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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.
Once began as a music-fueled indie film that won hearts in 2006, its haunting love ballad "Falling Slowly" taking home an Oscar for Best Original Song. Now, Once has taken the Broadway stage by storm, earning eight Tony Awards including Best Musical. Now running at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, the romantic tale follows a downtrodden Dublin street musician and a delightfully quirky Czech woman who meet in the most unlikely of places -- a vacuum cleaner repair shop. Their complicated lives make the path to love a rocky one, and they channel their feelings into the music they produce together -- him on guitar, her on piano, two voices harmonizing and setting them free, for a time, from the harsh realities of their lives. An impressive ensemble of actor-musicians play their own instruments onstage in this breathtaking production that draws you in from the very first note and doesn't let go until the end.
Every family is dysfunctional in its own delightful way, as depicted in this series of six short world-premiere comedies from the LGBTQ-focused Left Coast Theatre Company. This smart and insightful collection features the work of both local and national playwrights and includes intriguing titles like Who Are These People? and Motherly Advice. Left Coast are the folks who brought you the successful Eat My Shorts series, and they're staging #WTFamily at San Francisco's Shelton Theater in the hot and happening Union Square district.
Lest you think the furor over the hilarious '90s and '00s boozy BBC sitcom known as Ab Fab has abated, the Royal British Comedy Theatre returns with a raucous follow-up to its live staged version of the show's first season. Absolutely Fabulous followed the outrageous exploits of BFFs Edina and Patsy, two booze- and fad-loving London fashionistas, and Edina's ever-perturbed daughter Saffron. Now you'll get to see season two episodes "Hospital" and "Death" in live re-enactments at the Exit Theatre, performed by a cast of fabulous Bay Area performers and drag queens, led by ZsaZsa Lufthansa.
A fiery preacher loses her iron grip on her congregation when her past comes -- literally -- in through the front door in Amen Corner, James Baldwin's classic play about belief and family. It's been said that every word Baldwin ever wrote was a "a call to arms and a cry of the heart," and it's impossible not to get swept up in the drama (and gospel music) emanating from this Harlem storefront tabernacle. When her wayward jazzman husband Luke returns after many years, pastor Margaret's righteous reputation seriously suffers. Things get worse when son David wants to play jazz like his father and skip his mother's "straight and narrow" path. Following Amen Corner's 2013 revival at London's National Theatre, Black Repertory Group Theater stages an exciting, music-filled production of this powerful play from an American master.
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.
Don't miss your chance to see the latest and greatest new work from the Bay Area's hottest up-and-coming playwrights at Best of PlayGround 19. Each performance of the show features six short plays, directed by and starring top local talent. In all, 36 plays were developed as part of the Monday night staged reading series at Berkeley Rep, and these six were specially selected to be part of the Best of PlayGround 19 festival. Priority tickets include reserved seats in the best section of the house and a complimentary glass of wine before the show.
Petey, Meg and their long-time tenant Stanley, a retired pianist, lead a quiet life at a seaside boarding house. Then two strangers roll into town. What was supposed to be a surprise birthday celebration for Stanley quickly turns into a nightmare after a few glasses of whiskey, a high-stakes game of blindman's bluff with these unexpected guests and a mysterious blackout. This darkly comic modern-day masterpiece that peels back the thin veneer of civility on everyday life was written by Nobel Prize and Tony Award-winning writer Harold Pinter, and is presented by Off Broadway West, under the direction of Richard Harder.
Echo is about to lose her virginity to a good-looking white hipster that she met on Craigslist. This will happen in 10 minutes. That gives Echo just enough time to do exactly what you shouldn't do right before you lose your virginity: contemplate America's racial problems. In Black Virgins Are Not For Hipsters, you'll see playwright and star Echo Brown pray to all of the gods, call her best friend over 20 times, talk to her cat about the meaning of life, and ask some tough questions about love and race in "post-racial" America. Brown brings her fierce, funny and thought-provoking one-woman production to San Francisco's Marsh Upstairs Studio Theater.
