Directed by: Allison F. Rich
Featuring: Allison F. Rich, Keith Pinto, Alison Ewing, Courtney Hatcher, Will Springhorn Jr., Mason Kimont
When: 7 p.m. Friday, December 21 and 7 p.m. Saturday, December 22, 2018
Where: The Stage, 490 South First Street, San Jose
Tickets: $38-$50. Call 408-283-7142 or visit www.thestage.org
for The Stage in San Jose
It makes so much sense: A theater has unused performance space between productions, why not use it to have a big party, and make a little money to support itself in the process?
That’s what The Stage will be doing on Friday, December 21, and Saturday, December 22, after its excellent production of “Between Riverside and Crazy” closes on Sunday, December 16.
The party/fundraiser is called “Alcoholidaze, Another Round,” and will feature five excellent performers accompanied by a fine pianist, and the booze is expected to flow like water.
“The tree won’t be the only thing getting lit this season!” reads a flyer for the event.
“I did a cabaret solo show two years ago,” said organizer Allison F. Rich during a recent phone interview. “It was basically a one-woman show, ‘Alcoholidaze.’ The theme was me lamenting the holiday season because I personally am not a huge fan of it, and as we all know, so many people, when they gather with their families, there’s a lot of drinking to cope. It was me, lamenting being a Jewish single woman at the holidays.
“I did some obscure cabaret numbers, some connected to the holidays. Tongue-in-cheek anti-holiday numbers, about drinking. It was connected to my life.”
In those days, Rich was an associate artist at The Stage, and called on to appear in many of its shows. She is a powerful and beautiful actress.
Since then, she has become associate artistic director at The Stage, and takes a stronger hand in helping the company as it plans its seasons and continues to strengthen its standing in San Jose’s downtown arts community.
(The Stage recently bought the building it’s rented for more than two decades, and plans are afoot to develop an eight-story hotel on the property, with the bottom two floors reserved for The Stage’s performance and rehearsal spaces. Audience seating is expected to expand from 200 seats to 350 seats.)
This year’s Alcoholidaze has expanded by adding four more excellent performers: Keith Pinto, Alison Ewing, Courtney Hatcher, and Will Springhorn Jr.
Pinto, who is married to Ewing, was astounding as the emcee in “Cabaret” in 2017 at Hillbarn Theatre, and astounding again this year in the title role of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” at The Stage. Ewing, who has starred on major stages all over the Bay Area, for the past few years has been performing in Broadway road shows, most recently “Anastasia.” For “Alcolholidaze,” the talented couple will be playing off each other in duets, said Rich.
Hatcher, Springhorn and Rich have also been outstanding on numerous stages, and the five of them will be on stage together the entire time, interacting with the audience — “We’re getting rid of the fourth wall,” said Rich — with no blackouts. All music, all fun, all the time.
And while there will be a bar in the lobby where guests can buy drinks, there will also be a bar on the stage for the actors, “Like the Rat Pack, who always had drinks in their hands,” said Rich.
Audience members will be able to order drinks in the lobby that will be “significantly more expensive, to be delivered by the performers during the show” said Rich. It’s “to raise money for the theater. You can request a specific drink, then it will be poured or concocted on stage, and served to you during the show.
“I want it to feel very interactive. I want the audience to feel relaxed, and participate with the stories on stage.”
The best part, Rich said, “is that so many of the performers are those that San Jose Stage audiences have seen multiple times. It’s really cool that we’re just ourselves. We’re all close, all good friends. You’ll see a lot of the relationships being displayed. These are some of my favorite people on the planet.”
Rich went to each of the other four, and asked that they send her what they would like to contribute. Then her job is to fit it all together into a cohesive set.
A baby grand piano is being brought in for accompaniment, to be played by Mason Kimont, who in addition to working occasionally with The Stage, is jazz band director at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose.