B Street Weekly: May 21-May 27

This week was full of fun. Airness continued their rocking performance on the Main Stage, the Sacramento Ballet popped in for a weekend and showed us all what beautiful dancing is, our intern company produced a beautiful original short play, and much, much more. Scroll down to see the photos from this past week and check out our Instagram and Twitter @bstreettheatre. 

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Thanks @ms2loo for coming by to the Sofia and checking out our beautiful galleries. Gallery A has a pretty beautiful view, doesn’t it?

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Acting intern Olivia Schaperjohn performed her solo show, Becoming Mary, this past Wednesday. We had a full house, a ton of laughter, and lots of Mary Poppins nostalgia. Congrats to the intern company for putting on a great show and thanks to Tara Sissom for directing a beautiful play.

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Airness received 3 1/2 stars this past week in the Sacramento Bee. Thanks Mitchel Benson for spreading the word with the great review and for those who haven’t seen it, read the review online and then come see Airness on the Mainstage.

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The Sacramento Ballet performed Modern Masters this past weekend. It was a beautiful performance and we were happy to give you a stage to dance on. Thanks @frann23 for capturing some beautiful pictures.

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Airness is continuing its rocking run to rave audiences reviews. Thanks @despinacostco for coming to the show!

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One of our good friends, Vice Mayor Steve Hanson, stopped by to watch the Sacramento Ballet’s Modern Masters. Thank you Steve for your continued support of the arts in Sacramento.

A sample of the amazing work the Ballet did this past weekend. And don’t worry folks, they’ll be back soon.

Tons of great performances are happening this week at the Sofia. Airness continues its run on the Mainstage. It only runs two more weeks so don’t wait, get your tickets quickly. On the Sutter Stage, SBL presents Nellie McKay on Thursday, while B Street Theatre is presenting Cocktails & Jazz featuring the Arlyn Anderson Trio this Tuesday before the 6:30 production of Airness.  Also, if you enjoyed the Sacramento Ballet this weekend, then you’ll love CORE Contemporary’s production of Eleven, performing this Friday and Saturday on the Sutter Stage. Come out and enjoy all the fun here at the Sofia. 

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The Songs of AIRNESS: Rocking Out Right!

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Chelsea Marcantel’s AIRNESS isn’t just about rocking out hard with an imaginary guitar, the play emphasizes feeling connected to the music as an extension of ourselves.  It is an air guitarist’s most essential tool;  setting them a part from the others, highlighting their best qualities, and conveying to the world what they wish to say. In this blog, we’ll highlight the certain songs from the play and how it captures the individual characters.

 

Michael Jackson, “Black or White”

A lot of air guitarists use their performances to spread the air guitar motto: Wars would end, climate change stop and all bad things disappear, if all the people in the world played the air guitar. Golden Thunder (played by Samuel Kebede) chooses songs which send a message out to his audience. Plus, watching Macaulay Culkin air guitar at the beginning of this video is what “airness” is all about. As Shreddy Eddy says, “It’s like when you’re a kid and the music gets inside you and the only thing you can do is spaz out.”

Joe Satriani, “Crowd Chant”

One of the pillars of air guitar is technical ability. Air guitarists can have all the heart, charisma, and artist merit in the world, but if they can’t properly mime a guitar, then it can be a bit difficult to win. Cannibal Queen (played by Tara Sissom) conveys how you don’t need lyrics or a fun chorus to rock out. You just need a great guitar lick, which Joe Satriani does pretty darn well.

The Donnas, “Take It Off”

Air Guitar competitions are split into two rounds. The first features a song the performer selects and has prepared. The second features a song that the judges choose. This is obviously a more difficult task and takes a plethora of music knowledge along with the guts to get on stage and rock out to something less known. Shreddy Eddy (played by Peter Story) conveys a moment in which three performers had to perform “Take It Off” by the Donnas, and shows us how the victor ends up slaying the song.

The Ramones, “I Don’t Want To Grow Up”

Certain songs have such a strong connection with individual air guitarists that there is no other option but to rock out to it. Shreddy Eddy says in the play, ” Tom Waits wrote that song for me.” Other songs may have crazier guitar solos or catchier melodies, but the air guitarist’s most important job is to deliver the song, and sometimes you need something closer to the heart.

Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, “I Hate Myself for Loving You”

Joan Jett rocks hard and “I Hate Myself for Loving You” is definitely one of her most famous records. But one of the things The Nina (played by Stephanie Altholz) must learn is to rock for herself and not select a song of vengeance. As Golden Thunder says, “you’re turning air guitar into a weapon. It’s basically sacrilegious.”