Provocative discourse and sly competitive tensions are at the forefront of the lively drama Blackademics, which explores the modern black psyche in surprising ways. Ann and Rachelle are colleagues in academia out for an evening at an elite café. What begins as a positive, celebratory meal quick turns into a back-and-forth discussion of their personal and political ideologies, as their server baits both women in order to create further tension. Watch as the evening turns in an entirely different direction than either woman expected in this West Coast premiere of Idris Goodwin's absurdist take on "post-racial America" at Thick House.
A hilarious and sexy world-premiere adaptation of the Roman comedy, The Braggart Soldier, or Major Blowhard is full of jokes and clever hijinks. A prolific pillar of the stage of yore, playwright Plautus riffed on a slew of archetypal Greek characters in his wildly popular comedies. The cunning slave and the lascivious old man frequent his 20 surviving plays as well as the pompous military man, which Custom Made Theatre takes on in The Braggart Soldier, or Major Blowhard. Updated for the 21st century, this irreverent play retains the low-brow humor of Plautus' era and mixes it with classic characters and situations you'll recognize from Sondheim's A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Charlie Chaplin's films and 30 Rock. It's a 70-minute laugh fest at San Francisco's Gough Street Playhouse.
Forget the title, One Night Stand is the kind of show that will never leave you. For in this city of chanteuses, Cindy Goldfield stands apart as a singer who can memorably transform an obscure ditty into a standard, or take an old standby to an exciting new place. Now this stellar performer makes her Oasis debut with collaborator David Aaron Brown. Long known to audiences as half of Goldfield & Koldewyn, she has also sang with the Tom Shaw Trio. An accomplished actress as well -- with Bay Area Critics Circle and Dean Goodman Choice Awards to her credit -- Goldfield brings all her many talents together in Cindy Goldfield's One Night Stand. Experience an evening of cautionary tales and unbridled fun as Goldfield lets loose about love, loss and dating.
Company members from the national touring cast of Tony Award-winning The Book of Mormon will gather for one night only to perform the music of the Beatles in Come Together, a benefit cabaret hosted by San Francisco's Marines' Memorial Theater. It'll be a night of philanthropy and stellar entertainment as the cast takes a break from singing "Hello!" and "All-American Prophet" and belts out some of the Fab Four's greatest hits instead. Local comedic cabaret legend Countess Katya Smirnoff-Skyy will also take center stage to help celebrate the best of the British Invasion. This evening of music, dance and comedy will raise funds for The Richmond /Ermet Aid Foundation and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
Back in 1661, when only men were allowed to act on the English stage, Edward Kynaston was the undisputed leading lady of the London theater. The famous diarist Samuel Pepys went so far as to proclaim him "the loveliest lady that ever I saw in my life." But when King Charles II permits actual females to take the stage, Kynaston's career founders as his former dresser Maria rockets to stardom. Inspired by the real-life Kynaston, playwright Jeffrey Hatcher has written Compleat Female Stage Beauty, a hilarious, poignant play about the craft of acting, the confusion of love and the shifting "realities" of identity. Adapted into an acclaimed film starring Claire Danes and Billy Crudup, Compleat Female Stage Beauty returns to the stage in a lively production from New Conservatory Theatre Center.
The always effervescent Connie Champagne, famed for her uncanny imitation of Judy Garland, brings her ever-popular show to San Francisco's Feinstein's at the Nikko. Beyond the Rainbow showcases Champagne's extraordinary ability to capture the look and sound of Garland, a talent that is making her a celebrity in her own right. Champagne sings Garland classics such as "The Man That Got Away" and "The Trolley Song," but also sings the songs she imagines Garland would sing today if she had the chance. The program includes Broadway hits from Cabaret to Dreamgirls, and even a few unexpected choices like Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It also features selections from the likes of Noel Coward and John Lennon. To round out the evening, Champagne gives us the rare tune or two that were written for but never recorded by Garland.
