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Firehouse Arts Center announces 2015-16 season

Sixth year brings concerts, plays, musicals, films

Grammy winners, rock 'n' roll legends, award-winning Bay Area theater productions, comedy hi-jinx, world music icons, a brand-new indie film series, cutting-edge music groups and No. 1 Billboard recording artists: The Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton has just announced its 2015-16 season lineup.

"Our underlying theme is 'something different,' or 'covering new ground.' I like the idea of 'divergent' for our approach to this sixth season," said Firehouse Theater supervisor Rob Vogt.

New this season, the Firehouse is presenting a film series, themed "Thrill Rides," with four classic indie thrillers, at 7:30 p.m. various Wednesdays. Popcorn, beverages and snacks will be available at the lobby concessions bay.

The intimate, two-floor, 220-seat theater is unique in the Tri-Valley, noted guest services coordinator Jane Onojafe, who added that performers often mention after a show what an energizing experience it was to feel such a great connection with the audience.

"Plus 99% of the time the performers will come out to the lobby after the show to chat with patrons, which is possible because of the size of our venue," Onojafe said.

The new season opens Sept. 5 with a rock-string quartet, Darlingside from Massachusetts, known for their playful vocals and retro instrumentations.

Julian Lage, who was the subject of the Oscar-nominated film "Jules at Eight," will perform Oct. 4.

"Jazz guitarist Lage is someone I've always wanted to present here," theater supervisor Vogt said, "and he's giving us a rare solo concert."

"October turned into the concert month at the Firehouse," Vogt added.

That month will also see Edmar Castaneda, a fiery Columbian harpist; Unauthorized Rolling Stones; international award-winning illusionist Alex Ramon in his new "close-up magic" show; Pleasanton-born Tony Furtado with his Americana amalgam of bluegrass, folk, blues, country and R&B roots music; and Tito Y Su Son De Cuba with big band Cuban sounds.

The only returning act in October is the kick-off show Oct. 3, which will feature blues harmonica master Mark Hummel, who will appear with his Golden State Lonestar Revue.

By design, November and December will have shows that are returning by popular demand, including bluegrass powerhouse Special Consensus; Jeff Bordes & Friends, "A Jazzy Christmas;" "Joel," featuring Kyle Martin in his tribute to piano man Billy Joel; and "A Cash Country Christmas." December People will return with its family-friendly rock 'n' roll holiday blow-out concert, and Will Durst & friends will once again bring comedy to the stage for their "Big Fat Year-End Kiss-Off."

Concerts in 2016 include the band Ambrosia; Heart by Heart rock concert featuring original band members, all-male a capella phenomenon M-PACT, edgy sisters "roots rock" duo Larkin Poe, Jayme Stone's Lomax Project and "An Afternoon with Groucho."

Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre, the Firehouse's musical theater company, kicks off its season in November with "South Pacific," and next year will present a Disney classic in January to February and the world premiere of "Enchanted April" in April to May.

Civic Arts Stage Company, Pleasanton's children's theater program, in collaboration with Bay Area Children's Theatre will present "Tales of Olympus Jr., Elf Jr." and "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The city's teen improv troupe, Creatures of Impulse, will also perform long and short-form shows.

The Harrington Gallery, which is open during shows to ticket holders an hour before curtain, will continue with fine arts installations throughout the year.

For more information, visit www.firehousearts.org or call 931-4848.

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