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Musings After “An Affair to Remember”

Posted by on May 18, 2019 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Broadway & Film, Featured, Harry Warren, Rocky's Favorites | 0 comments

Musings After “An Affair to Remember”

Musically everything just clicked!

It isn’t often I feel like a home run with a performance. There is always something missed, a lyric, a patter glitch etc. These are things the audience would never see, but as a performer, you know. But Saturday night it was different. The stars ALL lined up and the performance guides shined on me and allowed me to be relaxed and totally in the moment, adding patter and humor, staying present and loving while telling the Harry Warren story. And the audience was awesome. So, if I never ever performed again, it is a wonderful memory of what it is like to be on stage totally in the flow of the moment. A rare and magical thing.

A Magical Transformation

I loved the little poster they had placed around as you headed into the performance space.  They turned the Cultural Center into a cruise ship theme, from the 1950’s movies Cary Grant/Deborah Kerr “An Affair to Remember.”  And tech guru Gray Eubank created a fantastic slide show all of Harry Warren photos and photos of sheet music that played behind me while I told and sang the Harry Warren story.  

It was a magical evening from start to finish. It was such a beautifully executed gala. Rich said It was “A big city gala with small town flavor!” That is a great combination!

And Speaking of Transformations

One unscripted moment I can share with you now is something I had never shared on stage before.  I had invited my sister and brother-in-law up on stage for the sing-a-long since they had both been music teachers and thought they might add to audience involvement.  

After they left the stage I acknowledged my sister and then I launched into the story of my first time on stage at a Cub Scouts Talent Show. I was maybe 10 years old and my sister dressed me up as girl in her black jumper complete with a little black veiled hat and she had me learn a song called “I Guess I’ll Marry Bill!”  Well, with my little boy soprano voice, I obviously won the talent show!”  It was quite a funny, unscripted moment for sure.  

Just a Few of the Many

While so much work goes into the preparation, it’s ultimately the generous guests make the night a success. And it was!

Initially, 100 tickets were made available and 114 people attended the Gala. It was very intimate and as Rich said, “A big city Gala with a small town feel.”

All that fabulous food was DONATED by participating restaurants and their LABOR too.  Lincoln City’s Mayor and his wife were there (Mayor Dick and Sue Anderson), as were Oregon state democratic representative, David Gomberg and his wife Susan, and many of Lincoln City business people and residents interested in “Culture of Course!”

Many people knew each other. Not surprising, as Lincoln City only has 9,000 residents, it swells much larger in the Summer during high season.

Tech guru, Gray Eubank created a fantastic slide show all photos that played behind me while I shared the Harry Warren story. LCCC Board President, Greg Berton was instrumental on upright bass and Rick Modlin, who has played many of my past shows, reigned supreme on the keys.

Krista Eddy who curates the Chessman Art Gallery at the LCCC was in charge of decorations. Rosanne Berton was the Gala chair. They really out did themselves. It was one of the most entertaining galas we have ever been to. And Rich and I have been to MANY throughout the years with our philanthropic work!

Deep gratitude for the event photos provided by KRISTINCOLEPHOTOGRAPHY.COM. View Kristen’s work and learn more about her journey with her Pug, Cole – from the Midwest to their first steps onto the sands of the Oregon coast. “I use landscapes large and small to explore the importance of human visual perspective of nature as it informs the meaning of everyday life.” Begin a tour of Kristen’s portfolios here.

In addition to ticket sales, after the entertainment, guests placed final bids on must-have experiences in the “Culture, of Course!” live auction and the night was topped off in grand style with the winner of the 50/50 Raffle Grand Prize.  All told, guest donations in support of art and culture in the Lincoln City community, were exceedingly generous.


“An Affair to Remember,” indeed!


Photographs used in this post were compiled from various online sources. We believe in the proper attribution of material, and wherever we can, we do so. If you are the copyright holder of any photo on this page and would it to be removed or credited in a particular way, we would love to hear from you! Please be in touch.

Great American Composers – Who is Harry Warren?

Posted by on May 10, 2019 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Broadway & Film, Featured, Harry Warren | 0 comments

Great American Composers – Who is Harry Warren?

Salvatore Antonio Guaragna, who would become known as Harry Warren, was born to Italian immigrant parents on Christmas Eve 1893. As the eleventh of twelve children he distinguished himself as a musician at an early age. Self-taught and able to play several instruments, at the age of 15 he took his accordion and piano proficiency, left school, and took his first job with the John Victor Brass Band as their… DRUMMER!

Before serving in the US Navy during World War I, Warren toured with carnival shows and worked as a stagehand for a vaudeville theater. Then, at the Vitagraph Studios, he was hired as a property man, running props as a member of the stage crew, and as off-stage piano player. Soon after, he worked as staff pianist and “song plugger” for Stark and Cowan, a New York music-publishing house started in 1920.

Warren Shuffles Off to Wild Success

In 1933, he was hired to work with Al Dubin on Warner Brothers’ “42nd Street,” resulting in his move to Hollywood that same year. “42nd Street,” choreographed by Busby Berkeley, would go on to become the first blockbuster film musical and the Warren/Berkeley collaborative partnership would last for years. Do you remember any of the memorable numbers from this film? “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” and “You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me” are two that spring to mind.

