Transcendence Theatre Company - August 2017



OUR GREAT, BIG RV TRIP 40 CITIES, 25 THEATRES, 2 RVS, 6 PEOPLE, 1 DOG, AND A BIG DREAM The Transcendence In Atlanta, Georgia, (one of our stops) there is a vibrant local theatre scene. You’d assume these theatres would view each other as a threat

vision didn’t come to life overnight. It demanded planning, research, fundraising, and a two- and-a-half-month RV trip

or competition, but that wasn’t the case. “Theatres grow best like grapes,” one of our interviewees from The Alliance Theatre said. We saw this sentiment echoed across the country. Theatres are more successful when there are other theatres alongside them serving

around the country and back again. In March of 2010, I climbed into an RV with Amy Miller, Brad Surosky, Robert Petrarca, Leah Sprecher, Randi Kaye, and Amy and Brad’s dog, Junior. We had this great, big dream in our heads and wanted to learn how to make it a reality. And for that, we needed to meet with the brightest minds in the arts while also scouting for the perfect location to settle down and build Transcendence Theatre Company’s future.

their communities. A good experience at a live show inspires people to pursue more theatre, and everyone benefits. Theatres don’t have to compete — we should support one another! We brought this attitude with us when we ultimately came to Sonoma. A rising tide lifts all ships, and we want to support all the local theatres and artists we share the community with. Everyone in the arts works hard to celebrate their passions, and we know firsthand what it takes to bring a dream to life.

We sent out letters to top contacts around the country and set up interviews that included over 450 people, from artistic directors of major theatres across the country, to writers, educators, and Broadway artists. Our travels took

When we started out on the trip, we needed $40,000 to make it all the way around the country and back home. We’d only raised $14,000

when we stepped into the RVs. We could have spent

years planning and getting the contacts and funds together, but we’d be no closer to our dream until we struck out to make it happen. Along the way, we shot fundraising videos in RV parks, wrote original songs, and performed benefits in yoga studios, movies theatres, and in

us through LA, Dallas, New Orleans, New York City, Boston, Detroit, Colorado, Montana, and many stops in between. During our trip, we had the opportunity to speak with some of the most influential people in theatre today, like Bill Rauch, Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Molly Smith, Director of Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and Curt Columbus, Artistic Director of Trinity Rep in Rhode Island to mention a few. It was so amazing to sit down and talk with passionate, experienced artists that had been through the ups and downs of the business and could share so much knowledge! We planned all of this during the economic recession of 2010, when theatre companies across the country were shutting down due to lack of funding. In fact, some people said theatre as a whole was dying. They insisted the arts were suffering at the hand of a bad economy, movies, the internet, and countless entertainment options people could stream right on their phones and into their homes. The funny thing is, when you look deeper into the history of theatre, you realize people have talked about theatre dying for over 100 years. We learned many things on our trip, and one of the most surprising was that theatre was actually thriving in many wonderful ways. You just need to understand what makes theatre so valuable to a community.

people’s homes. We raised the money we needed to complete our trip while on the road, and I think that entrepreneurial spirit really captures the heart of how we’ve built Transcendence. We were founded on an idealistic vision, and to bring that vision to life, we put our heart and soul into every dollar we raised. I’m not saying it was an easy trip, but it was a one-of-a-kind experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. And if you’d like to learn more you can read our full blog we wrote during our trip by visiting: transcendencetheatre. Our journey gave us the tools we needed to bring Transcendence into the world and ultimately led us to our favorite place on earth, our home here in Sonoma.

– Stephan Stubbins


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STARS OFF STAGE Smallest Hands on Deck Through these recent studies, we’re starting to put together a better picture of how we can The marketplace is flooded with supplements claiming to boost brainpower, increase cognition, and reduce the effects of aging on your thinking machine. The reality is, boosting your brainpower is actually much easier than that — and you don’t have to put any potentially harmful substances in your body to reap the rewards! How we live can have a huge impact on the way our brain ages, performs cognitive functions, and remembers things. A 2014 study published by the University of Tübingen found that brain function may slow down as we age, but certain cognitive skills and abilities don’t automatically follow suit. Essentially, the brain has the ability to remain sharp — under the right circumstances. What are those circumstances? That answer comes from another study published in the Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. The study found aerobic exercise may be the best way to boost brainpower and cognitive function. Aerobic exercise, also known as cardiovascular exercise, includes walking, jogging, running, biking, swimming, and so on.

get the most out of our cognitive abilities and memory as we age. One group of researchers with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School identified a molecule released into the bloodstream during aerobic exercise that boosts cognition over time — and may hinder neural degeneration. The Psychonomic Bulletin & Review study also noted that those who performed aerobic exercises had higher cognitive function over those who didn’t. Participants were able to perform better when it came to task switching, selective attention, and even working memory capacity — and this was across a variety of age groups, from children to older adults, and people who were already considered healthy. In older people, the effect of aerobic exercise may even reduce symptoms related to many neurological disorders, from depression to dementia. The study also found that cognitive functions tied to implicit memory (functions that occur without conscious awareness, such as riding a bike, brushing your teeth, driving a car, or other familiar or repetitive tasks) were markedly better in older people who kept up a regimen of aerobic activity — though improvements were found in all age groups.

