Award-winning productions from rock ‘n roll to Broadway crooners, bluegrass to musical theater, and hip-hop to gypsy jazz are all headed to the Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton, California for the 2018-2019 season. The full schedule, plus ticket and membership information, is now available at www.firehousearts.org, by calling 925-931-4848, and in person at the Firehouse Arts Center Box Office, 4444 Railroad Avenue, in downtown Pleasanton. Season brochures may be picked up at the venue.
Season 9 kicks off Saturday, September 1, at 7:30 p.m., with the award-winning County Line Trio in concert, presenting a rousing, nostalgic trip back to the great hits of the Kingston Trio and the Folk Era.
First of the new-to-the-Firehouse shows is Black Market Trust on September 29. “I love when groups create a new sound,” says Firehouse Supervisor and Programmer Rob Vogt. “BMT has ‘fused’ their passion for Gypsy Jazz (think Django Reinhardt) with their love of the crooning tunes of the 50s and 60s (the Great American Songbook). These guys are all consummate musicians, plus they put on a really fun show.”
Next on Rob’s list of must-hear new concerts is the smooth sound and incredible guitar of Raul Midon on October 9. “…when he lays down beats to start the song, listeners can’t help but fall for his “groove,” smiles Vogt. “And then when you discover that this artist is blind…well, that’s when your mind is blown!”
“Branden & James” are a unique vocal and cello duo, of America’s Got Talent fame, who cover basically every musical genre out there, combined with stories of their families (Branden’s grandfather toured with Elvis and Johnny Cash for ages). “Their incredible talents and stories will make for a beautiful afternoon of holiday and pop melodies,” notes Rob, clearly a fan.
Kicking off January 2019 is Collision of Rhythm. “They are another unique show for us… not just a concert. It’s music, beat-boxing, percussion instruments, dancing, juggling.” But Rob says it’s how they combine the elements that is fantastic.
Firehouse publicist Jane Onojafe: “Special-mentions for me, in addition to Rob’s great list, have to include 2nd City Toronto’s Anne Marie Scheffler with her comedy show “MILF Life Crisis,” the dynamite 2018 Global A Capella Champions “Six Appeal,” and crazy good “Banda Magda” world music fusion band.”
The Firehouse’s tribute concert line-up is again first-rate. New shows to the Firehouse for Season 9 include: “Rhinestone: A Salute to Glen Campbell” performed by Andrew Kahrs (September 23 and 24); “Amanda King: The Songs of Ella Fitzgerald” (September 30); “Super Huey: The Ultimate Huey Lewis Experience” (January 11 and 12); and Whitney: “One Moment in Time” starring Dee Dee Simon (February 18).
Zeppelin USA (October 5) returns by (very) popular demand, with their salute to one of the most influential rock ‘n roll bands of all time. “Some say Brits Robert Plant and Jimmy Page created the first definitive heavy metal sound,” notes Vogt, excited to have this group again.
For the holidays, standout is the return of “December People” with their rock ‘n roll holiday extravaganza on December 7 and 8. Best feel-good holiday show of the season: all the favorite holiday songs rocked out in the style of all the great rock n’ roll anthems. Light shows, musicians from BOSTON, Greg Kihn Band, The Tubes, and more. Benefits local food banks.
On the bill are two fun-filled musicals, Guys & Dolls opening November 3, and Smokey Joe’s Café slated for next Spring. Guys & Dolls is a must see, with those iconic characters of Sky Masterson, Nicely-Nicely, Benny, and Adelaide, plus show-stopping tunes including “Luck Be a Lady” and “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” Smokey Joe’s Café is the wonderful revue-style musical that showcases 39 popular songs, from rock ‘n roll to rhythm & blues.
Civic Arts Stage Company, City of Pleasanton’s youth theater program, in collaboration with Bay Area Children’s Theatre, have another super line-up. September - Wonderland; December – Mary Poppins Jr.; March – Junie B. Jones.
Creatures of Impulse, the award-winning City of Pleasanton teen improv troupe, celebrates their 11th Anniversary Season all year, bringing back teaching artists and musicians who have been influential for the troupe, plus a full slate of new programming and guests.
The regular season wraps up with the always-sold-out Jim Anderson & The Rebels, but this time with a twist: Jim and the guys move to Memorial Weekend (May 26) with “G.I. Blues: The Elvis Songbook.” The show is full of music from Elvis’ first film after his 2-year hiatus serving in the Army (titled G.I. Blues, of course!).
Rob Vogt notes that Season 9 might have turned into the most varied season yet, “with literally something for everyone on tap… It’s always a bit of a mystery how the season will look until it’s finalized.” The Firehouse “start(s) with a list of recommended shows from our annual Focus Group,” then sources outstanding Northern California talent, plus stellar routed artists, the in-residence theater companies, add in youth programming, Creatures of Impulse, and the High School Music Collaborative, and it’s a terrific full slate.
Firehouse Marketing coordinators Christina Bauer and Jeff Zavattero commented, “Summer may be ending, but we're just getting warmed up!”
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