Sacramento Ballet brings ‘The Great Gatsby’ to the stage
By Jessica Laskey
You probably remember reading “The Great Gatsby” in school—booze, apathy, unrequited love, intrigue, a persistent green light—but this is sure to surpass even your fondest high school English memories: a new ballet by Ron Cunningham with live music, playing Feb. 7-10 at the Community Center Theater.
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s moody novel has been given legs by Cunningham’s clever choreography—his first new ballet in five years. Because, as Cunningham puts it, “the book is all about atmosphere,” he has transformed the written word into masterful movement danced to live period music by Billy Novick’s Blue Syncopators.
In addition to the ballet’s corps of beautiful ballerinas and balletomanes, keep an eye out during the performance for Alexandra Cunningham, one of the principal dancers who’ll be taking on the pivotal (no pun intended) role of Daisy Buchanan. The younger Cunningham is daughter to the elder Cunningham, a point Ron seems particularly proud of when speaking about this one-in-a-lifetime new balletic venture. The program also will include George Balanchine’s “Who Cares?” set to George Gershwin’s classic tunes.
For tickets and more information, call 808-5181 or go to sacballet.org. The Community Center Theater is at 1301 L St.
The Man, the Myth, the Legend
You’ve probably seen or heard of his most famous operas—“Madama Butterfly,” “Tosca,” “La Bohème”—but what about the man behind the music? Don’t miss “Puccini: The Man & His Muses,” presented by the Sacramento Opera on Feb. 22 and 24 at the Community Center Theater.
This unique staged presentation will take a peek at Giacomo Puccini and the many women who influenced him during his creative career—his lovers, his wife and his mother. Relive the mayhem and magic through fully staged and costumed vignettes of his most notable masterpieces—those mentioned above, as well as “Manon Lescaut,” “La Rondine,” “La Fanciulla del West” and “Turandot.”
Sharing the bill with Puccini will be the opera “Giani Schicchi,” based on a passage from Dante’s poem “Commedia, Part I: Inferno.” The comedic, operatic gem includes the beloved aria “O mio babbino caro,” among other exquisite, ear-pleasing trills.
For tickets and more information, call 808-5181 or go to sacopera.org. The Community Center Theater is at 1301 L St.
Celebrate the derring-do of superheroes of all kinds—no cape or mask required—at the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance of “Heroes!” at 2 p.m. on Feb. 16 at the Community Center Theater.
The program, conducted by Kenneth Raskin, will feature epic musical selections such as the “Superman March,” “Star Trek Through the Years,” the suite from Disney’s “Mulan” and more, as well as a tribute to Abraham Lincoln narrated by Mark S. Allen and Ashley Williams to the tunes of Aaron Copeland’s “Lincoln Portrait.” Arrive early to hobnob with real-life heroes, including servicemen and women and other Sacramento celebrities, create your own hero comic strip, and learn more about Lincoln. Pre-concert activities start in the lobby at 12:45 p.m.
For tickets and more information, call 808-5181 or go to sacphil.org. The Community Center Theater is at 1301 L St.
We Dig It
Louise Leakey digs up dirt on our ancestors—literally. Hear the paleontologist, conservationist and National Geographic explorer-in-residence talk about her travels and intriguing finds at the Sacramento Speakers series at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at the Community Center Theater.
Leakey and her team, the Koobi Fora Research Project, are responsible for one of the most important archeological discoveries in the past decade: In East Africa in 2007, they found the bones of H. habilis, which suggests that different species of prehumans lived simultaneously and side-by-side for almost half a million years. That’s pretty amazing—no bones about it.
For tickets and more information, call 388-1100 or go to sacramentospeakers.com. The Community Center Theater is at 1301 L St.
He juggles. He dances. He’s a one-man entertaining band. Don’t miss performer Robert Post presented by Sacramento Community Concerts at 3 p.m. on Feb. 24 at the Crest Theatre.
The New York Times has described Post’s particular brand of performance as a combination of “dry humor, expert mime, versatile acting, skilled juggling, ventriloquism, splendid timing and (a) keen sense of satire and the absurd.” Inspired by his Italian grandmother’s penchant for bursting into song and dance at family gatherings—even funerals—Post decided to use movement and character work to build a one-man variety show that has won numerous awards, inspired a PBS documentary and is sure to enthrall.
For tickets and more information, call 974-1357 or go to sacramentocommunityconcerts.com. The Crest Theatre is at 1013 K St.
If you’re looking for provocative theater, look no further than the latest offering from KOLT Run Creations: “This Vicious Minute,” an award-winning one-man show about self-injury by Ben Moroski that plays Feb. 27 through March 9 at the Ooley Theatre.
KOLT Run is known for its intriguing and intimate theater pieces, so Moroski’s masterpiece fits right in. The play—which coincides with Self Injury Awareness Day on March 1—chronicles Moroski’s autobiographical journey as an all-American male struggling with cutting and self-harm.
“It’s definitely scary, bringing something this personal home,” Moroski says. “But what we’re talking about is the opportunity to spread awareness—and light—about an issue that is currently so deep in the closet that it’s not even on our cultural radar. And as a theater artist, that’s about as exciting as it gets.”
For tickets and more information, go to koltruncreations.com. The Ooley Theatre is at 2007 28th St.
