Willows Theatre Company Announces Summer Festival

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The Willows Theatre Company will present three events for its 2008 John Muir Summer Festival in Martinez, running July 1 through August 10. The first event will be MuirFest Gala 2008, a musical celebration of Independence Day, held over three evenings at the John Muir Amphitheater on the Martinez waterfront, July 1, 2, and 3 at 8:00 p.m.  The MuirFest Gala will include a live performance by the Diablo Symphony Orchestra and stars of the Willows Theatre in a multimedia musical celebration of our nation, featuring a concert presentation of John Muir's Mountain Days – Contra Costa's original historical outdoor musical

The second event will be a presentation of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun, staged at the John Muir Amphitheater for 11 outdoor daytime performances, running weekends July 12-27.  The rousing story of the famous sharp-shooter Annie Oakley and her days with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show features such classic songs as "You Can't Get a Man With a Gun," "Doin' What Comes Naturally," and "There's No Business Like Show Business."

And as a climax to the Summer Festival, the third event will be the world premiere of the historical musical Sacagawea.  Four years in the making, Sacagawea has been created by the same team that developed John Muir's Mountain Days – music by San Jose's Craig Bohmler and book and lyrics by New York-based playwright Mary Bracken Phillips.  The world premiere production will be directed by Vanessa Miller.

Sacagawea is the second in the Willows Theatre Company's planned 10-part series of musicals about the figures who defined the American West.  This high-adventure musical drama had its first staged reading in Martinez in 2004.  It follows Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their historic 1803 journey from St. Louis to the Pacific Northwest, led by their Native American guide, Sacagawea, a woman of true heroism.

Bohmler and Bracken Phillips are long-time collaborators, having also written The Haunting of Winchester, a musical drama about Sarah Winchester, who built the notorious Winchester "Mystery House" in San Jose.  Bracken Phillips - a past Tony nominee for 1992's Metro – also wrote another notable musical drama, Brimstone, which was produced at the Willows Theatre and won numerous local Bay Area theater critics awards.

Sacagawea will be presented indoors at the Alhambra Performing Arts Center, 150 "E" Street (at Alhambra Avenue) in Martinez, August 2-10, with both matinee and evening performances.

For the two events at the John Muir Amphitheater, patrons are invited to come early, bring their own food and beverages, and picnic on the Amphitheater grounds prior to all performances.    

Tickets to the individual festival events - MuirFest Gala 2008, Annie Get Your Gun, and Sacagawea - are $25 for Center Section and $20 for Side Section, with discounts for seniors (65+), students (with ID), and groups (10+).  Amphitheater Skybox tickets are $35.  A Three-Show Package may be purchased for $50. To purchase tickets call 925-798-1300 or visit the Willows Theatre web site at www.willowstheatre.org.

The Willows Theatre Company Daytime Box Office is located at 636 Ward Street in Martinez, in the lobby of the Campbell Theatre. Box Office hours are Monday-Saturday 10 am-6 pm and Sunday Noon-5 pm.  The Amphitheatre Ticket Booth, located at the entrance to the Amphitheater grounds, will open one hour prior to each Amphitheater performance. The ticket table at the Alhambra Performing Arts Center, located in the theater lobby, will open one hour prior to each Sacagawea performance.

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