A Long Heritage of Creativity in Sierra Arts and Entertainment

Since it was founded, Nevada City has attracted and inspired risk-takers, offbeat thinkers and non-conformists. From the rowdy and inventive miners of the 1860s to the off-grid hippies of the 1960s, this has been a place for the unconventional – and remains so to this day. Artists sense the freedom of thought here, and the intimate connections that creativity fosters in such a delightfully removed environment as the Sierra foothills.

The Miners Foundry Cultural Center

Osborn/Woods designed the poster for the first Father’s Day Bike Race, now known as the Nevada City Classic.

Built in 1859 as a foundry and machine shop, the Miners Foundry became a performing arts venue after its sale in 1974 to San Francisco artists Charles Woods and David Osborn, who came to Nevada City when it was a burgeoning art scene. The Foundry has hosted Nevada City’s Roger Hodgson of Supertramp, Sacramento’s Cake, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, playing secretly for Nevada City friends, associates, and their guests. Check here for coming events.

The Nevada City Literary Community

Nevada City has been a home to many generations of writers. Perhaps the most renowned and enduring is Gary Snyder, who came here from the Bay Area after distinguishing himself, in Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s words, as “the Thoreau of the Beat Generation”.


Having lived in a Mill Valley cabin with Jack Kerouac, Synder was the inspiration for the main character in The Dharma Bums. In the 1970s, he was active in the Sierra foothills back-to-the-land movement, and in 1974 published Turtle Island, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. Harmony Books, at 231 Broad Street, carries Snyder’s work in a section for local poets (and a collection of works by other local writers in other genres).

Another author influenced by the Sierra foothills is Jordan Fisher Smith, whose Nature Noir was an Audubon Editor’s Choice selection. Hailed by the New York Times as “eloquently meditative”, Nature Noir describes the author’s 14 years as a park ranger patrolling remote American River canyons east of Nevada City.

“Growgirl: How My Life After The Blair Witch Project Went to Pot,” by Heather Donahue
“Growgirl: How My Life After The Blair Witch Project Went to Pot,” by Heather Donahue

A new author with roots, of sorts, in the Nevada City area is writer and actress Heather Donahue, author of Growgirl. The book chronicles Heather’s year living in “Nuggettown”, on a marijuana farm post in the Sierra foothills – and starting a new life after a flash of fame as the girl in The Blair Witch Project. Donahue has written for Los Angeles Magazine, The Huffington Post, Bust and as a columnist for Yahoo! Shine. She teaches personal writing in Nevada City, and has been a speaker at the local discussion and workshop series offered by Sierra Writers.

A fictional look into the eccentricity of California’s hippie era is provided by Nevada City writer, Louis B. Jones, whose third novel, California’s Over, was named the LA Times’ 1997 Best Book of the Year. Each of Jones’s first three novels was named New York Times Notable Books. Described by novelist Amy Tan as “one of the best minds of our generation”, Jones co-directs the Fiction Program for the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. (The Executive Director of the Squaw Valley Writers is Louis’s wife, Brett Hall Jones, daughter of famed novelist and Community co-founder Oakley Hall).

A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel – steeped in local controversy

The most controversial book tied to the Sierra foothills literary community is Wallace Stegner’s 1971 Pulitzer-winning novel, Angle of Repose. The story is based upon the personal correspondence of author and illustrator Mary Hallock Foote (1847-1938), who lived near Nevada City for over 30 years and gained a national reputation as a skilled observer of life in early mining towns. Stegner used the outline of Foote’s life with conditional permission from her family, but objections later emerged over passages taken directly from her letters without providing specific credit. This controversy still haunts Stegner’s reputation, and is explored by author and director Sands Hall, a part-time Nevada City resident, in her comic/drama, Fair Use.

Sierra theater since 1865 – and better with age

Opening night at the Nevada Theatre dates back to the fall of 1865, and after thousands of performances with such headliners as Mark Twain, Emma Nevada, Jack London, Motley Crue and The Second City comedy troupe gracing its stage over hundreds of years, it has earned the distinction as California’s oldest original-use theater – and California Historic Landmark No. 863.


Now in its third century, the Theatre thrives – having broadened into a venue for professional and amateur theatrical productions, variety shows, minstrels, musical acts, poetry readings, community events and films. The main stage is shared by:

For upcoming events, visit the Nevada Theater online calendar, or subscribe to the Theater mailing list.

