Performer photos by Barry Wisdom
"How Long Has This Been Going On?-A Tribute to George and Ira Gershwin"
opened the fifth season of cabaret at Sacramento Theatre Company
Thursday evening to an enthusiastic audience.
Although the Gershwin’s music goes back to the 1930s and George died
tragically in 1937 at the age of 38 the music they created endures as
some of the best examples of the Great American Songbook. Ira Gershwin
went on to compose with several other lyricists living to the age of 87.
STC producing director, Michael Laun who created the cabaret series,
enlisted Jerry Lee ("Musical of Musicals the Musical!!,"
"Frankenstein"-recently closed at STC) one of Sacramento’s best young
actor/singers to direct. While we don’t get to hear Lee sing, he does a
nice job of staging the production and helped choose the musical
The show features over two dozen of the Gershwin’s most popular songs
with only a few of their less known numbers. This is in part because
their vast popularity has made so much of their work is so well known.
With all his other responsibilities, the cabaret shows are the only
opportunity for Laun to perform and it is obvious that he is having a
great time as well as turning in a great performance. He is also very
generous with giving the other performers lots of performance time.
Tevye Ditter is making his STC debut with "How Long Has This Been Going
On?" He has appeared in many of the best community theatre productions
in the Sacramento region and has been nominated for and won several Elly
Awards. Ditter has a very nice voice and did a good job on several solos.
Also debuting at STC is Miranda Lawson who has performed most of her roles outside the Sacramento region, most recently as Gary Coleman in the great musical "Avenue Q." She is a great find for the STC Cabaret. Her obvious affection for the material is part of her excellent performance.
Traditionally the STC Cabaret productions feature a performer from the
STC Young Professionals Conservatory. For this show it is Christine
Miyashiro. The level of professionalism and the quality of performance
these young people exhibit is astounding and Miyashiro is no exception.
She has a beautiful clear voice and nice delivery.
Nanci Zoppi is probably the best known Sacramento actor/singer in the
production. She has performed at the Cosmopolitan Cabaret, B Street and
New Helvetia Theatre among other local stages. Along with director Lee,
Zoppi is a popular performer at the very popular Graham-A-Rama Cabaret
shows. She is especially good on songs from one of the Gershwin’s most
famous works the opera/musical "Porgy and Bess", including "My Man’s
Gone Now" and singing "Summertime" as both opera and jazz.
Music director and pianist is Erik Daniels. Daniels is a familiar
figure as musical director and or accompanist at musicals all over town
including most recently "Musical of Musicals-the Musical!! (STC),
"Little Fish" (New Helvetia Theatre), and "Anything Goes" (Music
Circus). The Gershwin compositions in this show definitely gives him
something to sink his teeth in.
Daniels is joined by bassist Zack Sapunor who has also appeared in "A
Christmas Carol" and "Always Patsy Cline" at STC. Along with
performance with theatres in the region he is the bassist with his Sammy
nominated jazz duo The Afterlife at The Shady Lady on Wednesday nights.
Sapunor is especially great where he is featured on "Slap That Bass."
For anyone that is a Gershwin fan, "How Long Has This Been Going On?" is
a must see. For anyone that loves professional performance of some of
the best compositions of the Great American Songbook, they will have a
"How Long Has This Been Going On?-A Tribute to George and Ira Gershwin" Sacramento Theatre Company Cabaret