Sonora, CA…Stage 3 Theatre Company, located at 208 S Green Street in historic downtown Sonora, has been through many phases in the community theatre’s 23 year history, and 2017 marks yet another new chapter for this thriving theatre company. The building that has housed Stage 3 since 1996 has been sold, but Stage 3 is staying in their current location after a remodel and renovation set to begin after their current show, Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits Volume 1, closes December 18.
Doug Kennedy, the visionary behind the Bourbon Barrel, Reverb Marketing, and the Ironstone Concert series has big plans for historic downtown Sonora and has partnered with Stage 3 to bring the old building into the 21st century. With an outdoor beer and wine garden, live music and comedy, and of course a season of Stage 3 productions, the new entertainment complex promises to draw locals and tourists alike.
“The Stage 3 Theatre Company board & staff are extremely pleased that Doug Kennedy has selected our community theatre as a partner to continue to provide, throughout the year, live theatre in his newly renovated, updated, intimate black box theatre and entertainment space,” stated Stage 3’s Board of Directors Chair, Connie Williams.
Stage 3’s offices, rehearsal space and scene shop will move from the front of the building to the upstairs buildings. “We’re very excited to have an indoor scene shop in the new space, no more building sets outside in the rain or the heat,” said Stage 3’s Technical Director, Hugo Martinez.
Stage 3 has planned a season of five shows that will begin in May after construction is scheduled to be complete. “We’re thrilled to have the new space and excited about our 2017 season,” said Production Manager, Rocky Rhoades. “We tried to select shows with universally recognizable names and themes. We hope to make a big splash in the new performance space.”
The current team has been in place with Kimberley Simmons as Operations Manager, Rhoades as Production Manager and Hugo Martinez as the Technical Director, since May of 2015 and they have been the creative force behind the last ten productions. In September of 2016 Stage 3 received a total of 14 Elly Award nominations from the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance and took home five Elley Awards including four for the 2016 season opener, Talk Radio- Leading Actor in a Drama, Direction, Sound Design and Overall Production.
The season opens in May with Educating Rita by Willy Russell a comedy drama in two acts that finds Frank, an English tutor in his fifties, disillusioned, drinking, and buried in his books. Along comes Rita, a forthright 26 year-old hairdresser, eager to learn. Their relationship as teacher and student ultimately gives Frank a new sense of self and Rita the knowledge she so craves.
July finds Stage 3 hitting the funny bone with The Underpants, written by Carl Sternheim and adapted by actor/comedian Steve Martin. The Underpants is a classic German play about Louise and Theo Markes, a couple whose conservative existence is shattered when Louise’s bloomers fall down in public.
September brings a special engagement, The Lady with all the Answers, a one woman show detailing the life of renowned advice columnist Ann Landers. For decades Ann answered countless letters from lovelorn teens, confused couples, and a multitude of others in need of advice. A warmhearted play, highly entertaining and frequently moving, this one woman show will leave you with plenty to talk about.
Wait Until Dark, a suspense thriller opens in the spooky season of October. A well loved movie, the play is an adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher culled from the original play by Frederick Knott. In 1944 Greenwich Village, Susan Hendrix, a blind yet capable woman, is imperiled by a trio of men in her own apartment. As the climax builds, Susan discovers that her blindness just might be the key to her escape.
The holiday season finds Stage 3 bringing the music back with the timeless musical, Gifts of the Magi, by Randy Cross and Mark St Germain. It is Christmas, but for two young lovers, the prospects are bleak, as both are out of work and penniless. In this familiar story, their dilemma is solved when both part with their most precious possessions.
While Stage 3 has gone on with their regular season lineup for 2016 there has been a lot going on behind the scenes, relocation of the props and costume room has been a big part of it, but the day to day work goes on. “Anytime someone purchases an old historic building there will be surprises as the project takes on its new character,” said Connie Williams. “Completing the 2016 Season, being dark for at least four months for the renovation to be completed, planning the 2017 Season, keeping our season ticket holders and donors informed, plus planning for moving everything out of the existing theatre space before the end of the year, combined, is the challenge.” The Board of Directors, led by Williams, has been instrumental in the move and the reorganization.
“There’s been a lot going on,” adds Rhoades. “We’re a staff of three with Hugo Martinez and Kimberley Simmons and we could not have even considered this massive reorganization and the new space without the help of countless volunteers, interns and the Board of Directors.”
While construction goes on for the remodel and renovation, Stage 3 will not be idle. There are plans for a website redesign, an increased social media presence, and special events to be held off site. The staff will also be settling into the new office and rehearsal hall space behind their current location.
The Board of Directors and the staff are looking to the future. “Combining Mr. Kennedy’s vision of a destination food, beverage, and entertainment venue in historic downtown Sonora plus Stage 3 Theatre Company’s vision to continue to provide intimate regional theatre could not be a better partnership for the future success of this community theatre company. Stay tuned,” said Williams.
Educating Rita opens May 26 General admission tickets are now on sale and season tickets are currently on sale for the 2017 season with 5 shows including a bonus ticket, for $115.00, a more than 20% savings off of general admission prices. Stage 3 Theatre Company is located at 208 S Green Street in historic downtown Sonora. Evening performances. All shows begin at 7:30pm and matinees begin at 2pm. For more information call 209 536-A1778 or visit Stage3.org.