Season Announcement Parties in the North Bay

It used to be that when a theater company announced its next season of shows, they did so in a mailer. Sent through the actual, you know, mail.

But that was long ago.

Eventually, thanks to technological innovations, such announcements went on to be made via the internet, through website updates, email campaigns, and then, of course, through Facebook events and other social media posts.

Such efforts continue, but they too are evolving.

These days, when a theater wants to tell people what plays to look forward to in the next year, they do all of those aforementioned things … and then they throw a party.

Cinnabar Theater did it last weekend with a massive sit-down dinner and show, in the middle of which the company’s 2020/2021 season was announced (stay tuned, but start practicing saying “The Scottish Play” a lot).

MISNER AND SMITHIn Sebastopol, on Saturday, March 8, at 5:30 p.m., Main Stage West will announce its own new season (and rumors are they’ll be making a couple of other conversation-starting announcements) at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Also a major benefit for the mighty little theater on the corner of Bodega and Main Street, the event will include a gourmet dinner from Gerard’s Paella and beers and wines from local purveyors, a silent auction, music by Americana duo Misner & Smith, and a performance of the riveting and hilarious solo-show “Patty From HR: Mo Patty, Mo Problems,” starring the San Francisco comedy sensation Michael Phillis.

PATTY MO PROBLEMS“Our mission in planning this fundraiser was to throw a fabulous party showcasing some of our favorite artists across mediums, for our entertainers to our chef and featured vintners,” said Ivy Rose Miller, one of the organizers of the event. “I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result,” adding that the silent auction will include several dazzling artworks from some of the area’s top artisans and creators. “”It is such a privilege to experience any of these artists’ work on their own. Having them all together in one evening is truly a feast for the senses and the soul.”

Miller promises a fundraiser unlike any other, and that the big announcement of MSW’s upcoming season will be filled with surprises and delights.

Tickets are $125 (or two for $225), available on line at MainStageWest.com.

The following night, on Sunday, March 9, at 7 p.m., Rohnert Park’s Spreckels Performing Arts Center will celebrate its 31st season with a free (Yep, this one’s free!) gala onstage showcase, party, and season announcement shindig. The show will be a concert-style presentation of great stage musical tunes, performed by North Bay favorites Daniela Innocenti Beem (‘Songs for a New World’), Sarah Wintermeyer (‘Peter Pan’), Andrew Smith and Maeve Smith (‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder’), Denise Elia-Yen (‘Urinetown’), F. James Raasch (‘South Pacific’), Kirsten Pieschke (‘South Pacific’) and Ariana LaMark (‘Urinetown’). Additionally, Madison Griego, Elisabeth Petro and Mario Herrera, of Spreckels’ Youth Ensemble, will sing some indelible songs, with the remarkable Lucas Sherman accompanying all the performers. Beer and wine and other concessions will be available for purchase, and a complimentary dessert will be served to celebrate Spreckels’ birthday. Donations will be happily accepted, and the big reveal of the company’s 2020/2021 season will occur with all appropriate theatrical hoohah and general merriment.

Putting its own eccentric – and, let’s admit it, undeniably theatrical – twist on the whole “season announcement party” concept, Left Edge Theatre unveils its new season each year by letting the audience at said party decide some of the shows the company will be presenting. Described as “A night of merry theatre-making and fundraising unlike any other,” Left Edge’s annual Season Showcase is a two-day, three-show affair, this year unfolding on Friday, April 3 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 4 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Along with auction items and one-of-a-kind raffles, actors will present nine scenes from shows the company would love to see in the 2020/2021 season. The audience then votes on which plays they are most eager to see fully produced on the Left Edge stage. Tickets are $30, and – this being a fundraiser – go to support bold, new plays, most of them having debuted within the last six or seven years. Tickets available at LeftEdgeTheater.com.

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