Written and performed by Jinho "The Piper" Ferreira of hip-hop group Flipsyde, Cops & Robbers examines the dysfunctional relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Ferreira's one-man performance at The Marsh, which centers on the story of a police officer involved in a shooting, delivers an urgent message of cooperation. Not only is he an outspoken artist, but Ferreira also works in local law enforcement himself, and this unique perspective -- of simultaneously being a successful hip-hop artist and working alongside cops -- was the inspiration for this take-no-prisoners look at both sides of the thin blue line, in which Ferreira plays over a dozen characters.
Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble, the talented children's theater company behind such recent family favorites as Pinocchio, The Biggest Gift, The Legend of Banbury Cross and Cinderella, brings its latest swashbuckling adventure story to the stage at Walnut Creek's Lesher Center for the Arts. The Crimson Pirate has a secret, and it may or may not have to do with some sort of buried treasure. But it definitely leads to excitement and thrills on board a ship set for the high seas.
Two dispirited loners afraid of love meet in a rundown bar in the Bronx. Gritty romance and dark comedy ensue in Danny and the Deep Blue Sea by Oscar- and Pulitzer Prize- winner John Patrick Shanley (Moonstruck, Doubt). Danny is a brooding young man who resorts to violence before reason. Roberta is a divorced, guilt-ridden young woman whose troubled teenage son is being cared for by her parents. Together, they form what The New York Times calls "the very dark side of Nicolas Cage and Cher in Moonstruck." Savor the salty story that first brought the outrageously gifted Shanley to the attention of theatergoers some 30 years ago. Estelle Piper directs a bold new production of perhaps the only romantic comedy subtitled "An Apache Dance" at the Phoenix Theater.
A favorite across the country, The Dinner Detective serves up a tasty whodunit along with a seated four-course dinner. And since this popular comic murder mystery is set in the present day, you'll never know whether someone at your table is one of the talented cast of improvisers. In fact, everyone's a suspect, including you. The event starts out with a reception featuring tray-passed hors d'oeuvres, followed by the meal, which includes salad, an entree and dessert. Between courses you can expect plenty of murder, mayhem and hidden clues coming to light as you puzzle through the crime. The top sleuth even wins a prize package at the end of the evening -- not to mention serious bragging rights.
Do helicopter parents -- moms and dads who hover over their children's every move -- ever come down to earth? This is the question that haunts The Empty Nesters, the new play from Garret Jon Groenveld. When Greg and Frances drop their youngest child off at college in Arizona, they take a little vacation to the Skywalk at the Grand Canyon West on their way back to Los Angeles. But upon returning home, they face an empty house and an existential crisis: What do they want to be, now that their children have grown up? A 2013 PlayGround Festival selection, The Empty Nesters is the latest from Groenveld, seven-time winner of the Emerging Playwrights Award. Amy Glazer directs at Thick House.
From the creators who brought you Sex and the City Live! and Friends Live! comes The Facts of Life Life! to Oasis, San Francisco's newest cabaret nightclub. This very adult comedy is a hilarious drag sendup of the popular '80s sitcom, featuring an all-male cast portraying the preppy girls of Eastland High. Grab some friends, order a cocktail and prepare to be entertained by antics from Mrs. G., Blair, Jo and the rest of the gang that you never saw on network television.
L.A.-based underground theater star John Cantwell steps into his drag persona for Fade to Connie, his musical and theatrical tribute to the golden age of exploitation movies: the 1970's. This spoof-filled solo show will transport you from San Francisco's Oasis directly to the valley of the dolls, beneath the planet of the apes and way, way over the rainbow. Cantwell pushes his love of campy old flicks to the limit, film by film. Donning his size 11 heels, he'll step into roles from Saturday Night Fever, Eyes of Laura Mars, King Kong and more.
