If you haven’t been to the Golden Chain Theatre for a couple years, you’ve been missing some great live entertainment. For those who think you have to drive to Fresno’s Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater, or to San Francisco or Los Angeles to experience quality performances - think again.
As fun as those road trips may be, the Golden Chain of late has been offering quality productions for a fraction of the price of going to the “big” cities.
Another in a long line of outstanding productions opened last week - The Music Man - directed by Jennifer Piccolotti, starring James Mierkey as traveling salesman Harold Hill and Heather Sconce as Marian, the town librarian. The play runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Nov. 20.
A new awakening seemed to take place at the GCT in 2014 with two wonderful shows - Angel Street and Wonka the Musical.
The productions seemed to get bigger and better in 2015 with the dramatic Godspell the Musical, The Wardrobe, The Odd Couple Female Version and the classic Fiddler on the Roof.
The 2016 season has brought the community The Altos, a murder mystery dinner show, followed by the high-energy musical Shake and another iconic piece, Steel Magnolias. Then it was the hilarious Dearly Departed and Noel Coward’s ghostly Blithe Spirit.
And now, like an early Christmas present, The GCT has given the community The Music Man. The musical follows the fast-talking Hill as he attempts to con the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band he vows to organize.
The talents of Mierkey and Sconce are undeniable and the supporting 44-member cast is outstanding.
The GCT represents plenty of what small town theater is all about - tireless enthusiasm by stage and backstage volunteers with a love and passion for theater and a strong commitment to produce the best possible product for the community. You can see and feel the dedication in the smallest youngster on the stage to the seasoned performers.
As the 50th anniversary of the GCT nears, community support is as important as ever. Box office receipts help with the never-ending upkeep of the building (transformed in 1972 from a bowling alley), wardrobe, sound equipment, and the many other costs of putting on productions.
The GCT plays an important role (pun intended) in the community. Like the numerous art galleries in town, the GCT is essential to the artistic, cultural and economic health of Oakhurst and the surrounding area.
What you can expect from the GCT is plenty of quality drama, comedy, mystery, and song and dance.
The GCT is not the place to see highbrow opera or Shakespeare - after all this is Oakhurst - and who wants to see that anyway?
A portion of the proceeds from the production are being donated to the Yosemite High School Marching Band.
Details: “The Music Man” - Fridays and Saturdays 7 p.m. and Sundays 2 p.m. Nov. 4 - 20. Tickets cost $10 - $15. Children 3 and younger free. Pre-sale tickets are available at goldenchaintheatre.org or by calling (559) 683-7112. Tickets are also available at the door.
The Golden Chain Theatre has released its schedule for 2017 - the 50th Anniversary of the GCT:
Murder at Cafe Noir (Feb. 17-19): A murder mystery dinner show.
Little Women (March 24 - April 9): The musical version of the timeless Louisa May Alcott novel.
Arsenic & Old Lace (April 28 - May 14): The hit Broadway farce about a nutcase family.
The Drunkard (June 2 - 18): The first melodrama ever performed in the GCT.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (June 24-24): A live musical tribute to the 2000 film starring George Clooney.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (Aug. 4 - 20): A celebration of the dating game.
Dial M for Murder (Sept. 15 - Oct. 1): A classic who dunnit.
Another Openin’ Another Show (Oct. 27 - Nov. 9): Written by James Mierkey and Jennifer Piccolotti highlighting dozens of musical theater favorites.
Believe in Christmas (Dec. 8 - 17): Classic carols and festive vignettes in an atmosphere that will get you in the holiday spirit.
Special Event: In celebration of the GCT’s 50th Anniversary, a black tie formal fundraiser will be held on Sept. 9, including catered elegant hors d’oeuvres, champagne and a silent auction benefiting the theater and all its programs. Tickets are $100 per person.