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What if, by engaging your imagination and opening your mind, you could alter reality and unlock the door to a world of wonders? Welcome to the realm of KURIOS - Cabinet of Curiosities from Cirque du Soleil. Step into the curio cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent everything around him. Suddenly, the visible becomes invisible, perspectives are transformed, and the world is literally turned upside down in a place that's as beautiful as it is mysterious. Stunning acrobatics blend with unusual curiosity acts, and otherworldly characters spring to life before your eyes. Is this magical, mechanical land real, or just a figment of your imagination? You have to see it to disbelieve it.
Witness all the antics of America's favorite dizzy redhead and her Cuban crooner hubby as beloved '50s sitcom I Love Lucy is transformed into a live stage show. Step back in time onto the Desilu soundstage where a charming host will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the latest hi-fi technology that makes this new thing called "television" possible. Then, the show starts, and Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel are up to their hilarious antics in the familiar cozy surroundings of their New York apartment building and at the famed Tropicana Nightclub, where The Ricky Ricardo Orchestra delights with "Babalu" and other Cuban dance numbers. In between scenes, the Crystaltone Singers perform live advertising jingles from the show's newest sponsors (Brylcreem, anyone?) in perfect '50s-style harmony. This is your chance to be a member of the studio audience at the taping of two classic I Love Lucy episodes -- "The Benefit" (Lucy agrees to get Ricky to perform in a benefit for her women's club, as long as she's the star of the show) and "Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined" (drops from the eye doctor make Lucy's vision blurry just as she's about to have a jitterbug audition for a movie role).
On Christmas Eve 1944, Nutcracker made its American debut in San Francisco and instantly became a holiday tradition that spread across the country. San Francisco Ballet artistic director and principal choreographer Helgi Tomasson honors that 70-year history by using the City by the Bay as the backdrop for his Nutcracker. Set in San Francisco during the 1915 World's Fair, Clara's dreamlike journey takes place amidst colorful, larger-than-life scenery, more than 200 dazzling costumed characters and, of course, Tchaikovsky's beautiful score performed live by the world-class San Francisco Ballet Orchestra.
The New York Times nailed it when the Grey Lady declared playwright Rinne Groff "a master at drawing you in." No one explores the intriguing nooks and crannies of history like Groff, famed for the novel conceits and emotional payoffs of her acclaimed plays, including Jimmy Carter was a Democrat, Orange Lemon Egg Canary and The Ruby Sunrise. Now the San Francisco Playhouse presents the world premiere of her latest work, 77%. A high-powered businesswoman, her stay-at-home husband and her socialite mother wrestle with the decision to have another child, while her father braves a squall with his schooner in the Chesapeake Bay. ... What are the odds? Marissa Wolf directs this exciting new work as a part of the San Francisco Playhouse Sandbox Series at Tides Theatre.
One of the greatest things to come from the British Isles since streaky bacon, BBC's Absolutely Fabulous followed the outrageous exploits of BFFs Edina and Patsy, two booze- and fad-loving career women on the London fashion scene. Now San Francisco's newest theater, the Royal British Comedy Theatre, is bringing the ladies to the stage in live reenactments of the smash (and eternally smashed) British sitcom's hilarious first season, which includes fan-favorite episodes "Fat," "Fashion," "France," "ISO Tank," "Birthday" and "Magazine." An ensemble cast of local comic actors will perform in faux Brit accents, staging two absolutely live Absolutely Fabulous episodes per night.
In segregated 1950s America, two imprisoned teens -- one black, one white -- bridge a racial and cultural divide to transcend their fate. This riveting new prison drama from Naomi Wallace, author of the critically acclaimed drama One Flea Spare, is a playful and poetic story of survival that cleverly and seamlessly skips between two time periods, showing the two young women surviving the harsh realities of prison life and then trying to make they way in the world shortly after being released. Magic Theatre presents this West Coast premiere from a playwright Variety has called "one of the most subtle and politically engaged playwrights of her generation."
Full of racy puppets and boisterous songs, the Tony Award-winning "fresh and delightful" (San Francisco Examiner) Avenue Q returns to the New Conservatory Theatre Center stage after a sold-out run. Naughty puppets take a hilarious look at life in New York City as they tell the timeless story of a recent college grad who moves to Avenue Q with high hopes and discovers his purpose in life with the help of his new neighbors: the girl monster next door, the Republican, the internet sexpert and Lucy the Slut. "It's like having a couple drinks with the characters of Sesame Street and hearing what they really think about life," writes SF Weekly.
