'South Pacific comes to California Theatre Friday

PITTSBURG -- Pittsburg Community Theatre presents the musical production of Rogers and Hammerstein s "South Pacific for two weekends beginning Friday, ending March 16.

Unlike the 1959 sanitized movie version of "South Pacific, Dianna Schepers direction of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic stays true to the original script of racial prejudice and interracial marriage. Sixty-five years after its triumphant yet controversial debut on Broadway, Schepers says that while we have made great strides in overcoming racism, undertones still exists today as it did in World War II.

"Theater mirrors society, she said. "I believe that we can learn from our past and strive to evolve in a positive way by looking at our own reflection.

The tale focuses on the budding romance of Ensign Nellie Forbush (Caitie McNamara) and Emile de Becque (Wayne Steffan), a French planter. Their chance for happiness meets a grave impasse because of de Becque s former relationship with a woman of color. The follies of racial bigotry are heartbreakingly realized when the love between a young Tonkinese girl, Liat (Atessa McAterran-Morrell) and Lt. Cable (Alan Coyne) comes to a tragic end, forcing Nellie to finally confront her deeply seeded racist views.

Intermixed with the love stories are the antics upon the island that provide the lighter side of the musical. Comedy ensues with the scheming, but lovable schmuck Luther Billis (Ron Llenando) and the island s big wheeler-dealer, Bloody Mary (Vicki Victoria), who also delivers the show s mesmerizing signature song, "Bali Hai.


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Rousing island scenes such as "Nothing Like a Dame and "Honey Bun are delightfully choreographed by Mariah Heath. A cast of 37 sailors, nurses, islanders and nuns sing memorable classics such as "I m Gonna Wash that Man Right out of my Hair and "Some Enchanted Evening under the musical direction of Carille Bruno-Thayer. A 22-piece orchestra under conductor Diane Klascynski sets the stage with a stirring and rich presentation of the legendary musical numbers.

Tickets are now available through the California Theatre Box Office (open noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday) or online at www.pittsburgcaliforniatheatre.org. Also, auditions for Agatha Christie s mystery thriller "The Mousetrap are scheduled March 17 and 18. Visit www.pittsburgcommunitytheatre.org for audition details.

Playmakers to present 'Shrek the Musical

BRENTWOOD -- The Liberty High School Playmakers will present "Shrek, the Musical Friday at the Allan E. Jones Performing Arts Center, 850 Second St., Brentwood.

Performances are 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. March 8.

A special relaxed performance for people with disabilities will be at 10 a.m. March 8. Relaxed performances are specifically designed to welcome people with learning disabilities, Down syndrome, Autism Spectrum or sensory communications disorders, to the joy of live theater.

There will also be a Shrek s Swamp Party from noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday before the 2 p.m. performance. The cost is $7 for all ages for the party.

General admission is $13.50 general admission, $10.50 for seniors, $8.50 for youths and $5.50 for children. For more information, go to http://libertyunion.scoolwires.net/playmakers.

'Phantom comes to Antioch theater on Friday

ANTIOCH -- Stage Right Conservatory Theatre presents "Phantom of the Opera at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center, 213 First St.

The play, directed by Bryan Anthony, centers around the Paris Opera House in the 1800s. Far beneath the majesty and splendor of the Paris Opera House, hides the Phantom in a shadowy existence. Shamed by his physical appearance and feared by all, the love he holds for his beautiful protégée Christine Daaé is so strong that even her heart cannot resist.

Performances are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors and children $5. Seniors pay $5 at both Sunday matinees. For information, call 925-216-4613 or go to www.srctgrp.org.

'Deer Valley Theater presents 'Hairspray

ANTIOCH -- Deer Valley Theater presents "Hairspray, the big, fat musical hit, at 7 p.m. March 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 at the Deer Valley Theater, 4700 Lone Tree Way.

The play is based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters and presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International. Admission is $5 for teal card holders, $7 for students and $10 for general. Tickets can be purchased online at www.seatyourself.biz/deervalleyhs ($1 per ticket service charge, teal tickets are not available online) or at the door beginning 6:30 p.m. For information, go to https://dvhs-Antioch-ca.schoolloop.com/dvapa.

Artists sought for upcoming open studios

Artists who live or work in East County are invited to participate in Contra Costa Open Studios, taking place the weekend of May 3 and 4.

During this popular community event artists open their studios and galleries to the public, providing demonstrations, interacting with visitors, displaying and selling their work. Artists and fine craftspeople working in all media are welcome.

There is no fee to participate and no deadline, but signing up by April 1 is encouraged. A few shared locations may be available for those who don t have their own space. For information and registration visit www.ContraCostaOpenStudios.com.

Pittsburg Rotary art sale planned March 15

PITTSBURG -- The Rotary Club of Pittsburg Art & Crafts for Literacy will host an art sale and auction 4 to 7 p.m. March 15 at the Pittsburg Senior Center, 300 Presidio Lane.

