Transcendence Theater Company opens their 2023 season with The Beat Goes On. Titled after the 1967 Sonny and Cher song, there are no surprises in this musical revue of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, especially for those familiar with Transcendence’s style. Conceived and directed by Susan Draus, the show runs in Kenwood through July 2.
Essentially a baby boomer sing-a-long, it’s hard not to like the well-orchestrated, high-energy covers of some well-known songs. The cast features a diverse group of multi-talented performers who are obviously having fun. Based on their interactions with fans, they seem to be genuinely gracious people as well.
While there are few familiar Transcendence faces—most notably long-time company member David R. Gordon, serving as the charismatic clipboard-toting host—most of the cast is making their debut or only second appearance with the company. The fresh blood has injected the show with the vitality needed to make it engaging to a broad audience.
There are great singers and dancers on stage. Aaron LaVigne’s vocals make for a breathtaking second act. Courtney Kristen Liu and Cory Lingner are highly trained, mesmerizing dancers. Ariel Neydavoud is a natural clown, and Erin Maya’s experience as the lead singer for a rock band is instantly evident. However, it is not the show that makes this worth the ticket price; it’s the setting.
Transcendence has long tied its company identity to the Jack London State Historic Park. Due to various challenges, it was discovered that the park would not be available in time for The Beat Goes On. This development left Transcendence scrambling to find a venue.
Enter Belos Cavalos and its founder/director Dr. Charlyn Belluzzo. Belos Cavalos is a non-profit that uses equine therapy to help process trauma and healing. They do extensive work with children but offer adult group building and private wellness programs as well.
With the help of Belluzzo and multiple Rotary Clubs in the Sonoma Valley, an outdoor venue was installed that surpasses the state park’s natural beauty. The space allows for more food trucks, substantial parking and easier access without the stigma of London’s increasingly troublesome legacy. A portion of each ticket is being donated back to Belos Cavalos to support their healing programs for kids and adults.
So grab a warm coat and come out to enjoy great food, wine and a fun uplifting trip down memory lane, knowing that kids and the performing arts are being helped.
Transcendence Theatre Company’s ‘The Beat Goes On’ runs Fri-Sun through July 2 at Belos Cavalos Ranch. 687 Campagna La., Kenwood. Ranch opens at 5pm, show starts at 7:30pm. $35–$170. 877.424.1414. bestnightever.org.