DiabloArts Walnut Creek Cit y Council
Kristina Lawson, mayor Loella Haskew, Cindy Silva, Bob Simmons, Justin Wedel
Anniversaries, tributes, and more in 2014
Joe Bologna, Polly Bradbury, Glynnis Cowdery, Jane Emanuel, Carol Fowler Cit y of Walnut Creek
Ken Nordhoff, city manager Kevin Safine, assistant Director, arts, recreation, and community services
— Scott Denison, general manager Gail Pfeifer, office manager Linda Nomura, Secretary Toni Kilcoyne, production services coordinator production services technicians: Michael Arlen, Chris Currie, John Earls, Kieren McEntee, Steve Pino, Garrick Schuster, Stephen Spleiss, Josh Stouffer security: Eddie Duenas, Arthur Dull, Shelby McCoy, Jonathan Silveira, Hans Weichhaut building attendants: Napoleon De Jesa, Jesus Milla Audience Services Coordinator: Courtney Egg usher Coordinator: Kevin Challand house managers: Linda Barron, Jody Cook, Ryan Cowles, Mary Franklin, Ed Haynes, Bill Kondrat, Karen Kopp, Nancy J. Moran, Carole Price, Samantha Samuels, Glodine Seraspi, Ronna Slavin, Hans Weichhart ticket agents: Jennifer Haza, Kiersten Jones, Karla Kopfhammer, Britt Lauer, Trevor Owen, Andrea Toney, Jeremiah Vierling, Hans Weichhart Group sales: Anthony Miller — Michael Butler, repertory artistic director Jeff Collister, repertory production manager Scenic services: Joshua Lipps, TEchnical Director rep stage crew: Joe Coe, Alex Logemann carpenters: Gabriel Johnson, Jordan Scott, Christopher Swartzell costume services: Michael A. Berg, Max Alenson Hilsabeck education: Jeff Draper, Kerri Shawn marketing: Gabe Marin marketing Assistant: Ariel Brewer Casting: Jennifer Perry — Carrie Lederer, curator of exhibitions Christine Koppes, assistant to the curator Erik Mortensen, community arts assistant — non-profit partner, Diablo regional Arts association
Peggy White, Executive director Laura Hunter, Arts access coordinator Lisa Mansfield, Finance manager Jody Cook, program manager
Steven J. Rivera, founder and president Barney Fonzi, group publisher Susan Dowdney Safipour, editor-in-chief Peter Crooks, editor Greg Silva, art director Caitlin McCulloch, ASSISTANT Editor Eileen Cunningham, director of operations Sarah Schultz, project manager/Ad coordinator Jennifer Brazil, Debra Donovan, Ron Henry, Renate Woodbury ad production and production Toni Tighe, Megan Tuggle, Marilyn Beck Rivera, senior account executives Jocelyne Crossley account executive Dave Reik, marketing director Melinda Solomon, marketing and circulation manager Amanda Stratmeyer, marketing associate Brendan N. Casey, cfo Sylvia Bajjaliya, staff accountant Ana Magaña, accounting Cheryl Davis, receptionist Jodie Aranda, office manager
We always have a lot to celebrate at the Lesher Center for the Arts, but we always start each year with perhaps the biggest celebration of all. The Shellie Awards honor outstanding achievements in the Performing Arts among companies based in and around Contra Costa County. The 35th anniversary gala ceremony takes place January 11, and we have invited all the previous winners of prizes to join the party. Over those three decades, we have handed out more than 1,000 awards to actors, directors, lighting and set designers, costumers, choreographers, and music directors. The pace only picks up post-Shellies. All year long, we join in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the City of Walnut Creek. Check walnutcreek100.com for information on the 100 ways to take part in saluting the city’s rich heritage and history. Some of those community events and activities include shows at the center. Center REPertory Company continues its winning 2013-14 season with: Clybourne Park (January 31–March 1); Sleuth (March 28–April 26); Real Housewives of Walnut Creek: The Musical (April 17–May 4); and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (May 16–June 21). The two premier East Bay musical theater companies based here, Contra Costa Musical Theatre and Diablo Theatre Company, mount two major shows. For CCMT’s production of the critically acclaimed Broadway and film hit, Les Misérables, 424 actors auditioned for 32 roles, while DTC brings us the beloved romantic musical comedy Guys and Dolls. Before I close, I want to say many thanks to Barry Gordon, who retired as head of the city’s Arts, Recreation and Community Services Department after 12 years. He wasn’t just my boss; he was a friend and staunch advocate of making Walnut Creek an arts and entertainment destination for the entire East Bay. Finally, as you read this issue of Diablo Arts, you have no doubt noticed the magazine’s elegant new look. Working with our partners at Diablo Publications, we are premiering a redesign that offers readers a more engaging and user-friendly way to learn about all the exciting shows and events coming to the center. And, as always, you can find out about Lesher Center performances by visiting our website, lesherartscenter.org We look forward to seeing you at the Lesher Center in 2014.
Scott Denison General Manager d i a b l o a rt s 3
Spring Company C returns May 8–11 with its spring program, Adjusting the Lens, which will feature two world premiere performances by Maurice Causey and Charles Moulton and an interpretation of composer George Gershwin’s music.