Known for her scathingly funny comedies like The House of Yes (later made into an award-winning Sundance film starring Parker Posey), playwright Wendy MacLeod turns her lightning-quick wit on the power plays within a Scottish private school's rugby team in her new play, The Ballad of Bonnie Prince Chucky. In this production from A.C.T.'s Tony-winning Young Conservatory, which features actors ranging in age from 8-19, status on the field equals status off the field, and the boys, girls and the conflicted have to fight for who rules. So, when two boys named Charles claim to be king, the game is on! MacLeod's previous plays include Schoolgirl Figure, which has been optioned for a film adaptation, and The Water Children, which was nominated for six L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards. Her prose has appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney's and Salon and on NPR's All Things Considered.
It's the second World War as you've never seen it before, as The Battle of Midway: Live! Onstage! sets the famous navy battle to music for a queer-camp extravaganza. Bay Area Critics Circle Award winner John Fisher (To Sleep and Dream) writes and directs this farcical retelling of the decisive conflict as a battle of wills between childish admirals and glory-seeking pilots. In this Theatre Rhinoceros production, plenty of liberties are taken with the facts, but through all the camp and drag, a greater truth emerges.
Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon is the world's longest-running musical revue. Since 1974, this San Francisco institution has followed Snow White on a musical comedy quest around the world, where she runs into satirically portrayed pop culture and political celebrities, an impressive array of gigantic hats and one show-stopping musical number after another. Because the show is constantly updated with new costumes, hats and characters, it rewards repeat visits. Among the familiar faces you might see spoofed in Beach Blanket's latest incarnation: Lady Gaga, Barack and Michelle Obama, the cast of Glee, Kate Middleton and Adele. Even after nearly 40 years, Beach Blanket Babylon remains one of San Francisco's wildest evenings of live entertainment.
If you think it's stressful being around your family during the holidays, imagine trying to come up with a totally improvised, three-act play about a different and new family for each and every staging of a show. That's exactly what that risk-taking talents of the Un-Scripted Theater Company do in Beloved Strangers. Though it's a unique show every time it's staged, the troupe approaches each performance with the philosophy that all families, for better or worse, share histories, destinies and, most importantly, stories.
Get your dramatic ducks in a row with a 3-show subscription (for first-time subscribers only) to the upcoming season at the Tony-winning Berkeley Repertory Theatre, one of the most innovative companies in the country. Your package begins with An Audience With Meow Meow, a bravura performance by groundbreaking singer-comedienne Meow Meow, who offers electrifying songs, a blowtorch wit and divine mayhem in equal measures. Next on your subscription bill, X's and O's (A Gridiron Love Story) is an intriguing docudrama that exposes the passion and the pain behind football's pervasive traumatic brain injuries. Based on actual interviews with football players and their families and fans, this world premiere will make you see America's favorite game in a whole new light. Finally, you'll thrill to the beat of One Man, Two Guvnors, a swingin' English farce inspired by A Servant of Two Masters wherein a modern-day British dolt with two jobs struggles to juggle his dual bosses. Backed by a live band that swerves between rockabilly and Beatles-esque pop, this topsy-turvy ride through loony love triangles and mistaken identities caps your subscription off with a delectable mish-mash of splendid comedy, pantomime and music-hall-style revue.
What would it be like if a political dictator sat down for a therapy session with a psychiatrist? Breakfast With Mugabe imagines that scenario, with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as the surprising patient seeking treatment for depression. Named by Parade magazine the worst dictator of the year in 2009, and known for racism against whites, Mugabe is not a person you'd expect to have a smooth time exploring his inner world with a white doctor. Fraser Grace's award-winning thriller captures that perfectly, as the fictionalized Mugabe struggles to understand why he's being haunted by a spirit from his bloody past, and the doctor stirs up memories that trigger in Mugabe a startling reaction. The real Mugabe, who's ruled Zimbabwe for three decades, originally came to power as a hero who'd survived 10 years of being a prisoner of war, followed by a successful win in the battle against white minority rule. But in the years since becoming Prime Minister and then President (when the office of Prime Minister was abolished), he's run an increasingly authoritarian regime that's characterized by human rights violations, discrimination, corruption, economic mismanagement and violent, coercive re-election tactics.
