Categories: Arts Calendar

Fall 2018 Arts Preview: Theater

Musicals, dramas, premieres and revivals are among the season’s bounty of theater offerings.

West Side Story: Hillbarn Theatre presents the famed musical by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim based on “Romeo and Juliet.” Through Sept. 16. $35-$52. 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City, www.hillbarntheatre.org

The War of the Roses: California Shakespeare Theater closes its summer season with a conflation of “Richard III” and the “Henry VI” trilogy, depicting the everlasting battle between the houses of York and Lancaster. Through Sept. 15. $40-$77. Bruns Memorial Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda, www.calshakes.org

Native Gardens: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley starts the season with Karen Zacarías’ edgy comedy about a Latino couple who buys a home in a ritzy neighborhood, with unexpected results. Through Sept. 16. $40-$100. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View, www.theatreworks.org

Kiss: Shotgun Players and Golden Thread Productions join forces for this mystery/thriller about actors performing in a melodrama set in Damascus. Through Sept. 23. $7-$42. Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, www.shotgunplayers.org

Detroit ’67: Dominique Morisseau’s drama set in Detroit during the race riots of 1967 opens Aurora Theatre Company’s season. Aug. 31-Sept. 30. $35-$70. Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison St., Berkeley, www.auroratheatre.org

Pool of Unknown Wonders-Undertow of the Soul: Local playwright Philip Kan Gotanda’s new play is a surreal parable, inspired by Hermann Hesse’s “Journey to the East.” Sept. 1-23. $15-$45. Ubuntu Theater Project, Julia Morgan Hall, 1821 Catalina Ave., Berkeley, www.ubuntutheaterproject.com

San Francisco Fringe Festival: Exit Theatre presents its 27th annual non-curated festival of short theater pieces from local, Southern California and East Coast artists. Sept. 6-15. $4-$14.99. Exit Multiplex, 156 Eddy St., S.F., www.sffringe.org

Dead and Breathing: Theatre Rhinoceros presents the regional premiere of Chisa Hutchinson’s dramedy about a woman with cancer who is intent on dying and the Christian nurse who cares for her. Sept. 6-22. $20-$40. Gateway Theatre, 215 Jackson St., S.F., www.TheRhino.org

A Doll’s House, Part 2: Playwright Lucas Hnath imagines what happens 15 years after Nora famously slammed that door in Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House.” Sept. 6-Oct. 21. $30-$97. Roda Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2015 Addison St., Berkeley, www.berkeleyrep.org

On Your Feet!: The Broadway musical is based on the life story of Grammy winner Gloria Estefan and her husband, Emilio Estefan. Sept. 11-Oct. 7. $56-$256. SHN Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St., S.F., www.shnsf.com; the show moves to San Jose’s Center for the Performing Arts, 255 S. Almaden Blvd., from Oct. 9–14, www.ticketmaster.com

Baby Doll: Shelton Theater stages a play adapted from the 1956 movie of the same name, which itself was adapted by Tennessee Williams from his one-act, “27 Wagons Full of Cotton.” Sept 13-Nov 3. $40-$50. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter St., S.F., www.sheltontheater.org

Church: Crowded Fire artistic director Mina Morita helms wildly experimental playwright Young Jean Lee’s look at Christianity. $10-$35. Sept. 13-Oct. 6. Crowded Fire Theater, Potrero Stage, 1695 18th St., S.F., www.crowdedfire.org

Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Ray of Light Theatre stages the gender- and genre-bending rock musical about one of the Eastern Bloc’s most unique characters. Sept. 14-Oct. 5. $15-$40. Victoria Theatre, 16th St., S.F., rayoflighttheatre.com

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf: Ntozake Shange’s poetic 1976 play about the lives of seven women opens African-American Shakespeare Company’s season. Sept. 15-29. $35. Taube Atrium Theater, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F. www.african-americanshakes.org

You Mean to Do Me Harm: Local playwright Christopher Chen’s world premiere is a tricky comedy that explores the complex U.S.-China dynamic through two mixed-race couples. Sept. 18-Nov. 3. $35-$125. San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St., S.F., www.sfplayhouse.org

The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?: Custom Made Theatre Company opens its season with Edward Albee’s disconcerting play about a man in love with, yes, a nanny goat. Sept. 20-Oct. 20. $25-$42. Custom Made, 533 Sutter St., S.F., www.custommade.org

Pop-Up Magazine: The “live magazine” is a multimedia storytelling evening that involves film, photography, sound effects, animation and a live score. Sept. 20-22. $35-$55. Curran, 445 Geary St., S.F., www. popupmagazine.com

Sondheim Tonight!: Vocalist Craig Jessup and musical director Ken Muir perform a collection of tunes that span composer Stephen Sondheim’s illustrious career. 8 p.m. Sept. 20. $22-$50. Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 222 Mason St., S.F., www.feinsteinsatthenikko.com

Bravo 25-Your A.I. Therapist Will See You Now: The Marsh, a longtime center for new solo work, presents Eliza Gibson’s comic portrayal of assorted characters based on her experiences as a therapist and social worker. Sept. 20-Oct. 27. $20-$100. Marsh, 1062 Valencia St., S.F., www.themarsh.org

Red Scare on Sunset: New Conservatory’s season begins with Charles Busch’s satire of the anti-communist witch hunts that destroyed careers in 1950s Hollywood. Sept. 21-Oct. 21. $25-$55. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness Ave., S.F., www.nctcsf.org

