Transcendence Theatre - April/May 2018



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E ach show an artist takes part in is an opportunity to increase their skill set. I’ve been in the

what it feels like to be out on stage performing for a live audience. Thanks to my many behind-the-scenes experiences, I also know what it takes to ensure that on-stage performances go well for the artists and the audience. In order for both jobs to be done right, you need someone who can put their whole heart and soul into one area, not letting their attention be divided. Of course, this doesn’t mean I’ll never perform again. The wonderful thing about Transcendence is that I still have the opportunity to wear the performer’s hat if I want.

entertainment industry in some shape or form since college, and the roles I’ve taken both on stage and behind the scenes helped give me a wealth of knowledge and experience. I am truly excited to bring my experiences to Transcendence as the new Creative Director! Transcendence offers an entirely new experience for me. I have my hands in a little bit of everything, from what the audience sees on stage during live performances, to the work behind the scenes that starts months ahead of time. We have a really great team that allows for seamless cross-over and collaboration in so many areas. It’s a tall order, but I love every moment. Every day, I have to draw on my many experiences, but there’s one experience in particular that shapes my approach. Over the last 10 years, I have participated in numerous productions of “Mamma Mia” with companies across North America. I’ve performed on stage, acted as a swing, worked as the dance captain, and taken on the responsibility of choreographer for countless performances. But the most unique challenge, and the most impactful opportunity of my career, was preparing a number from “Mamma Mia” for the “Today” show. This was my first experience working in film and TV. I got to see how they adjust camera angles to get the shots they need and capture a stage performance to look just as exciting on a TV as it would in person. Plus, I needed to help a theatre cast muster the same level of energy for a 5 a.m. sound check as they would when performing in front of a theatre packed with 1,800 people. It was a demanding experience, but one I remember fondly. I wasn’t able to perform with the group on “Today” because I was still recovering from a broken foot. However, looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any differently. Had I tried to prepare the performance and participate, I couldn’t have given the event the respect it deserved. It’s important to have someone who knows what it’s like to be on stage, but who can fully commit to being a pair of outside eyes, looking at the production from every angle.

This will be my first summer as Creative Director during Transcendence’s “Broadway Under the Stars” shows, and it’s very exciting. I’m involved in casting, music selection, and developing a thematic journey across the four shows. Seeing those elements come together is an incredible experience. In years past, new audience members have come up to me before a show to say they’ve never seen a Broadway performance before. And I think it’s really cool their first Broadway experience will be that concert in Jack London State Park. “Broadway Under the Stars” is more than performing Broadway numbers. We aren’t a typical Broadway show; we don’t always stick with the best-known songs from the most popular musicals. We are constantly pushing beyond the usual limits to bring a new level of song, dance, and energy to our amazing, beautiful stage. I think this is something our Team achieves with each performance. I am really excited to share this summer season with you, everyone!

–Tony Gonzalez

This lesson, above all others, helps me meet the challenge of being the creative director for Transcendence. I know exactly


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With the current trend of getting TV, social media, and news alerts sent to our phones, we have access to more media than we could ever consume. While constant connectivity is a boon for many aspects of our lives, researchers are discovering that too much stimulation is cause for concern. One study in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that too much social comparison, spurred by the likes of Facebook and cable news, can lead to an increased risk of depression. If you find yourself pressured to live up to the public lives of friends and family, or if you feel like you’re being bombarded with too much news and entertainment, consider a media detox. A detox doesn’t require you to unsubscribe from social media services or unplug your TV forever. Instead, think of it as a vacation from the overstimulation so many of us experience. Ask yourself which aspects of your media diet are causing more stress than they’re worth, and take a break from them for a little while. “In the same way we think about what we eat, we should think about what we read, what we’re seeing, what we’re engaging in, and what we’re interacting with every day,” Emma Watson told CNN in an interview about her selective social media use. If you’re not mindful DO YOU NEED A MEDIA DETOX?

of your media consumption and participation, it tends to pile up. When you detox, it’s a lot easier to identify which parts of your media diet are essential and which are only a burden. Another benefit of a media detox is that you’ll have more time to pursue new and dormant hobbies. Because most of us consume media in small chunks throughout the day, it’s easy to overlook how much that time adds up. All those hours you spend on Facebook could be used to start a garden, knit a quilt, or join a soccer league. Unless you have an unlimited supply of leisure time (and who does?), you need to be selective in the way you spend it. Of course, coming to one of our shows is the perfect way to step away from social media and small screens. Broadway Under The Stars at Jack London State Historic Park is a great opportunity to get outside, enjoy the beauty of Sonoma Valley, and take part in an amazing evening of song and dance. Remember, media isn’t the cause of all your ills. Used mindfully, it can actually increase happiness and satisfaction. The problem is that we are so mired in the media muck that we can’t get a perspective on how much is too much. A detox will allow you to reassess the media you’re consuming and build a better plan for the future. You can still keep up with your family on Facebook, but it shouldn’t be the only way you interact with the world. Thomas, Daryl determined he still wanted to give back to the nonprofit community, and dedicates a substantial part of his practice to providing support to nonprofits. Daryl and his wife attended a Transcendence show some years ago, and shortly after, they were invited to an event we held for leaders in the community. It was here, after a wild scavenger hunt, that Daryl connected with Stephan Stubbins and asked how he could help us achieve our Best Life Ever dream. We were delighted to welcome him aboard, and are thrilled to have Daryl’s help in continuing to support this wonderful community. “I really connected with the work Transcendence does in creating a vibrant Sonoma community and with the people who create these wonderful shows. I knew early on this was the kind of organization I wanted to help.”