In this hilarious and heartwarming prequel to his hit show Not a Genuine Black Man, beloved actor-playwright Brian Copeland recounts three memorable weeks in his youth when he took to the "mean streets" of Oakland to buy his mom the perfect Christmas gift. Rife with references to 1970s Oakland, The Jewelry Box: A Genuine Christmas Story follows six-year-old Brian's adventures as he scours the help-wanted ads, applies for jobs and collects bottles, inching his way toward the coveted present, a jewelry box at the local White Front store. Not a Genuine Black Man broke records as the longest-running solo show in San Francisco history and brought Copeland critical acclaim as one of the city's most talented and engaging solo performers.
This Royal National Theatre version of Candide finds the naďve title hero setting off to find his one true love, the beautiful Cunegonde, while enduring a series of comic misadventures that take him through wars, plagues, pirates, swindlers and even the Spanish Inquisition, sorely testing his always-optimistic faith in humanity. This delightful production of Leonard Bernstein's classic musical -- with book adapted from Voltaire by Hugh Wheeler, in a new version by John Caird -- features such songs as "Glitter and Be Gay," "Auto-da-fé" and "The Best of All Possible Worlds."
A.C.T.'s acclaimed, music-infused adaptation of Dickens' beloved tale returns in a sumptuous production that's become one of the Bay Area's favorite holiday traditions. A large, lively cast tells the story of lonely old miser Ebenezer Scrooge, a bah-humbuggy sort who's shown a second chance by four ghosts who visit him one spooky Christmas Eve. A classic story of redemption and forgiveness, A Christmas Carol captures the true spirit and magic of the holiday season, especially in this imaginative version written by A.C.T.'s own artistic director Carey Perloff and alumnus Paul Walsh.
A Bay Area holiday family tradition for nearly three decades, Christmas Revels is a joyous production that welcomes the return of the light back from the darkness of winter with a hearty, vibrant celebration. This year's production tackles an American theme for the first time in many years. The 2014 Revels opens in 1930s Appalachia with stops in Louisiana and westward. It's a crazy quilt of many colors representing the fabric of the holiday traditions many of us still share. Filled with Cajun music, Appalachian clogging, folk tales and holiday rituals, this year's Revels are packed with American carols and folk songs, music and plenty of laughter. As always, the chorus of adults, teens and children will add to the warmth, along with storytelling and performances by accomplished guest artists.
Disney On Ice is throwing the biggest party of the year, and you're invited. The skating spectacular Let's Celebrate! is a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the world. This party on ice features all your favorite Disney friends, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse. They'll host a Very Merry Unbirthday party with Alice and the Mad Hatter, while Lilo and Stitch celebrate Hawaiian-style with a luau. And don't forget the Disney Princesses -- they'll be having a Royal Valentine's Day Ball with Cinderella, Ariel and Tiana on the guest list. There'll also be a winter wonderland with Woody and Buzz Lightyear and a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains.
Doodu Boy is Stefhen Bryan's autobiographical story about a boy born to an abusive mother and absent father and his struggles to find unconditional love across three continents. Bryan's childhood was spent in a Jamaican ghetto, where he fell into trouble and earned the nickname Doodu Boy. Next, he escaped to America to reconnect with his father, but after multiple attempts on his own life and discovering shocking new facts about his origins, he fled once more to begin a rebirth in Japan. Bryan wrote Black Passenger, Yellow Cabs: A Memoir of Exile and Excess in Japan and most recently published Only Begotten. Jubilee VIP tickets include a complimentary cider or champagne plus a meet-and-greet with the cast.
Morris Bobrow, the award-winning creator of Shopping! The Musical, the longest-running original show in San Francisco history, is serving up yet another tasty musical revue. This one's all about food, glorious food -- with a mix of songs and sketches about eating habits and hang-ups, trendy restaurants and food trucks, cooking quirks, menu mania and much, much more. Winner of multiple San Francisco Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Awards for outstanding music and lyrics, Bobrow also created the recent Party of 2 -- The Mating Musical.
When the night air brings a chill, when Barbra Streisand croons Silent Night in dep't. stores and when the Xmas sweaters are taken out of mothballs, it can only mean one thing. It's time for the annual appearance of The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes 2014, starring San Francisco's four top drag luminaries, as we ring in the Holiday with, hilarity and heart. The mise-en-scene is reasonably straightforward. Take 4 talented drag performers, cast them in two classic Xmas episodes of the ground-breaking and uproarious TV show: THE GOLDEN GIRLS, and frivolity will ensue.
