Sutter Street Theatre
Photos by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group
Gallery: Sutter Street Theatre – Dec. '14 [5 Images] Click any image to expand.
Performances in the Folsom Historic District stretch back as long as the town has been in existence. Following the Gold Rush, miners and railroad workers made their way across the country and, upon arrival, were in need of entertainment.
Sutter Street Theatre carries on the tradition. In 2006, after some urging by the City, Mike Jimena, managing director, along with wife and artistic director Connie Mockenhaupt, founded the non-profit theatre production and technical academy, more commonly known as Sutter Street Theatre—a quaint, 50-seat theatre whose acting troupe has garnered rave reviews, Elly Awards, Readers’ Choice Awards from Style Magazine and more. In its early days, the playhouse was under the moniker Stage Nine Theatre; following the city’s redevelopment of the street on which they do business, they opted to pay homage to the district and re-brand themselves as Sutter Street Theatre.
“We built the Golden Spike Saloon (used for the Folsom Pro Rodeo),” says Jimena. “That’s when we met Joe Gagliardi (with the Folsom Chamber of Commerce). We talked in the parking lot and he asked if he helped us arrange a theater space, [if we’d] be interested.” They opened their first show with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tell Me on a Sunday.
Jimena often says the theatrical group doesn’t want to change the world, but simply entertain it. “We’ve done about 175 different productions,” he says. “There’s a magic you can’t find anywhere else in the region. We produce the most diverse season of everybody. We do musicals, a few originals, dramas and comedies.”
He says adding Allen Schmeltz, artistic associate, director and acting instructor, brought a whole new dimension to the theatre, with the addition of children’s workshops. None of the theatrical professional staff draws a salary. “We’ve created something unique...our children’s shows are full-blown productions with actors ranging from six or seven years old up to 80,” Jimena says.
October wrapped up their fourth season of Evil Dead: The Musical, a month-long run of the cult-favorite campy horror show. Sutter Street Theatre is the only Northern California venue putting on the show and it’s become a tradition with people coming from all over, usually selling out each show. This month, another tradition returns. The original production, Holiday in the Hills, featuring music and light-hearted fare with a full cast, runs December 6-23 and is set in the late 1800s. “Peter J. Hopper, editor of the Folsom Telegraph at the time, hosts the show,” Jimena says. “If you don’t walk out of there in the holiday spirit, we’ll give you your money back.” Another show slated for this month is the Quiltmaker’s Gift, running December 13-28. “We’ve had people come from another state because they heard we were doing it,” he shares. “It’s a full musical and a touching tale.”
Jimena says offering family-friendly activities on Sutter Street is important. “I think it’s probably one of the most significant offerings on the street, other than the Folsom History Museum...People can come every weekend of the year and see a family show.”
For more information, show times and to purchase tickets, visit sutterstreettheatre.com.