It’s anniversary time!

One- and two-year markers for local stage series

You never know what you’ll see at Graham-a-rama, but we guarantee it will be … different. And musical.

You never know what you’ll see at Graham-a-rama, but we guarantee it will be … different. And musical.

Photo By anthony sheppard

At a time when so many performance companies are folding—there’s no money to be had anywhere, and audiences continue to cut back—the DIY, “let’s put on a show” spirit thrives for two of Sacramento’s stage series. It’s a pleasant surprise, especially in a town where the calendar is already crowded (even after an economic shakeout) with things to do, but both Stories on Stage and the Graham-a-rama cabaret series are going strong and celebrating anniversaries this week with special performances.

Stories on Stage is the brainchild of local writer and teacher Valerie Fioravanti, who recognized that Sacramento had a double whammy of talent. The place is just bursting at the seams with writers, and you can’t swing—well, anything—without hitting an actor. Put the two together, and Stories on Stage was born. They’ll celebrate their first anniversary on Friday with two stories: one by Bay Area author Andrew Foster Altschul, read by local poet and actor Tim Kahl; and one by Fioravanti herself, read by actress and comedian Victoria Goldblatt.

Altschul is currently promoting his second novel, Deus Ex Machina; his first, Lady Lazarus, was very well-received (and earned a rave review in SN&R). His stories have been published in Esquire, McSweeney’s, Ploughshares, Fence, One Story, StoryQuarterly, Best New American Voices and O. Henry Prize Stories.

Fioravanti is also an accomplished writer. Her stories have appeared in the North American Review, Cimarron Review, Hunger Mountain and Night Train, among others. She’s been nominated for four Pushcart Prizes, received a special mention in Pushcart Prize XXVIII, and judged SN&R’s most recent Flash Fiction contest.

The evening will kick off with appetizers by chef Matt Fischer and a chance to socialize.

The other anniversary this week is the two-year mark for Graham Sobelman’s award-winning Graham-a-rama series. The anniversary show on Sunday will feature a variety of artists—which basically means that any local musical theater actor who’s not busy that night may wind up onstage. That’s one of the features of Graham-a-rama that makes it such a gem in Sacramento’s theatrical crown: Everybody gets a chance to shine.

Among the highlights of the last couple of years are such programs as Kelly Daniels’ night of show tunes that highlighted American history (in addition to her acting, Daniels is pursuing a graduate degree in history), and Jerry Lee’s show, which included a finale as the Little Mermaid. Yeah, it was that wild.

At Graham-a-rama, they’ve devoted shows to the music of the ’70s and the ’80s and showcased both individual artists and ensembles. Sobelman’s been known to write an original tune or three (including one in which he made fun of this critic’s obsession with a particular singer, a futile attempt to attract more attention for himself—or perhaps not).

There’s a reason Graham-a-rama has earned awards and raves: It’s simply the freshest musical act in town. Unfortunately, everybody knows it, and the theater only seats 49 people, so be sure to make reservations for Sunday’s show.