Cinnabar Theater Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Cinnabar Theater Celebrates 40th Anniversary
Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma has announced its 2012 to 2013 season and prepares to celebrates its 40th Anniversary.
From its small and nimble space atop a little hill in Petaluma, California ~ Cinnabar Theater attracts the best Bay Area actors, classical vocalists and musicians and as well as talented artistic collaborators enabling this 40-year organization to present year-round, critically acclaimed and award-winning presentations of 
operas (performed in English); American musicals; musical revues; Broadway comedies and dramas; solo plays; and world premiere presentations.
It all began with Marvin Klebe. Once a North Dakota farm boy, Klebe became a successful classically trained baritone. He worked as an international opera singer and performed with San Francisco Opera.
In 1970, Klebe and his wife Jan bought a 1908 schoolhouse in Northern Petaluma. With carpentry skills and the help of their four sons, the building was transformed into a 99-seat theater which eventually became Sonoma County’s only venue producing opera and musical theater, dramatic theater, chamber series, special festivals and solo events. Marvin Klebe served as set designer and builder, opera director and also performed in several productions.
The company's first production "The Tricycle," was presented in 1972.
In 1975, a young opera singer Elly Lichenstein had just settled in Petaluma with a job working at the cafeteria on the Sonoma State University campus when her roommate ask her for help in finishing the costumes for a Cinnabar Theater production of "Man of La Mancha."
"The moment I walked into the place, I knew I'd come home," said Lichenstein, who became friends with the Klebes and eventually Marvin's protégée.
During those early years, Lichenstein said staffers would stop at nothing in an effort to promote the Cinnabar Theater and its productions.
"We tried everything under the sun, including parading downtown Petaluma with sandwich boards," said Lichenstein. "Gathering talent was exciting in those days. Artists flocked to places like ours to collaborate and share knowledge. We worked with so many types of artists, both performing and visual, that we learned a great deal. Sometimes the end product was a mess, but it always a grand experiment."
After Klebe’s death in 1999, Cinnabar Theater continued under the leadership Elly Lichenstein, who serves today as executive director.
The 40-year old award-winning theater company launches its new season Aug. 17, 2012 with "110 in the Shade." This music version of "The Rainmaker" stars Kelly Britt as Lizzie Curry and Tim Kniffin as Starbuck.
Cinnabar Theater's upcoming season also features a world premiere musical; a modern farce; a classic opera by Bizet; an American stage classic by Arthur Miller; and a cabaret show written by Frank and Malachy McCourt featuring Irish tunes, ballads and deliciously dry wit.
Cinnabar Theater, located at 3333 Petaluma Blvd. North in Petaluma, Calif., offers a 20% discount to season subscribers.
For more information call Cinnabar Theater at 707-763-8920 or visit
Cinnabar Theater's subscription series for 2012 to 2013 features the following productions:
"110 in the Shade"
Book by N. Richard Nash, Music by Harvey Schmidt, Lyrics by Tom Jones
Mary Chun, Music Director; Elly Lichenstein, Stage Director
Aug. 17 to Sept. 2, 2012
In the middle of a heat wave in 1930’s Texas, Lizzie Curry (Kelly Britt) is on the verge of becoming a hopeless old maid. But when a charismatic rainmaker named Starbuck (Tim Kniffin) enters the town and her family’s life, Lizzie’s world is turned upside down. Based on N Richard Nash’s play "The Rainmaker, " the musical version features heartbreakingly beautiful ballads and raucous ensemble numbers. $25 to $35.
"We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!"
By Dario Fo, translated by Ron Jenkins
Laura Jorgensen, Director
Sept. 21 to Oct. 7, 2012
This hilarious farce is set in motion when a housewife (Liz Jahren) comes home with groceries she has swiped as part of a spontaneous community action where 300 women did the same. To keep her secret from her husband (Nathan Cummings), she hides some of the groceries under her best friend’s raincoat. Her
explanation? She’s pregnant. But what does she give birth to? Olives! Hilarity is piled upon hilarity as the characters try to extricate themselves from the mess into which they have gotten themselves. $15 to $25.
"So Nice to Come Home To: A World War II Musical" -  WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL 
Music by Richard B. Evans, Lyrics by Kate Hancock, Book by Evans & Hancock
Suggested by two plays by J.M. Barrie
Mary Chun, Music Director; Ann Woodhead, Stage Director 
Oct. 26 to Nov. 11, 2012
Cinnabar Theater commissioned this world premiere of "So Nice to Come Home To: A World War II Musical," a musical comedy from the creators of "The Playboy of Balyduff." Set in New York City, 1944, it's a time of innocence and uncertainty, humor and optimism and the stresses of war are affecting soldiers and civilians 
alike. This touching, sweet, funny and thought-provoking musical tells the story of one middle-aged woman’s determination to become an essential part of America’s war effort. $25 to $35.
"A Couple of Blaguards"
By Frank and Malachy McCourt, with Irish tunes and ballads
Sheri Lee Miller, Stage Director; Jim Peterson, Music Director
Dec. 31, 2012 to Jan. 20, 2013
Tim Kniffin and Steven Abbott star is this musical cabaret and ferociously funny account of the McCourt brothers’ life in Ireland and escape to America. Each actor takes on a panoply of characters for a variety of tales and recollections and wonderful Irish songs.$25 to $35 / New Year's Eve performance $65 to $75.
"The Price"
By Arthur Miller
Sheri Lee Miller, Director
March 22 to April 7, 2013
When two long estranged brothers — one a cop of limited means, the other a successful doctor — meet in the attic of their deceased parents’ apartment, decades of sacrifice, resentment, bitterness and jealousies reignite. The play that put Miller on the theatrical map examines the balance between two distinctly opposing points of view as the brothers argue the worth of self-preservation versus familial responsibility. $15 to $25.
Music by Georges Bizet, Libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy, based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée. Mary Chun, Music Director; Elly Lichenstein, Stage Director
May 31 to June 23, 2013
One of the most popular and masterful operas of all time, Carmen (Rebecca Krouner, in her Cinnabar debut) examines issues of sex, violence and racism, as experienced by a woman who will risk everything, including her own life, to live the life she chooses. Daring, shocking, gorgeous and ground-breaking, it reaches the 
intimate stage of Cinnabar for the first time ever. $25 to $35.
For more information call Cinnabar Theater at 707-763-8920 or  visit

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