A chance to see an obscure musical in a full staged production was the motivation to make a weekend trip to Sacramento. It had been over ten years since either one of us had been to California’s state capital. We decided to see if we could make a gay and theatre weekend out of it. Surprisingly, the city has a lively gay scene and a vibrant theatre community. We were impressed and would make another trip to the area.
Out in Sacramento: We stayed at a gay owned bed and breakfast, the Inn at Parkside. It is one of the most beautiful B and B’s we have stayed in. The place offers many extra amenities and also operates as a high end day spa. Although the inn is gay owned, most of the clients/guests are straight.
Both Friday and Saturday evenings after attending theatre, we headed to the Midtown area of Sacramento for dinner and dancing.
Midtown is the happening place in town. It has a wonderful selection of restaurants, shops and art galleries. It also has the gayest corner in town: 20th and L Streets. There are several gay clubs and bars located there: Badlands, Faces and The Depot. We spent both nights dancing at the club Badlands. The club is spread out over three floors. It has four bars, a patio area and a balcony that overlooks the dance floor and the outside street. The crowd was diverse and friendly. The music and videos were good.
There were another group of clubs, bars and gay establishments we didn’t have time to check out:The Bolt, Bojangles, Headhunters Video Lounge & Grille,
Newspaper – OutWord; On-line – Out Sacramento, Valley Rainbow Pages
Theatre Beat: Sacramento has several excellent theatre companies. The reason for our trip was to see “Whistle Down the Wind” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman (known for his work with Meat Loaf, Bonnie Tyler and others). It was being performed at Broadway Sacramento. The musical has been a hit in London but has never played on Broadway. Many of Lloyd Webber’s favorite themes and elements from “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “Evita”, “Phantom of the Opera” are part of the show. There is a large children’s choir, soaring anthems, strong male tenor solos, a tormented potential savior/liberator, a climactic manhunt and impassioned emotions. The story is a study of childhood innocence and the simple faith of three motherless children that discover a fugitive in their barn that they believe is Jesus. It is set in a small town in Louisiana in 1959. The show was fun.
The other show we saw was the play “A Skull in Connemara” by Martin McDonagh at the B Street Theatre. McDonagh, a young Irish playwright, writes very dark, bleak, violent, black comedies. He wrote seven plays, all produced in London and NYC, and says he will not write any more. He wants to do movies now. I believe his main claim to fame will be that he was able to bring to the live stage the film esthetic of glorifying gratuitous violence to a high art form as seen in the movies from Sam Peckinpah to Quentin Tarantino. “Skull” revolves around the question: Did the gravedigger's wife die when he was drunk at the wheel or as a result of a deadly blow?
There are a couple other theatre companies we will have to go back and try:
Sacramento Theatre Company, and a LGBT theatre Lambda Players Theatre.
Trivia: Wikipedia claims that the song "No Matter What" from “Whistle Down the Wind”, was released as a single by Boyzone (an Irish boy band from the 90’s) and had unprecedented success: it went platinum, was voted the UK's Record of the Year for 1998, and hit #1 in 18 countries, becoming the most successful single produced from a musical in history. I never heard of it or any Boyzone song.