January 30— February 1 Where
Hofmann Theatre info
(925) 943-SHOW (7469), or lesher artscenter.org 4 d i a b l o a rt s
Dance on the Edge Company C pushes the envelope of conventional ballet with physical and emotional choreography. By Caitlin McCulloch
This winter, Company C Contemporary Ballet brings us performances of a new age. Dancers will be challenged in a variety of ways, but sheer athleticism is showcased. It all kicks off with Susan Jaffe’s Sognio di V. This is Company C’s premiere of this performance, which will be set to an exciting interpretation of Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Next up is Charles Moulton’s Nine Person Precision Ball Passing, which will be as much of a mental and intellectual challenge for dancers as it is physical. Showcasing the finer points of movement, nine dancers pass a ball like a live Rubik’s cube, with patterns constantly changing. Railroad Joint, previously a hit during Company C’s 2013 Gala performance, has been extended for the new year. Electronic music offers a trance-like score, accentuated by train sounds. The performance wraps with Artistic Director Charles Anderson’s choreography to the classic Bolero. Set to Ravel’s iconic score, the Bolero section offers an intensely musical experience.
courtesy of company c contemporary ballet
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Sleuth has twice received the Hollywood treatment— the 1972 film pitted Laurence Olivier’s writer against a young Michael Caine; the 2007 version featured Caine as the author and Jude Law as the playboy.
March 28—April 26
Murder, He Wrote
Margaret Lesher Theatre info
(925) 943-SHOW (7469), or lesherarts center.org 10 d i a b l o a rt s
Anthony Shaffer's classic thriller, Sleuth, brings its twists and turns to walnut creek in March. By Peter Crooks
Center REP artistic director Michael Butler says that even the most sophisticated audience members sometimes like a mystery genre piece. And that’s why he picked Anthony Shaffer’s classic thriller, Sleuth, as one of the 2013/2014 season highlights. “There are people—myself included— who love to read a great book, but also love to solve crossword puzzles,” says Butler. “Sleuth is the rare breed: It’s both a great work and a great puzzle. It’s very character driven and psychologically well-written, but has a wonderfully twisty plot packed with surprise turns.” Sleuth has been at the top of the mountain of stage mysteries since Shaffer’s play premiered in 1970. The play, about a successful murder mystery writer who invites his wife’s lover into his mansion for a nerve-wracking game of cat and mouse, was performed by Center REP once before, during the 1980-81 season. Butler felt Sleuth was long overdue for a comeback. “The psychological thriller is just a great genre—audiences love them,” says Butler. “If I could, I would do one every season. There just aren’t many as good as Sleuth.” Butler mentions that Anthony Shaffer, known for Amadeus and Royal Hunt of the Sun, isn’t known as a mystery writer. “Maybe it’s the complicated mechanics, but it seems that many talented playwrights only have one great mystery in them.” To navigate the twists and turns, Butler brought on director Mark Anderson Phillips, who helmed the smash Alfred Hitchcock comedy The 39 Steps for Center REP last season. “No one in the Bay Area knows the way of the Brits as well as Mark,” says Butler.
Les Misérables broadway's longest-running musical epic makes its lesher center debut in march. By Angela Sasse
The 2012 film version of Les Misérables grossed $440 million worldwide and won three Academy Awards.
March 21—April 20 Where
Hofmann Theatre info
(925) 943-SHOW (7469), or lesher artscenter.org 1 2 d i a b l o a rt s
Les Misérables holds the record for the longest-running musical in the world. And now, the epic production based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel is coming to the Lesher Center for the Arts for the first time. “This is just a huge show,” says Scott Denison, who will direct the production for Contra Costa Musical Theatre. “It’s a cross between a musical and an opera, and it just moves non-stop.” Les Misérables follows hero Jean Valjean—a selfless and kind man who is unjustly imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread to feed a starving child. After 19 years in prison, Valjean is released, only to be relentlessly pursued by police inspector Javert. “Les Misérables exemplifies the spirit of the human nature, and I love that,” says Denison, who ranks the production as one of the most ambitious ever to come to the Lesher Center. The show will have 32 cast members, elaborate sets by renown designer Kelly Tighe, and the nonstop music will be accompanied by a full orchestra. Bay Area favorites Noel Escobar and Jerry Lee have been cast in the lead roles of Jean Valjean and Javert. “Just to hear those two voices—Noel and Jerry—sing all night is worth the price of admission,” says Denison.
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Magic Time Fantasy Forum's performances give young Children an exciting introduction to live theater.
Gilbert and Sullivan fans won’t want to miss Lamplighter Musical Theatre’s H.M.S. Pinafore Singalong on March 21
March 13—16 Where
Margaret Lesher Theatre info
(925) 943-SHOW (7469), or lesher artscenter.org 16 d i a b l o a rt s
By Angela Sasse Before taking the kids to see Angelina Jolie play the wicked witch in Disney’s Maleficent this summer, make sure the little ones warm up on a fun-for-the-whole family performance of Sleeping Beauty, performed by Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble this March. For more than forty years, Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble has entertained audiences and lived up to its company mission of bringing family-friendly shows to the East Bay. While Fantasy Forum’s productions and original scripts based on classic fairy tales are terrific for all ages—the shows are particularly good as a way to let little ones experience theatre for the first time. “It’s a great introduction to live theatre,” says Fantasy Forum producer Jennifer Perry. “The shows are 50 minutes long, and the kids are not expected to sit still or be absolutely quiet—we encourage the kids to be a part of the stories. Sometimes, the kids in the audience even come on stage.” Fantasy Forum always makes sure to schedule performances for Diablo Regional Arts Association’s Arts Access program, which provides transportation and arts programs to low-income students in Contra Costa County. Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble presents Sleeping Beauty from March 13–16. Next up in the 2014 season will be May 1–4 performances of Cinderella; fantasyforum.org.