Not since Van Gogh took a trip to Provence has an artist captured the people and sun-kissed cities of Southern France better than Marcel Pagnol. And while Van Gogh limited himself to the canvas, Pagnol painted his pictures with words and images, being not only one of France's greatest novelists, but also a gifted filmmaker and playwright, too. Now Generation Theatre stages one of his greatest masterpieces for the stage, Fanny. In spite of her love for Marius, the beautiful Fanny encourages him to pursue his dreams of world travel. After his departure, however, she realizes she is pregnant, a possible suitor circles and complications arise. R. David Valayre directs his own translation of the second installment of Pagnol's storied Marseilles Trilogy at Fort Mason Center's Southside Theater.
Though women have ruled as role models for generations of queens, drag is still known as the ultimate boys club. That's where performance artist and dancer Monique Jenkinson comes into the equation. She'll appear as her drag queen alter-ego Fauxnique in the latest incarnation of her ever-evolving one-woman show Faux Real. She'll take the stage at San Francisco's Oasis and examine what it actually takes to be a real drag queen. Not only will Fauxnique "lip-synch for her life," but you'll also see her dance, hear her sing and get an earful of her philosophical musings on artifice and authenticity.
True tales of coal miners in the heart of Appalachia fuel the rousing bluegrass musical Fire on the Mountain. With dialogue culled entirely from interviews with actual mining families, this foot-stomping tribute to American workers covers the highs and lows of an industry fraught with passion and pathos, where death and danger are a way of life, and where a tight-knit community of love and mutual respect is the thread that keeps it all together. From the creators of the Tony-nominated musical It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues, Fire on the Mountain brings the rhythms of Appalachian bluegrass to Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, igniting the stage with the culture, hardships and heroics of life on the Blue Ridge.
At the start of this suspenseful drama, Dennis Sullivan's film about a gay teen's suicide has just won an Oscar. As Sullivan launches into his acceptance speech, he dedicates his award to his late friend who inspired the film -- and name-drops the man who he believes drove his friend to suicide: Ethan Rice. Watching the broadcast, Rice is shocked to hear his name used in connection with the death of a former classmate he can barely remember. The lives of these two men quickly become tangled in the public eye as they see if revenge is really so sweet. Timely, touching and empathetic, catch the 2013 GLAAD Media Award-winning From White Plains at the New Conservatory Theatre Center.
The Grand Duke is a grand finale on the grandest of scales. For their final comic opera, composing duo Gilbert & Sullivan ended their collaboration with a display of wit, charm and melody so spectacular it dazzles to this day. In his ultimate topsy-turvy farce, librettist Gilbert has a theatrical troupe depose the ruler of a tiny European duchy, only to squabble over which "role" in the government each leading actor should "play" with uproarious consequences. Fueling and embellishing the merriment on stage, Sullivan's varied score includes an audacious variety of musical styles, from Viennese waltz to uproarious Parisian can-can dance numbers. Rarely performed, The Grand Duke storms the stage once more, thanks to a sparkling new production from Lamplighters Music Theatre.
Hairspray, the hit musical based on John Waters' cult classic film, is boppin' onto the stage at Berkeley's Julia Morgan Theater this spring and it's piled bouffant-high with laughter, romance and infectious tunes. Set in 1960s Baltimore, Hairspray tells the story of lovable teen Tracy Turnblad, a misfit who becomes a local celebrity by dancing on TV's Corny Collins Show. Tracy's love of dancing leads her to become an unlikely heroine, triumphing over both snotty teen queens and racial segregation. And she does it all without mussing a single hair on her stylish 'do. The fun show won eight Tony Awards for its Broadway run.
Hank Williams: Lost Highway rolls into the Douglas Morrisson Theatre like a long white Cadillac. Blues and Southern rock collide in this song-filled smash that follows legendary country singer-songwriter Hank Williams on his lonesome journey from backwoods Alabama to superstardom at the Grand Ole Opry. This unforgettable show, which was an off-Broadway hit nominated for three Outer Critics Circle Awards, features over 20 Williams hits, including "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," "Move It on Over," "Jambalaya" and "Hey, Good Lookin'." Charting the rise and fall of the country music icon through song, Hank Williams: Lost Highway highlights Williams' undeniable musical talent and songwriting abilities, and explores the alcohol and drug problems that ultimately got the better of him.
