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Sonoma County Gazette
110 in the Shade
110 in the Shade - Turns Up the Heat

“110 in the Shade” Turns Up the Heat

Apr 24, 2019
by Alexa Chipman


Growing up in Sonoma County, Benjamin Pither was intrigued by the arts from a young age, studying dance, choir and drama while attending Santa Rosa High School. He believes that “the performing arts community has always been thriving in Santa Rosa.”

His career has led him to a production of “110 in the Shade” at 42nd Street Moon in San Francisco, which is based on the story by N. Richard Nash. A small country town surrounded by farmland is suffering under a severe drought when a “rainmaker” appears promising that he can revive the weather. Is he a slick conman or does he have hidden power? Rancher’s daughter Lizzie has her doubts, but is drawn to the charismatic stranger, and reclaims her self-worth through their relationship. Director Josh Marx describes it as “finding beauty in unconventional places.”

Rendering of the set design by Brian Watson.

Pither is portraying Joe Copeland, one of the ranchers. “He and his family are on the brink of losing everything if the rain doesn’t come” Pither explains. “Joe is fueled by the newfound faith he brings to the town and begins to cling to his belief in the impossible.” 

After earning his Equity (acting union) membership with the company a few years ago, Pither is excited to be returning to 42nd Street Moon for a sixth production. It was a pleasant surprise to be reunited with Donna Jeanne Turner (Beverly Copeland) since they had not worked together in ten years. 

Lizzie finds her confidence and agencyIn this musical, the dance choreography will be “rich and expressive…story-driven and integrated with the action of the play.” Pither is thrilled that the female protagonist, Lizzie, “finds her confidence and agency” which is an unexpected theme for a play written in the 1950s.

“When we love ourselves and recognize our worth, that is the ultimate prize, even more so than being loved by others” Pither comments on what spoke to him personally about the play. 

Don’t miss his performance in “110 in the Shade” at 42nd Street Moon through May 12.

110 in the Shade
April 24 – May 12, 2019

Wed/Thurs at 7:00pm, Fri at 8:00pm, Sat at 6:00pm, Sun at 3:00pm
Tickets: $30-75
(415) 255-8207

42nd Street Moon
Gateway Theatre
215 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

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