Holiday shows: 'Frozen Jr.' opening at Amador Theater, Mostly Kosher performing at Bankhead | News | |


Holiday shows: 'Frozen Jr.' opening at Amador Theater, Mostly Kosher performing at Bankhead

Also: Chorale's 'British Christmas,' Gay Men's Chorus, 'Winter Wonderland' in song & 'Emerald Isle Christmas'

The youngest members of Cantabella Children's Chorus. (Photo by Tom Cayton)

Holiday-themed performances abound in the Tri-Valley. Check out the variety on the schedule at local theaters and show venues in the coming days, including "Frozen Jr." onstage in Pleasanton, musicians Mostly Kosher in Livermore, a "Winter Wonderland" in song in San Ramon and the Oakland Gay Men's Chorus at Lynnewood United Methodist Church.

'Frozen Jr.' opens Friday

Young thespians portraying Princesses Elsa and Anna in the magical land of Arendelle will light up the Amador Theater as the newly formed Pleasanton Youth Theatre Company presents Disney's "Frozen Jr.," opening this Friday (Dec. 13) and running for two weekends.

The modern classic, loaded with magic, adventure and plenty of humor, is based on the 2018 Broadway musical version of the popular movie, including all its songs plus five more.

"Frozen Jr." expands upon the story and the relationship between the sisters as, when faced with danger, they discover not only their hidden potential but also the powerful bond of sisterhood.

The actors, who make up two complete casts that alternate, range in ages from 10 to 17, with a combined 67 performers.

"Getting to be a part of 'Frozen Jr.' is wonderful because everyone is so talented and supportive," said Cooper, a junior at Amador Valley High, who plays Hans. "I cannot wait for people to see this fantastic show."

Andrew Mondello returns as director and vocal director. The production crew includes Amy Tilson-Lumetta, choreographer; Ronnie La, stage manager; Isla Griston, assistant stage manager; Daria Perkova, costumer; and Sika Lonner, set design rendering.

For the first time, the troupe is partnering with the Las Positas College Theater Arts Department's career technical education program to build the sets. Students Mike Rinaldi and Karl Haller worked on this production.

"Theater gives me an opportunity to express myself, surrounded by people I love and trust," said Jenna Besh, a freshman at Foothill High, who plays King Agnarr. "The fact that we start with 40 kids in a room and end with a full-fledged production is just mind-blowing to me ... You can tell everyone's No. 1 goal is creating the best show possible."

Pleasanton recreation coordinator Mark Duncanson, who oversees everything, shared her enthusiasm.

"I think I have the best job in Pleasanton coordinating our children's theater program," he said.

The shows run Dec. 13-22; Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. General admission tickets are $10; youth 3-18 years old, $5. Go to, call 931-4848, or purchase at the theater box office, 4444 Railroad Ave.

Gypsy rock for Hanukkah

Mostly Kosher is taking the stage at the Bankhead Theater on Dec. 23 for a Hanukkah gypsy-rock celebration of jazz, Latin, rock and folk.

The band, popular on Southern California stages, reconstructs Judaic and American cultural music through klezmer beats and Yiddish refrains, which resound with the themes of social justice, human dignity and understanding.

Led by frontman Leeav Sofer, one of Jewish Journal's "30 under 30" most accomplished professionals in the Los Angeles Jewish diaspora, Mostly Kosher includes violinist Janice Mautner Markham, drummer Eric Hagstrom, bassist Adam Levy, accordionist Gee Rabe, trombonist Taylor Covey and Aníbal Seminario on clarinet and sax.

In addition to their gigs -- Downtown Disney this time of year, opening and closing act for Itzhak Perlman, and at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for a live broadcast Christmas Day -- the musicians are teaching artists for Urban Voices Project, appearing in underserved areas including prisons, community clinics and shelters.

Mostly Kosher is also mentor ensemble to the Jewish Youth Orchestra, a project of the Jewish Federation of San Gabriel Valley, offering performance opportunities and ongoing workshops for middle school and high school musicians.

The performance is at 7 p.m. Dec. 23. Tickets are $20-$40. Call 373-6800, visit, or go to the box office, 2400 First St., Livermore.

Concert chorale offers 'British Christmas'

The Valley Concert Chorale will ring in the holidays this weekend with its two annual holiday concerts, this year "A British Christmas: Celebrate with Carols from the Choir of Kings College, Cambridge."

The performance will feature the music of Stephen Cleobury, Arvo Part, David Willcocks, Carl Rutti, John Tavener, Vaughan Williams and John Rutter. Musical selections include "I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In," "I Wonder as I Wander" and "Star Carol."

In keeping with tradition, the audience is invited to join the chorale in singing selected carols including "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing." Each performance will be followed by a reception.

The first performance is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at First Presbyterian Church, 2020 Fifth St. in Livermore. The second performance is at 3 p.m. Sunday at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 1385 S. Livermore Ave. in Livermore.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door; $10 for high school and college students. Children are free. For more information, visit or by call 866-4003.

The nonprofit Valley Concert Chorale has been the Tri-Valley's premier chorus for more than 50 years. Under the direction of John Emory Bush, it offers a variety of musical performances to serve the diverse musical tastes of its audiences.

'We Are Lights'

Oakland Gay Men's Chorus will celebrate the sounds of the season with "We Are Lights" at Lynnewood United Methodist Church, 4444 Black Ave. in Pleasanton, at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday (Dec. 14) with inspiring renditions of holiday favorites like "Silver Bells," "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and "O Holy Night," alongside contemporary songs like "Sure on This Shining Night" by Morten Lauridsen and the concert's namesake, "We Are Lights (The Chanukah Song)" by Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz.

General admission tickets are $25; seniors and students are $15. Go to

'Winter Wonderland' in song

Experience the marvel of snow while sitting in comfort at the "Winter Wonderland" concert by Cantabella Children's Chorus this Saturday (Dec. 14) at the Crow Canyon Presbyterian Church in San Ramon.

The program will include a variety of favorites from different periods, from rock to jazz to classical, including "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and the precise and lively "Frosty Hand Jive" as well as compositions by Mendelssohn and Haydn.

"These songs allow you to use your imagination," artistic director Eileen Chang said. "I want our audiences to feel what winter is like. Many people have never experienced snow."

An arrangement of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" uses no words, just the instrumental sound of the human voice, sung in four parts. Another piece, "Virmalised (Northern Lights)," by renowned Estonian choral composer Veljo Tormis is another song with no words but featuring long, swirling sounds.

Cantabella training choirs will sing at 1 p.m., and performance choirs are onstage at 4 p.m. Tickets are $24; children 18 and younger are free. Purchase tickets at or at the door.

Crow Canyon Presbyterian Church is located at 9015 S. Gale Ridge Road in San Ramon.

'Emerald Isle Christmas'

Traditional Irish ensemble Danú brings an enchanting mix of music, song and dance to the Bankhead Theater in "An Emerald Isle Christmas," at 7:30 p.m. on Monday (Dec. 16).

The joyous performance features a mix of ancient Irish music and new repertoire from this troupe, which has been performing all over the world for 25 years.

Tickets are $20-$75; $20 for students to age 21 and military. Call 373-6800, visit, or go to the box office, 2400 First St., Livermore.

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