Warren’s film partnership with Al Dubin, yielded several famous titles: “We’re in the Money,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Lulu’s Back in Town,” and “September in the Rain.” And you may remember that “Lullaby of Broadway” from Gold Diggers, was his first Oscar win in 1958. If not, you know now!

Throughout the 1930s his most notable work was with Johnny Mercer and included “Jeepers Creepers” and “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby.” Two numbers I love, and at one of them has definitely made the cut for my show. Can you guess which one?

And the Film Hits Keep on Coming!

In the 1940’s Harry Warren went on to 20th Century Fox. During his time there, he and Mack Gordon, wrote some of their best-known songs, including “Chattanooga Choo Choo,” (winner of the first Gold Record in history) and “The More I See You.”

From there, he moved on to MGM, where he worked from 1945-1952. In 1947, he won an Oscar in collaboration with Johnny Mercer. I am SURE you know their acclaimed toe-tapper, “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe,” from The Harvey Girls.

Ultimately, Warren was nominated eleven times by the Academy Award for Best Song. He won three Oscars for composing “Lullaby of Broadway,” “You’ll Never Know,” and “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe.”

Life After Oscar

In the 1950s it was on to Paramount. There he wrote, “That’s Amore.” Though this was his last big, popular hit, throughout the 50s, he wrote scores for dramatic movies, including Separate Tables and the namesake for my upcoming Harry Warren tribute: “An Affair to Remember.”

Warren was elected into the Songwriters Hall of Fame on his 80th birthday and died in Los Angeles, on September 22, 1981 at the age of 87.

In Tribute to the Prolific Magic of Harry Warren

Harry Warren has been such a significant figure in the American musical film industry. His work has stood the test of time and lives today in fond memories of so many. Warren’s songs speak to our heart and tickle our funny bone. Whether pensive, visceral and rhythmic, or downright whimsical, they are always a delight on the ears. It’s because of this, that I became enthralled by the thought of a show that would joyfully celebrate his work.

The show, “An Affair to Remember,” was first conceived as the musical entertainment for a 2019 benefit in support of the at the Lincoln City Cultural Center in Lincoln City, OR. LCCC raises money in support of art and culture in the local, Lincoln City community. Want to know more about that event? Simply click here!

Learn more about the ways in which “An Affair to Remember” can be adapted to suit your entertainment needs. From a Black Tie Fundraising Gala with full symphony, to an intimate Benefit for VIP Guests, “An Affair to Remember” is at once informative, nostalgic, heart-warming, and emotional – certain to delight your audience.

Click here to visit the “An Affair to Remember” show page for details.

Show Photos – Deep gratitude for the event photos provided by Kristin Cole Photography.

Fundraising Entertainment for Your Consideration

Wonder what other shows you Rocky has for your event? Feel free to explore a few…

“Oh, Those Gershwin Boys!”

An Elegant Afternoon with Cole Porter

“Valentine” – A Symphonic Evening with Cole Porter

“A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green”

Opera to Broadway

Want to bring one of these wonderful shows to your next fundraising event? Please be in touch.

Photo Credits

Harry Warren – Circa 1910 – By Unknown
http://www.harrywarrenmusic.com/frameset.html [dead link]
Public Domain – Wikipedia

Stark & Cowan Article – Books via Google – SOURCE LINK

Photographs used in this post were compiled from various online sources. We believe in the proper attribution of material, and wherever we can, we do so. If you are the copyright holder of any photo on this page and would it to be removed or credited in a particular way, we would love to hear from you! Please be in touch.

A Casual Afternoon of the Music

Posted by on April 29, 2019 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Broadway & Film, Featured, Harry Warren | 0 comments

A Casual Afternoon of the Music

Memories, and Magic of Harry Warren – With less than one week before “An Affair to Remember” debuts at the 5th Annual Benefit Gala for the Lincoln City Cultural Center, Ken French and I took part of the show for an abbreviated spin around the block.

Friends from San Francisco, San Jose, and beyond, dropped by for our casual afternoon of entertainment. It was great fun to get a handful of the show’s numbers in front of a live audience… and especially grand to see everyone in person. A heartfelt thank you to all who made the trip and braved parking in on the streets of San Francisco! You made it a very special and enjoyable day.

Why Harry Warren?

Why, the music, of course! And it’s some of the BEST!

For some time now, I’ve been crafting a wonderfully engaging show that tells the Harry Warren story. Remember Harry? In case you do not, he is the Oscar winning composer of “An Affair To Remember.” This delightful show will reacquaint you with the brilliance of Warren’s work. The only difficult thing has been choosing WHICH of his pieces to perform – Harry Warren penned quite the folio of memorable songs.

Warren was an American composer and lyricist from Brooklyn, New York and the first American songwriter of significance who composed primarily for film. With his songs featured in over 300 films, you’ll be sure to remember many and recognize them as stand-outs from the great American songbook.

Harry was in the House – Well, in the Condo for Sure!

It’s wonderful just how many folks can comfortably gather in a San Francisco condo when they’re such an interesting bunch, enjoy one other’s company, and take such pleasure in music. The Soiree was everything I had hoped – and more. A chance for dear friends to meet one another, many for the first time. And happily, an opportunity for me to take this gem of a show on a little test drive with Ken French in the driver’s seat at the piano.

