Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

ABBA is one of the most successful music groups in the history of the world. Active from 1970 to 1983, the band sold millions of albums and toured the world—and thanks in part to the hit musical Mamma Mia!, ABBA remains wildly popular.

Now ABBA is being honored by the Palm Springs Gay Men's Chorus, which will be performing ExtrABBAganza at the Jewish Community Center of Palm Springs on Saturday, April 25, and Sunday, April 26.

David Sanchez, the president of the Palm Springs Gay Men's Chorus, explained the inspiration for doing ABBA.

"Every year, we try to do something different that will be appealing to our supporters who come to our concerts,” he said. “We've been doing shows that were about our gay history, our gay culture, and some of the struggles we've been through in the past within the gay community. This year, we decided we were going to focus on something not more thought-provoking, but some fun things to do for the chorus—so that's how ABBA came about."

ABBA, of course, inspired the Broadway musical Mamma Mia and its 2008 movie adaptation. There was also a show designed for choruses.

"There was a production made just for gay choruses based on the music of ABBA called ExtrABBAganza,” Sanchez said. “It's 17 ABBA songs put together for a concert series."

What can you expect from the chorus besides performing hits such as "Dancing Queen," "Waterloo," and "Mamma Mia?"

"It's going to be a lot of fun,” Sanchez said. “We're asking our supporters coming to the concert to dress up in an ABBA outfit if they'd like to participate in a drawing for season tickets. The chorus is going to be dressing in ABBA outfits for the second part of the show—and we have real-life dancing queens, who will be performing for ‘Dancing Queen.’

There are a lot of lights and sounds taking place that we wouldn't normally do for our April-spring concert, but it will be a lot of fun for everybody who attends."

Sanchez said ExtrABBAganza presented the chorus with some difficulties.

"The rehearsals were very challenging for the chorus. You would think the music of ABBA would be easy to sing, but for a choral production, some of the music for the first tenors is very challenging because of the range. Plus, we have members of the chorus who did not grow up with the music of ABBA, but you mention the song 'Mamma Mia,' and suddenly, they are all like, 'Oh yeah, I'm familiar with it.'"

Ticket sales have gone very well, and there's the possibility of both shows selling out, Sanchez said.

He also offered a preview of plans for the new season.

"Our artistic director is Doug Wilson, and he has a vision about what he'd like to do for next year,” Sanchez said. “We're going to be preparing for our holiday concert during the summer, and we're doing a production of Rutter's Gloria. It's a very nice production of holiday music, and it's challenging music for a chorus to sing. It has a lot of traditional favorites for the holiday.

“For spring 2016, Doug wants to do something with rhythm and movement, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he has planned for us."

The Palm Springs Gay Men's Chorus will be performing at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 25; and 3 p.m., Sunday, April 26 at the Jewish Community Center, 332 W. Alejo Road, in Palm Springs. Tickets are $25 to $50. For tickets or more information, visit

Published in Previews


Screening of ‘Tim’s Vermeer’

Tim Jenison, a Texas based inventor, attempts to solve one of the greatest mysteries in all of art: How did 17th century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer manage to paint so photo-realistically, 150 years before the invention of photography? The epic research project Jenison embarks on to test his theory is as extraordinary as what he discovers. This is a Penn and Teller Film, produced by Penn Jillette. Q&A to follow with Lisa Soccio, assistant professor/gallery director at College of the Desert. 6 p.m., Thursday, April 16. Free. University of California at Riverside—Palm Desert, 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert. 760-202-4007;

Music and More

Aiden James

Don’t miss Aiden James performing his latest single, “Last Reminder,” from his album Trouble With This, which launched at No. 28 on the iTunes Top 100. Dinner at 5:30 p.m., with show at 7 p.m., Friday, April 10. $20 show only. Purple Room, 1900 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 800-838-3006;

The Best of Sam Harris

Sam Harris’ career has run the gamut from singer and songwriter to actor on Broadway, film and television, to writer, director, producer and now, author. After winning Star Search in its premiere season, Sam and his powerhouse pop, gospel and theater influenced vocals have never looked back. 8 p.m., Saturday, April 11. $60 to $75. Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490;

Cabaret 88: Donna Theadore

An American actress and singer who first came to attention as a headliner at many famous nightclubs during the 1960s, Theodore won a Theater World Award and Drama Desk Award, and received a Tony Award nomination for her performance in the 1975 musical Shenandoah. She is best remembered for her appearances with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, making more than 50 guest appearances. 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 8. $88. Annenberg Theater at the Palm Springs Art Museum, 101 Museum Drive, Palm Springs. 760-325-4490;