Noel Coward's sparkling comedy Blithe Spirit is reinvented as a sassy and sly '60s musical. In Coward's tale, writer Charles Condomine and his new wife are bedeviled by the mischievous spirit of the author's first wife, the deceased Elvira. Eccentric medium Madame Arcati conjures up the naughty ghost and endeavors to send her back to the other world. The original 1964 production on Broadway, directed by Noel Coward himself, was nominated for 8 Tony Awards, including Best Actress, Best Musical and Best Director.
It's a Wonderful Life, one of the all-time great Christmas stories, comes to life in a live 1940s-style radio broadcast from Tides Theatre. Based on Frank Capra's iconic film starring James Stewart, this holiday favorite tells the story of George Bailey, a down-on-his-luck man whose guardian angel shows him what his town would be like had he never been born. A tearjerker even the biggest Grinch won't be able to resist, It's a Wonderful Life is sure to put you in the holiday spirit. Now you can experience this perennial favorite with the added charm of a vintage radio play, complete with live foley sound effects.
Getting dumped is the worst, but that doesn't always mean the other person has it easy. In Jane Austen's Persuasion, Anne Elliot decides to break off her engagement with dashing Frederick Wentworth after pressure from her family to find a man with more money. Eight years later she's still single, and he's back in town, and rich, and looking for love. What's a girl to do? Find out in the Ross Valley Players production of the stage play based on Austen's final novel.
Puccini's story of love, loss and the artistic world of 19th-century Paris comes to vibrant life in an exciting new production from the San Francisco Opera, featuring strikingly designed sets and costumes, not to mention a bevy of brilliant singers, under the direction of Tony winner John Caird, director of two of the biggest stage hits of recent years, Les Misérables and Nicholas Nickleby. Puccini's most famous opera, La Bohčme, follows Rodolfo -- a struggling poet -- and Mimi --a shy seamstress -- as they meet and fall in love, despite the hardscrabble existence of life in the city's Latin Quarter. Financial woes, jealous exes and Mimi's increasingly worrisome sickness drive a dramatic plot filled with sensual arias that continues to resonate more than 100 years after the opera's premiere.
One of today's most critically acclaimed and buzzed-about American playwrights, Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl takes an innovative and entertaining look at one woman's search for meaning in all of life's uncertainties in Late: A Cowboy Song. This funny and poignant story follows Mary, a young woman stuck in a claustrophobic marriage. Crick, Mary's passive-aggressive, macho-effeminate sweetheart since childhood, recently spent all their savings on a painting, and Mary's just given birth to a baby of uncertain gender. Then she unexpectedly meets Red, a singing female urban cowboy who opens up Mary's world.
A farce of mistaken identities, cross-dressing and hilariously tangled subplots, Love, Sex, and the IRS centers on Leslie and Jon, two down-on-their-luck male roommates who come up with a brilliant way to save money on their taxes: claim they're man and wife! But the plan quickly goes awry when the IRS comes to investigate. Now Leslie has to put on the performance of a lifetime (with the help of Jon's actual fiancée -- who also happens to be having an affair with Leslie). Add to the mix a nosy landlord, a surprise visit from mom and Leslie's girlfriend, and these two would-be scam artists have their work cut out for them. Love, Sex, and the IRS was written by the Emmy-nominated writing team of Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore, creators of the off-Broadway hit You've Got Hate Mail.
Marrakech Magic Theater features world-renowned sleight-of-hand magician Peter Morrison in a highly interactive show in its intimate 42-seat theater. A featured performer at the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood, Morrison combines mind-blowing magic, intriguing feats of mentalism and laugh-out-loud humor in a fast-paced 75-minute show -- and audience participation makes each performance different. Make sure you get there early to enjoy Morrison's pre-show tableside magic in the Oasis Lounge.
The MeshugaNutcracker! blends Tchaikovsky's unforgettably beautiful holiday score with witty lyrics and traditional Jewish songs to create a musical treat that's perfect for the holiday season. Dancing dreidels, singing sufganiot and even the audience come together to tell charming stories that celebrate all that is Chanukah. You won't want to miss this evening out that the Los Angeles Times calls "a lovingly loopy musical that creates a treat for the whole family ... an enchanting festival of lighthearted glee and meaningful warmth."
