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Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

It’s nearly summertime, which means a whole new season of theater, music and art to enjoy, and possibly distract us from the Valley’s soon-to-be oppressive heat. Back in the studio is Donald Munro, a longtime Fresno arts reporter and creator of The Munro Review.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Last week, for the first time, downtown Fresno’s Saroyan Theater transformed into the Pridelands, complete with larger than life giraffes, and an iconic warthog-meerkat duo. Actors Martina Sykes and Gerald Ramsey, who play Shenzi and Mufasa, came to the station to talk about the show and how they take a well-known animated film and translate its music and themes to the stage.

You can hear listen to the interview above to hear more.

The Munro Review

Donald Munro is kind of a legend among arts lovers in Fresno. For 16 years, he covered theater, visual art, dance, classical music and more for the Fresno Bee.  Now, he’s keeping his arts reporting alive with a member-supported website called The Munro Review. It’s kind of like public radio: Anyone can access it, but he relies on donations from subscribers. He spoke with us about this project, and what shows we should look out for this Fall.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

As summer winds down, and school picks back up, local theater groups are starting to plan their next seasons with which to entertain the Valley. The Selma Arts Center just announced its upcoming season, while celebrating its fifth year in action. We spoke with Nicolette C. Anderson, the Coordinator for the Center, and Juan Guzman who will be directing one of the shows, to hear what they have in store for their 2019 season.

Cornerstone Theater Company

What do you get when you add Shakespeare to California?

Fowler.

The traveling Los Angeles based Cornerstone Theater Company is hosting a rendition of the play 'The Tempest' in Fowler this week called 'California: The Tempest.'

Fowler is just one of 10 stops along the company's journey. Other cities in the tour include Valley locales like Arvin and Lost Hills and larger cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

http://sfyouththeatre.org/Performances.html

In December a new play will take the stage at Fresno City College and it has a special connection to the community – it’s a musical by Fresno City College alumnus and acclaimed author Gary Soto. He joins Valley Edition Host Joe Moore for or a conversation about the play. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The United States is dominated by box office hits played at megaplexes with sometimes as many as 21 plus screens, but no more than a few decades ago film venues looked very different especially for the Latino community. But today in Fresno, one young woman has taken on the task to reopen the region’s only Spanish language theater.

Thirty years ago, the main hall of Teatro Azteca in Fresno’s Chinatown was filled with the sounds of famous Spanish language actors, singers and comedians.

Think Cantinflas, the Mexican Charlie Chaplin. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The City of Selma opens the doors of its new Arts Center Wednesday evening with a ribbon cutting ceremony. And while the building's striking architecture is creating a buzz, its mission as a cultural center has captured the community's imagination. Valley Public Radio’s Joe Moore reports.

Dozens of painters, plasterers, and electricians were hard at work today in downtown Selma, putting the finishing touches on a new jewel in the city's downtown - the $2.5 million Selma Arts Center. 

It's lunchtime at the Sanger High School Cafeteria. But instead of hundreds of teenagers, the room on this Saturday is filled with ordinary Valley residents of all ages and ethnicities, some writers, and a handful of theatre professionals from LA's Cornerstone Theatre. And even though many of them just ate, the conversation quickly turns to the issue of the day… hunger.