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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.
Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy, an action-packed ice show that brings four magical Disney stories to the rink. This skating spectacular showcases beloved characters from Disney's CARS, Tinker Bell, Toy Story and The Little Mermaid. From wheels to waves, Sunnyside Daycare to pixie dust, your favorite Disney moments come to life in Worlds of Fantasy. The show includes dazzling ice skating, special effects, amazing animatronics and Disney characters, including Lightning McQueen and Mater, Tinker Bell and the Disney Fairies, Ariel and friends, and Buzz, Woody and Jessie.
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).
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.
Based on her experiences traveling through Europe, the Americas and Africa, Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe's one-woman show explores the Black diaspora. Part travelogue and party history lesson, the performance focuses on the impact of migration and how Africans have both adapted to new cultural situations and left a permanent mark due to their emigration. Traveling While Black is the second part of Cooper-Anifowoshe's trilogy, Adventures of a Black Girl, and examines the post-slavery condition of Black travel, both fanciful and forced. Personal, poignant and smart, her performance lends a distinct perspective on transcontinental crossings.
Alien goddesses come to the aid of budding young lovers in the romantic sci-fi musical comedy Alcatraz the Island of Love. It's 1973, and as newly commissioned ferryboats are whisking tourists from San Francisco to the island of Alcatraz for the very first prison tour, two beautiful space goddesses from the planet Venus -- Vonda and Vita -- crash-land on our tiny planet. Dressed in bathing suits and tiaras (of course), the two otherworldly beings decide to honor their sacred Venusian code and stick around on a mission to spread the love. It so happens that Marco and Jade, two youngsters taking the Alcatraz tour on a blind date, are struggling to make a love connection just as the Venusians arrive.
Watching a Supreme Court case performed verbatim may not sound like a lot (or even a little) fun. But when the Supreme Court case is 1991's Barnes v. Glen Theatre, in which a group of strippers claims mandatory pasties and thongs infringe on their First Amendment rights, and the play is performed by Elevator Repair Service, who received rave reviews for Gatz, a verbatim performance of The Great Gatsby, it all makes a lot more sense. Arguendo shows the Supreme Court justices pondering the ideas of "adult" car washes and nude operas, while the lawyers and representative go-go dancer make their case in a show that's both heartfelt and silly. The New York Times called Arguendo "wittily inventive" and Entertainment Weekly described it as "boisterously entertaining."
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.
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.
In this Tony Award-winning musical favorite, a small town gets turned upside down when hip-thrusting superstar Conrad Birdie -- whose resemblance to Elvis Presley is entirely intentional -- arrives in Sweet Apple, Ohio to give a lucky girl "one last kiss" before his induction into the Army. Set in the '50s world of soda fountains, screaming fans and Ed Sullivan, this nostalgic show is filled with comedy, romance, great dance numbers and classic songs like "Put on a Happy Face," "A Lot of Livin' To Do" and "The Telephone Hour."
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."
Inspired by the mysterious and fascinating Armenian poet-performer Armen Ohanian, a survivor of the anti-Armenian pogroms, this immersive theater experience blends traditional Armenian dance, erotic performance, spoken word, live music and excerpts from Ohanian's memoirs. Ohanian, much like fellow trailblazers Sarah Bernhardt and Frida Kahlo, dared to take on roles traditionally assigned to men, even working as a producer, choreographer and director in the early 20th century. Dear Armen follows young Garineh, who looks to Ohanian as a role model and begins researching her life and art. But because information on Ohanian's life is scarce, Garineh struggles to fill in the gaps using the clues in the poet's writing. In the process, Garineh begins unraveling questions about her own gender, sexuality, ethnicity, family and the role of the artist.
Enjoy an over-the-top hybrid of Hollywood glamour meets Greek tragedy in Charles Busch's hilarious mixture of whodunits, double-crossings and suspenseful twists. It's the '60s and ex-pop singer Angela Andrews is trapped in a corrosive marriage with her film producer husband. In an attempt to escape and find happiness with her young lover, Angela murders her husband. It's tragic; it's kitschy; it's Busch at his best. New Conservatory Theatre Center's production of the show that the Los Angeles Times calls "very nearly illegally entertaining" stars J. Conrad Frank, creator of the San Francisco drag cabaret sensation Katya Smirnoff-Skyy, as the doomed Mommie of the title.
