Published in the April 18 – May 1, 2018 issue of Gilroy Life

Photo courtesy Michael Hawk Photography
Brody Bourke, as Oliver, and Fiona Hawk, as Bet, rehearse for the musical “Oliver!”

Consider yourself lucky if you get a chance to see the children’s musical show “Oliver!” It opens April 13 and runs through April 22.

Brody Bourke, 11, plays the role of the famous little orphan lost in London. He told us: “This has been fun because this is my first time in a lead role and I get to be in a lot of scenes.”

The show’s director Hilary Little decided to do “Oliver!” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of 1968 musical film. In addition, it is one of her favorite musicals and she performed in three different local versions in her youth, including with the South Valley Civic Theatre.

“Children’s theatre is a wonderful experience for kids and teens,” she said. “Not only does it offer an opportunity for the more outgoing performer to shine but it encourages the more reserved child to step out of their comfort zone and explore a new facet of their personality.”

The beloved Lionel Bart musical is produced by the Gilroy Recreation Department and Little Theatre Productions. The children performers range in age from 6 to 17. Every child regardless of their experience is given the opportunity to shine, Little said.

Tickets are $12 and available at the door. Or reserve your tickets at

  • •             •

Photo by Morgan Hill Life
Mattie Scariot, left, and Cecelia Ponzini check out the plaque and mural.

We’re sorry to see downtown Gilroy lost a wonderful work of public art last month. The city was unable to preserve the three-panel mural which depicted Gilroy City Hall, an American flag sprung from flowers and two smiling young girls. “In Celebration of Gilroy’s Past, Present and Future” was painted by local artist Nancy Grieves on the city-owned wall overlooking a parking lot on the northeast corner of Hornlein Court and Monterey Road, and dedicated in 2003. The $15,000 art piece was the first official project of the Gilroy Public Art Committee.

Luckily, across the street at the Gilroy Arts Center, visitors to downtown can enjoy the new “Celebrate the Arts!” mural painted by local artist Sheryl Cathers as the 2017 Leadership Gilroy class project. The mural depicting young people in various categories of artistic endeavor was suggested by Mattie Scariot, the executive director of the 2018 Poppy Jasper International Film Festival. She joined Gilroy Life Publisher Marty Cheek, a member of the 2017 class, March 31 in showing off the mural to Cecelia Ponzini, founder of the Edward Boss Prado Foundation. The foundation was a major donor of the project.

“I’m speechless! It’s beautiful! I seriously thought it was going to be one little billboard and then with the plaque with all the donors and sponsors,” she said. “Leadership Gilroy Class of 2017 did a beautiful job.”

  • •             •

Image result for champions of charity GarlicLet’s go garlic for a good cause. The Gilroy Garlic Festival invites teams of first responders and military professionals to compete in the third annual “Champions for Charity” challenge. They will compete in a cooking challenge July 27, to win $3,000 for the charity of their choice.

“This event has become a great way to kick off three days of intense cooking competitions,” said Denise Buessing, co-chair of the 2018 Gilroy Garlic Festival Recipe Contest Committee.

Four teams of two chefs will be selected to compete in three elimination rounds including appetizer, entrée, and dessert. After each round, a panel of judges will determine who moves on to the next round.

South Valley firefighters, police officers, EMS professionals and military personnel are encouraged to apply in teams of two. Both parties competing must be non-professional chefs. Applications can be found at and must be submitted by May 1.

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

Editor at Gilroy Life
Robert Airoldi is the editor of Gilroy Life newspaper. If you have a story idea or an Around Town column item you want to tell him about, you can reach him at (408) 427-5865 or at
Robert Airoldi