Columns Sally Hogarty Stage Struck

Local shows range from ‘Our Town’ to Broadway

Local shows range from ‘Our Town’ to Broadway
Left: Arastoo Darakhshan plays a villain in Synergy Theater’s “Spontaneous Charles Dickens” through April 24 at the Lesher Center. (Photo courtesy of Synergy Theatre). Right: Madison Morgan and Max Carpenter appear in Center Rep’s “Our Town” through May 7 in Walnut Creek. (Tom Deans Flegel photo)

Columns Sally Hogarty Stage StruckCONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Apr. 15, 2022) — In “Spontaneous Charles Dickens,” the oh-so-clever performers of Synergy Theater present a completely improvised tale in the style of Charles Dickens.

The show runs through April 24 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr. For tickets, call 925-943-SHOW or go to

Celebrating the beauty of ordinary people and their relationships, Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” comes to the Lesher Center April 15-May 7. Markus Potter directs the show produced by Center Repertory Company. (Update: “Our Town” opening delayed until April 22 due to a member of the production crew testing positive for COVID-19)

Winner of the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for drama, “Our Town” follows the inhabitants of a small American town as they go about their daily lives. Having acted in this play first as one of the children and more recently as Mrs. Webb, I can attest to how powerful this seemingly simple work can be.

Performed on a bare stage with props and actions pantomimed, this circle-of-life drama asks if we truly appreciate what life has to offer. For tickets, call 925-943-SHOW or go to

Forbidden Broadway

Time to get those singing/acting skills polished for Clayton Theatre Company’s (CTC) auditions for “Forbidden Broadway’s Greatest Hits,” created by Gerard Alessandrini. Broadway’s legends meet one of Broadway’s greatest satirists in this entertaining tribute to some of the theater’s biggest stars and songwriters.

Auditions are 3-5 p.m. May 1 and 7-9 p.m. May 2 at Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton. No appointment needed. The audition requires a two-minute monologue and 32 bars from a Broadway show. Go to to download the audition form. Rehearsals begin Sept. 6, with performances Oct. 14-29.

If you’re looking for a creative outlet for your 6- to 16-year-old, try CTC’s Summer Stage 2022. It takes place 10 a.m.-1 p.m. July 11-15 and July 18-22 at Endeavor Hall. The camp culminates with a performance of scenes from “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown.” Visit or call 925-334-0880 for camp information.

Art and Wine

Meanwhile, CTC happily announces that the Clayton Business & Community Association (CBCA) will once again hold its Art & Wine Festival. Following a two-year hiatus thanks to COVID, the event returns April 23-24.

“This is a major fundraiser for CBCA and enables the association to donate money to many groups in our area, including Clayton Theatre Company,” said managing director Roxanne Pardi.

The CBCA is currently looking for volunteers for the event. By volunteering and putting CTC on the form, you’ll help the company raise much-needed funds. Email Tuija Catalano at

Oliver! and Beethoven

The Tony and Oscar award-winning musical “Oliver!” comes to the El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. 2nd St., Antioch, April 30-May 8.
Produced by Pittsburg Community Theatre, the story of an orphan boy on a quest to find love and family in Victorian England features a plethora of Broadway classic tunes and unforgettable characters. Suzan Lorraine directs the large cast. Call 925-757-9500 or go to for tickets.

Also at the El Campanil, celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday with a “Belated Birthday Bash” presented by the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra. The great composer’s 250th birthday was in late 2020, so COVID derailed any public celebrations. The belated performance takes place 2 p.m. April 23 and includes “Overture to Fidelio,” “Symphony No. 8 in F Major” and “Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major.” For tickets, go to

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Sally Hogarty
Sally Hogarty

Sally Hogarty is well known around the Bay Area as a newspaper columnist, theatre critic and working actress. She is the editor of the Orinda News. Send comments to