The Nevada City Film Festival


A recent (2001) addition to the Sierra foothills art scene is the Nevada City Film Festival (NCFF). Held late summer when warm evenings easily become late nights, NCFF inspires weekend visitors to leave sensible routines behind. Fiercely independent, NCFF promises the best short and full-length film, audiences, scenery and nightlife outside of Sundance and Telluride. Check here for this year’s Festival info.

… And of course there’s more. Enjoy Nevada City’s tradition of environmental consciousness at The Wild & Scenic Film Festival, musical comedy at Off Broadstreet, and local musicians performing at Cooper’s, Crazy Horse Saloon, Haven Underground, and The Stonehouse.

Closing Weekend “The Perfect Party”

LeGacy Productions’ “The Perfect Party” closes this weekend at the Off Center Stage in Grass Valley, directed by Tim O’Connor.

First performed in Nevada County in the mid 1990’s, this smart comedy by A.R. Gurney (“Love Letters”, “Sylvia”) follows the events surrounding one man’s quest for the “perfect party”. With lots of twists and turns, and plenty of laughs, this is the “perfect party” to add to your calendar!!!

Cast members from the 1994 production include Nevada County favorites Dave Iorns, Rene Sprattling, Bruce Kelly, and Gaylie Bell-Stewart. Newcomer Carolyn Winters rounds out the cast. The 1994 production was also directed by Tim O’Connor, who directed the hit “To Kill a Mockingbird” for LeGacy last year.

Shows are 7pm on Thursday, 8pm on Friday and Saturday, and 2pm on Sunday matinee at the Off Center Stage, 314 Richardson St, Grass Valley, located directly behind the Center for the Arts.

Tickets are $18 in advance/$20 at the door and are available at the Bookseller and Briar Patch in Grass Valley, Harmony Books in Nevada City, online at www.legacypresents.com or by calling (530) 268-5419.

Mature audiences only

Closing Weekend “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”

Synthetic Unlimited presents “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” playing through September 17 at the Nevada Theatre.  Don’t miss this beautiful, riveting comedy filled with astounding performances from an outstanding cast.  Directed by Jimmy McCammon and Iona Swift.

With a few exceptions, shows run Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm, with 2pm matinees on Saturdays and Sundays.
Go to http://syntheticunlimited.​org/page5.php for detailed performance schedule.

Call 530-430-SHOW for tickets!


Last Weekend to See “Forum”


Closing Weekend!

Nevada Theatre

This is closing weekend for the critically acclaimed Sierra Stages production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” playing at the historic Nevada Theatre in Nevada City. The classic Stephen Sondheim musical, with a cast of 18 and a 14-piece orchestra, will play for four more performances, this Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday matinee.

“Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight!” Broadway’s greatest farce is light, fast-paced, witty, irreverent and one of the funniest musicals ever written-the perfect escape from life’s troubles. A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum takes comedy back to its roots, combining situations from time-tested, 2000 year old comedies of Roman playwright Plautus with the infectious energy of classic vaudeville.

Robert Rossman heads the cast as the freedom-seeking Roman slave, Pseudolus, a role made famous by Zero Mostel in the original Broadway cast and in the film, and again by Nathan Lane in the recent Broadway revival of the show. Rossman is joined by a strong supporting cast including Trish Adair, Paul Micsan, Ken Miele, Jeffrey Mason, JR Lewis, Rik Augustine, Dylan Hoy-Bianchi, Ellie Wyman, Nancy Haffey, Rebekah Martino, Sunny Ostrom, Luna Wildy, Emily Rice, Rachel Wellman, John King, Toby Medlyn and Jordan Thomas-Rose.  The cast is accompanied by a 14-piece orchestra.

Sierra Stages’ production of Forum is directed by Sandra Rockman, with musical direction by Ken Getz and choreography by Dinah Smith. Set design is by Pamela Mengers Hodges, costume design is by Sharon Olson, and lighting design is by Erin Beatie.


Last Four Performances August 4, 5, 6 & 7 at the Nevada Theatre
Get your tickets now before it’s too late!

