Look east next year

Three Stages at Folsom Lake College

Three Stages at Folsom Lake College will bring arts closer to home for residents of the area.

Three Stages at Folsom Lake College will bring arts closer to home for residents of the area.

For information about Three Stages performances or tickets, call (916) 608-6888 or visit www.threestages.net.

The new year gets a little brighter for east county fans of the performing arts, when Folsom Lake College opens a $50 million venue, as well as a new series hosting touring performers. The new complex will officially open on February 11 with the national touring company production of A Chorus Line, one of the most popular musicals from the 1970s.

Three Stages at Folsom Lake College will have, appropriately, three venues: an 850-seat main hall, with a stage big enough for dance, orchestra and chorus, or touring Broadway-style musicals; a 200-seat theater (expandable up to 240 seats with extra chairs) intended for plays and amplified jazz concerts; and a 99-seat recital hall with reverberant acoustics for unamplified chamber music. In addition, there is large central lobby with overhead walkways and stone walls serving the three venues. Three Stages also has two black-box performance/rehearsal spaces, a scene shop, a recording studio, classroom space and more.

The shape of the main hall, with its semicircular balcony and 46-foot-high proscenium stage, bears a structural kinship to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, as well as the Woodland Opera House in Woodland.

Three Stages is a much more extensive facility than you’ll find at any other of the area’s community colleges. How did Folsom Lake College do it?

Back in 2003, a feasibility study (one of the consultants was Bill Blake, who subsequently became the managing director at Sacramento’s B Street Theatre) determined that some 218,000 people live in close proximity to Three Stages in communities including Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Orangevale, Fair Oaks, El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park. But the area had only high-school auditoriums and churches as venues for performances. So Three Stages became eligible for additional state funding to make it a regional arts center.

Groups that will be renting and presenting at Three Stages include the Folsom Symphony (an independent organization, not affiliated with Folsom Lake College), which has been putting on concerts in a high-school auditorium. Other groups that will be taking performances to Three Stages include the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra and the Sacramento Ballet. Both of these groups have been interested in the Folsom area for some time, but until now there has not been a big enough venue. Other groups planning to rent and perform at Three Stages include the Sierra Community Chorus and the Folsom Lake Community Concert Association.

In addition to A Chorus Line, the Three Stages Presents series will be bringing in the Joffrey Ballet, Aquila Theatre, singer Rosanne Cash, the Harlem Gospel Choir, speaker and pioneering feminist Gloria Steinem, Hal Holbrook performing Mark Twain Tonight and more.

As you would expect, Three Stages will also be hosting ensembles from Folsom Lake College, including the Falcon’s Eye Theatre (doing Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth in March), the Folsom Lake College Afro-Cuban Funk Band, and music and dance ensembles from the college.