courtesy of fantasy forum actors ensemble
Pure Passion The California Symphony has had a tradition of promoting young talent, in soloists as well as young and new composers. This is something that is very important to me, and I plan on continuing with that tradition and celebrating it, and hopefully expanding it.” —Donato Cabrera
January 19, February 11, March 2 Where
Hofmann Theatre info
(925) 943-SHOW (7469), or lesher artscenter.org 18 d i a b l o a rt s
California symphony has a new conductor and exciting programs for winter and spring. By Caitlin McCulloch California Symphony’s new conductor is no stranger to the music scene: Donato Cabrera's resume includes such titles as the director of the San Francisco Symphony, the director of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, and the Wattis Foundation music director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. Cabrera has also been a guest conductor in both Chile and Spain, and possesses international experience that will greatly enhance California Symphony’s program. Cabrera, who is passionate about supporting young emerging artists, says he wishes to engage the audience during California Symphony’s performances. Join California Symphony on January 19 for a night of Anniversaries and Tributes. Guest conductor Tomasz Golka will be present for a performance of Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Elgar created 14 compositions in the late 1890’s, each representing a portrayal of someone meaningful to to him. San Francisco Symphony’s Robert Ward will also join in on the French horn during Richard Strauss’ Concerto No. 1. On February 11, audiences can get into the romantic spirit with Be My Valentine, which will bring music inspired by Romeo and Juliet. On March 2, musical purists will enjoy Catch a Rising Star, which will showcase Kenneth Renshaw, a young and talented violinist.
courtesy of california symphony
Walnut Creek Concert Band celebrates the city’s centennial anniversary with a familyfriendly concert on March 11.
He’s Got The Beat
March 4—8 Where
Margaret Lesher Theatre info
(925) 943-SHOW (7469), or lesher artscenter.org 2 0 d i a b l o a rt s
Ken Bergmann’s percussion discussion offers interactive drumming sessions for kids By Amanda Berkson-Brand
There are quite a few words that can describe Percussion Discussion, playing March 4–8. Explosive, high-volume, exciting, and flatout fun are a few, but you would be doing a disservice to the show by not including inspiring, and family-friendly. The brain child of Ken Bergmann, Percussion Discussion has been seen by more than 50,000 young people and adults since it’s first show in 1993. Born out of an impromptu performance for his music class in 1989, Bergmann created an interactive drumming experience that would be inspiring for kids of all ages. Bergmann, also an acclaimed stage actor who has starred in productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and A Chorus Line, has performed music at venues such as the Theatre de la Ville in Paris and Royal Albert Hall in London. At least once every year, he visits the Lesher Center for the Arts for a series of Percussion Discussion dates with young audiences. “Kids are going to go to my show and learn something,” says Bergmann, “and be inspired to perform and become artistically active, and they’re going to be smarter.” Especially noteworthy is the program’s dedication to low-income students attending the shows and being encouraged to pursue music and the arts through Diablo Regional Arts Association’s Arts Access program.
courtesy of percussion discussion
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d i a b l o a rt s 21
Don’t Miss! • Free Tuesdays (all day): January 7, February 4, March 4 • Bedford Gallery Ask Me Tours (12:30 p.m.): January 7, 14, 21, 28; February 4, 11; March 11, 18, 25 • Opening reception for Sky: A National Juried Exhibition (3–5 p.m.): March 9
Through February 23 Where
Bedford Gallery info
(925) 295-1417, or bedfordgallery.org 24 d i a b l o a rt s
Pretty Lights Bedford Gallery trips the light fantastic with New Neon: Light, Paint & photography. By Gina Gotsill
If color had a sound, neon would be every instrument turned up. Way up. The energy of the medium surges through New Neon: Light, Paint & Photography, on view at the Bedford Gallery through February 23, and brings together 30 artists from around the world. Selected artwork includes Meryl Pataky’s tube sculpture, Barry Underwood’s illuminated landscape photography, and Justine Frischmann’s bright grid patterns. From mainstream clothing to contemporary art, neon is getting plenty of attention these days, says curator Carrie Lederer. “I am drawn to the idea that artists are using fluorescent pigments and neon tubes as content and as a way of conveying a conceptual idea,” she says. “Some of the messages are funny; others are thoughtful and meditative, even political. The artists in this show are taking an expansive and engaging approach to neon.” Michelle Fleck’s paintings are examples of artwork that makes a statement in neon. Each painting is a familiar vignette of nature fighting for space in an urban world where man-made objects and trash have taken over. Fleck takes a still-life approach and uses touches of fluorescent paint throughout, adding subtle emphasis and texture to the narrative. Well-known Bay Area artist and collector Lisa Congdon uses fluorescent colors in similar ways—to accentuate and highlight her illustrations— and adds dimension with fake fur. Then it gets loud. Mixed media artist Kristin Farr amplifies her fluorescent palette with kaleidoscope patterns that transform old suitcases and vintage album covers into objects that are fresh, fun and totally out there. Want to experiment with Farr’s neon patterns on your own photos? Check out her new app, “Farr Out” on iTunes and try on something striking.
