Jesus Christ Superstar
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Book and Lyrics by Tim Rice
May 22-June 13
Victoria Theatre, San Francisco
The iconic rock opera and Ray of Light come together for an explosive telling of the classic story. Based on the Gospels’ accounts of the last week of Jesus’ life, Jesus Christ Superstar imagines the humanity of the man at the center of the movement — and Judas’ role on the sidelines. The timeless score and a hard look at fame, faith and power make this Jesus Christ Superstar a 2,000-year-old story fit for today.
Music by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt
Lyrics by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer and Tim Maner
Book by Tim Maner Bay Area Premiere September 25-October 16 Victoria Theatre, San Francisco
Lizzie Borden took an axe, Gave her mother forty whacks When she saw what she had done, Gave her father forty-one… America’s favorite axe-wielding double-murderess comes to the Ray of Light stage for a rocking Bay Area premiere. In 1892, Lizzie Borden was the primary suspect for her father and stepmother’s brutal murder. Though eventually acquitted, Lizzie became a tabloid sensation–and the most controversial figure of her time. Did she do it? And if so, why? LIZZIE imagines the story behind the legend with a cast of four women and a driving rock score, melding this infamous 19th century story with a modern-day twist.
The Rocky Horror Show
Special 15th Anniversary Event: one week only! Season passholders get early access to discounted tickets for this event.
Book and Music by Richard O’Brien
Victoria Theatre, San Francisco
Come on up to the lab…again. Just in time for Halloween, Ray of Light’s 15th season closes out with a reprise of one of our favorites: Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show, live at the Victoria Theatre. Join us for a special engagement full-scale production of the original hit musical that will have you shivering in antici… Tickets on sale soon
Take Me to Church March 22, 7pm, Martuni’s Piano Bar Love it or hate it, almost everyone has wrestled with religion’s role in their lives. Our performers share their own hilarious, bizarre, and occasionally moving religious experiences in the best way: with singing, over cocktails. Tickets on sale soon
They Had It Coming
July 26, 7 pm, Martuni’s Piano Bar
True crime, urban legends and a combination of the two are the inspiration for this evening of songs. Find out who did it–and why–from Ray of Light performers past and future. Tickets on sale soon
SHOW INFORMATION + DATES
Show #1: Rehearsals begin in April. Performances run through May/June 2015.
Show #2: Rehearsals begin in August. Performances run through October 2015.
Both shows will perform in San Francisco and will be announced on our website prior to auditions.
Laraine Gurke is Yeast Nation‘s stage manager. Laraine also worked on Ray of Light’s productions of Tommy and The Rocky Horror Show.
I’m always surprised by how much I learn with each different production I’m involved with. I was… less surprised by how much I learned (and continue to learn) working on Yeast Nation. A new show, a workshop with the creators, a full blown production with 355+ light cues, a set made of spandex, and every cast member wearing their own light-up belly? There is a whole lot of learning potential there. As the stage manager, part of my job is to listen to the ideas from the designers and creative team and do my best to support them however I can and attempt to anticipate any problems. With a new show, there’s the added layer of a changing script. Like most things in theatre, stage managing is not a perfect science. I was prepared to learn.
Working on any production presents its fair share of challenges but when the show is so new there are some extra obstacles. In new work, things usually change constantly since there is no reference point from which to start. Another part of my job is to try to track these changes and make sure that cast, staff, and creative team are on the same page. The continued flexibility from the cast, our director and choreographer made this much easier for me than it could have been.
With this show tech week was a whole new ballgame. I’ve never spent so many hours at a theater and I’ve never had a better time. I’ve never really seen such collaboration between departments and the overall attitude was positive and fun–even at four in the morning. No matter how interesting the material is or how much you’re getting paid, you still have to interact with the people involved and ROLT consistently hires people who are a joy to work with. When I look up at whatever horribly early time it happens to be in the morning and Angrette [set designer], Joe [lighting designer], and Daniel [technical director] are all singing their own off-key, high pitched version of whatever ridiculous 80’s power ballad is blasting from the radio, I know things are going to be just fine.