Joseph Conrad's classic novella Heart of Darkness has inspired a number of adaptations -- some famous ones include an Orson Welles radio broadcast, as well as Francis Ford Coppolla's Apocalypse Now -- and now you can catch the story as a powerful opera on the stage of Z Space. The story revolves around the greedy world of Central African ivory smugglers, as Charles Marlow travels down the Congo River, developing an ever-growing obsession with ivory trading post commander Mr. Kurtz. Composed of short, fast-paced scenes that steadily hike up the tension, the plot is buoyed by a magical and haunting score conjoined with an inspired libretto. Concise, emotional and innovative, this high-impact opera is truly a must-see production.
Spoken word poetry and the street-dancing form known as "turfing" merge with traditional theater to fuel Hella Love Oakland, an impassioned one-act play exploring the lives of three women in its eponymous town. Dealing with issues of educational inequity and gentrification in Oakland urban public schools, this 90-minute world premiere by Robin Lynn Rodriguez is part of the annual Playground Festival of New Works, bringing to San Francisco's Thick House a fresh and thoughtful perspective on the city across the Bay.
Some men go to war with a lucky rabbit's foot, others a rosary -- David Kleinberg went into battle lugging a typewriter. Hey, Hey, LBJ! is his firsthand account of what he saw and wrote as an army combat correspondent in Vietnam. In 1966, Kleinberg arrives in Southeast Asia a supporter of the war, but each passing day brings more doubt, death and displays of apocalyptic violence. Kleinberg, who went on to two celebrated careers after the war -- the first as an editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, the second as a talented stand-up comedian -- brings an incredible energy and authenticity to what The Washington Post called a "polished and moving a piece of theater." Though the war is now decades in the past, its lessons haunt the nation today. Equally haunting is this gripping solo show at The Marsh Upstairs Studio Theater.
Freshman year at college sucks for Lexi, a West Coast girl at an East Coast university, who's homesick, hates her roommate and whose best friend from high school was recently murdered by a hook-handed serial killer. This clever contemporary comedy explores what it's like these days to be a young female in a dangerous world, while also dealing with the loss of a BFF. Hookman comes from the pen of San Francisco's own hot young playwright Lauren Yee, who's been racking up the awards with quirky works like Ching Chong Chinaman, The Hatmaker's Wife, Crevice and others. Encore Theater stages the world premiere of her newest "quasi horror/comedy" at Z Below.
On the second anniversary of her young son's disappearance, a confused and grieving mother struggles to make sense of the action -- or inaction -- of her husband, the detective assigned to the case and the suspicious man she keeps seeing in the grocery store. So she replays the day her 8-year-old went missing, searching for the key piece of the puzzle that always seems to be just beyond her grasp. This rolling world premiere, a part of the National New Play Network series, has already garnered awards for its playwright Lauren Yee, and comes to the Tides Theater courtesy of the San Francisco Playhouse.
Thrillpeddlers' glitzy, globe-hopping musical revues have already whisked audiences away to Shanghai (Pearls Over Shanghai) and Hollywood (Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma). Now San Francisco's most outrageous theater company is booking you on a one-way trip to the City of Light in Jewels of Paris, its latest celebration of song and spectacle at the Hypnodrome. Inspired by the artistic revolution that erupted in Paris nearly a century ago, Jewels of Paris is a sassy, saucy trip through time that revels in the artistic, social and sexual changes of the era -- as seen through the eyes of Parisian luminaries like Picasso, Pierrot, Cocteau, Josephine Baker and even Marie Antoinette. Playful sketches, fabulous costumes, sexy dancing and original songs combine in this fun-filled adult celebration that offers a window to viewing life in ever-changing San Francisco, lovingly referred to as the "Paris of the West."
