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Having mastered impressions of Tom Brokaw, Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt, comic-impressionist Colin Mahan takes on science-fiction blockbusters, '80s car crash movies and rock musicals in Ball Trap!: A Sci-Fi Space Opera! Find out if space car driver Ace Stickman can save the galaxy from an evil space warlord. You might even catch Mahan dancing in spandex! Opening for the man of many faces (George W. Bush, Michael Caine, Nicolas Cage, Jack Black) is Les Milton, who's been performing sketch comedy in the Bay Area for over 20 years.
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.
Possibly the most hysterical siblings since the Marx Brothers, Amy and David Sedaris have written The Book of Liz, a zany stage play about discovering your own self-worth. First discovered on NPR, David has since written a series of bestsellers which include Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked and When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Amy was the star of Comedy Central's Strangers With Candy and continues to be an ubiquitous (and hilarious) presence on film and TV. Together they have written The Book of Liz about the outrageous adventures of Sister Elizabeth Donderstock, a devoted maker of cheeseballs who ventures out of her tiny religious community to encounter a host of colorful characters -- including Ukrainians with cockney accents, restaurants run by recovering alcoholics and a certain talking peanut.
Over the course of one sultry evening, a prominent Southern family is pushed to the brink when tender memories are relived and life-altering secrets are revealed. Wealthy plantation owner Big Daddy's family has gathered to celebrate his 65th birthday, while sparing him the news that he's dying of cancer. As one son, a former football hero, mysteriously retreats from his desirable but sexually frustrated wife, his money-hungry brother and sister-in-law plot to secure more than their fair share of the family fortune. This Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by American icon Tennessee Williams sizzles with passion and greed.
Based on the hit film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and the incredible true story that inspired it, Broadway musical Catch Me If You Can follows the life of Frank W. Abagnale Jr., who uses charm, imagination and millions of dollars in forged checks to create his ideal future. Abagnale successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer -- and wins the girl of his dreams -- before FBI agent Carl Hanratty finally catches up to him. The Tony Award-winning "dream team" behind Catch Me If You Can includes playwright Terrence McNally (The Full Monty, Ragtime) and composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray).
Julia's never bought a baby before. OK, she's adopting, but the agency makes her feel like she's buying in the new comedy Children are Forever (All Sales are Final!). Just five days after signing the (non-refundable) contract, Julia and her partner Amy are chosen by a birth mother to raise her baby daughter. That is, until it all falls apart. While this play deals with some heavy topics, writer and star Julia Jackson -- a semifinalist at the San Francisco International Comedy Competition -- keeps the laughs coming as the drama increases.
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.
After impressive performances in New York City and elsewhere, City Council Meeting, a unique and inventive piece of theater, comes to Z Space. The creators of the show have taken a mundane piece of civic life -- a city council meeting -- and transformed it into a bold, chaotic and funny exploration of participatory democracy. And the best part is, you get to be part of the show! At each performance, audience members have the option to participate as councilors, speakers or supporters. Or, if you'd rather just watch, that's okay. They need bystanders, too. Democracy in action may not be pretty -- but just try to turn away.
Bram Stoker's iconic tale of horror comes to vivid life in Dracula Inquest, a thrilling new mystery from Central Works. In 1895, Scotland Yard detective Avery Sly arrives at an asylum, where he will interrogate four inmates about the disappearance of a mysterious nobleman from Transylvania. This investigation leads Sly down the pathway of a terrifying dilemma-- was Count Dracula a demonic vampire or the innocent victim of a conspiracy? Find out during this dramatic tale of terror.
In this fast-paced comedy, you'll meet a man, his boyfriend... and his boyfriend's girlfriend. A bittersweet story, the play looks at the ups and downs of modern relationships and the forked pathways of sexuality. Playwright Stuart Bousel has crafted a funny and intriguing piece that discusses the absurd distortion our lives take on when examined through the eyes of our friends, loved ones and family. All those things that we want to say to another, but never do come crashing together in this new play from from Wily West Productions.
They go shopping, they bake cakes, they sit in trees and they jump on beds ... and, oh yeah, they're monkeys! A quintet of rambunctious primates populates this production of Five Little Monkeys based on Eileen Christelow's beloved book series. Told in verse, Five Little Monkeys finds the silly simian siblings insisting on getting their own way, which means there's plenty of monkey mayhem in store -- and maybe even a trip to the doctor.