Against the backdrop of beautiful, sunny day in the city, with the Bay just off in the distance, we had great fun!

The Perfect Entertainment for a Fundraising Event

This dinner/auction at the Lincoln City Cultural Center’s South Hall – Historic Delake School in Lincoln City, OR takes place on Saturday, May 4th, 2019. From 5:30pm. It raises money in support of art and culture in the local, Lincoln City community. Click here for more details about the event.

Curious about bringing this wonderful show to the stage at your next intimate Benefit event or Black Tie Fundraising Gala? Please be in touch.

An Affair to Remember

Posted by on March 2, 2019 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Featured, Rocky's Favorites | 0 comments

An Affair to Remember

I am excited to announce that I will be a part of the 5th Annual Benefit Gala for the Lincoln City Cultural Center (LCCC) in Lincoln City, OR in May. This dinner and auction raises money in support of art and culture in the local, Lincoln City community. They have quite the event planned this year and if you are in town, it would be a joy to see you there! Please note –  Only 100 Tickets will be sold. 

Saturday Evening – May 4th, 2019

The event begins at 5:30pm in the “Games Lounge.” Join the party in the South Hall of the Historic Delake School at the LCCC, as we kick off the evening with a lively celebration. Enjoy jazz, games, prizes, appetizers, and a signature cocktail or two before the venue transforms and…

All Aboard!

After the pre-board festivities, you’ll be piped aboard the Trans-Atlantic ocean liner “U.S.L.C. Mediterranean Sea” to enjoy a buffet dinner at 7:00pm with Ports of Call featuring cuisines of Morocco, Italy, Greece, and France. What a treat to learn that Lincoln City’s finest chefs have generously contributed to the evening’s fare – I hear dessert will be especially sumptuous! Wine will be available for purchase for table service, and vegetarian and non-alcoholic options are available by request.

There’s More!

I’ve been crafting a wonderfully engaging show that tells the Harry Warren story. Remember Harry? The Oscar winning composer of “An Affair To Remember.” The evening’s entertainment is the perfect complement to your star-lit “voyage,” and will happily reacquaint you with the brilliance of Warren’s body of work. There are so many delightful pieces; the only difficult thing has been choosing WHICH ones to perform: “The More I See You,” “I Only Have Eyes for You,” “We’re In the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway.”

Greg Berton (LCCC Board Member) will be part of the evening’s trio with his stand up bass; and my wonderful pianist and dear friend Rick Modlin will be there on the keys! It’s only March 1st as I write this, and I’m already looking forward to performing the show! 

After the entertainment, place your final bids on must-have experiences in the “Culture, of Course!” live auction. I hear there will be quite the variety of POSH hotel stays, restaurant adventures, and coastal pleasures for the high bidder to take home. 

We’ll top off the night in grand style as we all learn the winner of the 50/50 Raffle Grand Prize. If YOU are the lucky one, you’ll take home one-half of all raffle ticket proceeds – $1K guaranteed!

Event Details

Saturday, May 4th, 2019 – 5:30pm
Lincoln City, OR  

Lincoln City Cultural Center
South Hall – Historic Delake School
540 NE Hwy 101
Lincoln City, OR 

Phone – 541-994-9994
Ticket InformationClick here for ticket information online

I look forward to seeing you there! – Rock


Sinatra at Siletz – July 2018

Posted by on May 25, 2018 in Benefit and Fundraising Entertainment, Featured, Frank Sinatra, Intimate Venue Shows, Large Venue Productions, Music Festivals, Rocky's Favorites | 0 comments

Sinatra at Siletz – July 2018

‘My Way’ is “Sultry” and “Charismatic” – Step into an era of glamour, sultry romance and electrifying glances from across the room… The ensemble plays off each other with glorious harmony and a moving rendition of “It Was a Very Good Year” passing verses back and forth with elegant transitions, moving into a toe-tapping gospel style chorus for “That’s Life.” Infused with poetic passion, Cinnabar’s production is, as Sinatra would say, “the good life, full of fun.”  – Alexia Chipman – Argus Courier

I am SO very excited to announce that the ORIGINAL cast from the Sold Out run of My Way in Petaluma, is reuniting at the Siletz Bay Music Festival this Summer! There is something special going on when a run sells out. It speaks volumes about the talent and dedication of everyone involved. It is one thing to bring a such a wonderful show to it’s feet and another to successfully stay the course for a month of productions – 15 in all!

It was a joy to have friends from far and wide make the trip to Cinnabar Theater in bucolic Petaluma. The hills were so vibrant and rolling-green this past Winter. And when the fog rolled in as the sun set each evening, the drive from San Francisco was sheer magic. Thank you to ALL who made the trip. 

We’re all looking forward to sharing the magic of “My Way” with the dedicated patrons of the Siletz Bay Music Festival. This fundraising event is a highlight – year over year and the timing of this show is perfect as it honors of Mr. Sinatra’s 100th birthday.

I’m simply thrilled that so many of you will get to see this delightful production in July. It is an energetic song and dance production; featuring Sinatra’s classic music and harmonies so tight that you’ll smile ear to ear. We’ll have you tapping your toes and most likely singing along!

 

All the Pertinent Details

Please join us for this magical event. Proceeds from this concert allow Siletz Bay Music Festival  to begin planning the 2019 concert season as they continue to bring music and music education to the Oregon coast. Tickets for this Benefit Concert are $125 and include wine and hors d’oeuvres. 