Barry Underwood, Horseshoe Lake, archival pigment print, 50 x 40 inches, courtesy of Johansson Projects, Oakland
d i a b l o a rt s 25
Ana Maria Hernando, Night Flower II, 2012, color lithograph, 30 x 22 inches, courtesy of Sharkâ€™s Ink, Lyons, Colorado
Familiar yet puzzling, the sky has been an alluring muse for artists of every genre. In Sky: A National Juried Exhibition, the Bedford Gallery’s show running from March 9 to May 25, contemporary artists explore this ever-changing subject matter. San Francisco-based writer and critic DeWitt Cheng and New York contemporary art leader Elizabeth Ferrer serve as jurors for this show open to all media. “This exhibition asks artists to explore how sky—both atmospheric and conceptual—can be represented in a diverse reach of media,” says curator Carrie Lederer. Entry deadline is January 15; for more information, visit bedfordgallery.org.
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Art on the Go Bedford Gallery's Art in a Suitcase: Color is cool exhibition visits classrooms around contra costa. By Gina Gotsill Kids and art make a magical combination—all they need is a little time. Add some instruction and plenty of color and you have Art in a Suitcase: Color is Cool, the Bedford’s newest traveling art workshop. Brought to Contra Costa classrooms by Bedford docents, Color is Cool starts with a suitcase filled with paint, palettes, brushes, paper, and more. Docents lead kids through a colorful conversation, asking questions like, “What if everything we saw was only black or white? How would you feel?” And, “If you could paint your room any color what would it be, and why?” Kids look at iconic art by Rousseau, Mondrian and others, learn the color wheel and move into small groups to mix color. Then it’s time to paint and make art; the $85, one-hour workshop includes follow-up exercises that teachers can use to build on the concepts introduced by docents. Color is Cool is just one way the Bedford engages kids in the community (and helps teachers avoid car pool hassles). To learn more, contact gallerytours@bedfordgallery. org, or (925) 295-1416.
courtesy of bedford gallery
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Fun Fact Clark Gable's 1931 movie Sporting Blood filmed scenes at a location that is now Heather Farm Park.
The Big 1-0-0
January 24 Where
Margaret Lesher Theatre info
walnutcreek100.com 2 8 d i a b l o a rt s
Kick off Walnut Creek’s centennial celebration with a Roaring twenties-themed gala. By Angela Sasse
Walnut Creek celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2014 and there will be no shortage of events to commemorate the city’s centennial. Kicking things off is a speakeasy-themed party at the Lesher Center for the Arts on January 24. “This will be a great way to kick off a year-long celebration and roar into the centennial,” says Mackenzie Lesher, who is co-chairing the yearlong centennial celebration with her husband Steve. “It’s been so much fun to think about Walnut Creek in it’s early days. The sense of community was just as strong then as it is now.” Flappers and Flasks: Roaring in Walnut Creek’s Centennial will feature casino games in the center’s lobby overlooking Locust Street, and dancing to the music of Push (featuring ABC7 news anchor Dan Ashley) in the Margaret Lesher Theatre. Hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and drinks will be served throughout the evening. Tickets are $100 per person, and free for any residents 100-years-old or older. “The year long celebration will be very diverse,” says Mackenzie Lesher. “We will have events around the business community, the arts, seniors, schools, youth sports— really from every corner of the city. All of the city’s events—the 4th of July concert, the Walnut Festival, and such—will have a centennial twist this year.” The Roaring Twenties-themed gala is the kick-off to a year’s worth of events around Walnut Creek in honor of the city’s centennial, many of which will be free. Later events will include a heritage day at Borges Ranch on May 17 and a centennial birthday picnic at Shadelands Ranch Museum on October 18. In September, the Bedford Gallery will debut Walnut Creek Turns 100: Celebrating the City Through Art. Bedford Gallery curator Carrie Lederer will be presenting works from a range of current and former Walnut Creek artists in this ambitious exhibition of local art.
contra costa historical society
Since Steve Lesher founded the Lesher Speaker Series in 2004, Walnut Creek has played host to a list of internationally renowned guests. Upcoming speakers include Jean-Michel Coustaeu on February 12, former United States Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright on March 25, and Director Emeritus of the Columbus Zoo Jack Hanna on April 15. We asked Lesher about the series, and the speaker he’d most like to book. Most stressful: Laura Bush
• Jean-Michel Cousteau Explorer February 12 • Madeleine K. Albright Former U.S. Secretary of State March 25 • Jack Hanna Animal expert April 15 info
(925) 943-SHOW (7469), or lesher artscenter.org 3 0 diab l o a rt s
the Lesher speaker series brings world-famous newsmakers to walnut creek. By Peter Crooks
Most surreal: Doris Kearns Goodwin
Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin discussed her acclaimed books about Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, but her appearance in 2008 included a backstage meeting with a presidential impostor. “There was a play about Richard Nixon in another theater that night,” says Lesher. “The actor playing Nixon was in costume, pacing around backstage. I saw Goodwin looking at him, and I explained the coincidence and assured her we were not having all the presidents show up for her talk.” Dream speaker: Mikhail Gorbachev
“Not only was he an important world leader during an incredible historical period, but he changed so much as a leader while he was in power,” says Lesher. “We seem to want our leaders to be very rigid and unchanging these days, so I think Gorbachev’s perspective would be fascinating to include in the series.” Single tickets for each event are often available at the ticket office at 6:30 p.m. the day of the event. lesherspeakerseries.org.
speaker photos courtesy of lesher speakers series; gorbachev photo: shutterstock
The World Stage
Lesher was thrilled with former First Lady Laura Bush’s talk in 2011—but also relieved to get through it. He was one of few people at the center who knew there were teams of government snipers in tactical positions. “It was intense: The Secret Service asked me where the nearest shower was backstage, in case someone tossed chemicals at her,” Lesher recalls. “I said, ‘I’m not sure…’ and they said, ‘That’s OK,’ and had someone build a portable shower, just in case.”
