do equity waiver, some teach, some wait tables. And some of the luckier ones strut their stuff in places like Jack London State Park in Glen Ellen, California, near the town of Sonoma (the author’s former home prior to his death in 1916, where visitors will find a museum devoted to his life and work).
Lucky are the audiences too, who catch Transcendence Theatre Company’s Broadway Under the Stars concerts in the park this summer, judging by the opening night performance I saw of “Fly Me to the Moon” last weekend—the first in a series of 14 shows.
The caliber of the talent will take you by surprise; most of these energetic young people are singers and dancers who’ve actually played Broadway and/or done national tours. Haven’t heard of Amy Miller, Carrie Manolakos, Q. Smith, Steve Mazurek, Nili Bassman or Leah Sprecher? You will. (Two-time Tony winner Sutton Foster performs in a special evening August 1.)
The weekend concerts include four different ensemble programs continuing through August 31. “Moon” (which repeats July 5-6) is a mix of familiar show tunes (“Some Enchanted Evening,” “Tonight”) with a few originals and rarely revived numbers; an inane barn-burner like “Proud Mary” seemed out of place, despite its enthusiastic reception. The acoustics were sharp and clear. Info: 877-424-1414, www.transcendencetheatre.org; State Park, 707-938-5216, http://jacklondonpark.com.
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Get outta town: where to get high on Sonoma’s lively art scene http://usedview.com/article/get-outta-town-where-to-get-high-on-sono…
Out of town: New Mexico’s Four Corners Storytelling Festival
Out of town: food and entertainment in the Florida Panhandle
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There are plenty of wining and dining options provided in the park, with ample time for picnicking before the show. And there are more elegant alternatives as well, such as The Girl & the Fig where I had dinner, about 10 miles away in Sonoma. It’s a classy little place with high ceilings and fans, and whimsical art by Julie Higgins on the walls—an immeasurably pleasant way to beat the heat on a summer evening.
With the potted chicken liver mousse presumably too rich for my diet and the remaining starters not to my taste, I chose the grilled fig & arugula salad, with toasted almonds, goat cheese, and fig and port vinaigrette. It was worth the visit for this alone; I also sampled the delectable beet salad, a valid alternative.
The wild flounder meunière, fresh from the Gulf region, would be a treat without the fancy French adjective (meaning “the miller’s wife”). It was a visual delight to begin with, the potato puree suggesting whipped cream oozing from a decadent desert. I found the panisse cake, a French dish made of chick pea flour and served with grilled chard and toybox squash, too intriguing to pass up. I somehow managed to eat half of this delicious concoction (in addition to my main entrée), which should satisfy the vegan in your party beyond measure.
I found the poppy seed cheesecake a bit underwhelming but there’s something to be said for desserts that aren’t overly sweet. The chocolate-covered figs, on the other hand, were perfection. Perhaps the best part of eating here is that doesn’t have to be an expensive splurge; among the many budget options are the quiche lorraine, the croques monsieur and the top sirloin burger. Info: 110 W. Spain St., Sonoma, 707-938-3634; http://www.thegirlandthefig.com.
For more on Sonoma: http://www.sonomacounty.com/
More from Jordan:
Ladies energize ‘Vigils’ & ‘Raoul,’ South Coast Rep reprises ‘Neva’ http://usedview.com/article/ladies-energize-vigils-raoul-south-coast…
OC’s Shakespearean summer http://usedview.com/article/mysterium-revives-assassins-oc-s-shakesp…
Bill Bryson, RSC explore Shakespeare; Monty Python doc on DVD
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