With songs by Rodgers & Hammerstein and an updated book by Tony-winner David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly), this new version of the 1958 Broadway musical honors the original while giving it a more modern, romantic sensibility. The glorious score features the delightful "A Hundred Million Miracles," "I Enjoy Being a Girl," "Grant Avenue," "You Are Beautiful" and "Love Look Away," and the show tells the entertaining story of young Chinese immigrants learning to live in America, as the older generation struggles to retain its classical culture. Enjoy the production outdoors under the stars at the beautiful Woodminster Amphitheater.
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.
The fine print of a Groupon, the threat of a negative Yelp review, the "resume" of a cage-free chicken -- there's a lot more to the food scene than just food. Now the gripes and glories of being a modern-day gourmand have been turned into a hilarious stage show, Foodies! The Musical. This feisty musical comedy revue takes a humorous look at restaurants, eating habits and (increasingly whimsical) culinary trends. One of the longest-running original shows in San Francisco, Foodies! now comes to Danville, having won multiple SF Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Awards for outstanding music and lyrics. See a fresh production of this "show for everyone who eats" from the very talented Morris Bobrow, composer of Shopping! The Musical and Party of 2: The New Mating Musical.
For Dezi Gallegos' latest piece of documentary theater, the 18-year-old performance prodigy went out and interviewed people from nine different religions, to help him decide once and for all whether or not God exists. What he found -- and shares on stage -- is wit and wisdom from a witch who worships Elvis, the director of an official organization of American atheists, a rabbi who somehow holds down a side job as a drag queen and many more, as well as an understanding of the shared human quest to discover why we're here. Gallegos has continued to develop his craft, since his success as the co-writer of the award-winning Prop 8 Love Stories when he was just 14.
Theatre Rhino remounts its hit spring production of the acclaimed 2009 comedy The Habit of Art. Written by Britain's Alan Bennett, whose works include the award-winning Broadway hit The History Boys, this poignant yet raunchily funny play tells the story of the shattered friendship between poet W. H. Auden and composer Benjamin Britten. Examining the unsettling desires of two difficult men, and the ethics of biography itself, it reflects on growing old, on talent and inspiration, and on persisting when all passion's spent. Met with wild acclaim upon its London debut in 2009, The Habit of Art is a complex and fascinating play about the intersection of creativity and desire.
A fresh spin on several Brothers Grimm fairy tales, Into the Woods interweaves and re-imagines the stories of a number of beloved characters to examine whether "happily ever after" is really even possible. Unable to bear children, a baker and his wife are lured into completing a number of tasks by a witch who promises to grant them their wish. During their journey, they encounter Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk. With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, the original Broadway run won critical praise and numerous awards. The cast recording, which includes "Children Will Listen," "Giants in the Sky" and "No One Is Alone," took home a Grammy. It's set to get the Hollywood movie treatment this year in a film starring Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep.
The best of Goode can be experienced in Irresistibly Drawn, a special evening of dance, song and drama from Joe Goode Performance Group. Famed for nearly 30 years for shaping stories, song and dance into one seamless art form, choreographer Joe Goode has been praised as both a "poet of anxiety, pain and uncertainty" (The San Francisco Bay Guardian) and a master of "irony and knowing wit" (The New York Times). His flair for both pathos and humor is showcased in this selection of the company's most memorable performances. Come along for a witty and poignant exploration of simple human truths at the ODC Theater.
Based on the beloved 1944 Judy Garland film, this heartwarming musical was nominated for four Tony Awards -- including Best Musical and Best Original Score -- when it debuted on Broadway in 1989. The show follows the adventures of the Smith family (with particular focus on the romantic entanglements of the four Smith daughters), as they anxiously await the arrival of the 1904 World's Fair in their fair city. But their hopes may be crushed, and Christmas ruined, when Dad announces they're moving to New York. This production is filled with tender affection, genuine humor and unforgettable tunes like "The Trolley Song," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "The Boy Next Door."