Make the 2014-2015 theater season full of discovery, danger and delight by seeing any three of New Conservatory Theatre Center's eight exciting upcoming shows. Selections include Cock, wunderkind playwright Mike Bartlett's elegant modern love triangle that looks at the aftermath when one half of a gay couple falls in love with a woman. Or you might try the over-the-top hybrid of Hollywood glamour and Greek tragedy in Die, Mommie, Die!, Charles Busch's hilarious mixture of whodunits, double-crossings and suspenseful twists. Dead Poets Society meets Romeo & Juliet in Shakespeare's R&J, a play-within-a-play written by Joe Calarco about what happens when four school boys secretly reenact the timeless story of forbidden love. The Tony-winning musical Avenue Q is back by popular demand to prove once again that puppets can have a very adult side, and in Harbor, all hell breaks loose when 15-year-old Lottie and her ne'er-do-well mother drop in unannounced at the beautiful Sag Harbor home of Kevin and his young husband, Ted. Other Desert Cities by Jon Robin Baitz brings dysfunctional family drama to new heights in a story that was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer. Timely, touching and empathetic, the 2013 GLAAD Media Award-winning From White Plains explores the far-reaching fallout of bullying and questions if forgiveness is possible. And wrapping up the season, Compleat Female Stage Beauty is a bawdy historical comedy-drama that brings the battle of the sexes to the stage. Hey, we didn't say choosing three from this lineup was going to be easy.
Brian Copeland's Not a Genuine Black Man returns to The Marsh for its 10th anniversary, to be performed in rep with Copeland's other acclaimed play The Waiting Period (also listed on Goldstar). In 1971, San Leandro was named one of the most racist suburbs in America. Congressional hearings were held. The next year, 8-year-old Brian Copeland and his African-American family moved in. The longest-running solo show in Bay Area history, Not a Genuine Black Man is a hilarious and poignant autobiographical story about Copeland's childhood, based on his best-selling book of the same name. The engaging one-man show is an insightful look at Bay Area history and the ways in which our upbringings make us who we are.
It's like Mad Men for the stage, with office romances colliding hilariously with office politics. Based on the 1960 Academy Award-winning Billy Wilder film The Apartment, Promises, Promises tells the story of the executives of the Consolidated Life Insurance Company and junior employee Chuck Baxter. In an effort to advance up through the ranks, Chuck lends his superiors the keys to his apartment for their extramarital trysts. But things become slightly complicated when the object of Chuck's affection becomes involved with one of his superiors. With Neil Simon's funny and touching book and Burt Bacharach and Hal David's hit-packed score, this gem is infused with the swinging energy of 1968 Manhattan.
Two lesbians on the brink of a breakup, one curious landlady and a highly opinionated cat are the stars of Pussy, which originally premiered at San Francisco's DIVAfest with staging by Claire Rice and Julianne Fawsitt, toured to New York and Seattle, and now returns direct from its European debut in London. While their vaguely homophobic but clearly curious Russian landlady snoops around, lesbian couple Leslie and Jo experience tangled heartaches and misadventures. But no one has stronger opinions on the matter than their cat, Pussy. Written and starring Maura Halloran, Pussy's a tale of love and sex, softball and unicorns, gardening and faith, miscommunications, three outsiders and one spectacular pet.
Four former hippies are content to spend their days selling baked goods as part of The Morning Glory Baking Circle for Revolutionary Self Defense -- that is until they realize "the man" is keeping an eye on them! Now these sweet old bakers are looking to shake things up like they did in "the good ol' days," with hilarious results. Recipe, a political farce from local playwright Michael Gene Sullivan, won the 2013 Israel Baran Award for its hilarious and timely look at political activism today and decades ago.
Berkeley Rep presents the story of Molly Ivins, the outspoken and sharp-witted Texas reporter whose liberal journalism brought her national fame and a job at The New York Times, where she wrote Elvis Presley's obituary. Two-time Tony and Oscar nominee Kathleen Turner plays the fiery redhead, a self-proclaimed "pain in the ass to whatever powers come to be." Though The New York Times had hired Ivins to bring life to its staid writing style, her political edginess and controversial social commentary eventually proved to be too much, and Ivins moved on to Texas papers that embraced her sharp-tongued humor. This acclaimed show captures Ivins' unique character using personal anecdotes and her colorful take on national politics.
