Two lives productions to be performed at outdoor venue

Staff Report

PCPA is elated to announce the return of live performances this summer, and will present two powerful productions that celebrate its return to sharing stories and music together. 

“Together: A Musical Journey” and “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” will be performed at the outdoor Solvang Festival Theater, with the season going from July 21 through September 5.

“Together: A Musical Journey,” written by Erik Stein, musical direction by Michael Wilkens and directed by Katie Fuchs-Wackowski, will play in the theater from July 21 through August 8. All performances are at 8 p.m. 

After more than a year apart, “Together” is a celebration of being able to share experiences — through story and song — again in the same room. It is a new live and in-person concert that revels in the simple fact that life is better when we live it together. Seven actors and a musician will take the audience on a musical journey that celebrates our shared experiences and the stories that have yet to be told – tales of the like-minded and adventures of those that dance to a different beat. This concert was created exclusively for PCPA’s audiences to rejoice as a community, and to relish being together. 

The theme of the live connection was the inspiration for Stein’s new piece. 

“I read an article that outlined an experiment that showed that when people are in a room together sharing an experience, their hearts start to beat in the same rhythm,” he said. “If our hearts can overcome differences and actually beat together, our brains should be able to as well. All of us in a room together sharing an experience is truly essential.”

Director Fuchs-Wackowski feels privileged to be at the helm of this original piece. 

“I am very excited to be working on this incredibly unique project: a musical journey specifically created to celebrate being back together after this long, hard year apart,” she said. “It is a piece created for the here and now, and highlights the creative skills of both our local designers and performers.” 

The cast features resident artists Kitty Balay, Andrew Philpot, Yusef Seevers, Erik Stein, Emily Trask and George Walker, and guest artist Annali Fuchs-Wackowski. 

The second production welcomes back guest artist Karole Foreman (“Fences,” “Caroline, or Change”) to play the legendary Billie Holiday in “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.” 

“Lady Day” plays in the theater from Aug. 19 through Sept. 5. The time is 1959. The place is a seedy bar in Philadelphia. The audience is about to witness one of Billie Holiday’s final performances. More than a dozen of the jazz legends’ songs are interlaced with salty, often humorous reminiscences in this riveting portrait of Holiday and her music. Holiday’s accompanist is Jimmy Powers played by guest artist Stephan Terry who also serves as Musical Director for the show.  

Director Wren T. Brown says Holliday’s music continues to soar and stir audiences six decades later. 

“I am excited to direct ‘Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill’ because it affords me the opportunity to explore and examine the life of one of the most transcendent artists of the 20th century,” Brown said. “Through her singing, Billie Holiday used everything that happened in her life to inform her art. Many of the songs she performed and recorded have become standards and have caused audiences to feel her heart and soul, in a manner unlike any other artist. Sixty years after her death, at a time in America when race, gender, and the opioid crisis are being discussed loudly on a daily basis, Billie Holiday’s life and career are a great example of what it means to not just survive but triumph in the face of lifelong abuse and struggle.”  

“Lady Day” contains adult themes and language. 

Ticket prices, which went on sale June 8, are $35-$50. Visit or call the box office at 805-922-8313. Box Office hours are Wednesday through Sunday 3 to 7 p.m. The Solvang Box Office will open July 14 with hours from 4 to 7 p.m. on non-show days and 4 to 8 p.m. on show days. 

 Performances are subject to change. The latest COVID guidelines will be posted on the web site as performance dates near.