Kristin Piro and David R. Gordon are both talented artists who have been involved with Transcendence for many years. Most recently, Kristin was part of “The Ladies of Broadway” cast, and David sang our summer theme song, “Best Night Ever.” Transcendence can claim its fair share of matchmaking success, but Kristin and David actually began dating shortly before they joined our team. David heard about Transcendence from a friend, and Kristin was encouraged by our creative director, Tony Gonzalez, to give it a try. “Broadway is wonderful and booming, but at the end of the day, it’s all work and hustle,” Kristin says when talking about what draws her to Transcendence. “When you come to Sonoma and Transcendence, you find an artistically fulfilling experience. It’s such a great place to work.”



It takes a lot of work to create the magic we bring to the stage, and occasionally that work requires some legal expertise.

We’re not lawyers — though we could play one on TV — so fortunately, we have the support of Santa Rosa attorney, Daryl Reese. Daryl provides Transcendence with legal aid for contracts, liability, and other litigation matters. After 20 years as the executive director of a nonprofit, Daryl made a career change and became an attorney. Currently practicing at the firm Johnston

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ROASTED ASPARAGUS WITH LEMON BREADCRUMBS Spring is the height of asparagus season. This dish, which features the crunch of breadcrumbs and a refreshing splash of lemon, is the perfect way to highlight the natural flavors of the vegetable without overwhelming them.


• 1 cup panko breadcrumbs • 1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped • 2 teaspoons lemon zest • Juice of one lemon (not packaged lemon juice)

• 2 pounds asparagus • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil • Kosher salt • Freshly ground pepper • 2 garlic cloves, minced

“Transcendence is refreshing,” David adds. “You have an opportunity to come out and be yourself on stage as an artist. So often, we hide behind the part we play. At Transcendence, you get to be you. It’s terrifying but also so exciting.” Transcendence is the only time David and Kristin have been able to work together since they started dating. As busy artists, they often have conflicting schedules, so they developed a habit of leaving messages for each other scrawled on Post-it notes. It was this habit that inspired David to orchestrate a truly creative proposal when he asked Kristin to marry him last May. David instructed friends and family members to share photos of hearts drawn on Post-it notes with the caption “Sending love #ipostitwithmyheart” to Instagram. After Kristin spent all day seeing the photos, without realizing the love being sent was meant for them, David got down on one knee with a box of Post- its. At the bottom of the box, there was an engagement ring. Good news: She said yes!

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Heat oven to 425 F. Toss asparagus with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20–26 minutes, turning asparagus halfway through. 2. When asparagus is nearly done, heat remaining olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add breadcrumbs and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and fold in parsley and lemon zest. 3. Transfer asparagus to serving platter, drizzle with lemon juice, and top with breadcrumb mixture. Recipe inspired by Food and Wine Magazine


There’s no wedding date just yet, but Kristin and David have decided to hold the ceremony in Sonoma.

“Everyone is so generous and welcoming. No one treats you like a stranger, and it really feels like home. Sonoma is such a supportive community, and we can’t imagine saying ‘I do’ anywhere else!”



19201 SONOMA HWY #214, SONOMA, CA 95476 877-424-1414 • BESTNIGHTEVER.ORG

Inside This Issue


How to Create the Best Life Ever


Why You Should Consider a Media Detox


Stars Offstage: Daryl Reese, Our Crack Legal Team


The Ultimate Proposal


Roasted Asparagus With Lemon Breadcrumbs


Did You Know?


Did you know that it is bad luck to whistle at the theatre? This seems a little silly, right? But this superstition originated from the early days of large-scale stage productions. Backstage crews were usually comprised of off-duty sailors, and it was easy to use their hard-earned rigging skills to change sets and bring up the curtains. These crews communicated with each other through a series of coded whistles, just as they would on ships. This meant that an actor strolling through

the stage while whistling a show tune could inadvertently prompt a stagehand to lower a light or set piece onto his unassuming head.

So, now that you know why whistling in the theatre is considered bad luck, you can file this information in your mental catalog. Feel free to break it out for trivia nights and cocktail gatherings, or sprinkle it into other suitable conversations.

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