A local hit for more than a decade, The Santaland Diaries returns this holiday season, bringing with it all the laughter you'll need to take the edge of your seasonal stresses. David Sinaiko, nominated for a Critics Circle Award for his performance, reprises his role as Crumpet the Elf, bringing you a twisted take on shopping mall Santalands. Written by best-selling humor writer David Sedaris, who gained legions of comedy fans when he first read the piece on This American Life, The Santaland Diaries is Sedaris' hilarious account of working as a Macy's Christmas elf. Tony-winning Broadway director-actor Joe Mantello (Wicked) adapted what was originally an essay into a now-famous solo show that offers the perfect antidote to endless holiday cheer.
New Conservatory Theatre Center brings this "vibrant, hot-blooded adaptation" (The New York Times) to the stage in a stirring new production. Shakespeare's R&J, Joe Calarco's provocative adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, places the iconic story of youthful passion and feuding families in the hands of four school boys in Egypt. They sneak away to take turns reading a copy of the forbidden text. As they act out the roles, they become caught up in the story and real-life forbidden passions are revealed. Shakespeare's R&J rips away your preconceptions of Romeo and Juliet, and presents the classic in a modern and emotionally resonant new form.
Left Coast Theatre Company, which prides itself as San Francisco's home for original LGBT theatre, brings an assortment of hilarious new plays by Bay Area and national playwrights to Shelton Theater. Shock & Awww: An Evening of Comedic Plays on Love, Dating & Other Hazards explores the trials, tribulations and occasional land mines of relationships and dating in the modern world. This evening of brand-new, LGBT-themed short plays includes Fanny Packs and Hanky Codes, Mangina, Romeo & Jules, Snip, Flooding and Jim at My Door.
You'll be howling from fear and laughter at Thrillpeddlers' 15th annual Shocktoberfest, an evening-long celebration of things that go bump in the night. This evening of Halloween-themed theatre includes a pair of original black comedy one-acts: Shocktoberfest classic The Taxidermist's Revenge, in which a young chemist finds herself in unfamiliar and ominous territory when she goes to work for a taxidermist who fancies himself a great artist, and the all-new Deathwrite, in which two writers go to extreme lengths to get all the glory -- and the money -- from their recently completed novel for themselves. There's also a performance of the new short horror musical The Bloody Débutante plus a free adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's insane asylum-set The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether. It all culminates in a fun and frightening lights-out spook show finale. This offer gets you seating in The Hypnodrome's innovative Shock Boxes, themed love seats for two that feature a sheer curtain that can be drawn to conceal the goings on inside each private booth. For more info about Shock Box seating, please see the full event description.
The sordid history of the crack-cocaine epidemic is revealed in the incendiary new play Superheroes from The Cutting Ball Theater. Partially inspired by Gary Webb's groundbreaking investigative journalism into the relationship between the CIA and Nicaraguan drug traffickers, Superheroes follows a journalist unraveling a tangled web of fact and fiction surrounding the epidemic. The drama traces a lyrical labyrinth through churches, courthouses and street corners in pursuit of the shocking truth. Written and Directed by Sean San José, Superheroes was developed as part of Risk Is This, The Cutting Ball's festival of experimental plays.
Originally staged at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2011 -- and retitled for Broadway in 2013 as The Testament of Mary -- Testament is an incisive, lyrical and deeply human work that turns the iconic mother of Jesus Christ into a fully-realized, flesh-and-blood woman who refuses to endorse the Gospels. Colm Tóibín first developed the work as a 2011 monologue, then turned it into a highly-praised novel, and finally brought it to the stage, focusing on an older Mary several years after the Crucifixion, and now sheltered by the men who wrote the Gospels. But torn by grief and self-doubt, she's stubbornly reluctant to endorse their version of events surrounding her son. Don't miss this insightful new perspective about which Variety raved, "you've never seen anything like it." Seana McKenna is a veteran of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.
From improvised Star Trek episodes that never were to silent movie-style sketches dreamed up on the spot to the classic improv form called the Harold, the San Francisco Improv Collective brings you Theater Without a Net! Every show features two of the Bay Area's most creative improv troupes, each presenting a unique story made up on the spot from your suggestions. It might be in the style of a Tennessee Williams drama or a Broadway musical. Whatever the genre, you're in for laughs.
One of his most personal works, Edward Albee (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?) explores themes of mortality and the elasticity of personality through three women of different generations in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Three Tall Women. Custom Made Theatre's last production of Albee's work (The Play About the Baby) was awarded Best Overall Production by the Critic's Circle in 2012. Now, the theater tackles this acclaimed tale of three very different women, and how the younger two aid the eldest in reflecting on her life -- the shame, pleasure, regret and satisfaction.