 

Sunday, July 1, 2018 – 4pm
Gleneden Beach, OR

Siletz Bay Music Festival: Artists Showcase/Fundraiser
BENEFIT – “MY WAY – A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra”

My Way – A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra is a delightful floor-show, by Summerwind Production, that includes some of Sinatra’s best and most beloved songs. The show was created by David Grapes and Todd Olson – Featuring Mark Robinson, Carolyn Bacon, Desiree Goyette and Rocky Blumhagen – Original Staging by Director Jennifer King – Jazz Trio with César Cancino, Piano/Music Director – Jan Martinelli, Bass – Randy Hood, Drums/Percussion – Robert Lunceford, Sound Engineer

Salishan Spa & Golf Resort
Long House at Salishan Lodge
7760 HWY 101 North – Gleneden Beach, OR

Tickets: $125 
Call 541-992-1131 or Purchase Tickets Online 

Siletz Bay Music Festival:  Visit Website

 

 

Reviews Are In – “My Way” at Cinnabar Theater

Posted by on January 16, 2018 in Broadway & Film, Featured, Frank Sinatra | 0 comments

Reviews Are In – “My Way” at Cinnabar Theater

Very excited to let everyone know what a successful run we had with the Frank Sinatra tribute, My Way, at Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma. We rounded out the 14 show run in great form and had sold-out houses at every show. Even added an unscheduled matinee to the run. Here are a couple of the local takes on the production.

 

Smooth Sinatra in “My Way” at Cinnabar

I spent an enjoyable Saturday afternoon immersed in the musical world of Frank Sinatra, courtesy of Cinnabar Theater. Four fine performers backed by a live trio deliver a significant number of Sinatra’s greatest hits from the American standard canon. Organized and given connectivity by David Grapes and Todd Olson, “My Way: a Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” regales us with classic tunes spanning Sinatra’s five-decade career, as well as dipping into some lesser-known tunes from the 1300+ songs he recorded.

There’s no celebrity impersonation in this revue, which I was grateful for– too often those turn out cringe-worthy, suffering comparison with our glowing memory of the real personage. Instead, four talented vocalists– Carolyn Bacon, Rocky Blumhagen, Desiree Goyette-Bogas, and Mark Robinson– give us their own renditions of these favorites, paying homage to Sinatra but not trying to imitate him or his style. Song stylists in their own right, they sometimes take turns within a song, sometimes perform solo, and sometimes surprise us with a duet or quartet, rendering much-loved tunes in beautiful, blended harmony. At first I wasn’t sure I was going to like the harmony treatment– but the judicious arrangements and the blended voices are so pleasing the effect is a delightful enhancement of the tunes.

After some initial perkiness that smacks a bit too much of over-the-top musical theatre, the performers fall into the more relaxed, cool-jazz style of smooth standards, as if we are in a smoky cafe in Manhattan or L.A.  Indeed, the Cinnabar stage area is transformed into a semblance of such a cafe (without the smoke), and the house includes small drink tables every few seats– presumably a concept engineered by director Jennifer King and scenic designer Wayne Hovey, to good effect.

The first act includes more lesser-known songs, and they’re a lot of fun, and then ends with a nice nod to Sinatra’s later career. Act two packs a wallop with more of the big blockbuster hits, given great arrangements appropriate to the numbers. Oddly enough, as you hear these contemporary performers knocking out a song, you feel somehow transported, as if hearing Sinatra’s voice simultaneously in your head– being reminded of what a great song it was when Sinatra recorded it for posterity and not feeling in the least cheated. It’s a strange kind of stereo magic, and totally works.

No review of the show would be complete without mentioning the trio of musicians playing backup– Cesar Cancino, who is also the show’s music director, does a mean jazz piano; teamed with Jan Martinelli on bass and Randy Hood on drums. Seamless, unobtrusive and yet standout. Would love to hear them any time…

Set by Hovey and lighting by Peter Parish work well together, and provide opportunities for movement and isolation. Costuming by Ellen Howes is better in Act Two than Act One, but always suitable for the style of the show. Director King does a nice job keeping the show moving and varied, for visual interest and focus.

As I exited into the waning afternoon sunshine, I overheard one patron saying to her friend, “That was the best entertainment I’ve ever seen in my life.” I’d wager the content, of those terrific songs and the context of Sinatra’s career, had a lot to do with that remark– but the performers certainly brought it alive with verve and finesse, making for a thoroughly satisfying experience.

I hear it’s selling out for its final weekend– don’t delay.

— Jeanie Smith – TBA Critic at Large

 

 

‘My Way’ is “Sultry” and “Charismatic”

Step into an era of glamour, sultry romance and electrifying glances from across the room. Cinnabar Theater has been transformed into an upscale night club, with rich textured walls blending into sapphire velvet surrounding a trio of piano, bass and drums. Arranged in cabaret style with tables — for a Jack on the Rocks or glass of wine to enjoy during the performance — the mood-lit intimacy is ideal for a memorable date to ring in the New Year.

