The stage doesn’t fill with a cast of thousands.
“An Iliad,” the mesmerizing theater piece that opened Wednesday at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, manages to create the sights and sounds, the epic sweep and tragic immediacy of the Trojan War in the performance of a single actor.
In this brisk, often harrowing 100-minute play by director Lisa Peterson and actor Denis O’Hare, based on Homer’s poem (translated by Robert Fagles), the clash is seen through the eyes of a battle-weary Poet (the great Henry Woronicz) charged with telling an oft-told tale. Read More
It’s a landmark season for San Francisco Playhouse, and the company launched it in raucous style Saturday with a new home and a new production of the irreverent rock musical, “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”
The Michael Friedman-Alex Timbers hit about the seventh U.S. president proved to be an inspired choice to inaugurate the company’s 10th anniversary season — the first in its new, 200-seat digs at 450 Post St., formerly known as Theater on the Square. Read More
San Francisco composer Jake Heggie's 2010 “Moby-Dick” arrived in the War Memorial Opera House Wednesday in a San Francisco Opera production after scoring well in Dallas and elsewhere.
Suffused with gorgeous harmonies and melodic music, there are few contemporary operas like it; it certainly will stay in the international repertory for a long time.
Heggie's work – with Gene Scheer's libretto based on Herman Melville's universally-known, rarely read book – is his biggest and best.
Russians just do some things best – like synchronizing swans. Read More
With the presidential election just days away, San Francisco’s 42nd Street Moon hits the jackpot with its 20th season opener “Of Thee I Sing.”
George and Ira Gershwin’s 1931 gem, a semi-forgotten glory of American musical theater, is hilarious, supremely melodic and particularly timely: It’s about the cockeyed adventures of a political campaign. Read More
“I have to understand why a genius becomes obsessed with mediocrity!” exclaims New York music scholar Katherine Brandt, herself rather obsessive.
She is the central figure in Moisés Kaufman’s “33 Variations,” now in a West Coast premiere at TheatreWorks. The title refers to Beethoven’s variations on a simple melody composed by his contemporary, the music publisher Diabelli.
Some of that lovely music accompanies the play thanks to musical director William Liberatore on an upstage piano. Read More
They all had their reasons. Charles Guiteau wanted to be ambassador to France. John Hinckley hoped to impress actress Jodie Foster. And John Wilkes Booth was pushed over the edge by bad reviews.
In “Assassins,” the madmen, sad sacks and wingnuts who have stepped out of the crowd to kill — or attempt to kill — U.S. presidents finally get their say.
The new Shotgun Players production of Stephen Sondheim’s provocative, darkly satirical Tony Award-winning musical creates a rogues’ gallery of historical shooters. Read More
Ten years after it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama, “Topdog/Underdog” has lost none of its power.Suzan-Lori Parks’ play about two African-American brothers is still explosive, thoroughly contemporary and as old as the Biblical story of Cain and Abel.
It’s not an easy play — Parks digs deeply into the corrosive effects of racism in America — but the new Marin Theatre Company production, directed by Timothy Douglas, brings it to life with searing intensity. Read More
Challenging as it is for a small nonprofit theater to take a quantum leap, the San Francisco Playhouse — the downtown company that has endeared itself to audiences and critics alike since its inception in 2003 — is clearly ready. To wit: In recent times, more than 1,000 patrons were turned away over the course of a couple of popular runs.
This month, the company, which specializes in stellar productions of contemporary plays, opens its season in a nearby, but much larger, venue. Read More
"Romeo and Juliet" without Shakespeare – it’s a seemingly impossible prospect. Yet that's what San Francisco Opera is serving up in "The Capulets and the Montagues," a messy production that surprisingly turns into a rare musical treat featuring vocal brilliance.
Vincenzo Bellini and his hapless librettist discarded Shakespeare and came up with their own static, nonsensical version of the story in the 1830 opera. Read More