Remember hot summer nights at the local drive-in movie?
Brad Surosky, Executive Director of Transcendence Theatre Company, was just a kid in the back seat when he went to the drive-in movies with his family. Last December, he revived his fond memories of the drive-in by screening a movie taken of TTC’s 2019 holiday show. It was such fun that he thought he could pump it up with a live performance, and a live band, onstage.
TTC’s Artistic Director Amy Miller, Brad’s wife, caught drive-in fever too. She says, “After stumbling through such a difficult 2020, what a fabulous way to celebrate the start of Transcendence Theatre Company’s 10th anniversary season! We can thank the workers and volunteers who helped keep us safe, and our singers, dancers, and musicians will be thrilled to finally shine live on stage.”
I asked Amy what the Transcendence performers have been doing since their theatres on Broadway and LA have been shuttered. These singers and dancers spend their entire lives studying, auditioning, rehearsing, and performing hard-earned roles in neon-lit theatres. Prior to the pandemic, they would have been invited to California to wow audiences at Jack London State Historic Park for the 2020 summer season. That all fell apart.
“With theatres closed, they’ve mostly moved back in with their families in their hometowns,” Amy admits. “Many of our friends are teaching Zoom classes in acting, singing, dance, fitness, or exercise. Some do private coaching, including with children. A few of our friends started online businesses to help other actors with networking, budgeting, and of course maintaining their mental health. Most now have other jobs, in real estate and the wine industry, and one has even been selling cars. He’s sold over 100 cars already!”
This drive-in show will be TTC’s first live performance since the pandemic…
Brad notes, “This drive-in show will be TTC’s first live performance since the pandemic. We have seven talents singing and dancing out front plus five support staff backstage, technical, and front of house. Twenty of us make this show happen, including the band. It’s a perfect warm-up for the big production shows we’ve set for later this summer in Glen Ellen.”
“My Hero,” the theme of this performance, pays tribute to front line health care workers and volunteers, including many from Kaiser, Sutter, Providence and Sonoma Valley Hospitals. Amy notes, “It’s an uplifting night to celebrate and give thanks to those who have helped us come through this together.”
“My Hero” includes Broadway hits and popular favorites performed on a raised stage, with a 40’ screen simulcast for viewing from the entire field. Performers have wireless mikes, broadcast to be heard through each car’s radio. The audience can relax in their cars, or sit outside on chairs.
There will be additional speakers throughout the fairgrounds in Petaluma and the B. R. Cohn Winery in Sonoma. Picnics are welcome and food trucks will be set up. Gates open at 6:30. Dress in layers as the show starts at 8:30 and runs nonstop until 10 PM due to sound ordinances.
Since Transcendence Theatre Company is a non-profit, operation supporting educational outreach and Jack London State Historic Park, I asked Brad what was planned for the profits from these shows. “Profits? There likely won’t be any!” he laughed. “This is Transcendence’s investment back into the community. We’ve donated tickets to frontline healthcare workers in thanks for their dedication to our survival.”
“My Hero” tickets are at www.bestnightever.org or call the box office at 877-424-1414 for weekend shows from June 4th through June 20th. Each car entry is $49 ($129 for VIP) for a car full. No need to hide in the trunk! All COVID-19 protocols will be followed as required by Sonoma County Health Department.