“My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” was created by David Grapes and Todd Olson to capture his essence through song, walking a fine line between concert piece and theater. Director Jennifer King, Professor of Theater at Napa Valley College, joined the production after initial concept design and casting, which placed her in a difficult position of incorporating her vision without compromising the timeline. Her dream of a glittering Las Vegas lounge and the original grunge urban club with brick accents was balanced into a luxurious, simple set from Wayne Hovey and evening attire of dinner jackets and shimmering gowns by Ellen Howes.

Working with Olson’s limited book, King chose to gather the actors in a living room to workshop the subtext underneath their characters, crafting subtle interactions and relationships that become an unspoken play-within-a-play that is fascinating to watch. Lyrics are conversations between the singers, who pause to toss out intriguing insights into Sinatra’s exploits and musical career.

King strives for an immersive, textured piece that delves into the feelings evoked by Sinatra’s artistry, rather than a linear plot. Covering over fifty songs throughout the evening, they are arranged into concept medleys, such as survivors, mature love affairs and the seasons. A grouping of city favorites, including “I Love Paris” and “L.A. is My Lady” is interrupted by an earnest tribute to “Chicago” by Man #2 (Mark Robinson), a native of the Windy City. The trio, led by Cesar Cancino, maintains the flow and pacing, offering sizzling jazz and haunting ballad accompaniment. Lighting design by Peter Q. Parish creates lazy summer afternoons or an eerie moonlit rendezvous through projections and color.

The cast was chosen for Sinatra’s particular sound and rakish charm, drawn from Marin and San Francisco cabaret and opera singers. Easy-going Rocky Blumhagen (Man #1) is a natural fit for the relaxed, entertaining tone. Carolyn Bacon (Woman #2) captures the flirty, light-hearted songs, like “The Best Is Yet To Come” while Désirée Goyette (Woman #1) slides into languid, dreamy serenades. Mark Robinson (Man #2) is riveting in his ability to turn songs into comedy with well-timed, expressive reactions. “Should !?” becomes a genuine question of revealing his affection for Woman #2. The ensemble plays off each other with glorious harmony and a moving rendition of “It Was a Very Good Year” passing verses back and forth with elegant transitions, moving into a toe-tapping gospel style chorus for “That’s Life.”

Infused with poetic passion, Cinnabar’s production is, as Sinatra would say, “the good life, full of fun.”

— Alexia Chipman – Argus Courier

My Way – Takes Stage to Sold Out Shows

Posted by on December 26, 2017 in Featured, Frank Sinatra, Rocky's Favorites | 0 comments

My Way – Takes Stage to Sold Out Shows

What a STUNNINGLY Beautiful show! On stage at Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma, CA through January 14, 2018.

My Way – A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra is a delightful show that includes some of Sinatra’s best and most beloved songs. The show was created by David Grapes and Todd Olson – Stage Direction by Jennifer King –  Musical Director César Cancino. 

Man #1 – Rocky Blumhagen
Woman #1 – Desiree Goyette-Bogas
Man #2 – Mark Robinson
Woman #2 – Carolyn Bacon

The show was just terrific… Hard to isolate stand-out moments as the whole piece sizzled. Your “I’ll Be Seeing You” brought new depth to a familiar standard. I also enjoyed your casual but infectious interaction with the other singers – bringing such a variety of experiences to the material.” – Tom Blank – Former Theatre Critic Anaheim Bulletin 

A Look at Dress Rehearsal

PLEASE, click on an image and view these images full size – The cropped thumbnail images need some work and we’ll get that fixed – in the meantime, you are welcome to click on the first image and page through the rest to see what all the fuss is about! 

 

The Audience Has Spoken

It’s one thing to open a show and another as you wait to hear what people have to say. It has been a pleasure to see folks from the Bay Area and beyond in the audience each night. While it looks as though we’ll have Sold Out houses throughout the run, seats are still available. If you can make it, please CLICK HERE for helpful information on how to get to the theater. If you plan to stay the night, look for my pick on where to stay! So… what are folks saying?

“There is nothing more fun than a revue of well known music when it hits the mark! …through the lens of a director, it is the leadership, energy and style that make revue magic happen … that elevate the experience, lifting it off the charts and into the hearts of an eager crowd. Rocky, the producers of this little gem were lucky to find that leader in you… ol’ blue eyes would tip his fedora to you for this awesome salute to his songbook!” – Mary Bettini – Director/Choreographer, New York – Retired Bay Area Theatre Educator

 

“Ellen and I saw the show tonight and your singing was sensational. I loved the swinging arrangements and the way you crafted the medleys. Your acting was terrific. On another note… I love your Cole Porter CD. Have played it dozens of times crossing the Golden Gate bridge from home to the UCSF Mission Bay campus!” – Nelson B. Schiller, MD – Cardiologist, UCSF

Read Additional Raves & Reviews
Check TICKET Availability

That Day the Libretto Arrived in the Mail

This all started back in mid July when I received word that I was cast in My Way, a tribute show in honor of Frank Sinatra’s 100th Birthday. Once the libretto arrived, the work began. 

Ah, memory work!

From September, on, this show has kept me busy! You would have found me studying aboard an 11 hour flight to Japan in October and often out at Land’s End; that majestic, shoreline park in San Francisco. Land’s End, in the Presidio, is one of my favorite places to work through the process of committing a show to memory. With close harmonies weaving out of everyone’s solos and duets, this was bound to be an compelling piece of theater and challenging show to learn.