My job now that the show is open is to maintain the integrity of the production and handle any issues that arise from day to day. Honestly this has been incredibly easy. The energy and consistency from the cast have been spot on and it’s been a blast to watch the show hit its stride. Also, I have to mention our stellar band, lead by music director Ben Prince, and their incredibly even tempos night after night. Everyone who shows up to the Victoria every day makes my job fun and interesting and for that I am very grateful.
This week’s #TBT comes from Robbie Cowan, who music directed and orchestrated our 2012 production of Sweeney Todd, transforming the original thirty-piece orchestration into a five-piece chamber version. His work on the show was called “luminous” and “in the same class as the best of Ligeti, Part, and Adams,” and earned him a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award nomination. Robbie also music directed our Triassic Parq this summer, and is currently the conductor and music director on the second national tour ofAnything Goes.
When I saw ROLT’s Tommy, I was impressed with the production values. A small, regional theatre with practically no outside funding put on a show whose spectacle rivaled that of most touring productions I was seeing come through town? I just couldn’t fathom how they managed.
A short time later, I found out first-hand. When I was asked to music direct Sweeney Todd, I was tasked with creating an orchestration that sounded as rich and full as audiences would expect but was made of only five players. How do you make five guys and a cast of sixteen sound like a thirty-piece orchestra with full chorus?
This scrappy theater company taught me the value in embracing your limitations. Instead of lamenting a lack of resources, you instead use those boundaries as creative inspiration. The director Ben Randle and I created an orchestral design that was intimate and kept people on the edge of their seats, where fewer players made for a more transparent interpretation of the score. At the end of the experience it wasn’t the reviews and accolades that I appreciated–it was the understanding that with the right people and the right attitude, almost anything is possible.
And just because we can’t resist, here’s Robbie “auditioning” for our production of Into the Woods last year:
Audiences aren’t the only ones surprised. Our very own production team had to wrap their minds around telling the story of yeasts. How human are they? We knew the show shouldn’t feel modern, but it shouldn’t feel too literally in the past, either; the script references contemporary science and acknowledges the audience, so it’s not exactly a method acting experience (because really, what would that even look like? Probably pretty funny, actually). The yeasts’ world is, at the risk of sounding like a theater professor, a microcosm for contemporary humanity. They tell our story through a different lens, but their flaws and humanity are the same as ours.
So WHAT does that mean for movement? “Oftentimes, with a musical, you are beholden to the original choreo’s style. With this show we had the opportunity to create our own brand-new movement, sometimes with the actors’ help,” said director Jason Hoover. Professional help came in the form of Triassic Parq choreographer Dane Paul Andres, who saw endless possibilities: “the challenges of conceptualizing and creating movement for this unique world was an exciting process–the show is unique in so many ways. What initially inspired me in the beginning was the fact that they were a society under water: how to emulate fluidity without being too obvious?”
The choreography ended up reflecting both the realities of the yeasts’ life in the primordial soup–floaty and undulating–and the contemporary music styles in the score. “An integral tool used in the show is a select group of yeasts that accompany the show’s narrator, like a Greek chorus. I tried to reflect that in their movement as they go through out the show with a variety of dance styles,” said Dane. There’s backup pop dancing that would make the Temptations jealous, along with straight-faced while totally absurd interpretive dance moments. The movement reflects the idea that the yeasts take themselves very seriously, but the show doesn’t–at least, not most of the time.
“Dane has been fantastic and continues to come up with fresh ideas, never settling for something that wasn’t right,” said Jason. Dane’s thoughts after all this? “I hope the curiosity of dancing yeasts and everything that is Yeast Nation prompt you to see the show. It is that same curiosity that has now earned me a memorable experience!”
Overall Musical Production
Alex Kirschner for Direction
Robbie Cowan for Musical Direction
Wendy Ross Kaufman for Costume Design
Annie Dauber for Set Design
Joe D’Emilio for Lighting Design
Lewis Rawlinson for Principal Male Actor in a Musical
Alex Rodriguez for Featured Male Actor in a Musical
Chelsea Holifield for Featured Female Actor in a Musical
Monica Turner for Featured Female Actor in a Musical
Acting Ensemble in a Musical
Congratulations to all the finalists!
If you missed it, catch our live-tweets of the nomination rollout–and #fakebwaytrivia–on our Twitter feed!