The Shellies The East Bay’s version of the Tony Awards celebrates its 35th anniversary in january. By Martha Ross
Schedule courtesy of the shellies
January 11 Where
Hofmann Theatre info
(925) 943-SHOW (7469), or lesher artscenter.org
The Shellie Awards—the annual honors for the best offerings in East Bay theater— celebrate their 35th anniversary on January 11, 2014. Nearly a dozen companies are expected to participate, and all previous Shellie Award winners will be invited to be a part of this milestone event. “It’s amazing that after 35 years, this is still going on,” says the Lesher Center’s managing director Scott Denison. “Whenever I say to people, ‘maybe it’s time for the Shellies to retire,’ they’ll say ‘no!’” Over those 35 years, theater companies have come and gone. Others have thrived, including Contra Costa Musical Theatre and Diablo Theatre Company. Civic Arts Repertory has evolved into the acclaimed Center REPertory Company, a professional organization that now vies with major Bay Area houses for audiences. More than 900 Shellie Awards have been handed out to actors, directors, lighting and set designers, costumers, choreographers, and music directors. The Shellies have become a major entertainment event, featuring dramatic scenes and big song-and-dance numbers from nominated shows. The awards are given to musical and non-musical shows staged between September 1 and August 31. Each company nominates a show and cast and crew members for awards. Nominations are reviewed by the Shellie Committee, a confidential group of people who have attended all the productions. Denison says committee members take great care to judge each nominee on the quality of his or her work— for example, giving a set designer with a $200 budget equal consideration with a designer with a $100,000 budget. d i a b l o a rt s 31
Rock Stars For Pets Animal Rescue Foundation’s Stars to
January 4 Where
Hofmann Theatre info
arf.net 32 d i a b l o a rt s
the Rescue Concerts Bring Famous Muscians to Jam in Walnut Creek. By Peter Crooks
One of the great annual traditions at the Lesher Center for the Arts takes place the first Saturday night of January, when Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation hosts Stars to the Rescue in the Hofmann Theatre. The concert features nationally-known headliners from a range of arts disciplines: pop music, country, rock, as well as dance and comedy. This year’s Stars concert brings rock music legend Bob Weir (pictured) to the Lesher Center for the first time. The Grateful Dead co-founder headlines a bill with a Stars favorite, pianist Bruce Hornsby, as well as stand-up comedian Allan Havey, and Broadway star Michael Cavanaugh, with more performers expected to join the bill just before the event. Past performers at Stars to the Rescue include John Fogerty, Carlos Santana, Chris Isaak, Emmylou Harris, Wynonna, and Robin Williams. Tony La Russa hosts the event as a live variety show, which raises money for ARF’s Walnut Creek rescue center, as well as the many programs ARF runs in the East Bay community.
ARF gets 2014’s party started with a stand-up comedy night on January 3. Tickets are $20–$60.
Visiting the Lesher Center to see a live performance is something the students will always remember from their school year.” —ruthe baez
Q&A: Ruthe Baez Pittsburg teacher benefits from DRAA’s Arts Access programs. By Peter Crooks
Parkside Elementary teacher Ruthe Baez schedules a field trip every year for the five third grade classes at her Pittsburg school. Thanks to Diablo Regional Art Association’s Arts Access program, the trip—including bus transportation, tickets, and curriculum handouts—is free for every student. We spoke with Baez about what Arts Access means to these children, many of whom have never been to a live theater event before. Q— How did you find out about DRAA's Arts Access program? A— Someone told me about it. I was a theater major in the area, so I am always looking into different plays, and theater companies. I looked up their website and noticed that they fund these field trips for schools. I thought, “Wow, that’s so great!” and I signed up for them. It was very easy to sign up—it’s based on need, and our school qualified, based on the demographics of the school. Q— What is the experience like for the kids? A— They are so used to sitting in front of the TV. But when the go to the theater, it’s all around them—it’s a magical and immersive experience. They can’t help but be involved. I get excited every year to watch them experience theater for the first time—it’s pure joy for the kids. The things that some of the kids have already endured in their lives are unimaginable to you or me. But when they go see a Fantasy Forum performance, they laugh, and they are amazed, and they leave all that behind. Q— How does the Arts Access program help you as an educator, other than providing the tickets and the transportation? A— Before each trip, they send a very helpful theater etiquette guide that we go over with the kids, to let them know how to behave. Since most have them have never been to a live production, they might not know that, yes, the actors know they are there in the audience. Following the performance DRAA gives a curriculum of lesson plans about the experience, which is also extremely helpful. To learn more about the Arts Access program, please visit draa.org.
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Diablo 3D Save Mount Diablo hosted a 3D screening of scenic photography by Stephen Joseph, set to a live score by the Contra Costa Wind Symphony. 1. Contra Costa Battallion of Cal Fire; 2. Bob Doyle, Tina Batt; 3. Kim Morucci, Susan Sappington; 4. Janet Gray, David Frane, Dick Heron, Sue Pitsenbarger, George Phillips.
