By Stacy Lee
The best of Broadway music is coming to the San Gabriel Valley.
The San Gabriel Valley Music Theater is having its 10th Anniversary Concert on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Cleaver Hall at Church of Our Savior in San Gabriel.
The production will feature a reprise of the most popular songs from the past 10 years of Broadway musicals at the theater as well as music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Leonard Bernstein.
Broadway musical songs will be performed from “Guys and Dolls,” “South Pacific,” “Miss Saigon,” “The King and I,” “Forever Plaid,” “The Sound of Music” and “Nunsense.”
Bobby Hundley, producing artistic director for San Gabriel Valley Music Theater, said doing the reprisal was “an obvious choice.”
“A lot of our loyal ticket buyers have been asking for this,” he said. “They really love the classic Broadway show tunes.”
Both Hundley and San Gabriel Valley Music Theater Past President Sally Baldwin said they are excited about celebrating the theater’s 10th anniversary.
“I was president of the organization for many years,” Baldwin said. “I’m so proud of everything we’ve done. We’ve come a long way and we still have a long way to go.”
“We’re excited that we’re still going after 10 years,” Hundley said. “Arts organizations around town are having a difficult time staying afloat. We have a strong base of supporters.”
San Gabriel Valley Music Theater Managing Director Ray Rochelle has chosen eight performers who have sung the featured songs on and off Broadway in addition to in regional productions. Kristen Towers-Rowles and Phil Gold will headline.
Towers-Rowles was named Musical Theatre Performer of the Year 2015 by StageSceneLA and is the granddaughter of famous actress Kathryn Grayson. She even starred in the musical “A Lovely Lineage,” which was about her grandmother. Towers-Rowels’ tours have included a role of Christine in “Phantom of the Opera” and Cosette in “Les Miserables in Concert.” Her regional performances were in “Part of Plan” and “Violet.”
Gold is a member of the local quartet The Perfect Gentlemen. He has toured in “City of Angels,” “The Music Man,” “My Fair Lady” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Gold’s regional performances were “Forever Plaid,” “Guys & Dolls,” “My Fair Lady,” “Oklahoma,” “Plaid Tidings,” “Assassins” and “The Mikado.”
Maestro Richard Allen will provide the keyboards and arrangement for the production.
Hundley said the 10th anniversary celebration is a little bitter sweet because of the recent unexpected death of a long time SGV Music Theater supporter and president Leanne Dickson.
He said Dickson was really looking forward to the anniversary show.
“Music theater has enhanced the quality of life of our communities,” Hundley said. “Leanne was instrumental in carrying out that vision. Whether it was her kind smile or her witty rapport with donors and ticket buyers, she always sought to make sure everyone felt like they were a part of one community, one family, whenever they attended an SGVMT event. Because of her, we have inherited a wonderful legacy of music theatre and this phenomenal concert event will be a shining example of that.”
The concerts are being dedicated to Dickson.
“She loved music theater so much,” Baldwin said. “She was a wonderful person. She was very giving and loving, and involved in the community. She was one of my best friends.”
She added that Church of Our Savior has been very kind to allow the theater to use Cleaver Hall.
Hundley said it’s important for the community to support the arts.
“For the arts to fail, people just simply have to do nothing,” he said. “People just have to stay home.”
Hundley said San Gabriel Valley residents will “get a chance to hear the caliber of talent in their backyard” by attending this concert.
He continued, “They don’t have to go downtown. They get to taste this high level talent for a very affordable cost. Last time I checked, I didn’t see anything local celebrating the best of Broadway with the level of talent that we have.”
“It’s not a production of any kind,” Baldwin said. “It’s going to be a lot of beautiful music and a beautiful setting. I think everyone will enjoy it. If you like music, you will love this show. Our performers are incredible.”
Cleaver Hall is located at 535 West Roses Road. Tickets are $35 apiece and can be ordered at email@example.com or by calling 626.272.2460. For more information, visit sgvmusictheatre.org.