Broadway San Jose ready to unveil ‘Hamilton’
“Hamilton” is finally making its way to San Jose this week, and Broadway San Jose General Manager Gretchen Fier couldn’t be happier than audiences being able to watch the hit musical at the Center for the Performing Arts.
“I’ve been waiting patiently to be able to bring ‘Hamilton’ to San Jose,” she said. ‘If there is one show to start our season, our re-opening, to have ‘Hamilton’ here for three weeks is the perfect show. Everyone loves it, and everyone is excited about it. The energy is there, the demand is there.”
And Feyer has a more personal reason to be happy that the show runs for three weeks in San Jose. Her husband, Daniel Fire, is the music assistant on the tour program, which means he does all the rehearsals plus two shows each week. He started touring when it opened in San Francisco, where the couple lives, but he’s been with her in Sacramento since mid-September.
“It’s a huge part of my professional life and a very big part of my personal life,” Hamilton said. “We had a lot of ‘Hamiltons’ in our house. Premiering again, reopening, ‘Hamilton’, and my husband’s back, it’s as if our worlds and our dreams collide in one. We both worked hard to get here.”
Hamilton, which opens on October 12 and runs through October 31, is kicking off a season that includes parts of the 2019-20 season that haven’t finished yet and the announced 2020-21 season that never happened. So, what Fire likes to call a “revised season” has shows like “Come From Away,” which would have closed 2019-20, along with “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Rent,” “Tootsie,” “Roald Dahl’s Charlie,” and The Chocolate Factory” and “1776” that were supposed to be part of the 2020-21 season, and two new additions like “A Magical Cirque Christmas” and “The Simon and Garfunkel Story”.
During the 18 months when Broadway San Jose was dark, Fire said employees have been kept busy trying to stay in touch with customers during the shutdown. There were virtual shows, Broadway crossword puzzles in San Jose, and even a cookbook with Broadway-inspired recipes where everyone in the house seemed to be baking or cooking.
“We’ve been trying to create and educate with them all the time,” Fayer said, adding that work included creating a Broadway San Jose app that would make ticketing and scheduling easier. The theater has also moved to mobile ticketing to reduce physical touch points.
As with other city-owned facilities, the performing arts center has COVID-19 protocols in place, including a vaccination requirement and mask authorization for beneficiaries. (Guests under 12 years old are not required to be vaccinated.) There are more precautions being taken behind the scenes for the performers and crew.
Broadway San Jose would make best use of the performing arts center’s abundant outdoor space, creating a version of the Presidents Club and concourse lounge outside for people who prefer not to eat and drink indoors.
Fire says Broadway San Jose has focused on what it means to be part of the downtown community and support BIPoC’s business throughout the season. During Hamilton, the company will be spotlighting Nirvana Soul, the South First Street café that sisters Jeronica Macey and Be’Anka Ashaolu opened last year during the pandemic.
“We have a great season and the subscribers are about to show up,” Fire said. “We are just so excited. It really is unbelievable.”
Fly for a reason: There was a hub in Google-owned Moffett Field two weeks ago Orbis International Its giant Flying Eye Hospital jet – a converted MD-10 – flew into Silicon Valley and parked at the airport. The ground crew was finishing last-minute preparations for a celebration on the tarmac on September 17 in honor of Silicon Valley’s Silicon Valley Innovation Fund Su and John A. Subrato, which the couple launched in 2019 with a million-dollar pledge. Connie and Bob Laurie were the first to join the Million Dollar Challenge in Sopratos and work together to engage others.
The pandemic has made Orbis’ efforts to end avoidable blindness worldwide even more difficult as personal training has become limited. But its small army of medical volunteers has gone online, training and supporting eye care teams around the world through Cybersight, a remote guidance platform.
Ready to walk: Everything looks good to return to a personal run on October 16 at a new venue: Excite Ballpark, the former municipal stadium on Alma Ave, after many years at Arena Green, says Deb Anderson, Senior Principal at Silicon Valley Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The new route will leave pedestrians through the center of the field and tour History Park and other sections of Kelly Park before returning to the stadium.
More than 1,000 people have registered for the rally, which begins with an opening ceremony at 9 a.m. The Alzheimer’s Association requires that walkers be vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear masks when in crowds, and there is also the option to walk from home for people who may feel more comfortable.
But other traditions will continue, including the Promise Flower Party during which Karen DeHart and her family will hold the purple flower in honor of her mother, Loretta Welch, who died of Alzheimer’s in August. Last year’s virtual rally during the pandemic raised more than $1.5 million, the largest fundraising rally in the country. The Alzheimer’s Association aims to make $1.6 million this year and is about a third of the way there. People can sign up to walk or donate on www.alz.org/walk.
Got blood?: Ken Turin, chief executive of the Silicon Valley branch of the American Red Cross, says the sharp drop in donor turnout has led to the lowest post-summer blood stocks since 2015. Donors of all types, especially type O, are encouraged to donate to get supplies to levels essential for fall. It is very important that the Red Cross give out $5 e-gift cards to people who donate in October. You can make an appointment at RedCrossBlood.org.
Sunday morning draw: San Jose Playhouse – the new live theater group formed by Guggenheim Entertainment – is a hit with “Wigs, Waffles and Wine,” a monthly “quick lunch” featuring Bay Area drag performer WooWoo Monroe and other wig-wearers Great dressed performers who will synchronize with pop songs and interact with the audience.
This weekend’s early October sold out quickly, but you can still have fun on November 21 and December 12. Check listings and get tickets – You must be 18 or over – at sanjoseplayhouse.org/wigs-waffles-wine.