The Sacramento Music Circus tent is coming down after 51 years with a production of Lerner and Loewe's Paint Your Wagon. Although this brings to an end a half century of tradition, it's good news for the California company, which will open their 2003 summer musicals season in the brand-new Wells Fargo Pavillion.
A musical set in the Gold Rush Days of the Wild West, Paint Your Wagon takes place in Rumson Town, a four hundred person town founded by miner and widower Ben Rumson. Ben's troubles begin with his daughter Jennifer, the only woman within miles, who has been unknowingly tempting the local men. One of them, the Mexican miner Julio, falls in love with her, but Ben sends Jennifer back East for school. Meanwhile, a Mormon man arrives with his two wives, one of which, Elizabeth, is sold off to Ben. As the gold dries up around Rumson, however, the town starts to die and Ben begins to lose everything he has.
Paint Your Wagon was made into an infamous 1969 film, which starred tough guys Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin as Pardner and Ben. The score includes the well-known tune "They Call the Wind Maria," as well as "I Talk to the Trees," "I Still See Elisa," "In Between," "Cariño Mio," " Hand Me Down That Can O' Beans," "Another Autumn," "All for Him" and "Wand'rin Star."
William Parry (Titanic, Passion) stars as Ben Rumson with Juliana Ashley Hansen (Drama Logue winner for The Secret Garden) as his daughter Jennifer. Also in the cast are Enrique Acevedo as Julio Valveras, Rachael deBenedect (The Sound of Music, 3hree Musketeers) as Elizabeth Woodling, Jeff Cyronek (Ragtime national tour) as Jacob Woodling, Christy Morton as Sara Woodling, Felipe Crook as Mike Mooney and Rodger McDonald as Sam/Raymond Janney.
Stafford Arima directs with musical direction by Dennis Castellano. Bob Richard is the choreographer. Tickets to Paint Your Wagon are $45-$27. For reservations, call (916) 557-1999. Sacramento Music Circus is on the web at http://www.californiamusicaltheatre.com.
The new Wells Fargo Pavillion, purposefully designed to resemble a tent, will feature permanent theatre seating, replacing the tent's fold-up canvas seat, and a Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric to serve as a weather-proof covering for the performance and viewing space. There will no longer be tent poles in the seating area, clearing the view for all patrons.
The renovations to the Music Circus and the Sacramento Theatre Company's space, including new bathrooms, an expanded lighting grid and a variable-table turntable, will cost $16 million. A $3 facility fee will be added to every ticket sold to pay back the loan from the City and County of Sacramento.
— By Christine Ehren