On Stage

Temecula Theater Announces New 2014-2015 Season

Old Town Temecula Community Theater’s upcoming season includes something for everyone, including big band sound, a bit of Beethoven, a wicked witch of the west, and a sprinkling of aloha spirit.

On the afternoon of July 20th, Theater Manager Bea Barnett (pictured) hosted a preview event for season ticket holders, press and interested theater lovers; featuring a taste of what the Inland Empire has to look forward to this upcoming theater season.

“This season we really focused on the Temecula ideal of preserving tradition while fostering innovation,” Barnett said. “We stayed true to the best elements of the Theater’s past successes and then branched out into truly innovative territory to give residents more of what they love: family-friendly, world-class entertainment options that are close to home.”

Pianist John Mark Harris opened the show, before Barnett herself took the stage and welcomed the eager audience; thanking them for their support in years past. Barnett then described some of the entertainment options available now through next Spring.

The four annual musical series’, Dance, Groove, Classical and Big Band will return, along with the debut of two new series’, Aloha and Legends.

The Aloha series, which kicked off with Henry Kapono on July 15th, was inspired by an overwhelming interest in the genre throughout the community and will feature music of the Pacific Islands. The Aloha series will continue in August with John Cruz and Kawika Kahiapo with Mike Kaawa and Nathan Aweau in October.

“We stayed true to the best elements of the Theater’s past successes and then branched out into truly innovative territory…”

The Legends series, which started rockin’ earlier this month with Eagles tribute band, The Long Run, will feature tribute bands celebrating the music of Led Zeppelin, Carlos Santana and Chicago.

To give the audience a little piece of what they will be hearing during the Big Band series, Temecula vocalist and resident entertainment dynamo, Sherry Williams, took the stage and enchanted the room; accompanied by acclaimed pianist John Rodby.

California Chamber Orchestra’s Artistic Director and Conductor, Dana Zimbric, previewed upcoming shows for the popular Classics at the Merc series, including shows featuring the works of Beethoven and Copland. Zimbric noted that Harris, who opened the show, would be the featured musician that afternoon and encouraged those at the event to cross the courtyard and check out his performance.

To highlight the theater’s dance series, two resident dancers from Temecula’s own Avocado Dance Company, founded by Lori Craig Torok performed a modern piece of choreography, which was very well received by all.

Sunday’s preview event also included sneak peeks from the theater’s resident companies.

Southwest Women’s Chorus Director, Bill Paisner, invited the audience to the group’s annual Christmas concert, “Christmas in the Air,” as well as their American songbook concert, “America Sings,” coming in May.

The Fine Arts Network Theater Company’s Joseph Arreola, discussed the upcoming performances of “The Wizard of Oz,” “Zombie Prom,” and “The Nutcracker.” Gabbie Adner and Katelyn Walsh, two excellent young vocalists from FAN’s production of “Aida,” a collaboration with Temecula Preparatory School, received rousing applause from the crowd.

Taking the stage in character as Mark Twain, Temecula Valley Players President, Gene Wunderlich, invited the audience to not only see their production of “West Side Story,” but to come out and audition for “A Christmas Carol” or “The Addams Family,” later in the season.

Barnett then reminded audiences of the group of series’ taking place regularly at The Merc, the theater’s 48-seat cabaret style venue. The list includes jazz, classics, cabaret, county, comedy and speakeasy; all at The Merc.

Finally, Barnett stressed that, because of upcoming renovations, not only will the season be shortened but some performances season will take place at other locations throughout the area and to check the theater’s website for more information and concert locations.

After thanking volunteers for their tireless efforts keeping Old Town Temecula Community Theater at the top of its game, Barnett reminded everyone how their time and participation will be rewarded with the highest quality of entertainment.

“Temecula Theater has become a world-class presenter of contemporary programming by strengthening our cultural connections throughout our community,” she said. “We bring top-quality and first-rate performers at affordable prices and we look forward to having you in our audience, where every seat is the best seat in the house.”

Information on all performances for the upcoming theater season can be found on temeculatheater.org.

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Holly Herndon

Holly Herndon

Holly has been covering arts & entertainment in the Temecula Valley for as long as she has been a part of the community. She loves San Diego sports almost as much as she loves her family.

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