After working with Spencer’s tracks on the Japan trip and doing all the memorization work I could muster, we had our first cast rehearsal right here at our apartment in San Francisco. Led by our musical director, César Cancino, we all took things in stride and focused on getting “off book” before the staged rehearsals began in earnest.

In December, we got on our feet in the theater, blocked the show, and began to really feel at home on the Cinnabar stage in Petaluma. We flew through dress rehearsal and opened on Friday, December 15, 2017.   What a ride it has been!

My Way Brings it Full Circle 

You never know how personally a show will touch someone. This story from UCSF Cardiologist, Nelson B. Schiller, MD, who was in the audience recently, tickles me! 

“…when I was about three years old my father took me back stage during a Sinatra performance (a friend was pianist). According to family legend I began to run toward the stage and Sinatra grabbed me and put me in his lap.” 

Just imagine that! To have that experience at such a young age – Frank Sinatra was simply a man in the room and the stage… well, the stage was a magnet!

 
Click HERE for ticketing information and availability. Remember, we have a special New Year’s Eve performance and party. I would love to see you there!

 
PHOTO CREDIT – Thank you to Jenny for these great photos. You make us look so good!

Rehearsals Ramping Up & Heading to Petaluma

Posted by on November 3, 2017 in Featured, Frank Sinatra | 0 comments

Rehearsals Ramping Up & Heading to Petaluma

To Those Planning to See the ShowPlease scroll DOWN for some notes on how to best get to the theater!

It’s November 3, 2017 and we just had our first cast rehearsal for My Way – A Tribute to Frank Sinatra, here at our apartment in San Francisco. We are all in “memory mode” these days and trying to get off-book before the official rehearsals begin November 12th in Petaluma. I have to admit, I get a little kick out of the character description for the part I play in the show.

Man #1 –  40-60 yo. Dark, Italian look. Deep/rich, strong, velvety baritone. Needs to have incredible vocal instrument and feel for Sinatra’s unusual phrasing and distinctive vocal style. Should dance or move extremely well. Tap dance skills big plus. Ideally, this actor projects the style and easy sophistication, the Sinatra trademark, without any sort of physical or vocal imitation. Must relate to audience and possess the charisma to bring them along on this musical journey into the world of “cool.  No pressure here folks! 

 

Coming to the Show?

The approach to the Cinnabar Theater at 3333 N. Petaluma Blvd. N is a bit odd.  You’ll see this driveway with an upgrade under the Cinnabar sign, and yes indeed, you drive up the drive and the parking is above.  NOTEThe theater is an old schoolhouse, so always good to bring a jacket. Plus it is so much colder in Petaluma than San Francisco!

We like the Hwy 101 exit north of the city, exit 476, Old Redwood Hwy. You’ll then double back heading south to Petaluma and since Petaluma Blvd is a divided Highway, it is easy to exit up the Cinnabar driveway!

 

Rehearsals & Reserved Seats

Musical Director – Cesar Cancino

We’ve all been focused on learning the tight harmonies that weave in and out of this phenomenal show. Musically, this is very exciting and visually – equally so. I took this candid photo of our Musical Director, César Cancino, as he worked that special combination of talent and magic he brings to rehearsals. The complexity of everyone’s solos and duets is one very special part of what makes this such an interesting and delightful show. 

A number of out of town friends have already reserved seats for the show’s run – December 15th – Jan 14th at the Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma. To all the friends making the trip and coming from Palm Springs, Portland, and Salishan – Thank you! I am thrilled that you will be here and very much appreciate you coming all this way!  

 

Do Stay the Weekend

Hotel Petaluma – Petaluma, CA

Rich and I have done a little reconnaissance  to find the PERFECT hotel for your stay. 

Hotel Petaluma, at 205 Kentucky Street, sits  right in heart of the Old City Center – a charming area of Petaluma. It is a beautifully restored hotel with 45 rooms I believe. Cinnabar Theater is just 2.2 miles away – a straight shot down Petaluma Blvd.

“Originally built in 1923, Hotel Petaluma has undergone complete renovations to honor the splendor and the architectural elements from the past, while delivering modern style, and efficiency to our guests. Hotel Petaluma features grand common areas and courtyards, event spaces, Barber Cellars wine tasting room and The Shuckery restaurant.”  Have a look at the photos!

Hotel Petaluma
205 Kentucky Street – Petaluma, CA, 94952

Phone  (707) 559-3393 
Email  reservations@hotelpetaluma.com

Looking for other hotels, places to eat, or things to do in the area? I have a post that gathers a few things for you to consider… Have a Look!

 

“My Way” – The Highlights

I’d love for you to join all of us as we celebrate the music of  Frank Sinatra, “the greatest pop vocalist of the 20th Century.” The show includes so many favorites: All of Me, Fly Me to the Moon, I Get a Kick Out of You, I Only Have Eyes for You, I’ll Be Seeing You, It Was a Very Good Year, and The Lady is a Tramp, to name but a few. I’m bound to see a few of you singing along in the audience! It is THAT kind of delightfully infectious show.

Find all you need to know re Show Details & Reservation info HERE

See you in Petaluma!

~ Rocky

Holiday Getaway with Sinatra & Friends

Posted by on September 15, 2017 in Featured, Frank Sinatra, Rocky's Favorites | 0 comments

Holiday Getaway with Sinatra & Friends

Looking for a fun way to spend some time with friends this Holiday Season?

