Transcendence Theatre Company—made up of over 40 Broadway and National Tour artists—have made Sonoma their permanent home, finishing their inaugural season on September 1 with the Gala Celebration: One Day More in the historic Jack London State Park.
The Gala Celebration was a complete success, proven by their sold-out and packed audience of almost 900. During the show, Brad Surosky made the crowd laugh with his “A Response” to Nicole Mangi’s “Taylor the Latte Boy,” while Leah Sprecher continued with duets and solos that made you smile and laugh, including “Ladies Who Lunch.” The powerhouse quartet of Katie Kerwin, Brooke Tansley, Danielle Truitt and Laurie Wells received hoots and hollers during their strong W-O-M-A-N, “I’m a Woman” performance. Even more notably, Randi Kaye, who welcomed her first child just before the summer’s open, wowed the audience with her amazing tap dancing skills. The night capped off with an incredible solo performance encouraging the audience to “Let It Be”, by Brian Golub, before all performers gave thanks to the crowd in “What I Did for Love” and taking a bow to season one. If you didn’t make the show, we’re so sorry you missed it, but stay tuned for our recap video or enjoy some photos here.
The Transcendence journey began in 2008 with a simple journal entry about enjoying life with the glorious combination of friends and nature—under the stars. An Artist Project in Punta Banda, Mexico then followed in 2009; and finally a Project Knowledge Research Tour across the United States in 2010. Everyone in Sonoma is delighted that Transcendence Theatre Company chose Sonoma as its home in 2012. “I always knew we were going to end up in Sonoma,” said Executive Producer Brad Surosky to the audience with a smile and a wink.
The Company was full speed ahead after receiving the ‘go ahead’ in April for season one. Besides their most notable summer performances, the Company also made time in their busy rehearsal schedules to host a Skits Under the Stars series at wineries across the Valley, a kids camp, and a number of performances at countless off-site venues. Local supporters, wineries, business partners, hardworking volunteers and the Transcendence team made this season possible, beginning with an anonymous donor giving $15,000 for the stage alone. Season One blew our minds and provided moments of magnificence for the audience all summer long.
Throughout the season, we had the pleasure of getting to know the performers on a personal level. They are the most down to earth, friendly bunch of stars you could ever ask for. From the eternally-positive Executive Director Stephan Stubbins, to the tireless husband and wife duo of Brad Surosky and Amy Miller, to resident artists Brooke Tansley, Nicole Mangi, Rachel Thomas and Leah Sprecher, to new friends Carrie Manolakos and Cassie Hebbel, to behind the scenes phenoms Leesa and Dallas Munger and Samantha Kimpel, and too many more to count or this article would go on for 40-some more names—thank you! We are sad to see most of them return to their crowd-pleasing Broadway and Los Angeles jobs for the year, but are already thinking about next summer and anxiously awaiting Spring 2013, when the next round of performers and performances are announced. As Amy Miller stated at the donor appreciation party, “I was just thinking, now we get to rest some; but then I thought, man!, We need to get going! There’s another season to start planning tomorrow!” Rest, Amy. Rest. You deserve it! And you’ve got a heck of a lot of supporters already in line to pack the houses next summer.
When Amy announced that the Valley of the Moon Natural History Association and Jack London State Park want the group back next summer for a second season, the enthusiastic crowd erupted in applause and cheers. The Company’s goal remains to bring live theatre and cultural education programming into Jack London State Park focusing on art, community, health and the environment; while our goal remains to provide their talents to tourists in Sonoma County through photography, videos and more. We hope you’ll plan your trip to Sonoma around one of next years’ performances—trust us, it’s worth it!
Keep on the lookout for our overall recap video of the summer’s countless stellar performances. But for now, experience some of the jaw dropping talent from the park with our opening weekend videos.
To all of the Transcendence Theatre Company staff, performers, behind the scenes folk and more, thank you for sharing your talents with Sonoma. You are some of the most talented and gifted artists we have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. We’re already excited for season two next summer in Jack London State Park.
Check out a video of Broadway Under the Stars here.