Ozzy Osbourne, “Crazy Train”

“Crazy Train” might be one of the best rock songs of all time, and D’Vicious (played by Josh Bonzie) supplants an air guitar legacy with the song. It’s fun, it’s crazy, it’s Ozzy Osbourne. As Sweetness, the founder of Sac Air Guitar says, “rock n’ roll in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s was so good. Why wouldn’t we pay tribute to the rockers who got the whole thing started?”

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Airness continues on the Mainstage until June 10. Come rock out with us and see what air guitar is all about. And if you really want to explore the world of air guitar, come to the Sac Air Guitar Qualifier, June 9 at Upstairs at the B. 

 

B Street Weekly: May 13-May 20

We had a crazy week which included Grammy nominated artists, the Camellia symphony, two Upstairs @ the B events and, of course, Airness. Check out the photos from this past week. 

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Airness continued to rock out this past week as audiences from all over came by to see what air guitar is all about. As Bev Sykes of the Davis Enterprise said in her review, “What may seem ridiculous on the surface has real depth and artistry…”

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The Weepies came to the Sutter Theatre this past Sunday and rocked the house. Thanks @christiespencerphotography for capturing this amazing concert.

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This last Tuesday, Tycho sold out the Sutter Theatre and played some amazing music.

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Thanks to Zac Brown, Scott Hansen, Rory O’Connor, and Billy Kim for bringing their amazing talents to the Sofia. We would love for you all to come back.

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Beautiful photo of the Sofia! Thanks @meenazaki for hanging out with us.

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This past Thursday, Paragary’s announced their special new cocktail, the Tara No. 7, dedicated and made special for Acting Company Member Tara Sissom.

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The second best air guitarist in the country, Cindairella, traveled all the way to Sacramento just to see Airness. Before the show, she, along with other air guitarists from Sac Air Guitar, rocked out in the lobby and showed our patrons what air guitar is all about.

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Tara Sissom, Dave Pierini and Stephanie Altholz, along with special guest and former intern Winston Koone, performed the first Harold improv show this past Friday, Maximum Occupancy. The laughs were a plenty in the awesome long form improv show at Upstairs @ the B.

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Fantasy Festival XXXII had their public performance in the Mainstage Theatre this past Saturday. In attendance was the Rancho Cordova Rotary Club, B Street artistic staff, and our winning student playwrights.

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Sam Kebede playing Golden Thunder in B Street’s production of Airness. Audiences are loving this funny, heartfelt show. Come rock out with us this next week as the run continues.

The Sofia is staying busy this next week. Airness continues its run on the Mainstage, the Sacramento Ballet brings its production of Modern Masters to the Sutter Theatre this next Saturday and Sunday, and Upstairs @ the B will play host to two awesome performance: Mike Cella’s The Latest Show on Thursday, and Dave Pierini’s new podcast, Poison Boot, which will be recording this next Sunday. Come to the Sofia and check out all of the amazing programming available.

The Tara No. 7 @ Paragarys

Paragary’s has always shown B Street Theatre a lot of love. But this week, they’ve done something special. As Airness continues its run on the Mainstage, the folks at Paragary’s have made a specialty cocktail for Acting Company Member Tara Sissom AKA Cannibal Queen: the Tara No 7. Artistic Associate Sean Patrick Nill talked with both Tara and Paragary’s marketing director Leidhra Johnson to discuss the partnership and this special cocktail.

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What is the Tara No. 7?

Tara: It’s my drink!

Leidhra: It’s a cocktail composed of Jack Daniels No. 7, grapefruit, lemon, honey, dry vermouth, and aperol.

Tara: Jack Daniels is my drink of choice. I grew up with grapefruit and lemon trees in my backyard and aperol is just a really fun word to say.

Tara, Pargary’s has made this drink specifically for you. Do you have any fond memories of the restaurant? 

Tara: Eleven years ago, during my internship at B Street, I went to Paragary’s for a faux-date with members of my intern company. We lived in paint clothes most of the week and we were absolutely exhausted, and so, one night we all decided to get dressed up and eat on the patio at Paragary’s. It was a moment of reprieve from our lives as theatre interns and a way to spoil ourselves for a single night. The food was amazing. Since then, I’ve always thought of Paragary’s as a place of celebration.

Leidhra, why create a specialty cocktail for one of the members of the B Street acting company? 

Leidhra: This is our second cocktail inspired by and dedicated to the B Street Theatre. These cocktails are a fun way of showing our support for our new neighbors and welcoming the B Street Theatre into our restaurant to celebrate our partnership and neighborhood.

