Since its inception, Westside Performing Arts Company has trained youth in its summer performance camps, but company performances have been limited to fundraisers and other community events. This month, WPAC presents “A Grand Night for Singing,” their first full-scale, professional musical. The amount of singing that the cast members do in one evening is a challenge for any artist and the energy is unreal. “Grand Night for Singing” is a show for musical lovers. I had a chance to chat with Trish Spinner, the artistic director.
Tell us about WPAC.
WPAC is a theater education center and professional performing troupe. We offer classes for all ages and ability levels in singing, acting, television and film, dance, auditioning, Shakespeare, music fundamentals and script writing. WPAC’s annual schedule includes the Summer Theater Academy, a six-week program for kids and adults, the Spring Theater Academy, a one-week program for kids 7 to 18, one fully staged musical, at least one fundraiser, and theater for hire: Christmas caroling and personalized theatrical entertainment for corporate or private events.
You must be excited about your first full-scale professional production. What can we expect from “A Grand Night for Singing?”
We’re thrilled! “A Grand Night for Singing”is a review of the works of Rogers and Hammerstein. It is a beautifully arranged romantic comedy, showing all the various stages of love. The show is very intimate, and only calls for a cast of five singers. We have hand-picked some of the best in Redding.
Give us a sneek peak at some of the songs from the show.
Since this is a review of Rogers and Hammerstein, people will recognize 90 percent of the songs. There is music from “Oklahoma,” “the Sound of Music,” “Cinderella,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I” and many other favorites. The thing that makes this musical stand out is the unique and original arrangements of the songs. For example, our tenor, Jason Day, sings “How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria,” from “The Sound of Music,” which is traditionally sung by women. There are a lot of surprising twists to old favorites.
Who are your cast members ? Where else are they involved in the community?
I am the soprano in the show. By day, I am WPAC artistic director, singing instructor and music director for The Dance Project. Kim Norden, our mezzo soprano is a WPAC company member and Simpson College graduate with a music degree. Joanna Finchum, alto, is a local singing instructor and performer. Jason Day, tenor, is a professional chef with a music minor. He just returned to Redding from Alaska. Our last cast member, Matt Goodman, is a local contractor who recently returned to Redding from Chico, where he performed community theater for many years.
What do you want the audience to take with them?
I want to give Redding audiences something elegant, sophisticated and rich, with musical integrity and brilliant showmanship. This show and its cast are going to knock Redding’s socks off!
See Westside Performing Arts Company’s “A Grand Night for Singing,” Oct. 22 and 23, 7:30 p.m. and Oct 24, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and at the Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center in Weaverville, Nov. 7. Tickets are $15, on sale at Graphic Emporium, 1525 Pine Street in Redding, at Westside Performing Arts Company, 1666 E. Cypress Ave #8, Redding, or at the door. If you have questions about WPAC or the show, contact Trish Spinner at (530) 515-7151.
James Santos is a Redding native. In 2003, he returned from New York City, where he performed with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and New York City Opera. As artistic director for the Dance Project, James made Cascade Christmas a North State holiday tradition, now in its fifth year. He is the director of dance at University Preparatory School in Redding and parent to a pair of busy tots. For more information about the Dance Project, visit danceprojectredding.com.