Bedford Gallery Opening Bedford Gallery hosted an opening party for its exhibition, Home: Shelter and Habitat in Contemporary Art. 1) Bedford Curator Carrie Lederer and exhibiting artist Elizabeth Cayne during her performance of Femme Maison; 2) Jane Green, exhibiting artist Tyler Bewley, Marcella Anwandter; 3) Chandra Cerrito of Chandra Cerrito Contemporary, Oakland, exhibiting artist Stephen Whisler, Kathryn Reasoner, Executive Director of di Rosa, Napa; 4) Noah Lang of Electric Works Gallery, San Francisco, Vera Kachouh, exhibiting artist Robert Minervini. 36 d i a b l o a rt s
courtesy of save mount diablo (Diablo 3d); courtesy of bedford gallery (bedford)
Diablo Regional Arts Association hosted its annual On Broadway gala at the Lesher Center for the Arts. The black-tie gala raised $300,000 for DRAA's programs and performing arts support. 1. Michael and Peggy White, Jill Winspear, Scott Denison, Kerri Shawn; 2. The evening's dinner and auction were held in a tented room on Locust Street; 3. Lynell Dow, Jessica Ballesteros, Meghan Sharp; 4. Partygoers dance the night away; 5. Headliner Ana Gasteyer; 6. Jennifer Perry, Rachel Powers; 7. Black-tie attired partygoers; 8. Jennifer and Peters Suh; 9. Lesher Center after dark. d i a b l o a rt s 37
Donors Bowlby, Beverly Momsen & Bob Brocklehurst, Annette & Chris Butner, Judy & Kim Carlton, Judy & Mark Carter, Tom & Nancy Donahoe, Loella & Ralph Haskew, Katrine & Todd Heintz, Angie & Rich Henry, Jerry & Kathy Hicks, Natalie Inouye, Joe Lesher, Mackenzie & Steve Lesher, Daniel Levenstein, Beverly & David Loder, Shirley & Simon Lowes, John & Dorothy McDonald, John and Kathleen Odne, Linda & Bubba Padon, Ruth Reeves, Kevin Sánchez, Cindy & Tom Silva, Lori & Dominic Stull, Jennifer & Peters Suh, Lavergne & Howard Thomas, Larry and Deveney Totten, Bonnie Waters & Dennis Winslow, Peggy & Michael White, Robert & Judith Wilkenfeld, Emily & Danny Wu, Carole & Dave Wynstra
CORPORATIONS AND FOUNDATIONS $100,000+
Chevron, City of Walnut Creek, The Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation $50,000–$99,999
William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, The Thomas J. Long Foundation, Target $5,000–$19,999
The Diablo Regional Arts Association gratefully acknowledges support from corporations, foundations, sponsors, donors, and members during the period of November 2012– October 2013.
Allied Waste Management, AT&T, Barbara Llewellyn Catering & Event Planning, BMW Concord, California Closets, Concentric Wealth Management, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Goldman Sachs, Hall Equities Group, Harlan Estate, Hoge Fenton Jones & Appel, KTVU Channel 2 and TV 36, Meadowood Napa Valley, Miller Starr Regalia, Renaissance ClubSport Walnut Creek, RINA Accountancy Corporation, Safeway, Transwestern Commercial Services LLC, Waters Moving & Storage Individual Donors $10,000+
Brian & Lyn Hirahara, Melissa & Matt Jose, Bob Simmons & Judy Whelan, Barclay & Sharon Simpson, Rita & Chuck Steel, Pat Stull, Cheryl & Christian Valentine $5,000–$9,999
Ann & Gene Campion, Peter & Angie Coffee, Benjamin & Joanna Grossman, Heidi & Mark Hall, Sally & Dick Ingraham, Holly Ingraham & David Julius, Rob & Shannon Kirby, Eric & Laura Lamison, Darlet & Patrick Lin, Bob Power, Richard & Marsha Servetnick, Patti & John Stoeser, Susan & Clifford Wichmann Jill & Malcolm Winspear, Kathleen & Briggs Wood $2,500–$4,999
Annette & Tom Alborg, Tammy & Ken Anderson, Petra & Tim Argenti, Navid & Bill Armstrong, David 3 8 d i a b l o a rt s
We had the time of our lives when we brought our three year old son Drake to the Chevron Family Theatre Festival this past summer. It was a magical day for him that was just perfect for our family.” —Kelly and christian Hansen
Anonymous (1), Martin & Bobbi Bach, Catharine & Dan Baker, Jody & George Benkly, Gil & Ann Berkeley, Cindy & Bob Brittain, Kim & Bob Brown, Shirley & Pat Campbell, Sherry Caraballo Dorfman & Rich Dorfman, Lassie & Don Colebourn, Angela De La Housaye, Denise & Ed Del Beccaro, Clayton Englar, Susie & Gary Fisher, Carol & Ken Fowler, Laurie Fox, Marianne & Bill Gagen, Annie & Nick Gartner, Niki & Barry Gordon, Kathy & Bill Gray, Marshall & Anne Grodin, Heather & Nick Harris, Steve & Tish Harwood, Natalie & Roger Hughes, Kristina & Matt Lawson, Celia Mason, Ken & Shawna Nordhoff, Carol O’Neill & Carey Battersby, Gary & Jean Pokorny, Sue & Dick Rainey, Ed & Gwen Regalia, Maynard & Olga Jane Rotermund, Sarah & Eric Rudney, Lisa Ryan & Steve Smith, Fred & Christine Seely, Brandt Severson, Martin & Justine Signorelli, Charles Smith, Cindy & Zach Taylor, Sue & Thomas Terrill, Pam & Phil Volkmann, Ginny & Glen Weber, Amy & Tom Worth, Kristi Yamaguchi & Bret Hedican, Danusia Zaroda & Mark Whatley $500–$999