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Tara, why’s this a good drink to have before watching Airness? 

Tara: Competitive air guitar has a suggested drink minimum and comedies are always funnier after an adult beverage. Here’s why the Tara No. 7 is a great start to your night: if you’re a whiskey fan, or a Manhattan fan, this drink is for you. It’s delicious and dangerous.

Why is B Street and Paragary’s such a good partnership? 

Leidhra: The partnership between B Street Theatre and Paragary’s goes back long before B Street’s recent move. Randy Paragary has been a supporter of B Street since it opened, quickly becoming a subscriber and serving as a board member. Randy was there when Buck Busfield  first announced his dream of creating a brand new theatre and continued to offer assistance along the way. Both Paragary’s and B Street strive to offer guests the best experience possible – it makes perfect sense that our two businesses would continue to work together on this shared goal, especially since we are now neighbors.

Tara: I mean, it’s a no brainer. Great dining and great arts have always gone hand in hand. The fact that you only have to park once to enjoy the corner of 28th and Capitol is reason enough to come by and visit.

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Leidhra, what are the special things Paragary’s is doing for B Street patrons? 

Leidhra: Paragary’s is the place to go before and after B Street Theatre shows. Guests can expect quality service, food and drinks, without having to worry about wrapping up on time to get to the show. Our team will communicate with you from the beginning of the visit to make sure your show time is noted, so that you can enjoy your experience without having to worry about finishing on time. In addition, Paragary’s has partnered with B Street to offer specials to B Street subscribers – such as rewards that can be used at Paragary’s – and will continue to offer special promotions in the future!

Leidhra, has a Paragary’s cocktail ever been made specifically for a person? 

Leidhra: It’s not every day that we dedicate a cocktail to someone, but Tara Sissom is well deserving. She’s a rock star actor and we are excited to offer a cocktail inspired by her. If you’ve seen Tara perform, you know she’s amazing – if not, what are you waiting for? When we heard Tara enjoys Jack Daniel’s No. 7, it was an easy decision to create this cocktail. Come by Paragary’s soon to try The Tara No. 7 – maybe you’ll even run into Tara enjoying one herself after a performance of Airness.

Tara, why should Paragary’s customers go see Airness?

Tara: So many reasons to come see Airness. One is the music. From baby boomers to millennials, the music in this play will take you back to those moments when you danced around in your bedroom when no one was watching. And two, this is one of my favorite shows we have done on the Mainstage and I’m so excited to be in it. It’s hilarious, it’s touching and a look into the tribes we create outside of our family and how they help shape and support us. Plus the world of competitive air guitar is real! And amazing! And impressive! These real life competitors are incredible artists, dancers, athletes and dreamers. It’s a world ripe with natural theatricality and I’m totally hooked. Come check it out…We promise to melt your faces!99 Dollars

The Tara No. 7 is currently being served at Paragary’s. Just ask the bartenders and they’ll make you this awesome drink dedicated to acting company member Tara Sissom. Also, check out Airness, running on the Main Stage until June 10. 

Fantasy Festival XXXII: Keeping the Tradition Alive

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Before there was B Street Theatre, there was Fantasy Festival, a school tour that brought theatre to gymnasiums and community halls. Before there was our location on B Street, we only had a van full of actors. For 32 years our company has gone to different schools throughout Northern California and introduced thousands of children to the power of live theatre. This Saturday’s Fantasy Festival has a public at the Sofia. Artistic Associate Sean Patrick Nill sat down with the cast: Elyse Sharp, Mikey Pollock, Nina Dramer, and Olivia Schaperjohn to discuss the tour and the reactions they’ve gotten. 

How many weeks have you been on the road?

Elyse Sharp: 8 weeks!

How many kids have you performed for thus far? 

Mikey Pollock: Over 20,000. We’ll get close to 40,000 by the end of the tour.

What’s your favorite play that’s in the tour?

Olivia Schaperjohn: The Oldridges, which tells the story of the meanest family that ever lived, and their optimistic son who attempts to teach them how to be kind. There’s a ton of interaction with the audience and the kids have an absolute blast talking back to these mean people. It’s so much fun.

Nina Dramer: Drop, Rock & Roll, which is about two kids, Derrick and Eric, (who are kind of Bill & Ted reinvented), and they are looking for guitars because they are obsessed with being rock legends. It’s the last play of the show and it’s always so much fun because I get to be a complete goof. It’s a ton of fun.

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MP: (In a silly voice)  My favorite is also Drop, Rock, & Roll cause it’s a righteous piece and I like playing guitar shop owner Billy, and I get to watch Nina and Olivia play dudes and dance their tales off and play guitar.

