- AL FRESCO Broadway Under the Stars has become a North Bay phenomenon.
'You know the thing about the purple cow?"
Brad Surosky—actor, singer and chief operating officer of Sonoma's Transcendence Theatre Company—is searching for the best way to describe his company's rapid rise from out-of-town upstarts to invested resident artists—singers and dancers and dreamers who, against all odds, have created a certified North Bay theatrical phenomenon.
Next weekend, with a show titled This Magic Moment, Transcendence launches its fifth full season of summertime performances, having first established itself in 2012 with its popular musical-dance showcase called Broadway Under the Stars. Featuring enormous casts of performers from New York and Los Angeles, the splashy musical revues are staged outdoors in the old winery ruins at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen.
Which brings us back to that cow.
"You're driving down the street," says Surosky, "and you see a cow, and you think, 'Well, there's a cow,' and you keep driving. But if you see a purple cow, you're going to stop, get out of the car, and say, 'Hey! That's a purple cow!' And then you're going to take pictures and send them to all your friends.
"The goal we have had from the very beginning of Transcendence," he continues, "is to create a purple cow—something so special and unusual and different that people will have to notice it, and will want to come and see it and tell people about it and want to be part of the experience."
Part of the challenge of putting these shows together, is finding ways to make each show feel different from the others.
"This year," he says, "we will do that by taking songs people are used to hearing one way and working them around and turning them upside down, so you will hear them and feel them in a whole new way."
He presents This Magic Moment as a particularly strong example of that.
"The show will be an exploration of those magical moments that happen throughout life," he says. "Well, motherhood is one of those moments, right? We have two actual pregnant women—a month or so from giving birth—performing in the show. So here will be songs about that, and songs about every other kind of magic moment we experience in life."