In this world-premiere tale of suspense, a young doctor can't accept the fact that his wife, Kate, has drowned in the icy lake outside their home. Using still-developing scientific techniques, he tries to revive her. But what happens is far different from what his scientific, logical mind expects. Has the doctor exceeded the known boundaries of modern medical science? Or has he awakened something else? Playwright Morgan Ludlow most recently won the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Original Script for his play Gorgeous Hussy.
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.
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.
In this irreverent and capriciously clever performance, Tara Grammy slips into the personas of an aging Iranian engineer-cum-taxi driver, a fabulously gay Spaniard and a young Iranian-Canadian girl, all trying to get through the daily grind in the big city. Over the course of an hour, their stories intertwine, and themes of displacement, immigration, home and culture are explored. An award winner at both the New York and Toronto Fringe Festivals, Mahmoud takes on racism against Middle Eastern immigrants, homophobia within immigrant communities, and media-created stigmas surrounding Iranian (and Middle Eastern) culture.
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."
In the style of the great crime novelist Agatha Christie, Un-Scripted Theater Company is hosting four nights of improvised murder mysteries this Halloween, and you get to figure out whodunit before the detective does. The scene could be a dinner party, during which it's discovered that a treasured brooch is missing. Then it becomes cleat that someone has a secret to kill for. As the evening lingers, you'll discover that everyone has something to hide, but only one person could've committed the murder. No matter what the setup, pay attention and see if you can sleuth out the truth.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Unleash your inner Bill Nye and learn things you can never unlearn at Quiz-o-Tron 9000, a fun, comedic science-themed panel quiz show hosted by Skepchick blog founder Rebecca Watson. Quiz-o-Tron 9000 stars "Bad Astronomer" Phil Plait, Star Wars Craft Book author Bonnie Burton, Survivor contestant and physicist Yau-Man Chan, io9's Annalee Newitz, local comedians Caitlin Gill and Matt Gubser, and more. Watch as talented comedians compete against scientists to answer fun and informative questions about the latest discoveries in astrophysics as well as whatever The Daily Mail is calling "science" these days. Audience interaction is encouraged with the chance to win "fantastically terrible" prizes.
Shiver and scream this Halloween season with New York's Radiotheatre, which pays homage to the golden years of radio with storytelling shows full of chilling sound effects and vibrant vocal performances. Traversing the terrifying terrain of asylums gone wrong, the company's show Madhouse draws inspiration from pulp fiction to tell tales of mad men locked away in the darkest of corners. Combining adventure, horror, science fiction, crime and plenty of black comedy, Madhouse uses the power of audio to let your imagination lead the way, descending into places it probably shouldn't take you but just can't resist.
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.
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.
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.
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."
In this deeply moving new play by local playwright Krista Knight, Glen is a house painter who becomes obsessed with "the house that got away." The now-grown children he befriended years ago have put the house on the market, and Glen has no intention of letting it slip away like he did that year he worked on it and became entangled in the lives of the family that lived there. All he wants to do now is get inside. But will the dark secrets he shares with the family keep him from getting through the door? Knight has commissions and productions all over the United States and is quickly gaining status as a writer of national caliber.
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.
Sometimes "livin' large" is no kind of living at all. At least not when you're tipping the scales at 600 pounds like Charlie, the moving (but nearly immobile) protagonist of The Whale. Since the death of his boyfriend, Charlie has confined himself to his small Idaho apartment and is eating himself to death. His only friend, a nurse, nearly kills him with kindness while his only acquaintance, a troubled young missionary, is determined to rescue his soul. Unwilling to seek medical treatment despite a health scare, Charlie instead attempts to reconnect with the teenage daughter he hasn't seen in 15 years. MacArthur "Genius Grant" recipient and Obie Award-winning playwright Samuel D. Hunter (A Bright New Boise) wrote this humorous and devastating drama that won the 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play.
"What would a musicalized story about the first single-celled organisms sound like?" That's the burning age-old question Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann -- the Tony Award-winners behind Urinetown -- set out to answer with their bizarrely hilarious rock musical Yeast Nation. The story's set in the year 3,000,458,000 B.C., a time when salt-eating yeasts are the only living creatures on earth. The tyrannical yeast king's dreamer of a son ventures out of the known "yeastiverse" on a quest and changes the course of the planet's history. It's a production that playwright Kotis describes as "a contrarian, environmentalist anti-musical." Yeast Nation is presented by Ray of Light Theatre, which is known for both classic musical theater and bold contemporary productions, including Carrie the Musical, Jerry Springer: The Opera and The Who's Tommy.