Erik Daniells' feisty Artistic Differences production company made quite a splash last summer with its production of "Hair." The legendary "tribal love-rock" musical had a perfect mix of scruffy panache and top-flight musicianship, and audiences flocked to The Space at 25th and R streets to see the twice-extended show.
AD has kept a low profile since then, but will re-surface this weekend with a benefit show, at 7 P.M. Sunday at the Benvenuti Performing Arts Center, 4600 Blackrock Drive, Sacramento. It will also be a preview of the upcoming production of "bare" by Jon Hartmere Jr.and Damon Intrabartolo (opening July 25 at The Space).
"We've regrouped and have been restructuring the business side of the theater, trying to get that in order," Daniells reports. He's putting together a board of directors and hopes the company can reach a point where they're doing about three shows a year.
"Our goal is to do smaller, lesser-known works - things you don't typically see," Daniells says. He expects to announce the upcoming season at the benefit.
Daniells - who is currently working with the Willows Theatre Company in Martinez as well, teaching the songs of "Evil Dead: The Musical" (a campy horror movie spoof) to the cast - says he hopes the benefit also will introduce AD to a wider audience. (There will be songs from the company's two previous shows "Falsettos" and "Hair," along some tunes from the new show opening in July.)
And Daniells is bringing in a couple ringers for the benefit. His sister, Kelly (pictured above, in the middle), who starred in the Las Vegas production of "Mamma Mia!" for a year and half, will sing "An Old Fashioned Love Story" from "Wild Party" (the Andrew Lippa version). Kelly brings along Ian Cullity from the Vegas "Mamma Mia!" cast and he'll sing "Pity the Child" from the musical "Chess" (lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson).
Besides the entertainment, the AD benefit will feature a raffle prize of two tickets and air fare to Las Vegas to see "Mamma Mia!"
For more information for for tickets - $10 in advance, $15 at the door - call (916) 708-3449.