The Crocker is hopping this February, with a new exhibition by Sacramento favorite Gregory Kondos opening on Feb. 24 and other fun-filled offerings to follow.
“A Touch of Blue: Landscapes by Gregory Kondos” will celebrate Kondos’s long-chronicled love affair with the landscapes of California. Seventy paintings will be displayed in all, on view through May 19.
Is the budget a little tight after Christmas? Be sure to take advantage of Sacramento Museum Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2. The Crocker as well as more than 25 other museums in the region will offer free or half-price admission for the day. For more information, go to sacmuseums.org.
Craving something classical? Lend an ear to William Feasley on guitar at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10. Feasley and oboist Yeon-jee Sohn—the pair perform as the D’Amore Duo—will play pieces composed for them by Peter Madlem, Marcelo Ferraris and Jose Manuel Lezcano, as well as a serenade for guitar and oboe by 19th century virtuoso Napoléon Coste.
Looking for love? Celebrate Valentine’s Day in cool Crocker style from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 14 with Art Mix/Local Love. The evening will include live music by Project4trees, Bell Boys, Musical Charis, Autumn Sky and James Cavern; performances, installations and demonstrations by New Helvetia Theater, Sol Collective, Lacin/Cristophel Mural Design, Tapigami and more; and the chance to pen your own poetry with the help of Sacramento Poet Laureate Jeff Knorr. Need to bring the tots along? Drop them off in Creative Care before you mix it up at Art Mix.
You might not be able to be in Washington, D.C., for the city’s annual Black Family Reunion Celebration, but don’t miss the Crocker’s Black History Month Family Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18. This sensational showcase of all things African will include music, dance, drama and hands-on art activities in collaboration with the Sojourner Truth Multicultural Art Museum. And because it’s Holiday Monday, admission is free!
In the same cultural vein, check out “Jazz and the Fight Against Segregation” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21. The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet will trace the trail of integration blazed by jazz in United States history with music from greats including Dave Brubeck and Duke Ellington.
Finish out February with a fascinating concert by Paul Chamberlain on accordion at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28. The accordion virtuoso—yes, those exist—will perform original works as well as celebrate his love for Pink Panther cartoons on the iconic cat’s 50th birthday by scoring some of the classic cartoons live.
For tickets and information about any Crocker concert or activity, call 808-1182 or go to crockerartmuseum.org. The Crocker Art Museum is at 216 O St.
Famous funnyman Jack Gallagher returns to his hometown with another insightful, autobiographical show, “Complete and Unfinished,” playing at the B Street Theatre through Feb. 24.
Over the years, the comedian, actor and writer has brought his poignant, poised perspective to three other premieres at the B Street: “Just the Guy” (2002), “What He Left” (2006) and “A Different Kind of Cool” (2010). This fourth piece chronicles Gallagher’s coming-of-age experience in the 1960s and the iconic songs from the period that provided the soundtrack to his life.
For tickets and more information, call 443-5300 or go to bstreettheatre.org. The B Street Theatre is at 2711 B St.
Fun and Games
It’s games galore at Archival Gallery’s February show “Family Game Night,” featuring the work of Maria Winkler and Eric Dahlin, on display through March 1.
Winkler’s geometric, painterly take on board games will play nicely with Dahlin’s whimsical clay creations at the East Sacramento gallery space. Meet and greet the “gamers” at the Second Saturday artists’ reception on Feb. 9.
For more information, call 923-6204 or go to archivalframe.com. Archival Gallery is at 3223 Folsom Blvd.
Homer said it best: “East is east. West is west. Home is best.” See and hear the adage in action when our hometown Sacramento Youth Symphony performs with the Firebird Youth Chinese Orchestra of San Jose at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Hiram Johnson High School.
The two groups will bring Maestros Michael Neumann and Gordon Lee together amid their melding of music from East and West. Works by Lee and Pablo Ortiz will fill the bill.
For tickets and more information, call 731-5777 or go to sacramentoyouthsymphony.org. iram Johnson High School is located at 6879 14th Ave.
‘Downton’ in Downtown
Have you been a ravenous—though refined—fan of the PBS television series “Downton Abbey,” now in its third season on KVIE (Channel 6)? Dress in your finest finery and celebrate the exciting season finale at a champagne tea from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17.
“Immerse yourself in the manor house experience,” as the invitation bids you, by dining on pub fare, sipping champagne served by costumed footmen and reveling in the beauty of the former Ronald Reagan residence in the Fab Forties in East Sacramento. Admission includes the event, a DVD of Season 3 and a souvenir photo. Period attire is highly encouraged.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 641-3591 or go to kvie.org/champagnetea.
What could be better than guitar, poetry and painting? Why not all three together at the Sacramento Writer’s Brush Second Saturday art reception from 5 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 9 at the Sacramento Poetry Center Poets’ Gallery in Midtown?
Two-time talented artist/writers Jennifer O’Neill Pickering, Bethanie Humphreys, Ann Privateer, Joseph Finkleman, Tim Mchargue, Kimberly White, Jeanine Stevens and others will display their brushwork and read their written work aloud to the guitar strumming stylings of George Sheldon.
For more information, go to sacramentopoetrycenter.com. The Sacramento Poetry Center Poets’ Gallery is at 1719 25th St.