ES: Mine is a tie between Travel O’Matic 2000 and The Old Rat & the Cat. Travel O’Matic  is about two nerds who get to travel the world in this really amazing travel machine and at the end of the piece they teach their strict principle that the meaning of life is to have fun. And also The Old Rat & the Cat, which is a cop and robber story about the greatest thief in the world who is a rat, and a cop cat who I play. The only word I say is “meow” but the kids absolutely love it. Animals onstage, who doesn’t love that.

Whats School Tour’s daily routine? 

OS: I come in early in the morning and sleep in the van until we arrive at the first school.

ES: It always starts with coffee. We get here before the sun is up and we travel to schools within a two hour radius of Sacramento. Conway, our road manager, drives us all over northern California. We arrive at the school, we take out the entire set, all the props, all the costumes, and then we do the show (sometimes two). And after the show is done, we pack everything up, we put it back in the van, and sometimes we travel back home, and sometimes we go to another school and start the entire process over again.

ND: Sometimes I sleep too.

MP: You got a whole set-up in the back of the van.

ND: I got two pillows, a Johnny Depp blanket, and anytime I need too, I grab a snooze.

Why is it important to introduce theatre to kids? 

MP: Well, when it’s a live show, it’s never the same show twice, and every kid gets their own specific experience. And afterwards they ask us questions about theatre and we’re able to break down the amount of effort it takes to put on a show like this.

OS: They get to have that human connection that comes from theatre, which is something movies can’t provide.

ND: Most of the creative world-building that kids see now-a-days comes from books or movies or television shows or video games. Theatre is a whole different experience because it’s live world-building. So they’re imaginations really take off. They get to experience creativity happening right in front of them and it opens up a lot of possibilities that otherwise wouldn’t be available to them.

ES: Especially with the cuts happening to arts education, theatre can become a rare experience for kids. So the fact that we’re able to bring professional theatre to kids and showing them that theatre is fun and engaging, it’s really beneficial for the Northern California area. And when we answer questions after the shows, a lot of time we tell about all the different jobs that are involved in the theatre world.

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Why do you think the B Street School Tour is so good at what it does? 

ES: B Street has been doing this for 32 years. We get what kids enjoy, we get their sense of humor. And so we make sure to produce tours that meet kids at their level. We don’t play down to them. We don’t treat them like babies. We create plays that they can connect to. It’s great children’s theatre.

What’s a particular response from the show that is memorable? 

OS: The kids eat up Drop, Rock, & Roll. Anytime they see those guitars, they just absolutely lose it.

ES: There was a day, while we were preforming The Oldridges for an older group of kids (which is always scary), where Father Oldridge and Brother Oldridge have this heart to heart and there was the girl in the front row who started crying. And afterwards she came up to us and told us how touched she was by that story.

MP: Kids really respond well to The Oldridges. There was one kid that yelled out in the middle of the performance, “I get it! That’s how you’re not supposed to behave.” It was really cute.

ES: I also love during Travel O’Matic when Mikey points out to the audience and says, “You kids stop having fun!” And all the kids turn around as if there’s a kid having fun who shouldn’t be. It’s always great.

ND: Mine was actually today. During The Oldridges, I point out one of the kids and tell him, “I oughta steal your shoes and make you walk barefoot.” And the kid looked at his shoes, and said, “THESE?!” It was hysterical.

The public performance for Fantasy Festival XXXII will be this Saturday at 10:00 AM at the Sofia Tsakopoulos Center for the Arts. Come check out our fabulous school tour team. And for those teachers who love the B Street School Tour, check out our website for more educational theatre opportunities such as the Family Series. 

 

 

B Street Weekly: May 7-13

We saw a lot of things at the Sofia this week. The closing of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the opening of Airness, and tons of concerts and special events in between. Scroll down to see all the fun we’ve had, and if you want more, follow us on Instagram and Twitter @bstreettheatre

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Thank you so much @dena_tea_master for coming to see the last public performance of The Lion, The Witch & The Wardbrobe. It was a magical show and we miss it already. Especially the snow!

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Students of the adult conservatory Sketch Performance class with Tara Sissom performed their final showcase this past Monday! It seems as if it were a stress-free environment 🙂

Playwright of Airness, Chelsea Marcantel, took a photo with the members of the Sacramento Chapter of U.S. Air Guitar on opening night!

The cast of Fantasy Festival  XXXII took a picture next to Branche Sprentz Elementary’s “River of Kindness.”  Colorful rocks match our costumes!

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Thank you @carmenmisca for coming to our show and sharing the power of your story. Air guitar truly does make the world a better place!

