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article imageOp-Ed: Broadway in Sonoma, Transcendence Theatre's gift for the Holidays Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Nov 26, 2015 in Entertainment
Sonoma - The beauty of the wine country attracts and inspires many people, among them is Transcendence Theatre Company. For over four years, this eclectic group of Broadway-based performers have won over the Sonoma Valley.
This year will be their first ever holiday show called, "Joy To The World." Mention "Broadway Under The Stars" at Jack London State Park and many people in Sonoma will tell you it's the most spectacular event ever, especially during summer time.
If you go to Sonoma Market, many of the staff, like Sonoma-native Joyce Parsons, rave about the talents of Transcendence Theatre. She was eager to pass out flyers alerting shoppers/patrons of the first ever, upcoming holiday show this Dec. 4 and 5th. "The 'Broadway Under The Stars' group is very talented and the shows they have put on each summer have been wonderful, it is something not to be missed," she said.
Ray Mabry, courtesy of Transcendence Theater
Tourists to Sonoma from as far away as Ireland, like the Kinney family of Dublin have seen the talents of the cast and crew of Transcendence Theatre and were more than impressed. And, that is why Parsons like many others in town are eagerly awaiting Transcendence Theatre Company's "Joy To The World" holiday show based largely on the experience from the summer shows of "Broadway Under The Stars."
Co-Executive Director of Transcendence Theatre, Stephan Stubbins explained as he talked with this reporter. "A group of us took a hiatus from our Broadway-focused careers in New York City and went to Mexico," he said. While there the idea of forming a theater company of their own started to emerge. What began initially as Transendence Artist Project at the Gertrude Perlman Theatre in Punta Banda, Baja, Mexico, quickly emerged as a theater company.
Over a four-month period, the idea took shape and solidified. "This was around the time of the economic downturn of 2008," Stubbins said. "“After leaving Mexico, our next project was a research tour around the United States in RVs, to learn from the brightest minds in theatre and to scout a possible location for our company. And, as we came through the wine country of Northern California, he said, we fell in love with Sonoma."
Parsons is not surprised, "it's easy to fall in love with Sonoma and the wine country. I was born and raised here and while I have seen many changes, she said. I am still enamored with my hometown."
One of the gems of Sonoma County besides its wineries and vineyards, is Jack London State Park in Glen Ellen just along the highway, not far from the town of Sonoma. Named after its former owner the illustrious and famous American writer Jack London, the park now in the care of the State of California was on set to be closed in 2011 due to budget cuts.
"We wanted to save it," said Stubbins. And, within a short time, the newly formed theater group, not only found a home base to work from but a cause to help bring the community together.
Speaking on behalf of Jack London State Park, Ann Abrams of A2 Communications said, "in the past four years, Transcendence Theatre has raised and donated over $187,000 to help the park."
Since She was clear to point out that, "this new holiday show is separate from the fundraising work of the theater company's annual 'Broadway Under The Stars' show. It's a new venue and way for Transcendence Theatre Company to expand," she added.
Joy to The World  Transcendence Theater s first holiday show will be performed at the Wells Fargo Ce...
Joy to The World, Transcendence Theater's first holiday show will be performed at the Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa, this Dec. 4 and 5th.
ray Mabry, courtesy of Transcendence Theater
Because of the theater company's efforts, Jack London State Park is out of danger of imminent closure, by the State of California parks administration. This is also possible thanks in part to a recently formed private/public partnership. With the success of their summer shows which is performed at Jack London State Park from June thru August, the theater company is now able to give more attention to bringing more and new types of shows to the Sonoma area.
"The holiday show is made possible through new partnerships with Wells Fargo Center for The Arts and the generosity of Gary and Marcia Nelson," said Stubbins. Founders of Nelson, Inc. Gary and Marcia's significant philanthropic outreach over the years includes the arts. "As longtime residents of Sonoma County, said Gary, with a deep love for the place we call home, it gives us immense pleasure to support two non-profit companies we know contribute great things to the quality of our lives here. We believe in the mission of Transcendence Theatre Company, he said. Wells Fargo Center for the Arts and my wife and I were moved to bring them together to reach even more people than either of them are doing on their own. Marcia and I are committed to local philanthropy. For us it is about improving the lives of our neighbors and enhancing how we all live as a connected community. Transcendence at Wells Fargo Center for the Arts fits our vision perfectly," he said.
Exec. Dir. for the performing arts center in Santa Rosa, Rick Nowlan is very pleased; as he said, we are delighted to welcome Transcendence Theatre Company to perform on our stage. And we are happy to be of help as the theatre company makes strides to broaden their reach to more of Sonoma County’s theater lovers."
"We applaud Gary and Marcia Nelson, added Nowlin, long-time supporters of Wells Fargo Center for the Arts for continuing their commitment to the arts by making this show series possible. "It is a great gift to the community," he said.
A company of over 23 singer/dancers, artists will present its first-ever holiday show this Dec. 4 and 5th, that promises to be more than just a standard musical review. For tickets and more information visit the Wells Fargo Center for The Arts web site.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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