It's business-as-usual when great tragedians -- Laurence Olivier, Ian McKellan, Paul Scofield -- try their hand at King Lear, but it's unheard of for a great clown to tackle Shakespeare's masterpiece ... until now. With a career spanning decades, Geoff Hoyle is one of the nation's most cherished and inventive masters of clowning. He trained under the "Father of French Mime" Etienne Decroux in Paris, originated the role of "Zazu" in Lion King on Broadway, and has appeared in Cirque Du Soleil, The Pickle Family Circus and Teatro Zinzanni. But all that training was a prelude to Lear's Shadow. Experience King Lear like you never have before as the Jester, recently unemployed, tells his side to Shakespeare's most tragic, cosmic and human of stories in this moving solo performance.
Even though Sidney Moore died a billionaire, the man had even more secrets than money. This and other revelations come fast and furious in The Legacy, a sharp-witted new thriller from Max Gutmann. The play begins in that infernal den of iniquity -- a lawyer's office -- where Moore's widow Vera and his mistress Evelyn have come to settle their differences before the reading of the will. But their real intentions, to say nothing of Moore's own designs, are only gradually revealed in a series of startling revelations that will leave the audience gasping. Who will inherit Moore's millions? Who really killed his daughter? Exactly how did Sidney himself kick the bucket? The answers to these questions are wrapped in the many layers of The Legacy. Buzz Halsing directs for the Ross Alternative Works (RAW) series.
A West Indian immigrant, a lesbian and a Polish man walk into a domestic drama in Let There Be Love, an intimate new work by celebrated UK playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah, who's been called "one of Britain's most talented and distinctive writers" (WYPR). The drama centers around Alfred, a cantankerous and aging West Indian immigrant living in London who's managed to alienate all those around him -- including his equally headstrong lesbian daughter. But when an idealistic young Polish caregiver is assigned to look after him, Alfred experiences a powerful reckoning with his past. Backdropped by sentimental jazz standards (Alfred's favorite) and featuring a tour de force performance by stage and screen star Carl Lumbly (Cagney & Lacey, Alias), Let There Be Love, presented at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater, explores the unrelenting grip of memory, regret and forgiveness -- and what can happen when we welcome new possibilities.
When it comes to sleek, smart and modern magic, look no further than magician David Gerard, who performs his theatrical magic and mind reading show to sold-out audiences in the Bay Area. Join Gerard for his first show at PianoFight in San Francisco, where you'll witness near-impossible mental and physical feats just inches away from your seat. Through a mix of psychology, misdirection, magic and showmanship, Gerard will create an experience you'll remember long after the show is over.
Based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the classic Disney film, the hit Broadway musical adaptation of Mary Poppins lands at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center with a heartwarming score, spoonfuls of imagination, a lovable jack-of-all-trades named Bert and a flying nanny who's practically perfect in every way. You and your kids will be swept away by such favorite tunes as "Spoonful of Sugar," "Chim Chim Cher-ee" and of course "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" as young Jane and Michael learn many valuable life lessons from their unconventional new nanny. Mary Poppins was co-created by acclaimed British producer Cameron Mackintosh (Oliver!) and features music and lyrics by the legendary Sherman brothers, George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, with a book by Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey). So be sure not to miss the magic of Mary Poppins -- because "anything can happen if you let it."
The first time was so much fun -- how 'bout we do it again? Matthew Martin returns to Oasis in San Francisco to recapture the magic of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Bette, Judy, Peggy, Katharine -- the stars of the silver screen stalk the stage once more in Matthew Martin Goes To Hollywood! With just a glance or a gesture, Martin can transform himself into Hepburn or Garland or even the tap-dancing goddess Ann Miller. Audiences loved his sold-out show All Singing, All Dancing, All Dead at the Rrazz Room, so now he presents a return trip to old-school Tinseltown. Be prepared to be moved and amazed by this "one man -- many women" show.
See the world through the eyes of Max, a seven-year-old boy with autism, as he sets off on a transformative odyssey beyond the confines of his parents' apartment and into the great big world. As his parents desperately search for him, Max begins exploring the world around him alone for the very first time. Along the way, he meets three unfriendly neighborhood kids whom he imagines to be a Pegasus doll, a rapper named Albert Einstein and a bossy mermaid named Finn, and is offered guidance from a leaf-blowing philosopher, who teaches Max about the calming effect of poetry. Max Understood is co-produced by the Paul Dresher Ensemble, Fort Mason Center Presents and Behavioral Intervention for Autism.