Anonymous (1), Candace Kay & Philip M. Andersen, Beverly Anderson, John Beery, Ed & Linda Best, Joe Bologna & Trudy Kettlehut, Terry & Cliff Bowen, Kathy & Ed Chiverton, Susan Cliff & John Minney, Jody & Bill Cook, Glynnis & John Cowdery, Diane & Ron de Golia, Kerri Shawn & Scott Denison, Dennis & Patrica Drew, Julie & Tom Ducharme, Jane & Roger Emanuel, Barney Fonzi, Julie & Dave Hahn, Steven Hallert & Phyllis Harford, Ronald Hansen, Tom Hargrave, Ripley & Laura Hunter, Douglas & Debra Jalen, Rolland & Kathy Lowe, Scott & Alisa Mac Cormac, John & Kathy McCorduck, Sandra & John Meyer, Cindy & Alan Mosser, Patricia Niven,
Bank of the West Wealth Management, Bay Area News Group, Broadway Plaza, Diablo Publications, First Republic Bank, Kaiser Permanente, KGO Radio, Mechanics Bank, Neiman Marcus, Patioworld, Regional Parking, Inc., Rudney Associates, Shell Oil, Union Bank, Wente Family Estate
Denae & Kyle Reath, Teri & Kirk Reynolds, Ronni & David Schwartz, John Sechser, Gary Skrel, Martin & Diane Skrip, Noel & David Twist, Mary Wais & R. Jeffrey Wells, Justin & Melissa Wedel $250–$499
Anonymous (1), Amy Alanes, Judi & Dallas Amos, Gary Backens, Edward & Jeanie Beatson, Myra Belfiore, Mary & Jack Bell, Rachel & Dr. Scott Bergman, Jacque Berry, Jeanette & Aristea Bertolani, Linda Bochte, Bob & Sharon Burke, Izzy Burton & Rolf Kvalvik, James & Jacqueline Carroll, Gordon Chamberlain, Paul & Alison Cocotis, Susan Covert, Ryan Cowles, Ellen & Kenneth Cuozzo, Brenda De La Ossa, Mike & Shannon Demers, Catherine Dietrich, Lynell Dow, Beverly & James Dubrin, Kari & Robert Endries, Kathy & Pat Galloway, Bruce & Trudi Garland, Steve & Cathy Green, Kathy & Kevin Gregory, Dan & Linda Guerra, Cherie & Marc Hallert, Kristy Hart, Ira Hillyer, Al & Marge Hudock, Luman & Marilyn Hughes, Linda & Bruce Johnson, Shirley & Paul Kadden, Diana Keller, Jim & Carol Kennedy, Kathy Klein & Scott Fink, Lynda & Robert Korsan, Lester & Bonnie Krames, Catherine Kuss & Danilo Purlia, Paula Lowery, Topper Lundbeck, Rita & Bob MacKay, Arlee Maier, Reimund Maks, David & Marianne McKay, Todd McMichael, Janice Miller, Herb & Delores Moore, Greg & Lynn Nerland, William Parker, Jennifer & Vince Perry, Betty Ann Polse, Susan & Mark Reckers, Elaine & Ken Richter, Jerry& Carolyn Roth, Vanessa & Glen Ryan, Leland Saylor, Ted & Susie Schaefer, Jerry & Barbara Schauffler, James & Kathryn Simms, Kirby & Frances Slate, Kevin & Kelly Smith, Hal & Diane Steuber, Kate & Bill Thon, Anita & Jon Tonsing, J. Michael & Pamela Walford, Kyndra & Bob Wu
Anonymous (3), Judy Ackerhalt, Jenny & Randy Ackerman, Tina & Tony Akins, Lori Albiani, Walter & Lynn Bak, Dave & Stephanie Baker, Linda Bakshi, Heather Ballenger, Robert Beach, Claude & Carol Benedix, Peter Blaney & Vicki Turano, Charles Bos, James & Louise Branscom, Fritz Brunner, Joel & Nancy Bryden, Lynette & James Busby, Amy Campbell, Timothy & Carolyn Carlson, Harvey & Phyllis Ceaser, Tom & Nancy Clancy, Helene Connelly, Benjamin Cruz, Marjory DeRoeck, Craig Desoer & Dmitry Kitsov, Henry Dear, Jon Dickson, Janet & W.A. Dinsmore, Robert & Ellen Docili, Keva Dodd & William Holdrum Dodd Jr., Arthur S. & Mary Alice Donaldson, Pat & Brian Dowling, Carol Doyle, Bruce & Jill Dresser, Richard Einstoss, Charles &
We love the arts. We were lucky enough to grow up in New Jersey buying cheap tickets to see our favorite Broadway shows, so to keep the arts alive in our backyard here at the Lesher Center is important.” —Chuck and Rita Steel
Pat Eisner, Tom & Ellen Eller, Eric Elting, Tom Fannin & Ann Carson, Adam Felson, David & Sandra Fisher, Leslie Fisher, Marjorie Frederick, Barbara French, Jennifer & Harold Friedman, Joseph Gorny, Frank & Mary Grannis, Ken & Kathleen Gutierrez, John Haithcock, Heather Hamilton, Mike Harvey, Joanne & Dale Haukland, Terry & Jacqueline Haws, Dr. Carl Hirsch, Jack & Judie Hockel, David Johnson, Larry & Ann Kaye, Pam & Anthony Kessler, John & Susan Klein, John & Marilyn Knowles, Sherri Krynski, Lorraine Libera, Dr. Anthony & Cynthia Lizano, Gerhard Locke, Colleen & Bill Lund, Pamela & Chuck Luther, Jean & Jack Margolis, Lorna Martyn, Kathy McCann, Stephanie & Tom McConnell, Alvin & Debbie Medvin, Cynthia & Paul Menaker, Michael & Sharon Metcalf, Don & Jo Metz, Laurie Miller & Ian McNeill, Kurt Miller, Larry Miller, Steve Moawad, Paula & Terry Mollica, Joyce Munson, Mally Netter, Verna Osborn, Jessica & Josh Peterman, Heather & Jeff Power, Nilda & John Rego, Barbara & Danny Riggio, Adrienne & Jeff Rogers, Dennis & Renee Ross, Sheri Salomon, Gary Schaub & Maria Gounaris, Aurelia & Karl Schroeder, Sonya Schroeder, Louise Shalit, Lorraine & Don Sharman, Sandy & Marty Shellhammer, Barry & Barbara Silberman, Carolyn Sillin, Michael & Cindy Simon, Elaine & John Spiecker, Marietta Stuart, Bill & Sharon Taplin, Nona & Bill Thomas, Phing Thong, Carl & Lyn Thorsen, Tom & Mary Twist, Betty Vodzak, Ruth & Douglas Waterman, Gloria Whittaker, David & Carol Williams, Gary & Vicky Yancey In Memory of donations