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind is one of Chicago's biggest theatrical success stories. Created by Greg Allen, and written and performed by the Neo-Futurists, the original production in Chicago has been continuously running since the Reagan administration, and now San Francisco has its own sibling company. This innovative show is an ever-changing attempt to perform 30 plays in one hour. The "menu" of plays is strung up on a clothesline and the audience determines the order by yelling out which piece they want to see next. Every performance is a unique experience, and the Neo-Futurists are masters of creating funny, personal, abstract, political and poignant plays.
Channeling the subversive spirit of The Colbert Report, The Totalitarians is a viciously funny vivisection of the farcical frenzy that is American politics. When dopy Nebraska candidate (and former roller derby star) Penelope Easter surges in popularity following a go-for-broke speech, her adviser Francine embarks on a wild ride of professional and personal upheaval as she fights to push her client onto the national stage. Like Dr. Strangelove and other great satires, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's The Totalitarians digs into the hypocrisy of politics with scathing wit and reckless abandon, featuring a script that DC Metro Theatre Arts hailed as "one of the most intensely insane pieces of comic writing to take the stage in a very long time."
The Tony-winning author of Tsotsi and "Master Harold" ... and the Boys, Athol Fugard brings a powerful true story of redemption to the stage for its San Francisco-Bay Area premiere in The Train Driver, what he calls his "most significant work in a 50-year career." Set in Fugard's native South Africa, the drama follows Roelf, a train driver devastated by unwittingly killing a mother who stepped in front of his moving train with a child strapped to her back. Searching for answers and solace, Roelf travels to the township's graveyard and meets an aged gravedigger named Simon, whose job is to bury the "nameless." Through their unlikely friendship, Roelf tries to come to grips with his guilt and shame. Of this poignant journey the Los Angeles Times wrote, "[Fugard] remains a natural-born storyteller."
One of Sam Shepard's most famous works, this gritty, whisky-fueled character study focuses on the strained relationship between two brothers who are polar opposites. Austin is a successful screenwriter; Lee a troublesome drifter and small-time thief. Austin's working on a script for a modern love story when Lee forces his way into the process and tries to make the movie into a trashy Western tale. Their verbal push-and-shove over the story leads to the realization that they each secretly envy the other's life. This modern-day classic keeps you on the edge of your seat as it explores the seedy underbelly of the American dream. In addition to being an award-winning playwright, Shepard has also starred in an impressive list of films, including The Right Stuff, Black Hawk Down and Crimes of the Heart. Theater MadCap presents its inaugural production with a simple yet rare twist: The two leads are played by men of color.
ODC, one of America's leading contemporary dance companies, presents its beloved production of The Velveteen Rabbit, a holiday tradition in the Bay Area, now in its 28th year. With a sense of wit, charming music by Benjamin Britten, colorful costumes, and larger-than-life characters, it's the popular tale of the powerful relationship between a little boy and the toy rabbit who comes to life through his love. ODC's distinctive style of modern dance combines with narration drawn from the original story and a touch of holiday magic to create a great family event.
Brian Copeland's landmark play about depression comes to The Marsh, to be performed in rep with the 10th anniversary of Copeland's acclaimed play about race, Not a Genuine Black Man (also listed on Goldstar). Copeland, a multi-talented actor, playwright, author and talk-show host, has basked in the glow of both public and critical acclaim for nearly a decade. However, like many other well-known figures, he suffers from debilitating bouts of depression. This show gives an unrelenting look at a 10-day period in his life: the mandatory waiting period before he could lay his hands on a new gun with which he planned to commit suicide. Even in the throes of such tragic plans, though, his sense of humor does not desert him (how much would be appropriate to spend on the gun?), and in fact protects him from the grim reality of his intention. There is laughter in the darkness and Copeland finds it. Interspersed with interviews with other people suffering from depression, the play also offers outsiders an insider's view, thereby expanding the audience's understanding and, hopefully, humanity.
Pulitzer Prize nominee Alice Childress (A Short Walk) wrote this 1969 one-act drama, set in an artist's apartment during the Harlem race riots. Bill is set to paint a portrait of the under-educated Tomorrow Marie as the representation of the ideal African woman, but his condescending perception of her kicks off a conflict that explores racism within the African-American community, not to mention sexism and intellectualism, among other issues. VIP tickets to the show include a glass of Champagne, preferred seating, a backstage meet-and-greet and more.