Theater roundup: Five hot theatrical productions in July 

Sacramento City Theatre presents “Julius Caesar 1922,” which features Phoenix Brewer as Caius Cassius, Sarah Palmero as Julius Caesar, Matthew Fairall as Marcus Brutus and Julianna Schultz as Capurnia. (Photo by Bruce Clarke)

By Cathy Cassinos

Some like it hot, indeed. While Sacramento temperatures climb in summer, so do the number of theatrical productions — and that’s a good thing.

Whether you’re into musicals, coming-of-age stories, comedies or dramas, you’ll find no shortage of options. Here are five shows on the hot list for July.

New Comedies Festival 2024 

Here’s something fresh and different. If you attend B Street Theatre’s “New Comedies Festival,” you’ll not only enjoy staged readings of never-before-seen comedies from playwrights across the country, but you can have a voice in choosing which of them will be produced at B Street in 2025. Those who attend a reading of all four plays — “This is Government,” “The Mallard,” “Dog Mom” and “Advice” — can vote for their favorites and help the B Street staff decide which lucky winner(s) will make it to the Mainstage. 

This is the fifth time B Street has hosted the fest, and it’s grown larger through time, previously held in the smaller upstairs space and now on the larger Mainstage. Ticket options range from single tickets to weekend packages and a VIP package, which provides access to all eight readings (each play is done twice), an invite to opening and closing parties, and more. Fun!

Venue: The Sofia/B Street Theatre, 2700 Capitol Ave., Sacramento

Dates: July 18 – 21

Cost: $6 – $39


“Julius Caesar 1922” 

A little Sacramento trivia: Did you know our city has been home to an annual Shakespeare Festival since the 1980s? For this, we have Sacramento City College’s theater department to thank. This summer’s offering, “Julius Caesar 1922,” uses the original script of the Shakespearean classic but sets the action in Italy circa 1922. 

“We wanted to explore themes of political unrest and how that can affect the population, and wanted to bring it forward in time so that it might resonate more deeply,” says Lori Ann DeLappe-Grondin, who co-directs with Christine Nicholson. Produced by SCC’s City Theatre, performances will be held in the campus’ Art Court Theatre. In years past, the festival took place at William A. Carroll Amphitheatre in Land Park.

For those who love the Bard, any time’s a good time for Shakespeare. But there’s a perk for patrons who attend on opening night (July 5): A celebratory reception, complete with complimentary desserts and beverages, will follow the performance. 

Venue: Art Court Theatre, Sacramento City College, Performing Arts Center, 3835 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento

Dates: July 5 – 28

Cost: $10 – $20


B Street Theatre’s New Comedies Festival, shown here at the 2023 event, returns at The Sofia from July 18 to July 21. (Photo courtesy of B Street Theatre)

“Sunset Boulevard” 

With its famous line “Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup,” “Sunset Boulevard” is a nod to Hollywood’s glamorous past. Based on Billy Wilder’s Oscar-winning 1950 film and boasting a lush score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the story revolves around Norma Desmond, a faded silent screen star who is living in her dilapidated mansion on — you guessed it — Sunset Boulevard. When a struggling screenwriter crosses her path, she seizes the opportunity to try to revive her former stardom, with his help. When their relationship evolves from business to romance, tragedy ensues.

“Sunset Boulevard” won seven Tony awards, including best musical and best original score, when it hit Broadway in the ’90s. But what’s different about this production is that it’s Sacramento-grown at Music Circus, which offers a uniquely intimate theater-in-the-round experience. “The original Broadway production was enormous in its scale, but we’ve found a way to tell the story with less — and I think it might be better that way,” says Scott Klier, president and CEO of Broadway Sacramento. 

“Sunset Boulevard” is a Music Circus premiere.

Venue: UC Davis Health Pavilion, 1419 H Street, Sacramento

Dates: July 23 – July 28

Cost: $77.75 – $121


“Chicana Legend” and “Welga”

Mark your calendar: July 20 is the only day you can catch staged readings of two full-length plays, “Chicana Legend” and “Welga,” presented by Teatro Espejo. Once part of Sacramento State’s theater department and now a nonprofit, the Chicano/Latinx theater company has long been committed to offering powerful, thought-provoking works from both new and established playwrights representing the Latinx diaspora. 

“Chicana Legend,” written by Alexis Elisa Macedo and directed by Nicole C. Limón, captures the story of young Lulu, who goes on a video game adventure to become a “Chicana Legend” and an inspiration to her community. Will she succeed? 

“Welga,” written by Conrad A. Panganiban and directed by Angela Dee Alforque, follows the story of Johnny Montalban, a high school senior living in San Francisco who dreams of becoming a professional musician. But when his mother confronts salary cuts and rent hikes, threatening the loss of the family home, Johnny is moved to act in new and courageous ways. 

Venue: California Stage, 2509 R St., Sacramento

Date: July 20

Cost: $18 – $30

“One Slight Hitch” 

No, Lewis Black will not be appearing in this Chautauqua Playhouse production, darn it. But the curmudgeonly comedian’s wicked sense of humor will be in full force, because he wrote this play. (Who knew?) Described as a “touch of Neil Simon,” the story of “One Slight Hitch” concerns a daughter who is getting married and a mom who is trying like heck to make sure the wedding goes off without a hitch. But then the doorbell rings, and all hell breaks loose. 

As you might expect, the play is full of Black’s classic wisecracks and pithy social observations. (Whether it contains any of his famous rants, we do not know.) Less expected is this little-known-fact: Black was a playwright before he became a comedian around the age of 40.

“One Slight Hitch” is directed by Sara Townsend. 

Venue: Chautauqua Playhouse, 5325 Engle Rd., #110 (in the La Sierra Community Center), Carmichael

Dates: Through July 14

Cost: $23 – $24

This story was funded by the City of Sacramento’s Arts and Creative Economy Journalism Grant to Solving Sacramento. Following our journalism code of ethics and protocols, the city had no editorial influence over this story and no city official reviewed this story before it was published. Our partners include California Groundbreakers, Capital Public Radio, Outword, Russian America Media, Sacramento Business Journal, Sacramento News & Review, Sacramento Observer and Univision 19.

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