“Standing on Ceremony”
The marriage-equality production “Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays” brings short works by Tony Award and Pultizer Prize winners such as Moisés Kaufman, Neil LaBute, Paul Rudnick and Mo Gaffney to the stage. The touring show by the New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco portrays many facets of same-sex marriage. A discussion will be held after the performance. Proceeds from the Modesto performance will be awarded to local LGBT programs.
The long-running popular variety show “Senior Spotlight” returns. The event featuring senior singers, dancers, musicians and more has been produced annually for more than a decade by Grace Lieberman, former executive director of the Stanislaus Arts Council. More than a dozen entertainers will take the stage. This year’s featured performers are Betty Bilson, Claudia Ridgway, Greg Pyatt, Rich and Ginger Colla, Tom Ackerman and Ralph Curtis. Laurie Freitas returns as emcee, and Darryl Tucker will play the organ. Barbara Bogart is the show’s co-director, and Tom Olson is the stage manager.
Townsend Opera presents the world premiere of the reworked American Civil War-era opera “Tawawa House.” The story of the stop on the Underground Railroad that became the nation’s first historically black college comes to life through song. The work by American Zenobia Powell Perry was written in 1984 and has been edited and rewritten since. Spirituals and music convey the history of the former resort where free or escaped slaves live and worked.
“Sex and the City” and “Parenthood” star John Corbett returns for a show to benefit the Welcome Home Heroes Foundation. The actor and singer has toured with his country band for almost a decade and put out two albums. He returns to the Fat Cat Music House & Lounge, where his band played its first show in 2005, with all proceeds going to veterans and their families. The concert is the kickoff to the True American Heroes Weekend ( http://trueamericanhero.org), which will feature legendary motorcycle racer Kenny “King” Roberts, Corbett and his longtime girlfriend, actress Bo Derek. The couple are good friends with Roberts, who lives in Modesto.
“The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”
Playhouse Merced brings the musical romp “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” to the stage. The story, made popular by the 1982 movie starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds, is set in the 1970s in the Lonestar state’s most famous brothel, the Chicken Ranch. Its infamous madam, Ms. Mona (played by Dianne Kocher), is at odds with the town’s preacher, Melvin P. Thorpe (G.B. Blackmon III), and its sheriff, Ed Earl (Joe Hypes).
Latin rockers Malo bring four decades of experience to the Fat Cat Music House & Lounge. The San Francisco-based ensemble, led by Arcelio Garcia and Jorge Santana (brother of Carlos Santana), has been a pioneer of Latin rock since the 1970s. One of the band’s early hits, “Suavecito,” has been called the Chicano national anthem. The music was sampled in the 1999 Sugar Ray hit “Every Morning.”