I have a GREAT idea. This coming December and January you will find me at Cinnabar Theater, located in North Petaluma. Why? Well, it’s the venue for a wonderful new show, My Way: a Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra. As part of a four person cast in a show that also features a swinging trio of talented musicians, I can say…

THIS is going to be Great Fun and I would LOVE for you to come join me! 

 

Make a Holiday Weekend with Sinatra & Friends

Petaluma is such a charming town, aglow with holiday cheer and twinkly lights during the run of the show which opens on December 15, 2017.

I got to thinking… wouldn’t it be wonderful if you, your friends, and/or family could make a getaway of it all. There are SO many wonderful wineries, cheese shops, parks, restaurants, and other things to do and see here in the area – seemed to me, you might want to Make a Holiday Trip of it!

Scroll Down for a few suggestions on places to stay, restaurants to enjoy, and things to do in the area.

We even have a special New Year’s Eve Performance & Party!

 

Wondering Where to Stay?  

Hotel Petaluma – Petaluma, CA

Persistence pays off! Rich and I have found the perfect hotel right in the Old City Center charming area of Petaluma.  Hotel Petaluma is beautifully restored hotel. They have 45 rooms I believe. Cinnabar Theater is just 2.2 miles away – a straight shot down Petaluma Blvd. Have a look at the photos!” – Rocky

Hotel Petaluma
205 Kentucky Street – Petaluma, CA, 94952

Phone  (707) 559-3393 
Email  reservations@hotelpetaluma.com

View their Gallery of images HERE

 

 

Other hotels in the area include… 

Sheraton Hotel 
745 Baywood Dr
Petaluma, CA 94954
Phone – 707-283-2888
Website – Click Here

5 minutes from historic downtown Petaluma.

 

Hotel Metro
508 Petaluma Blvd South
Petaluma, CA 94952
Phone – 707-773-4900
Website – Click Here

Rated in the Top 16 of the Coolest & Most Unusual places to stay in the United States! Parisian-circus themed Hotel Metro is a small, eclectic, self-serve style Boutique Hotel. French charm – 140 year old building restored in 2010 – Located near historic downtown – 15 minutes to Sonoma Wineries – 15 minutes to Pt. Reyes Seashore

 

Restaurants – Foodie Heaven

Cucina Paradiso
Wild Goat Bistro
Central Market
Risibisi
Sugo
Caffe Giostra
LUMA
Crocodile French Bistro
Gohan Japanese Restaurant
Graffiti
The Shuckery
Speakeasy
Twisted2
Thai River
Seared

 

Things to Do

Marin French Cheese Company
7500 Red Hill Rd
Petaluma, CA 94952
Phone – 800-292-6001 or 707-762-6001
Email – cheesefactory@marinfrenchcheese.com
Websitehttp://www.marinfrenchcheese.com/contact-us

You can even book a Behind-the-Scenes Cheese Tasting Tour! Click Here

 

Petaluma Creamery
621 Western Ave
Petaluma, CA 94952-2646
Phone – 707-762-3446
Websitehttp://www.springhillcheese.com/visit-us.php

 

Sonoma Portworks
613 2nd St
Petaluma, CA 94952
Phone – 707-769-5203
Websitehttp://portworks.com

Sonoma Portworks is the only winery in Sonoma County that specializes in ports and after-dinner wines, and one of only a handful in the entire state. As a pioneer in the industry, they like to discover what’s possible—whether that means using an unusual grape to make a port or creating unique flavor combinations in our after-dinner wines. 

“Made with love by hand (and foot) – Our certified organic and sustainable petite sirah and petite verdot grapes are harvested by hand from the Heringer Family vineyards in Clarksburg. The Heringers have proudly worked their vineyard land for five generations. Instead of using a propane forklift we move the bins in our cellar using a hand-powered pallet jack. We then use five-gallon buckets to move the must through the portmaking process by hand. Using a handmade press specially designed for us, we press the grapes by foot for our award-winning ports and after-dinner wines and age them in recycled barrels.”

 

Helen Putnam Park
Chileno Valley Rd
Petaluma, CA
Hours – 8AM to sunset
Parking – $7 per vehicle – Free for Regional Parks members
Ranger Phone – 707-539-8092
WebsiteClick Here

“Helen Putnam Regional Park is a compact wilderness park just southwest of Petaluma. Its 6 miles of trails cross grassy hillsides and wind through groves of heritage oaks. Ridge-top trails provide panoramic views of the city and the southern Sonoma County countryside. A looped trail system lets hikers create walks of varying length and difficulty, making Helen Putnam a great choice for beginning hikers looking for a bit of a challenge. Trails are open to cyclists and horseback riders as well. There is a large fishing pond containing mostly bluegill, and a gazebo, picnic area and playground are located near the parking lot.”

 

Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue
403 Meacham Rd
Petaluma, CA 94952
Phone – 707-992-0274
Email – education@scwildliferescue.org
Websitehttps://www.scwildliferescue.org

“Helping sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife! Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of sick, injured, and orphaned wildlife, and the promotion of appreciation of wildlife through our education outreach program. Please call for a tours as they may fill up. Please note that if you show up without a reservation, we may not be able to accommodate you.”