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The Sacramento Women’s Chorus performing their “Power of One” Concert on Saturday. They sold out the Sutter Theatre. Congratulations ladies!

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Chelsea Marcantel, playwright of Airness, with Acting Company Members Tara Sissom and Stephanie Altholz. Thanks @chelseapolaskcantel for coming to see our show and thanks @tunisianholdiay for capturing this rocking moment!

The Sofia has a lot happening this upcoming week. Airness continues its run, with a talk back happening this Tuesday with Sac Air Guitar. Fantasy Festival XXXII will have its public performance this Saturday at 10:00 AM. Concerts include The Weepies tonight, Tycho on Tuesday (sold out), James Hunter Six on Thursday and the Camellia Symphony performing on Saturday and Sunday. Also, Upstairs @ the B is up and running with our first Harold Improv Show, Maximum Occupancy, performing this Friday and John Lamb’s Seekers of the Strange happening on Sunday. Come to the Sofia and experience the fun.

 

 

A Chat with Chelsea Marcantel: Playwright of “Airness”

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Chelsea Marcantel is the award winning playwright of Airness. She is not an air guitarist. Nor does she come from an air guitar shredding family. However, through her own experiences, she found the world of air guitar and wrote a fantastic play about it. Chelsea sat down with Artistic Associate Sean Nill to answer some questions for our audiences.

How did you discover air guitar?

Years ago, when I lived in Chicago, I dated someone who got really into Air Guitar. At the time, I thought it was the dumbest thing I’d ever heard of and the relationship didn’t last very long after that. Years later, that world popped up again in my mind and I thought “wouldn’t that be a fun space in which to set a play?” The more research I did about air guitar, the more I realized that the guy in question—when he found air guitar—must’ve felt the way I did when I found theatre kids in junior high school. It’s less about activity and more about the tribe. I totally get the appeal now and I gotta say I’m an unapologetic super fan.

Have you ever competed in an air guitar show? 

I’ve never performed myself, but I was honored to be asked to judge the Dark Horse competition at the 2017 Nationals in Washington D.C.

When did you decide to write a play about air guitar?

I started working on the play in the Spring of 2015 when I was in my first year at Julliard.

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How did Airness end up in the 2017 Humana Festival at the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville? 

My agent submitted the play to ATL and I was sort of shocked when it was accepted into the Humana Festival. It hadn’t had a workshop or even a single reading. That ended up being a blessing though because we had to build it from the ground up with the amazing team of actors and designers that ATL assembled.

I understand that the reigning international air guitar champion, Aristotle, was in the original production. How did he assist? Did his expertise add to the play? 

Matt Burns (nom d’air: Aristotle) played the role of the Announcer in the original production. In addition to his face-melting curtain call performance night, Matt was an amazing collaborator to have in the room. His generosity of spirit and his wealth of knowledge combined to make us all better, more better, and more joyful. He would show up to rehearsals he wasn’t even called for just in case he could help. I love that dude. I want to write a part for him in every show I write for the rest of my life.

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What type of stories do you enjoy writing? How does Airness fit among those stories? 

I enjoy writing stories about humans as small group primates. Our given tribes, our chosen tribes, the value systems we create and inherit and seek out—these are the stories I find fascinating. I’m drawn to small groups of people living in non-traditional ways and what happens when someone in or out of one of these groups. Airness is exactly this type of tribal story. It just has a lot more choreography than my other plays.

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B Street Theatre is hosting Sac Air Guitar’s National Qualifier on June 9. Why should people participate? 

As we say in the play, Air guitar captures the raw joy of being a kid and jumping around in your bedroom, but instead of being alone, you’re in front of screaming fans. It’s rock star LARPing and the vibe is exciting and welcoming. The air guitar community is one of the most fun you’ll find anywhere and the experience of a live show is not to be forgotten. It’s a competition technically, but it is way more about fun, camaraderie, and absolute exuberance.

Why is this a good story to tell in present day America? 

The message that we are all stronger together and that the point of society is to build people up, not tear them down—these messages shouldn’t be political. But in the increasing bifurcated America we live in, I think we desperately need stories about solidarity and teamwork. And plays about joy can be completely refreshing in a world where many of us feel worn-down and frustrated.

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If you had a air guitar persona, what would she be like? 

At Nationals last year, someone dubbed me “The Air-vangelist.” That’s my persona. I’m here to spread the gospel of raw f*#king joy!

Tonight is the night! Airness is officially opening today, May 11 at 8:00 PM, and runs until June 10. Get your tickets now, and come rock out with us at the B Street Theatre.