We recently caught up with Q. Smith, an audience favorite at Broadway Under the Stars and three-year Transcendence performer. Currently, she’s performing in the Tony- winning Broadway show “Come From Away,” which tells the true story of when the isolated community of Gander, Newfoundland, played host to 38 diverted planes carrying thousands of passengers on 9/11. This is her first original production. Q. Smith says, “This is an actor’s dream! To originate a role on Broadway is something that can’t really be put into words.” She had the opportunity to perform “Come From Away” at the Tony Awards, which is a notoriously exhausting week in the Broadway community. She was slammed with early mornings and rehearsals on top of her eight shows a week, but she was in it to win it. “This is an actor’s dream! To originate a role on Broadway is something that can’t really be put into words.” BACKS Q. SMITH PRODUCTIO

Every summer, over 360 Transcendence volunteers help ensure the season runs smoothly. Each night, you might find 40 different volunteers helping with everything, from security and box office to serving drinks or assisting with parking. No help is too small, as our youngest volunteer, Caleb Pearson, can attest. Self-proclaimed “littlest volunteer in the company,” Caleb, age 7, has volunteered at Transcendence for almost three years. Caleb joined his mother, Rebekah, when she first volunteered, and he was delighted to help out. After Rebekah stepped into the role of marketing coordinator and became a full-time staff member, Caleb was determined to continue his volunteer work. “I like helping at the company,” says Caleb, who can often be found in the box office, assisting with check-in or back stage during intermission. If you attended this year’s Fantastical Family Night you saw Caleb performing onstage in a featured role. In addition to being a student, Caleb views volunteering with Transcendence at Jack London State Historic Park as his second job. Even now, Caleb can see himself being with Transcendence for years to come.

“I want to keep volunteering this summer,” he explains. “And next year! And every year until I become a staff member like my mom!”

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• Olive oil • 2 medium ripe avocados, halved • 1 large cucumber, halved • 6 stalks spring onions • 1 jalapeno INGREDIENTS INSTRUCTIONS 1. Preheat grill to medium-high.

• 1 lemon, juiced • ½ cup cold water • 1 clove garlic • ¾ teaspoon salt • ½ teaspoon black pepper

AGE TOUR ON THE ORIGINAL ‘COME FROM AWAY’ “It was pretty surreal rehearsing as well as performing at Radio City Music Hall. When we walked into the rehearsal room, we had no idea we would be doing a number with the Rockettes, staged by Rob Ashford,” she says. “Come on! Does it get any better than dressing up, seeing your friends being nominated, and sharing the stage with your fellow Thespians?” One of Q. Smith’s favorite onstage moments came from the “Come From Away” performance in Gander. The crew performed two concerts in Gander before heading to Broadway, and within the first minute of the show, the audience was cheering them on. “We promised one another backstage that we wouldn’t cry, but within that first minute, we were all a mess,” she says. “We made them proud.” As far as offstage moments go, she will never forget receiving a replica of Kevin O’Rourke’s firefighter badge on opening night from Kevin’s mother, Hannah, whom she plays in the show. Smith explains, “When she gave me the badge, Mrs. O’Rourke said, ‘From one Hannah to another.’ It really touched me.” Q. Smith is a firm believer that every experience in her life is preparing her for what is to come. She believes that Transcendence came into her life when she was ready to make a difference in the world. She says, “I was hungry for my art to heal, change, and transform lives. I felt empowered as an artist when I was at Transcendence and was therefore able to bring my authentic self into the audition rooms and relationships. ‘Come From Away’ is a transformative show, and it needs authentic storytellers. Without the experience, support, and inspiration Transcendence gave me, I don’t think I would have booked it. I’m forever grateful and forever a fan.”

2. Coat halved avocados with lemon juice to avoid browning. Brush olive oil over avocados, cucumber, spring onions, and jalapeno. Oil grill while hot. 3. Grill vegetables until everything is grilled or slightly charred. Once grilled, remove and place on platter to cool. 4. Chop grilled veggies and puree with lemon juice, cold water, garlic, salt, and black pepper. 5. Once smooth, portion soup into bowls and refrigerate to cool before serving. 6. Garnish with toasted cubed bread, avocados, spring onions, chives, lemon zest, or a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

Recipe inspired by



ARE YOU READY FOR THE BEST HOLIDAYS EVER? Join our cast of Broadway performers for this exciting and new holiday spectacular. It’s packed with holiday favorites, showstoppers and modern twists on some of the world’s most uplifting and cherished songs.