Visit www.SierraStages.org, call our Box Office at 530-346-3210 or stop by BriarPatch Co-op or The Book Seller

Ticket Prices
Thursday at 7pm: $20 adv/$25 door
Friday & Saturday at 8pm: $25 adv/$30 door
Sunday at 2pm: $25 adv/$30 door


Sherlock Holmes Closing Weekend

This is the last week to see SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE JERSEY LILY, by Katie Forgette, presented by LeGacy Productions, in association with Chatauqua Playhouse, at the historic Nevada Theatre in Nevada City.  The show plays Thursday at 7pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2 pm.

Admission is $18 in advance, and $20 at the door.  Tickets are available at the Briar Patch and the Bookseller in Grass Valley, Harmony Books in Nevada City, or online at www.legacypresents.com.

Beautiful actress Lillie Langtry is seeking help from the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes in a small matter involving blackmail, some missing jewels and the royal family.  Our hero gets some help from his sidekick, Watson, and the famous Oscar Wilde as the evil Professor Moriarty tries yet again to foil the day.

The show is directed by Warren Harrison, featuring a talented cast including Walter Thompson, Julie Bock, Michael Walker, Rodger Hoopman, Shawn O’Neal, Chris Whitlock, Alvis LeGate (LeGacy co-founder and producer) and Jimmy McCammon.  Set design is by Rodger Hoopman and costumes are by Meghan Bice.  Light design is by Don Myers.

Sierra Stages “Old Explorers” & “Marry Me a Little”

Screen shot 2011-03-04 at 1.56.19 PMOld Explorers

A Comedy by James Cada and Mark Keller with Stephen Wellman and Robert Rossman


Marry Me a Little

Songs by Stephen Sondheim with Kim Wellman & JR Lewis and Ken Getz at the piano




Off Center Stage
315 Richardson Street, Grass Valley
(behind The Center for the Arts)

ALL TICKETS $15 (or see both shows for only $25)
Also available at BriarPatch and The Book Seller and at the door



Enjoy a holiday show in Nevada City

TinyTim“Tiny Tim’s Christmas” shows at the beautiful historic Nevada Theatre in downtown Nevada City from November 26th through December 26th.

This whimsical twist on the classic Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” finds Tiny Tim, all grown up, living in New York City. Tim owns a toyshop, his life long dream, but has become much of a Scrooge himself. The spirit of someone near and dear to him comes to him on Christmas Eve. Will Tim see the error his cold ways before it’s too late for love and joy?

“Tiny Tim’s Christmas” is a family show and features a large cast, fabulous set, and plenty of holiday music and dance. The Nevada Theatre is located at 401 Broad Street in Nevada City. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, and are also available at the Bookseller and Briar Patch in Grass Valley, Harmony Books in Nevada City, or by calling (530) 268 5419. For more information, see www.legacypresents.com.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Nevada Theatre

MockingBirdStarting this Friday, October 9th, through November 7th, LeGacy Productions presents Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” at the Nevada Theatre. 50 years since it was published, Nevada County’s finest actors will bring this Pulitzer Prize winning novel to the stage. Tim O Connor directs this story of civil rights and racism during the 1930s.Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, available at the BriarPatch and the Bookseller in Grass Valley, Harmony Books in Nevada City, online at www.legacypresents.com or call (530) 268 5419.

Upcoming Events at the Historic Nevada Theatre

Showing now: The play “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

For ticket information go to www.nevadacitycuckoo.com or call

(530) 430-SHOW

Showtimes for Cuckoo’s Nest:

September 23 8 pm, Sept. 24 8 pm

September 25, 2 pm Matinee, Sept. 25 8 pm Closing night

Upcoming: The Play “To Kill A Mockingbird”

October 7 – November 7

Directed by Tim O’Connor & produced by LeGacy Productions

For tickets and info go to LeGacyPresents.com

Special Upcoming Events

September 22—The Gods of Comedy vs The End

October 11 — Health Care for All Seminar

October 19 — Music in the Mountains presents the film “My Musical Life”

October 20 – Tahoe Comedy North presents “The Marijuana-Logues”

The Sunday Night Film Series

(All showings at 7:30 pm)

September 26 “Countdown to Zero” October 10 “ Life During Wartime”

October 17 “Farewell” October 24 “Soul Kitchen”

October 31 “Hugh Hefner”

For info on movies playing each week call (530) 274-FILM

For more information on The Nevada Theatre

Please call (530) 265-6161 or visit