Come see where the theater pros go to play on their night off. PlayGround, the Bay Area's leading playwright incubator, identifies a select group of the Bay Area's best emerging professional playwrights and asks them to submit original ten-page plays -- all on a pre-determined single topic. From those submissions, six short works are chosen for staged readings to be performed by leading local directors and actors each month. Pre-show discussions provide further insight into the chosen topic, the writers' processes and more. Priority Genera Admission tickets allow you to enter first when the theater doors open.
Award-winning actor, pianist, playwright and composer Hershey Felder, whose series of one-man productions have played to great acclaim worldwide, brings Polish composer Frédéric Chopin to life in this acclaimed solo show. In his passionate portrayal of the famed "Poet of the Piano," Felder reveals Chopin's secrets about his creations -- and the secrets he carried to his grave -- against a gorgeous score of more than a dozen compositions. The Boston Globe gushed that Felder "carries a rapt audience along on a wave of true, powerful and wordless passion."
Noises Off, widely considered the funniest farce ever written, reveals the hilarious backstage happenings during rehearsals and performances of a play dubbed Nothing's On. Award-winning English novelist and playwright Michael Frayn's (Copenhagen, Democracy) comedy is a triumph of slamming doors, falling trousers and even flying sardines, and it remains crowd-pleasing more than 30 years after its 1982 debut. Watch a manic menagerie of itinerant actors as they try to stitch together a sex comedy that's a sure flop, as out-of-control egos, memory loss and passionate affairs turn every performance into a high-risk adventure.
A sumptuous Manhattan mansion takes center stage in the generations-spanning comedy of manners Old Money. This witty critique of the hypocrisies of the rich finds a wealthy Wall Street baron buying his way into the upper crust through lavish parties at his historic residence, lovingly restored to its former grandeur. As the modern-day elite go through their silly dance of social aspiration, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein's script skips a century back in time to show that the mansion's original occupants weren't behaving much differently. In the end, this scathingly witty commentary on flagrant prosperity reveals that while the rich may get richer, they don't get any more tolerable.
From the madcap mind that brought the world I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change comes another charming comedy that takes an incisive, hilarious look at family ties. Nick has just been offered his dream job in Seattle, but there are four problems: his four Italian American grandparents. Devoted to Nick in the extreme, they conspire to keep him close at hand. Guilt, good food and a pretty nurse named Caitlin are all used to cool Nick's heels in this zany, touching story by Tony-winner Joe DiPietro.
A powerful and one-of-a-kind theatrical experience, Patterns weaves video, acting, song and dance together with a series of dramatic and comic vignettes that pose intriguing questions about the state of love today. As three separate wall-size projections surround the audience with an awe-inspiring panoramic view, performance artist Amy Munz performs live on stage, embodying eight different characters to deliver an emotional, energetic and unforgettable show. Composed of two parts -- "For Some Reason" and "It Really Tickled Me" -- Patterns examines love through the story of a butcher's daughter, Amot, who falls in love and eventually, tragically, suffers a stroke that causes a rupture in her sense of continuity. The premiere of this new comedy-drama challenges the audience to question whether or not the ones we love can ever truly be understood.
One of the most popular comic operas of all time, The Pirates of Penzance spins a hilarious tale of tenderhearted pirates with a soft spot for orphans and poetry, a squadron of bumbling British policemen, a bookish Major-General well-versed in everything but military matters and his bevy of beautiful maiden daughters. It was Gilbert & Sullivan's first work to premiere in the U.S. and features unforgettable melodies and tongue-twisting songs, including the crowd-pleasing favorite "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General" and "Poor Wandering One."
Feast your eyes upon living legends as mythological and historical creatures come to life in Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's newest circus spectacular. LEGENDS, the 144th edition of the "Greatest Show on Earth," brings joy to children of all ages. Some of the most amazing entertainers from around the globe perform awe-inspiring feats of daring, spectacles of strength and thrills of wonder as they summon the mythical and mysterious, including a unicorn, Pegasus and a woolly mammoth. It's an unforgettable evening of epic proportions, and by the end of the show, you will believe in the unbelievable.
At Oracle Arena in Oakland from Aug 14 - Aug 18
At SAP Center in San Jose from Aug 20 - Aug 25
At Cow Palace in San Francisco from Aug 28 - Sep 1
Brian Copeland's one-man show uses the events surrounding a ripped-from-the-headlines triple homicide to explore the roles of privilege and government regulation in our society. Stuart Alexander, owner of Santos Linguisa Factory, was convicted in 2004 of the murder of three state and USDA meat compliance officials after he claimed they were harassing his business. This workshop performance of The Scion is written and developed by the award-winning Copeland (The Waiting Period), who broke the record for the longest-running solo show in San Francisco history with Not a Genuine Black Man.