The proceeds from the fundraiser event will support various Rotary of Pittsburg literacy programs. Artists will sell their works as well as auction off one-of-a-kind pieces of art work. Participating artist include Dr. Laura Canciamilla, photography; Devin Dobson, video and photography; Joe Nagbe, oils; Tom O Brian, painter; and Mark Roberts, contemporary traditional oils.

The event features food, music and fun. Admission is $20 at the door. For information, go to http://rotarypittsburg.org/art-for-literacy.

'Percussion Discussion at Lesher Center

WALNUT CREEK -- Antioch schoolteacher Ken Bergmann returns to the Lesher Center for the Arts March 7-8 for his "Percussion Discussion performance at 1601 Civic Drive.

Incorporating instruments from around the world, the popular family-oriented show features sound effects of Hollywood, a unique look at the computer age and a cymbal-clanging monkey.

Performances are 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 7 p.m. March 7; 2:30 p.m. March 8.

All seats are $14 or $10 for groups. For information, call 925-943-SHOW (7469).

School s Monty Python parody at Heritage High

BRENTWOOD -- The Rising Stars Theater Troupe of Heritage High School presents Monty Python s "Spamalot at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Heritage High School s theater, 101 American Ave.

The show is a musical based on the 1975 movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The highly irreverent parody pokes fun at musical theater while referencing classical Monty Python s sketches.

"Spamalot includes songs such as "Run Away, and "The Song That Goes Like This and more. Additional performance are 7 p.m. March 13, 14 and 1 p.m. March 15. Admission is $18 for adults and $12 for students. Purchase tickets by calling Tammy Vance at 925-437-3078 or go to hhsrisingstares.com.

'Charlie and Chocolate Factory auditions set

ANTIOCH -- Stage Right Conservatory Theatre will hold auditions for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on March 10 and 11 at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center, 213 F St.

Directed by Bryan Anthony, this classic fantasy is based on the book by Roald Dahl and produced by special arrangement with The Dramatic Publishing Co. There are many roles for actors ages 8-18 and no experience is necessary. To receive your audition time, you must register online at www.srctgrp.org. There is a $75 participation fee if cast. For more audition and show information, call 925-216-4613.

Commanders Jazz Ensemble is March 16

ANTIOCH -- The United States Air Force Commanders Jazz Ensemble will perform at 3 p.m. March 16 at El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. Second St.

The Commanders, a newly revived ensemble coming from the United States Air Force Band of the West, carries on the American tradition of the great big bands, yet offers the full gamut of jazz music, traditional jazz, cool bop and Broadway and patriotic music.

Although admission is free, concertgoers need to reserve a seat by calling 925-757-9500.

For more information on the Ensemble go to www.bandofthegoldenwest.af.mil/index.asp.

Art4Schools exhibit set at Lynn House Gallery

ANTIOCH -- The Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch will host the 10th annual Art4Schools exhibits through May 24 at the Lynn House Gallery.

The Art4Schools exhibits showcase Antioch Unified School District classes involved in the Arts4Schools Program, sponsored by the Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch, the city of Antioch and a Keller Canyon Grant funded through the office of Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover. The Lynn House Galley will play host to: John Muir Elementary, through Saturday; Carmen Dragon Elementary, March 5 through 15; ENCORE, March 26 through 29; Belshaw Elementary. April 4 through 19; Antioch, Deer Valley and Dozier Libbey high schools, April 30 through May 10, and Orchard Park K-8, May 13 though 24.

The Gallery is at 809 W. First St. in Antioch and is open 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, during exhibits. There is no admission fee and the exhibits are free.

For more information, visit www.Art4Antioch.org or contact Diane Gibson-Gray at the Arts & Cultural Foundation at 925-325-9897 or e-mail Diane@Art4Antioch.org.

Auditions will be held for 'The Music Man

BRENTWOOD -- The Brentwood Theater Company will hold auditions for Broadway Under The Stars summer presentation of "The Music Man, from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. March 15 and 16 at Independence School, 929 Second St.

The multigenerational, multicultural theater company seeks singers, dancers, actors of all ages to perform. Designers, crew and staff positions also need to be filled. Steve Kinsella directs.

Contact Producer Jack Gaughan for an audition appointment or more information at 925-513-3863 or 925-437-6360.

ACFA hosts exhibit at Umpqua Bank

ANTIOCH -- The Arts & Cultural Foundation of Antioch hosts an exhibit at Umpqua Bank, 3700 Lone Tree Way.

The fourth exhibit for the ongoing display features artists Clyde Cox, Doug Hampton Mayette Ignacio, Beverly Martinez, Richard Meyer, Paul Schorr and Wiley Walker. The exhibit is free and open to the public 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through March. ACFA is seeking artists for the April and May exhibit. Those interested in participating, call Diane Gibson-Gray, 925-325-9897.

-- Nan Hargis