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Susanville’s Best of Broadway Gears Up For 2018 Performances

In 2017 songs from the Little Mermaid were featured as part of the Best of Broadway shows.

With a cast and crew comprised of more than 170 talented local folks, Susanville’s Best of Broadway organization is set to begin its 19th year of performances, scheduled for the first two weeks in March, with shows that feature songs from musicals like Legally Blonde, Annie, Wicked, Footloose, Hello Dolly, Nightmare Before Christmas and Newsies performed live on-stage at the Veterans Memorial Hall on Main Street.

The program has something for everyone – from traditional Broadway musicals like Hello Dolly and Newsies and musical adaptations of Hollywood hits like Legally Blonde and Footloose, to the dark fantasy of Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas – musical goodness for a variety of tastes and ages professionally produced with great lights and sound, lavish scenery and gorgeous costumes.

“For the kids, I would like to think their favorite show would have to be Newsies, Annie, or The Nightmare Before Christmas,” says Best of Broadway Assistant Director Mikalah Gray. “There is a lot of incredible dancing going on, and the voices are a bonus.”

“Hello Dolly is a great number for the older adults as well. Charlene Gifford is the director and she put a lot of character, charismatic people and once again, amazing voices to make it look and sound amazing.”

Two of Gray’s picks to be audience favorites are directed by Matt Ngotel – Wicked, which she calls, “powerful, sharp, intense, strong, with great dancing and voices” and Legally Blonde which she says is hilarious, organized and put together perfectly.

“There is only one song in that number because it is so long, I think it’s around 8 minutes. There’s so much that could happen in 8 minutes, and what Matt puts together is incredible.”

This year nearly 200 aspiring local actors and actresses auditioned for parts in the production which enjoys an average annual attendance of over 1,400 community members, making it the largest performing arts program in Lassen County. Best of Broadway operates on a volunteer basis and provides cast and crew members the opportunity to learn every aspect of theater production including singing, dancing, drama, stage lighting, sound engineering, back stage management, props and stage makeup.

Gray has made the transition from performing to directing for the 2018 production, part of the natural process that Best of Broadway, and Production Manager Lisa Bernard, fosters to help young artists find their direction.

“Being an assistant director to an incredibly talented, kind, and wonderful woman has made me so grateful. Lisa Bernard is one of the most caring, loyal, strong, and bravest human beings that I know. She’s honest, and will tell you the truth no matter what. If something needs to be better, she will come to you directly. She knows what looks good, she knows what needs to be different and she does something about it.”

“Being in Lisa’s shoes is the biggest challenge of them all. She puts up with more than anyone involved in the entire show, and what she does is truly inspiring to all.”

The Best of Broadway cast during rehearsals for last year’s performances.

Gray also recognized a woman who she called the ‘heart and soul’ of Best of Broadway, Carla Dollar.

“She is the go-to for all 170 people if they have a problem,” said Gray. “She runs back and forth making sure everyone in the show is there and where they are suppose to be. She puts up with more than anyone would ever know. The best part about Carla, is that she smiles through it all and just brightens everyone’s day. Without Carla, broadway would not function as great as it does. She deserves a huge thank you.”

This year’s performances in the Veterans Memorial Hall on Main Street will be held March 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 9th and 10th. On Friday evening Best of Broadway begins at 7:00, on Saturday there are two shows – a matinee at 2:00p.m., and an evening performance at 7:00.

Added this year for the first time, a special Wednesday, March 7th, show will start at 6:00p.m.

For more information about the upcoming performances you can call 260-6191 or visit

Tickets are only $10 and are available at Margies Book Nook in uptown Susanville.

About Susanville’s Best of Broadway

Best of Broadway was formed and directed by Julie Newton in 1998 and for nearly two-decades has drawn crowds to it’s annual Broadway Revue which performs seven shows a year.

“Our organization also does an annual performance free of charge for local seniors and disabled persons who are not able to attend one of the regularly scheduled performance,” explains Bernard.

“In addition, we lend lighting, sound, costuming and prop support to numerous other programs throughout Lassen County including the Susanville Symphony, Susanville Choral Society, House of Dance, Joan’s Studio of Dance, JandJ Performing Arts, Lassen Family Services, Lassen High School and the Lassen County Arts Council.”

Best of Broadway has broadened their scope in recent years by partnering with the Lassen County Arts Council to bring the Reno Dance Company to Susanville to perform ‘The Nutcracker Ballet’ during the holiday season. November, 2017 marked the 5th year of Nutcracker performances in Susanville with more than 100 local children performing onstage alongside the professional Reno dancers.

In January of each year Best of Broadway produces a rock-music themed show that features vocal and dance performances alongside a live band. The concert has quickly become a community favorite.

“In 2017 alone, Lassen County Best of Broadway provided performance opportunities to over 250 community members,” explains Bernard. “More than three-quarters of that number are under the age of 18.”

Cast and crew members refer to Best of Broadway as the ‘BoB Family’ because of the close-knit relationships that develop over the course of each production.

“Overall,” says Gray, “what brings Broadway together so well is all the love and dedication each and every member gives. Broadway would not be the way that it is without the powerful bond we all share. We’re all a big family who love each other so much.”

“This time of year is my favorite,” she continues. “Seeing people I love, doing what I love, and most importantly doing it altogether. I’m so excited to see the outcome of it all, and how it will all come together. Best of Broadway is something everyone must see, people will regret it if they don’t.”

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor
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