Calling Sara Felder a juggler is a little like referring to Michelangelo as "that guy who painted ceilings." Felder is a playwright, circus artist and solo theater veteran who is known for addressing important social issues with humor, grace and, yes, juggling. Her latest work, Melancholy, A Comedy, is a comedy about love, war and coloring outside the lines that will lead you from the Civil War to an Abraham Lincoln look-alike convention to the top of UC Berkeley's Campanile. What happens when the woman you just fell in love with leads you to the edge? What happens when the soon-to-be President of the United States is so mired in melancholy that he can't get out of bed? Clearly, this is terrain that can only be navigated by a woman who the S.F. Weekly once said has "chutzpah up the wazoo."
Mirandolina might be one of theater's greatest flirts. She's the main character in The Mistress of the Inn, a 1753 comedy by the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni and she, of course, wants to conquer the one man who doesn't want her back. You can find out if she succeeds in a fresh new adaptation at Lester Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. With madcap battles of the sexes, Mirandolina! Mistress of a Tuscan Inn is a play about love, seduction and a woman trying to run a business in a man's world.
'Twas the night before Mother's Day and all through the house, not a creature was stirring ... because you got yourself out for some fun, no-kids pampering and entertainment at The Momma Drama's MOMentum Mingler. Moms of San Francisco will love this pre-Mother's Day fundraiser for Stretchmarks. You'll enjoy a a reading of the popular Bay Area play about motherhood, written and performed by local moms, as well as free chair massages, a silent auction, hors d'oeuvres and your own sippy cup full of wine. What's more, this lighthearted evening of "mom-araderie" takes place in the chic, after-hours ambiance of the Children's Creativity Museum.
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.
One of the most successful off-Broadway productions of all time, Dan Goggin's Nunsense has delighted fans of different religious persuasions around the world for years. The irreverent story revolves around the Little Sisters of Hoboken after their cook, Sister Julia, accidentally poisons and kills 52 of them. The five surviving nuns -- including the forgetful Sister Mary Amnesia (whose memory has been on the fritz ever since a crucifix fell on her head) and the streetwise Brooklynite Sister Robert Anne -- decide to step up and stage a variety show to raise funds for the burials. Led by their Mother Superior, a former circus performer itching to retake the spotlight, the ensuing show features dancing, an audience quiz and comic surprises galore. This Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre production of the madcap international hit Nunsense at Village Theatre will delight both newcomers and those for whom the show's become, well ... a habit.
With its flirtations, trickery and midnight trysts, Cole Porter's exuberant Out of This World is a saucy musical comedy about devilish deities co-mingling with Hollywood bigwigs. Roman gods Jupiter and Mercury are in search of some entertainment away from Mt. Olympus and focus their attention on young bride Helen and her husband Art. While Jupiter is busy chasing Helen, the goddess Juno --Jupiter's wife -- decides to play some games of her own. Throw a snooping gossip columnist and an enticing ingenue into the mix and the results are pure farcical fun. The celestial party kicks off at the Pacifica Spindrift Players Theatre.
Known for his popular poetry cabaret show Poetry After Dark, Khoree "The Poet" creates spoken-word works that are brimming with jazz riffs and sensual power. He's shared the stage with big stars in music -- Gladys Knight and The S.O.S. Band -- and comedy -- John Witherspoon and Luenell. He's also dropped verses at the respected jazz club Yoshi's, and performed with award-winning saxophonist Ric Alexander last year to a sold-out crowd at the historic Bal Theatre. VIP tickets to his CD release celebration shows at Tommy T's Comedy Steakhouse Pleasanton include the chance to meet Khoree and receive a complimentary copy of his new Khoree "The Poet" CD.
