‘Best of Broadway’: Performing Arts Guild pays homage to Broadway in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

‘Best of Broadway’: Performing Arts Guild pays homage to Broadway in Grass Valley

Performance Arts Guild’s Paulette Rudolph said that the local production company only performs their "Best of Broadway" every five years. This year, Jenna Watson, Kaylee Heaps, Griffen Dresbach-Hill, Amber Busse, and Ella Stoltenberg are part of the cast.
Photo by Sarah Moore |


WHAT: Performance Arts Guild presents “Best of Broadway”

WHERE: The Center for the Arts, 314 West Main St. Grass Valley

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, 7 p.m. Friday, March 9, 2 p.m. Saturday, March 10, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 11

TICKETS: Adults $10 advance/$12 door; Children 12 & under $4 advance/$6 door

INFO: For more information visit ncpag.com or thecenterforthearts.org

There are a myriad of popular Broadway tunes that seem to be instilled in the collective American vernacular. They’re the toe-tapping, finger-snapping anthems that have been performed to theatre crowds for decades. The music that many — even if they aren’t necessarily Broadway fans — know without fail.

In celebration of these musical classics, the Performing Arts Guild of Nevada County will be holding a series of performances beginning this weekend called “Best of Broadway.”

Taking place at The Center for the Arts, the shows will feature about 40 of the area’s most talented youths, ages 8-18, belting out the classics and inviting audiences to take an aural journey down The Great White Way.

The Great White Way is a nickname for the Theatre District of Broadway in the Midtown section of New York City.

Capturing the event in a name

Performing Arts Guild Executive Director Paulette Rudolph, who shares director credit with Mila Johansen, said that their homage to Broadway happens every five years. Up until this point, it has been called “Rhythms of Broadway,” a title that Rudolph said didn’t quite capture the essence of what they were doing.

The decision was made this year to go back to basics, and call it simply what it is: “Best of Broadway.”

“‘Rhythms on Broadway’ was the name that stayed with us for years,” Rudolph said. “This time around I thought, ‘[that name] doesn’t tell people what it’s about.’ I decided to call it ‘Best of Broadway’ because then everybody hears that and they know it’s musical selections from Broadway.

“We’ve done Broadway every five years for the past 20-25 years. We settle on the numbers because they’re fun. [We do] a mixture of music and monologues; some kids will do a short skit or monologue.”

The selections are made with the performers in mind, working with their strengths and individual talents.

“A lot of them were in it when they were younger and they were all looking forward to it,” Rudolph said. “A lot of older kids came back just to do this show.”

This year, the offerings will be familiar numbers that audiences will likely recognize, including “Anything You Can Do” (from “Annie Get Your Gun”), “On Broadway” (from “All That Jazz”), and Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ On the Ritz.”

“[There’s] something for everyone in the different acts,” Rudolph said. “Everybody participates in ‘Puttin’ On the Ritz.’”

There’s a variety of musical production numbers from shows like “My Fair Lady,” “Cinderella,” “Oliver” and “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Rudolph described “Best of Broadway” as “live entertainment by some of the most talented kids in our area. [The performance] varies, and is a variety that you can’t help but enjoy.”

Bringing theatre to families

Rudolph said that much of the inspiration behind “Best of Broadway” — and every show that the Performance Arts Guild puts on — is the need for quality, affordable programming for local families to enjoy.

“Here in town to go see anything live you [typically] have to spend $20 for a ticket — that’s a lot of money. For families on budgets this is a wonderful thing to bring your children to, an opportunity to expose them to these classic numbers,” Rudolph said. “It’s truly wonderful family entertainment.”

There are many reasons, Rudolph surmised, that people are so drawn to classic Broadway tunes.

“I think it’s because it’s just like listening to the top 40 on the radio,” she said. “There’s always one or two numbers that come out of them that people love; they stand the test of time. You think of, say, [the musical] “Cats” and people hear the songs and they recognize it; there are certain numbers that they just know. These musicals keep coming up all the time, so I think there’s a song or two in all of these that have settled in people’s hearts. People are always going to love them.”

The members of Performance Art Guild work hard to build quality sets, and are especially proud of their costumes which Rudolph described as “sparkly and bright.”

Everyone involved in the production hopes that their dedication to their craft is something that is palpable to audiences, and that perhaps another generation of Performance Art Guild performers will be inspired by what they see in Best of Broadway.

“The kids in the show, the energy they give for performing is really something to behold,” Rudolph said. “It’s a wonderful energy they are giving out to the audience, and they are loving every minute of it.”

Jennifer Nobles is a freelance writer for The Union and can be contacted at jenkrisnobles@gmail.com.

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