Comedy at the Symphony

Piano humorist Wayland Pickard leads an evening of music and comedy in the PBS tradition of Victor Borge, Roger Williams, Peter Nero and Liberace—all rolled into one. His impressions include selections from famous “piano men” such as Billy Joel, Elton John, Scott Joplin, Jerry Lee Lewis and even Schroeder from “Peanuts.” 7 p.m., Saturday, April 11. $25 to $45, with discounts. Helene Galen Performing Arts Center, Rancho Mirage High School, 31001 Rattler Road, Rancho Mirage. 760-360-2222;

Opera in the Park

This free annual concert is a celebration of opera music. Bring a picnic lunch and join thousands of Coachella Valley residents and visitors to enjoy an afternoon of incredible music in an informal, tranquil outdoor setting with a professional orchestra and eight young up-and-coming opera singers. Noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, April 12. Free. Sunrise Park, 401 S. Pavilion Way, Palm Springs. 760-325-6107;

Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus Presents: Extrabbaganza

The Swedish pop group ABBA topped the music charts from 1975-1982. Their music found new life in movie musicals. The Palm Springs Gay Men’s Chorus will perform a long list of ABBA’s hits. 8 p.m., Saturday, April 25; and 3 p.m., Sunday, April 26. $25 to $50. Temple Isaiah, 332 W. Alejo Road, Palm Springs. 760-219-2077;

Tachevah, A Palm Springs Block Party

A concert for music fans midway between the two 2015 Coachella weekends. The celebration of music and our city takes place outside the Spa Resort Casino in downtown Palm Springs, and a DJ will keep the party rolling in between band sets. 5 to 10 p.m., Wednesday, April 15. Free. Spa Resort Casino, at Tahquitz Canyon Way and Calle Encilia, Palm Springs.

The USO Variety Show

The USO has been entertaining troops worldwide in times of peace and war for more 70 years. Now, the Bob Hope USO needs you to laugh, enjoy and have some fun remembering the good ol’ times. Join us for a live nostalgic tribute to Bob Hope and his band of Hollywood celebs; enjoy free tours of the museum pre- or post-show time. 2 p.m., Thursday, April 9. $55 to $75. Palm Springs Air Museum, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs. 760-778-6262;

Zero Gravity: Music Festival After Hours Party

Zero Gravity will feature a mixture of top talent, emerging artists and special guest appearances. This year, the fairgrounds will be transformed into a mega-club party with amazing sound, lighting, lasers, larger-than-life artwork, exceptional VIP services and more. 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, April 10-18. Must request an invitation at the website; lineup and ticket prices TBA. Riverside County Fairgrounds, 82503 Highway 111, Indio.

Special Events

Cathedral City LGBT Days

Not your typical Pride event, this weekend promises to be interactive, festive and OUTrageous! Enjoy area restaurants, music, hot air balloon rides, the costume “charity bed race” LGBT films and more. Various times, prices and locations in Cathedral City. Friday, April 3, through Sunday, April 5. 760-770-0340;

The Dinah Shore Weekend

Club Skirts presents The Dinah, the largest girl party music festival in the world, rocking Palm Springs since 1991. Various times and locations, Wednesday, April 1, through Sunday, April 5. Prices vary; weekend passes $269.

White Party Palm Springs

The largest gay dance party in the world. DJs, live performances, pool parties and more. Various times, prices and locations, Friday, April 24, through Monday, April 27.

Visual Arts

99 Bucks Sale

The Palm Springs Artists Council presents this annual major fundraiser for the Education Department. Celebrities as well as Artists Council members and other artists create artwork on 5-by-7 canvases for this popular and intriguing one night event. The purchaser selects works to buy, and only after purchase do they learn the name of the artist. 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Saturday, April 11. Free. Riviera Resort and Spa Grand Ballroom, 1600 N. Indian Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. 760-322-4850;

Indian Wells Arts Festival

More than 200 award-winning artists featuring hundreds of pieces of one-of-a-kind artwork available for purchase. The Second Annual Objet Trouvé Found Art Festival joins once again, featuring award-winning found artists creating a “festival of festivals.” 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday, April 3, through Sunday, April 5. $13; children 12 and under free. Indian Wells Tennis Garden, 78200 Miles Ave., Indian Wells. 760-346-0042;

Submit your free arts listings at The listings presented above were all posted on the ArtsOasis calendar, and formatted/edited by Coachella Valley Independent staff. The Independent recommends calling to confirm all events information presented here.

Published in Local Fun