BWW Blog: Libby Servais of Transcendence Theatre Company's 'Broadway Under the Stars' - More Fantastical Family Night
"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." - Jack London
Transcendence Theatre Company's artistic director, Amy Miller opens each of our shows by reading this powerful Jack London credo to our audiences. This past weekend at TTC was a uniquely inspiring one. We concluded a successful week of our Broadway Kids Camp and shared our Fantastical Family show with excited audiences of all ages. As a completion of camp, the bright eyed campers joined us adults on stage for some truly unforgettable performance's. One moment that struck me to the core was during our closing number, "Paint the Universe," an original song by Carrie Manolakos. During the number, TTC actors trickled onto the stage slowly waving varied colors of glow sticks. At the same time, all 60 kids, also waving glow sticks, poured down the aisles to join us on stage. With harmony, we collectively sang Carrie's lyrics, "Two hearts on the edge exploding, watching love collide. We could paint the universe, it was made for you and I."
It's merely impossible to describe the connective energy that took place during this moment. Perhaps you can best visualize by imagining you're standing on an open aired stage within historic winery ruins, planted in the heart of a freshly groomed vineyard with a vast forest of trees surrounding you, a colossal spotlight from the moon shining down brightly while accompanied by a glittering blanket of stars twinkling overhead... your breath is ultimately taken away by the purely astounding vision of 800 neon colored glow sticks waving back at you from the dark of the audience and the youthful voices of the future singing by your side. It felt like one tremendous connection of humanity and love. How special that this can all happen through a night at the theatre!!!!
Mega shout-outs to the entire team of Fantastical Family Night, especially co-directors, Eric Jackson and Scott Barnhardt, music director Rich Silverstein and choreographer Dylan Smith. It was a blast! "Consider Yourself" from Oliver was our opening number....which took me back to the hilarious time when I, Libby Servais, actually played the Artful Dodger as a blossoming 16 year old female in high school.... and the rest of the orphans in the cast were played by 3rd graders. Although, I loved it at the time, for the sake of all of us, I forbid any of you to see pictures of my boyish Artful Dodger days. ANYWAY, moving on to other highlights of Fantastical Family Night.... I thoroughly enjoyed singing "Lonely Goatherd" from the Sound of Music. Thanks to Two Moon Family Farm, we actually had real goats in the show, Chester and May Flowers. We also had the world's most adorable miniature pony, named Muppet in that number. Yodel-ay-ee-oo!!!!
Another rousing performance was Erik Liberman's "Go to Rio" which brought audiences to their feet to form a large conga line that twirled down the theatre aisles. Even Tom Rouse, the mayor of Sonoma was dancing! All songs from "Frozen" in the show were some of the kids favorites. A few even leapt from their seats to charge the front of the stage during Christopher Youngsman's comedically, heartwarming rendition of "In Summer." Also from "Frozen," Stephen Christopher Anthony arranged an incredible powerhouse, diva version of "Let It Go" for us. This was a jaw-dropping rendition of eight strong women musically pouring their hearts out on stage. My ultimate favorite number was when our entire group of adult actors sang the famous Pharrell song, "Happy" and provided our own accompaniment. Our "band" consisted of Morgan Karr on accordion, Steel Burkhardt on trumpet AND guitar, Erik Liberman on egg shaker, Brad Surosky on slide whistle, Christopher Youngsman on xylophone, Leah Sprecher on ukulele, Jennifer Farmer on drums, Stephan Stubbins on maracas, Anna Bowen on lead vocals, Meggie Cansler on nose trumpet and tap shoes, Leslie McDonel on kazoo, Victor Mezzone on triangle, Amy Miller, Casey Hebbel and Rachel Thomas on tamborine, spoons and shakers. Naturally, I played my flute. Now that you know two nerdy facts about me (reminder: I played the Artful Dodger and played the flute)....I should also inform you that I was on the speech and debate team....and show choir...and...oh boy, I could go on...
The guest artists of this show have left Sonoma, CA and the artists for our next big show, "Music of the Night," will arrive this coming weekend! The performance dates are August 14-24th. In the meantime, TTC is also producing our closing Gala (September 5th and 6th) and 4 original artist series concerts. These will include: Carrie Manolakos and Morgan Karr's concert on August 1st and 2nd, Ben Vereen's, "Steppin' Out" on August 9th, "Witness Uganda" in concert on August 19th and to wrap up the 2014 Artist Series, Stephan Stubbins and Leah Sprecher's, "Oh What a Beautiful Mashup" show is on August 28th. Check out www.TTCsonoma.org for details.
With all of the magic being made here, this might be the best summer of my life! I now leave you with the inspiring poem written by one of our amazing Broadway Kids Campers, Elena Regalado.
Can You Imagine?
By Elena Regalado
Can you imagine a world that has more land to plant flowers?
Where people play in outer space
Meanwhile fish fly through the air
and monkeys ride in hot air balloons
Can you imagine?
A person that can lift a whale with just their finger
A guitar that can play by itself
A magic camera that takes pictures alone
Books reading other books
Can you imagine?
A world of gold with parrots that speak clearly
People that never cry or feel sad
Wild wolves singing sweet songs
Can you imagine?
Can you imagine a girl that could change the world
Doing things that we are not able to do
Can you imagine?
Carrie Manolakos. Photo by Melania Mahoney.
Co-executive director Stephan Stubbins posing with actors, Libby Servais and Muppet.
Our "Happy" jam session. Pharrell Williams would be proud! Photo by Melania Mahoney.
Artistic director, Amy Miller with camper Elena Regalado reading Elena's beautiful poem with the audience. Photo by Melania Mahoney.
High on a hill was a lonely goatherdâ€¦.co-executive director, Brad Surosky. Photo by Sherry Lambert.
Lonely Goatherd. Yodel-aye-ee-oo! Photo by Sherry Lambert.
The legendary "Paint the Universe" finale with glow sticks!!!
Finale. Photo by Sherry Lambert.
Some of the cast backstage.
The amazing Broadway Kids campers! Photo by Melania Mahoney.
The teenagers of Broadway Kids Camp singing in the field of dreams. Photo by Melania Mahoney.