Public tours during winter months are Saturday at 2pm. Private VIP and  tours may be arranged Tuesday through Friday 10am-4pm – please call for pricing and availability. Behind the scenes tours are also available for groups up to ten people. These tours are $200 and are designed for  those who wish to establish a long term supporter relationship with Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue.

 

And There’s So Much More!

With a quick search for “hidden gems petaluma ca” or “things to do petaluma” you will find even MORE things to do around town.

 

ONE thing to remember… Make sure to buy your tickets to the show BEFORE you plan your trip. To order tickets online for My Way: a Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra, December 15 through January 14 Click Here

I look forward to seeing you at the show!

– Rocky

My Way – A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra

Posted by on September 10, 2017 in Broadway & Film, Featured, Frank Sinatra | 0 comments

My Way – A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra

Big things are happening DEC 15, 2017 – JAN 14, 2018

Frank Sinatra had a milestone birthday recently – he would have been 100 years old. This wonderful production is a celebration of the life and music of one of our most enduring vocal legends. I invite you all to join me at Cinnabar Theater, in North Petaluma, CA, to celebrate the music of the man many call the greatest pop vocalist of the 20th Century.  

“His songs will never sound old-fashioned. He always sang quality songs . . . no matter what year they’d be played in, they would never sound out of date.”   − Tony Bennett

My Way – A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra is a delightful show that includes some of Sinatra’s best and most beloved songs. The show was created by David Grapes and Todd Olson – César Cancino is our Musical Director. Now that it is all official, the cast includes:

Man #1Rocky Blumhagen
Woman #1Desiree Goyette-Bogas
Man #2Mark Robinson
Woman #2Carolyn Bacon

 

Show Venue & Tickets

Cinnabar Theater
3333 Petaluma Blvd
North Petaluma, CA 94952

Phone – 707-763-8920
Email – boxoffice@cinnabartheater.org
Office – Open weekdays 10 am – 3 pm

$38/$45 – General Admission
$35/$40 – Seniors age 62 and up
$30/$35 – Under 30 & Military
$25/$30 – Youth under 18

Prices reflect advanced and at the door tickets. Tickets are sure to Sell Out – Book yours soon. 

BUY Tickets OnlineClick Here

Traveling to see the show?
Consider making it a Holiday Getaway! 
Make a weekend out of it and take in all the area has to offer. I’ve pulled together some suggestions for local hotels, restaurants, and things to do while you’re in town! Click Here

 

Special New Year’s Eve Performance

Now you know what I’ll be up to on New Year’s Eve this year! Seems so far off at this point, however, it will be here before we know it! You too can Ring in the New Year with this exciting tribute to Frank Sinatra! Consider this to be your personal invitation to join me for a great night of marvelous music, hand-crafted specialty desserts and cocktails, champagne, and party favors at midnight! A grand time will be had by all – especially if YOU are there! They tell me that New Year’s eve always sells out! It’s a Cinnabar tradition not to be missed!

$73 in advance / $78 at the door  New Year’s Eve general admission
$70 in advance / $75 at the door  New Year’s Eve seniors 65 and older
$60 in advance / $65 at the door  New Year’s Eve youth 21 and under

 

Fun Begins Now

That first step, seeing the score and beginning that arduous, I mean “fun,” process of memory work is always a rush!

It was thrilling and happy coincidence to learn that Mark Robinson, aka Man #2, lives just block away from me here the city! Carolyn and Desiree are also in the area. I’m sure well be seeing each other in short order. Should make rehearsals a breeze! Learning a new show, working with talented artists, and diving into exciting adventures like this is what life’s all about. 


Life is good!

 

Folks Who Make the Magic Happen

A special note of appreciation for all the people working to bring this wonderful production to life. To work with such a talented cast, band, staff, and crew is always a pleasure. And to see familiar faces like that of Music Director, César Cancino again – makes things all the more special. He played my Cole Porter show once and is fabulous!

PianoCesar Cancino
Bass – Jan Martinelli
Drums – Randy Hood

Created By – David Grapes and Todd Olson
Music Director – Cesar Cancino
Stage Director – Jennifer King
Stage Manager – Ross Tiffany Brown
Scenic Designer – Wayne Hovey
Costume Designer – Ellen Howes
Lighting Designer – Ian Fritz

 

About Cinnabar Theater

According to its Wikipedia page, “The Cinnabar Theater, located in Petaluma, California, is a professional non-profit theater producing opera and musical theatre, drama and a chamber music series in a 120-seat venue, under the auspices of the Cinnabar Arts Corporation. The venue is also home to the Young Repertory Theater (founded in 1983), the longest running and largest youth performing arts program in Sonoma County.” 

Cinnabar’s mission is to present a wide range of theatrical, musical, and operatic works that are relevant to contemporary life – challenging to audiences and artists alike. Cinnabar has created an environment that fosters the experimentation and exploration needed to produce high-quality performances. They focus on productions that can be enjoyed for their technique and artistry, as well as their connection to life and living. In addition, Cinnabar is committed to training young people in the performing arts. To draw lasting and meaningful connections between the arts and one’s daily life is at the heart of all they do. I am thrilled to have the experience of doing a show in this generative space.

 

I look forward to seeing you here in December & January!

 

Copyright Rocky Blumhagen 2018 – All rights reserved