Sonoma Valley Sun


Theater drama: Beltane Ranch to the rescue!

Posted on June 25, 2023 by Sonoma Valley Sun

Transcendence Theatre Company has added another dramatic pivot to its repertoire. The company announced  that its final two shows of the Broadway Under The Stars season will utilize an outdoor stage at the 100-acre Beltane Ranch property in Glen Ellen. The move, the third change of venue this season, very well may save the company.

The open-air theatre location will host the 12-show run of The Full Monty (through July 2) and the six-show An Enchanted Evening (Sept.7-17).

Sunset at Beltane Ranch

The final performances of The Beat Goes On, will continue at Kenwood’s Belos Cavalos through July 2.

Transcendence Theatre Company’s decision to move the rest of 2023 Summer Season, announced at a performance this past weekend, is a result of litigation between the California State Park Rangers Association and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The delay of a court-ordered environmental review has made it impossible for Transcendence Theatre Company to secure the needed State Park’s permit for the 2023 season.

In May, Transcendence was forced to move The Beat Goes On to Belos Cavalos. The idea was always to move back to Transcendence’s longtime home, Jack London State Park. But with the paperwork still not complete, the company — remarkably, and up against a drop-dead deadline — was forced to find yet another outdoor space that works as an open air theatre. Up stepped Beltane Ranch, the Historical Landmark inn and farm operation off of Highway 12 in Glen Ellen.

The partnership with Beltane Ranch to host the remainder of the season is critical to the organization’s future, said Transcendence Executive Director Brad Surosky. “Our nonprofit and all the performing arts programs we provide throughout the North Bay could be eliminated if we don’t have a full 2023 summer season to raise funds for those programs.”

The organization’s very survival is at stake this year, Surosky said. “We’ve had to navigate finding new locations due to the outcome of litigation with the State Parks Ranger Association and State Parks. We already have had many unexpected expenses moving to multiple venues.  We are asking the community’s support more than ever to support us through ticket sales and donations.”

TTC is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting performing arts programs in Sonoma County. Over the last 11 years of performing Broadway Under the Stars at Jack London State Historic Park, Transcendence Theatre Company has raised more than $685,000 for the Park’s preservation and operation through its Summer Season ticket sales.

“We owe a tremendous community-wide thank you to the Beltane Ranch family for saving our season and helping us continue to provide arts education,” Surosky said.

Lauren Benward, is vice president of Beltane Ranch, a family operation for generations. “We offered to host the second and third productions of Transcendence’s 2023 Summer Season at Beltane Ranch as soon as we learned that Transcendence’s ability to continue as a local arts organization would cease without a summer season to raise the funds needed to continue,” she said. “We are thrilled to be a solution to what was a growing crisis.”

The root of the problem is the completion of environmental study. Though it couldn’t be resolved in time for the 2023 season, all should be in place to welcome Transcendence back to Jack London Park in 2024. “It’s critical that State Parks complete (the review) this summer so that Transcendence can secure a new State Parks 10-year agreement sustaining the preservation of Jack London State Historic Park for the next decade,”said Susan Hoeffel, president of TTC Board of Directors.

Jack London Park Partners, is the nonprofit that manages the park for the state. Matt Leffert, its executive director, said, “We’re happy for our community that the shows will go on, but deeply saddened not to host this season. I so admire the resiliency and resourcefulness of Transcendence Theatre Company to find two incredible alternative venues this summer.”

The loss of these shows, he admits,  “is a stark reminder of how important TTC is to our operating budget. We can’t wait to welcome back, once again, the vibrant, world-class performers and amazing audiences to the Park.”

Amy Miller, artistic director for Transcendence Theatre Company, thanked land use attorney Tina Wallis for her creativity in “bringing these two iconic Sonoma County brands together so Transcendence can offer Broadway Under the Stars at Beltane Ranch and continue our education programs for our community.”

Transcendence attracts seasoned performers from all over the country to Sonoma County for their annual Summer season. Broadway performers from shows like Hamilton, Wicked, Les Misérables, Mamma Mia! and many more, will be on stage for Summer Season performances.

Tickets already purchased for The Full Monty and An Enchanted Evening will transfer to the new location; no action is required on the part of ticket holders. Tickets are still available for the remaining performances of the 2023 Summer Season.

For tickets and more information, visit

4 thoughts on “Theater drama: Beltane Ranch to the rescue!

  1. Shame on the State Parks Ranger Association for obstructing the work of the Jack London Park Partners (JLPP) in supporting the park operations. It takes money to operate a state historic park, and the JLPP has been successful in raising the funds necessary to maintain the old structures and trails while being true to the park’s history. Transcendence provided a large share of that operating expense. Again, shame on the State Parks Ranger Association.

  2. Concur with Eric Norrbom. Transcendence has performed in the park for many years with full attention to minimizing any environmental impact, contributed to keeping the park open, worked collaboratively with JLPP, attracted countless new visitors to the park, honored the history of Jack London, and been a vital part of this community. Surely the state could manage to complete the environmental review on schedule and resolve this issue.

  3. Ironic that the state once wanted to shut the park down. Local volunteers stepped up to keep the park open. And JLPP has been doing it ever since. I like what Chuck said, that this is a vital part of this community. Transcendence is great for our community and I hope they will be back at the park next year.

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