Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2005 • Get ready for Best of Broadway

Each year during the first and second weekends in March, Lassen County experiences The Best of Broadway Concert Series.

More than 120 members of the community gather in the Veterans Memorial Building on Main Street in Susanville.  This cast, crew and musicians begin putting their awesome talents to work.  With an array of special effects, lighting techniques and now an incredible new sound system, it’s only the beginning of how this spectacular presentation comes together each year.

Julie Newton has been the director and producer of the show for six years. Her goals all along have been dedicated to bringing a live theatrical experience to the community, and she has through music, song and dance.  This non-profit organization was set up to entertain, educate and inspire local children, youth and adults.

The live music, led by musical director Dick Bendix, is inspiring.  With hours of rehearsing, writing and re-writing music at times to get it in the correct key for the performers, getting the right rhythm, beat and timing down, it can become quite a task.  Then, when the live musicians all come together with their instruments in that sweet, perfect harmony, it makes it all worthwhile.  It is what makes Susanville’s musical theater come together and to life.

Of course, what good is music without dancing?  That’s where Jessica Newton comes in.  As head choreographer, and owner of a local dance studio, she volunteers to put her expertise to work.  She fills the show with ballet, western, stomp, swing, waltz, new age, retro and just about anything else you can imagine. The energy level is remarkable, and the dances are intense.  Many hours of research go into the choreography when putting together the show.

An incredible stage crew, props, costume designers, makeup artists, fund-raising coordinators, seamstresses, construction workers, house managers, creative team members and technical team all make Best of Broadway possible each year.

Songs are chosen from some of Broadway’s most famous productions. Selections come from “Annie,” “Grease,” “The Sound of Music,” “South Pacific,” and more of your favorites.  There is nothing better than watching your neighbor, grocer, local law enforcement officer, business owner or teacher acting out and performing these songs and dances.

The event is funded each year through donations from locals, businesses and clubs.  The community has been quite generous in the past, and hopefully it will continue to be so.  The new sound system, curtains and risers would have never come about without the support of the community.