Dec 2 | Sat 2pm & 7:30pm Dec 3 | Sun 2pm & 7:30pm GET YOUR TICKETS NOW: | 707-546-3600

SPRING SHOW 2018 Broadway powerhouses hit the stage this Spring for a dynamic evening highlighting the tales and talents of the Ladies of Transcendence.

MARIN CENTER Mar 17 | Sat 7:30pm Mar 18 | Sun 2:00pm LUTHER BURBANK CENTER Mar 24 | Sat 2pm & 7:30pm Mar 25 | Sun 2:00pm




Throughout the 2017 Season Transcendence is pulling winners for our Summer Raffle. Grand Prize winners will be selected at the end of the summer season on September 10, 2017. Through-out the season there will be additional prizes drawn as well (and re-entered for the grand prize drawing). Your purchase of raffle tickets not only enters you to win one of these fantastic prizes, but also supports Transcendence’s community outreach and education initiatives throughout Marin, Napa, and Sonoma County.

At the show tonight visit the merchandise booth to purchase tickets and learn more.


Indulge in a 7-night stay at Nancy & Rob Chimsky’s Borgo di Vagli, in Tuscany. Borgo di Vagli is a restored 14th century hamlet set on 32 acres in the hills near the quaint town of Cortona. The Borgo features easy accessibility for day trips to all the major cities in the region such as Florence, Sienna, Assisi, and Perugia.

Discover the natural beauty of Montana with a week-long trip for up to 8 people, courtesy of Chris and Paul Stubbins. The Stubbins house sits on the eastern shore of Flathead Lake, the largest natural fresh water lake west of the Mississippi. The Montana House features cherry orchards, private lake access, and easy accessibility for day trips to the town of Bigfork and the majestic Glacier National Park.

Enjoy 8 VIP tickets for Transcendence’s 2018 Broadway Under the Stars season. Broadway Under The Stars is a series of award-winning concerts featuring accom- plished Broadway and Hollywood performers under the stars in the majestic open-air winery ruins in Sonoma’s Jack London State Historic Park.

$20 = 1 Ticket $50 = 3 Tickets $100 = 7 Tickets

At The Show: Visit The Merchandise Booth Online: Phone: 877.424.1414 ext 2 PURCHASE YOUR RAFFLE TICKETS NOW

For questions contact: or 877.424.1414 ext 2


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

Inside This Issue


6 People and a Dog Board an RV to Realize Their Dream


The Best Way to Improve Your Brain Power


Stars Offstage


Backstage Tour With Q. Smith


Avocado and Cucumber Cold Soup


Most Underrated Hikes From Coast to Coast


It’s summer, and your list of fun backpacking locations is looking slim and dull. Long days, good weather, and vacation time give you a great excuse to travel and cross some trails off your list, but you’re not sure where you should go. Here are some of the most underrated trails from coast to coast to add to — and cross off — your list! HIKE TO ALAMERE FALLS The hike to Alamere Falls on the Palomarin Trailhead near San Francisco, California, is an 8 ½-mile trail. Starting at the Palomarin Trailhead, hop on the Coast Trail and head toward the falls. The trail becomes narrow and steep when you reach the coast, but the tidal falls is only a short way down the beach. LOWER ROCK CREEK TRAIL Lower Rock Creek Trail is located in Mark Twain National Forest near Fredericktown, Missouri. The trail is 6 miles and features a beautiful waterfall. The trail offers a number of activity options and the tumbling creek and high bluffs make this a beautifully untouched area with rugged and remote areas for camping. CONECUH TRAIL Alabama’s Conecuh Trail is a gentle 22-mile path that meanders through a remote section of forest near the Alabama-Florida border. The trail takes hikers past multiple ponds, creeks, and a spring. Keep your eyes peeled for woodpeckers, gopher frogs, and armadillos.

OCEAN PATH The Ocean Path trail begins at Sand Beach in Acadia National Park about 3 hours from Portland, Maine. The trail takes hikers along the eastern shore of Mount Desert Island for about 2 miles until it arrives at Otter Cliff. Listen for Thunder Hole, an underwater cave that mimics the sound of thunder when waves force air out of the cave. When planning your summer activities, consider adding new hikes to the itinerary. There are many underrated trails across the United States — don’t be afraid to discover them all!


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