The uproarious drag sendup of HBO's beloved series Sex and the City returns after enjoying sold-out runs for the past two years. From RuPaul's Drag Race, special guest Alaska joins Velvet Rage Productions, who brought you previous stage adaptations of Roseanne and Designing Women, for this loving tribute to the iconic show. Velvet Rage favorites Heklina (Trannyshack), D'Arcy Drollinger (Shit & Champagne) and Lady Bear (Roseanne) complete the cast of four professional women who search for love in the big city between sipping cosmopolitans. Each performance will feature two episodes recreating your favorite moments from the show's six seasons.
The old media/new media fight takes a hilarious turn in Show Down!, a new comedy which pits traditional broadcast devotees against tech-savvy hipsters. The last all-live television station left in the United States, K.R.A.P. TV, has become the battleground for the future of entertainment, technology and hyperbole. Kale, love triangles, cheese theft and the "iPlan" are all entangled in this latest update of the age-old struggle between pride of work and the all-mighty dollar. Now in its sixteenth year of staging original comedies in the Bay Area, Thunderbird Theatre presents this zany romp written by four of the company's own playwrights and directed by Neil Higgins.
Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks movie, Shrek the Musical brings the hilarious and heartwarming story of everyone's favorite ogre to life on the Julia Morgan Theater stage. This fun family musical tells the story of a green swamp-dwelling ogre who goes on a life-changing adventure to reclaim the deed to his land. Joined by a wise-cracking donkey, this unlikely hero fights a fearsome dragon, rescues a feisty princess and learns that real friendship and true love aren't found only in fairy tales.
A jolly green giant sings a lot more than "Ho Ho Ho" in Shrek the Musical, the sensational stage adaptation of the Oscar-winning DreamWorks movie. With 'guest stars' from nearly every children's classic on the shelf -- including the likes of Pinocchio, Gingerbread Man and the Three Little Pigs -- Shrek is a zesty comedy caper that celebrates and lampoons the Land of Make Believe. Join Shrek, a green swamp-dwelling ogre, on his life-changing adventure to reclaim the deed to his land. Accompanied by a wise-cracking donkey, this unlikely hero fights a fearsome dragon, rescues a feisty princess and learns that real friendship and true love aren't just for fairy tales. Lori Stokes directs this youth theater production from StarStruck Theatre.
The chains of slavery may have fallen away, but invisible bonds still shackle the four girls in Sweet Maladies, the potent play from Zakiyyah Alexander (10 Things To Do Before I Die). In the tumult and confusion of the Reconstruction, three former slaves -- all sisters -- and their former mistress grapple with power and place. Longstanding assumptions are overturned and dark secrets are unearthed in this bittersweet and shocking play based on the Jean Genet classic, The Maids. Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe directs Kehinde Koyejo, Stefanee Martin as well as Lisa Porter and Brit Frazier (from last year's In A Daughter's Eyes) in a joint production of Brava! for Women in the Arts and Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience.
Award-winning actress/playwright Chris Black enters the ring for a dramatic one-woman show in Tough, which is inspired by the life of famed boxer John L. Sullivan, who traveled coast-to-coast challenging people to fights. While Sullivan's background, rise to fame and decline motivate the performance, Black's interest also lies in what it means to be strong and how athletes and performers harness that "special something" to become extraordinary. Black opens the show by throwing her hat in the ring and announcing the rules of the game, all while enjoying some good whiskey. Don't miss this unique, gender-bending performance that mixes power and poignancy.
This creatively-staged comedy-thriller pays tribute to the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, with a murder mystery cloaked in a hilarious farce. A New York couple think they've seen a murder in an apartment across the way, and decide to investigate, leading to a flurry of one-liners, slamming doors and even a furious flashlight chase. Staged outdoors by the Orinda Starlight Village Players, Wrong Window comes from the prolific stage and TV comedy writing team of Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore (You've Got Hate Mail, Newhart, The Hughleys).