Take the normal play production process, put it on extra-fast-forward and you have Shotz, a theatrical pressure cooker that puts talented theater groups to the test. Six groups are given two weeks to write, two weeks to rehearse, two hours to get their tech in gear and one chance to perform an all-new short play. Each month has a different theme, and with each group offering their unique take on the month's theme, each performance is full of surprises. This is the latest in a long line of PianoFight's one-of-a-kind twists on improvisational theater. These improv impresarios are known for putting on ingeniously interactive entertainments that leave even the hardest-to-please San Francisco crowds entertained.
A Bay Area favorite, Don Reed looks through the eyes of nine characters to break down the prejudgments we make on race, class, gender, physical ability and more in his new one-man show Stereotypo. Set in the confines of the DMV, the series of entertaining and poignant monologues proves that everybody has a story, but it might not be the one you expect. Reed is a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle nominee and a NAACP double nominee for best actor and best playwright who has worked in film, television and theater. He returns to The Marsh in San Francisco with his latest solo show Stereotypo: Rants and Rumblings at the DMV.
It's The Seagull -- on steroids. In this contemporary, irreverent adaptation of the Anton Chekhov classic, the Russian writer's characters still philosophize on love, art and the pursuit of happiness, but this time it's with mad humor and music. Helen Hayes and Barrymore Award-winning playwright Aaron Posner (The Chosen) turns the original play's famous subtext into scenes and songs, calling Stupid F**king Bird "a rough-and-tumble meta-theatrical mash-up." There's a famous actress whose son, an aspiring theater director, is desperate to make a name for himself on his own, and his muse, the lovely Nina, who falls for his mother's lover. Presented by San Francisco Playhouse, Stupid F**king Bird mixes ambition, booze and sex into a heady (and hilarious) brew.
Eric Bogosian's breakthrough hit follows abrasive, egotistical radio-show host Barry Champlain, whose edgy, argumentative style has earned him national syndication. On the night before his big debut, Champlain -- fueled as always by coffee, cocaine and Jack Daniel's (in no particular order) -- is more outrageous than ever in response to his producer's fears of offending the sponsors. His verbal jousts with his unseen callers, who range from a white supremacist to a woman obsessed with her garbage disposal, are peppered with insights into his character from the people who know him. Experience in real time the radio broadcast that'll either raise Barry to the very top of his game or end it all in a blaze of glory (and ego) in this 30th anniversary production from Beverly Hills Playhouse of San Francisco starring Peter Allas (Seinfeld, The Sopranos).
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind is an ever-changing attempt to perform 30 plays in one hour. This innovative show 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 performing at Stage Werx. 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.
Adapting its story from the mythology of Persephone and Hades -- in which the god of the Underworld claimed a virginal young maiden for his unwilling wife -- Trailer Park Gods offers up some homegrown mythology for the modern day. Living in a trailer park in a city ravaged by drought, Persephone is desperate to rid herself of the dead-end life that her hometown of Ceres, California, represents. As her emerging sexuality comes into conflict with the ire of her spiteful mother, Persephone's journey shines insightful light on the seedy underbelly of small-town life. Exploring the ways in which poverty, power and passion influence a person's search for love and a place to call home, this Faultline Theater production -- featuring original music, choreography, projection and even weather effects -- is staged in an intimate theatre of San Francisco's PianoFight.
The modern-day American dream comes under the microscope in Marin Theatre Company's West Coast premiere of Mona Mansour's funny and insightful play, The Way West. In a California town that's seen better days, a woman shares tales of death-defying pioneer crossings with her two squabbling adult daughters as she waits for her bankruptcy to come through. This hilarious and heartbreaking play about today's American family explores the mixed blessing of our great frontier spirit, which has fueled both self-delusion and survival. With song arrangements by Misner and Smith (Woody Guthrie's American Song), the award-winning The Way West settles in Mill Valley with a few updates from its world premiere at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater Company.
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 Your Thursday Night Improv Experience. Every show at San Francisco's Shelton Theater 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 tons of laughs.