These special memorial donations from arts supporters honor the memory of individuals who have touched their lives. Michael Benkly; donation by Jody and George Benkly Kris Lesher-Aring; donation by Michael and Peggy White In celebration of the arts
A donation has been made in honor of Ben Slomaff's 100th birthday by Kerri and Scott Denison and Michael and Peggy White.
When Patrick was in school he was on the free lunch program due to his family's lack of finances. He was so touched when he saw the video of underserved kids attending Lesher events. And that's why it is extra meaningful for him to support DRAA.” — Darlet and Patrick Lin
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Before You Go
Lesher Center for the Arts 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, CA 94596 Administrative Office: (925) 295-1400 Fax: (925) 943-7222 Website: lesherARTScenter.org Bedford Gallery Open noon–5 p.m., Tuesday–Sunday; 6–8 p.m., Thurs., Fri., and Sat. when there are evening performances in the Lesher Center. For information, call (925) 295-1417, or visit www.bedfordgallery.org. Ticket Office Located at 1601 Civic Dr. Tuesday–Sunday, noon–6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon–7:30 p.m. (925) 943-SHOW (7469) Walk-up hours: Tuesday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon–7:30 p.m.; Sunday noon–6 p.m. Tickets also available at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 1149 South Main St., Walnut Creek (across from Broadway Plaza), noon–6 p.m., Wednesday–Sunday. Walnut Creek Public Library ticket office, 1644 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek, noon-6 p.m., Tuesday–Saturday. Late Arrivals Latecomers will not be seated until an appropriate interval and might not be seated in their exact seats until intermission. At some events, producers request no late seating.
Margaret Lesher Theatre
KNIGHT STAGE 3 THEATRE 108
F 8 8
Accessibility Services Wheelchair accessible seating and seating with no stairs required is available in all theater spaces. Please inform the Ticket Office of your seating needs when purchasing tickets. For hearing-impaired patrons, assistive listening technology is available in all theatres. Please contact the house manager prior to curtain time for device details and equipment (available at no charge). For any other accommodation needs, please contact audience services at (925) 295-1400.
knight stage 3 theatre
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Lost and Found Articles lost and found in the theatre will be held by the house manager. Contact Audience Services at (925) 295-1400.
For Your Convenience ❯ There is no smoking in the theatre or the lobby. ❯ Food and beverages are not allowed in theatres. ❯ If you carry a beeper, watch, calculator with an alarm, or cell phone, set it to the OFF position. ❯ Every person, regardless of age, must have a ticket. ❯ For information regarding family events, contact the Ticket Office at (925) 943-SHOW. Note the Exit Nearest Your Seat In an emergency, remain seated and wait for instructions, then walk to the nearest exit. Parking and Public Transport Parking is located in the five-level Locust Street parking garage. Enter on Locust Street and California Boulevard. $3–$5 for event parking. The center is three blocks from Walnut Creek BART; County Connection curbside service is also available. For bus schedules, call (925) 676-7500. Warning The photographing or sound/video recording of any performance, or the possession of any device for such purpose in the theatre, without the written permission of the management, is p rohibited by law. Any person not in compliance will be asked to leave. Thank you!
Do what you say, say what you mean. Treat everybody with the same respect that you want to be treated with. That’s how you build trust and long-term relationships with customers. Mechanics Bank has always been there for us. We couldn’t do a lot of the things we’ve done without their support, especially the personal support that I receive. It’s easy for me to go to a bank that thinks along the same lines as I do. That’s why I’m a Mechanic. Jeffrey Yee, BASS Electric
Give us a call at 800.797.6324, visit the website at www.ImaMechanic.com, or better yet, just come in, sit down and talk with us. It’s a great way to find out if you’re a Mechanic too. Member FDIC