Uncle Vanya: Paige Rogers directs the classic Anton Chekhov poignant comedy about the complex dynamics among a family on a provincial estate in Russia. Sept. 21-Oct. 21. $10-$50. Cutting Ball, 277 Taylor St., S.F., www.cuttingball.com

Sweat: Lynn Nottage won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for her drama about factory workers in the Rust Belt as the recession looms. Sept. 26-Oct. 21. $15-$110. American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary St., S.F., www.act-sf.org

Bay Area Cabaret: On its 15th anniversary of presenting jazz and Broadway stars, the series opens with Matthew Morrison. 7 p.m. Sept. 30. $125. Venetian Room, Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason St., S.F., www.cityboxoffice.com

The SF Olympians Festival IX-Roman Holiday: Each of 27 new plays, shorts, one-acts and full-lengths, explores a different legend or god from Ancient Rome. Oct. 3-20. $10-$12. Exit Stage Left, 56 Eddy St., S.F., www.sfolympians.com

Fun Home: The Tony Award-winning musical by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel about growing up gay, comes to TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. Oct. 3-28. $40-$100. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View., www.theatreworks.org

Fairview: Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Soho Rep co-commissioned this world premiere, by Jackie Sibblies Drury, in which a family celebration takes a very strange turn. Oct. 4-Nov. 4. $30-$97. Peet’s Theatre, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley, www.berkeleyrep.org

Latin Standards: Shape-shifting comic actor Marga Gomez returns with her solo show about her charismatic late father, Willy Chevalier. Oct. 5-Nov. 17. $20-$100. Marsh, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley, www.themarsh.org

Wakefield: 6NewPlays stages the work by Brian Thorstenson inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story of the same name — and beginning where it ends, when the husband, Henry Wakefield, returns home to his wife after a 20-year absence. Oct. 5–14. $20-$25. Studio 210, 3435 Cesar Chavez St., S.F., 6NewPlays.com.

Miss Saigon: A young Vietnamese woman meets an American G.I. — and a helicopter lands on the stage — in the return of this perennial Cameron Mackintosh hit musical. Oct. 9-Nov. 4. $56-$226. SHN’s Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market St., S.F. www.shnsf.com

The Resting Place: Magic Theatre’s intense drama by Ashlin Halfnight is a world premiere that deals with familial obligation. Oct. 10-Nov. 4. $15-$75. Building D, Fort Mason, 2 Marina Blvd., S.F., www.magictheatre.org

Graveyard Shift: SF Playhouse stages new works-in-development in its Sandbox series; this one, by Korde A. Tuttle, is a love story set in Texas. Oct. 10-Nov. 3. $30. Creativity Theater, 221 Fourth St., S.F., www.sfplayhouse.org

The Obligation: Written and performed by Roger Grunwald, who plays several characters, this unsparing Holocaust remembrance returns to The City. Oct. 11-Nov. 4. $26-$56. Potrero Stage, 1695 18th St., S.F., www.potrerostage.org

Men on Boats: Playwright Jaclyn Backhaus follows, through comedy, the true-life adventures of Civil War vet John Wesley Powell and his men, who charted the Colorado River. Oct. 17-Dec. 16. $15-$110. American Conservatory Theater’s Strand Theater, 1127 Market St., S.F., www.act-sf.org

Why Would I Mispronounce My Own Name?: What’s in a name? Solo writer-performer Irma Herrera, who’s also a lawyer and activist, explores, with humor, the implications and subtleties of “foreign” names. Oct. 25-Dec. 8. $20-$100. Marsh, 1062 Valencia St., S.F. www.themarsh.org

Cardboard Piano: South Korean playwright Hansol Jung sets this coming-of-age play in Uganda, where two teenage girls, a local and a missionary’s daughter, are in love. Oct. 26-Dec. 2. $25-$55. New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness Ave., S.F., www.nctcsf.org

Crazy for You: Bay Area Musicals serves up the Tony Award-winning romantic comedy with famous tunes by the Gershwins. Nov. 10-Dec. 16. $20-$65. Alcazar Theatre, 650 Geary St., S.F., www.bamsf.org

In the Heights: Lin-Manuel Miranda had a hit with this pre-“Hamilton” musical, a snapshot of New York’s Washington Heights community on the brink of change. Nov. 8-Dec. 15. $25-$42. Custom Made Theatre, 533 Sutter St., S.F., www.custommade.org

Everything Is Illuminated: Simon Block adapted Jonathan Safran Foer’s best-selling novel about a Jewish-American writer exploring his roots in Ukraine. Nov. 9-Dec. 9. $35-$70. Aurora Theatre Company, 2081 Addison St., Berkeley, www.auroratheatre.org

Mary Poppins: The nanny with the brolly and the Banks brood are back, in this stage musical revival based on both the original children’s books and the 1964 movie. Nov. 14-Jan. 5. $35-$125. San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St., S.F. www.sfplayhouse.org

Volta: The latest Cirque du Soleil circus extravaganza plays with the theme of celebrating differences in a technology-ridden world. Nov. 15-Jan. 6. $54-$165. Big Top, AT&T Park, S.F. www.cirquedusoleil.com

Chicago: The Kander, Ebb and Fosse musical about the gangsters of Jazz Age Chicago returns, briefly. Nov. 15-18. $43–$128. Center for the Performing Arts, 255 S. Almaden Blvd., San Jose, www.broadwaysanjose.com

Jean Schiffman
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Jean Schiffman

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