Three nuggets of theater news to share with you:
Heidi and Sondheim
In late November, I got to catch up with Fresno’s Heidi Blickenstaff and get an update on her new musical, “Freaky Friday,” which is opening at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse later this month. At the time I wrote my story, I could only allude to a super-secret new show she was workshopping at the time. She swore me to secrecy, and I wrote: “When she tells me the title and the other actors she’s spent the day with, I open my mouth in surprise.”
Now the cat’s out of the bag. The show was the Stephen Sondheim musical “Bunuel,” which is based on two of Spanish director Jose Bunuel’s films: “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972),” and “The Exterminating Angel (1962),” Playbill reports.
Never miss a local story.
And the stellar names along with Blickenstaff associated with the fall workshop at the Public Theater?
Matthew Morrison, Shuler Hensley, Sierra Boggess, Gabriel Ebert, Sara Stiles, Michael Cerveris, and Jennifer Simard.
According to Playbill, a full-scale workshop is planned for March.
‘Mulan’ selected for regional festival
Congrats to playwright Charles Erven and Fresno City College for having Erven’s original play “Mulan and the Battle on Black Mountain” invited to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival for Region 8.
The show, which premiered last March as a mainstage production at the college, will be performed Feb. 16 in Mesa, Ariz., with the possibility to perform the show again at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in April.
“We start back into rehearsal with a few cast changes and play/production adjustments Friday,” Erven tells me. “We’ll have a couple of fundraising/benefit performances before we head to Arizona. The last time we did anything like this was in 2005 when we took a play called ‘Canyon Suite’ to a festival in Utah.
Audra and Will
I’m sure this is already on the radar for hardcore Audra McDonald fans. Fresno’s hometown Broadway star will do a joint appearance with her husband, Will Swenson (himself a big Broadway name), on Jan. 27 at The Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. The couple will perform an evening of songs and duets, ranging from classic show tunes to contemporary works by emerging musical theater composers. Tickets range from $75-$105.