This Valentine’s Day weekend, lovers of music, dance and musical theater can be swept off their feet by the three resident companies of the Thousand Oaks Civics Art Plaza. On Feb. 10, 5-Star Theatricals, New West Symphony and the Pacific Festival Ballet will perform together for the first time to present Music of the Night: Love Changes Everything, a joint concert featuring the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
“We’ve deliberately scheduled the performance for Valentine’s Day weekend as a way to share our love for the beauty of the performing arts with all of our friends and supporters who make our work possible,” says Will North, managing director of 5-Star Theatricals (formerly Cabrillo Music Theatre).
Dancers, musicians and singers from the resident companies will perform selections from South Pacific, The Sound of Music, Oklahoma!, Carousel and The Phantom of the Opera. Featured performers will include Tony Award-winner Anthony Crivello and Tony Award-nominee Susan Egan, the original Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast on Broadway. Another scheduled highlight will be the performance of the overture from the film version of The King and I, marking the first time that the piece will be performed live by a full orchestra.
The historic concert will be preceded by a fundraising dinner in the Civic Arts Plaza’s Founders Room. Monies raised will help support the operations of the three companies as well as help fund many of their outreach programs — including New West Symphony’s annual Symphonic Adventures concerts, its traveling Music Van and the Harmony Project; 5-Star Theatricals’ Beyond the Footlights; and the Pacific Festival Ballet’s Project Plié. The first Muse of the Year Award, given to members of the community who demonstrate outstanding support and leadership in the arts, will be presented at the dinner to Cara and Tom Cohen.
North suggested the idea of putting on a joint performance to Kim Maselli, artistic director of Pacific Festival Ballet, and Natalia Staneva, executive director of New West Symphony. “It was a no-brainer,” explains North.
“Between our three companies we have some of the most talented artists in all of Ventura County — but few members of the community avail themselves of the diversity of these performances,” says Michael Maselli, executive director of Pacific Festival Ballet. “This concert is intended to expose people to talents and experiences they may have never witnessed before and, by doing so, we hope to build new levels of appreciation and support for the arts.” Adds North, “We hope it’s the first of many opportunities to share our passions and talents.”
“We wanted to give a gift to the community on Valentine’s Day,” says Staneva. It’s a very rare gift at that. “The theater usually has a small orchestra in the pit. The ballet performs without a live orchestra due to cost constraints and the New West Symphony does not presently offer a pop series,” Staneva adds. But for one night, singers and dancers will perform with the full orchestra on stage, and there will be a few pieces that will feature performers from all three companies.
“It’s a dream scenario,” says North. “It’s an incredible opportunity for the audience,” adds Staneva. “If it’s on their bucket list to see a ballet, a musical and an orchestra, they can cross them all off in one night.”
Music of the Night promises to be a very special evening. Let’s hope it’s only the beginning.
Music of the Night takes place on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. For tickets and more information, call 449-2787 or visit www.civicartsplaza.com. For more information about the pre-concert fundraising dinner, visit www.newwestsymphony.org.