Frankly, I had few expectations other than knowing he’d played in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and was understudy for the Phantom role. Chatting over dinner at Strizzi’s in Livermore, we were comparing notes when we last went to a concert—nothing came to mind for either my bride or me. Not so for my daughter who had frequented concerts over the last decade.
With that background, let me say if you ever have a chance to see Jeremy Stolle’s show, jump at it. He brought a talented ensemble to Livermore, which is not far from Modesto where he grew up.
My wife and daughter both have musical talent—I’m a joyful noise type of guy—but we were unanimous in our praise. I reached out Bankhead Executive Director Chris Carter about who was on the performance team and he forwarded my email to Stolle’s agent.
Imagine my surprise when I received a text from Jeremy himself less than hour later. We were impressed with the talented team he had surrounded himself with. Stolle plays the acoustic guitar and was joined by Joseph Paul Rykert on the guitar and vocals. Broadway and Phantom veteran Elizabeth Welch demonstrated her amazing vocal range, while the band included Arri Lawton Simon on the piano and vocals as well as bass guitar player Steve Milhouse. Local talent Ilana Blumberg completed the team. Each vocalist had a solo to showcase their talents as well as bring a nice variety of music to the crowd.
The crowd contained plenty of our age contemporaries judging by hair color or the lack of hair and they saluted Stolle and his crew with a standing ovation at the conclusion.
Incidentally, it’s hard to go wrong with dinner at Strizzi’s, be it in the Main Street Pleasanton location, Livermore or Fremont. It’s one of many good restaurants with a variety of price points within an easy stroll of the theater.
It’s also a great asset that Strizzi’s, unlike most restaurants, does not charge a corkage fee. We took Dante Robere wines in a winery carrying bag and minutes later saw co-owner Dan Rosenberg and his wife walk through the front door—a bottle of wine in hand. We exchanged greetings, showing him the “company colors” and look forward to the wine release party next month.