Anatol is in love with love. The gleam of a woman’s hair, a kiss to the back of her neck, a bittersweet goodbye — all send the title character of Arthur Schnitzler’s Viennese comedy into paroxysms of joy.Especially those goodbyes. Read More
It’s tempting to think that traveling back to the 1950s could solve the problems of 21st-century life. Who wouldn’t want to trade harried schedules and information overload for the serene life of manicured lawns, cocktails and crab puffs?In Jordan Harrison’s “Maple and Vine,” Katha (Emily Donahoe) and Ryu (Nelson Lee) seem likely candidates for a full-life transplant, and Harrison’s comedy, making its West Coast premiere at the American Conservatory Theater, whisks them back in time faster than you can say “I Love Lucy.” Read More
Aldo Billingslea commands the stage as Othello. In Marin Theatre Company’s new production of Shakespeare’s tragedy, Billingslea fully embodies the power, pathos and poetic sensitivity of the title role.His towering performance is the reason to see the production – MTC’s first Shakespeare since 1978 – even though other aspects of Jasson Minadakis’ uneven staging seldom achieve the same level of resonance. Read More
In “Red,” the murals remain just out of view of the audience. But when the artist asks, “What do you see?” we feel their power. The artist is 20th-century master Mark Rothko, and the paintings are his biggest commission to date — the ones intended to hang in New York’s Four Seasons Restaurant until “the end of time.” Read More
Note to Bay Area theatergoers: Prepare to laugh. Steven Epp is back, and he’s funnier than ever.Epp is currently center stage at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, playing the title role in “A Doctor in Spite of Himself.” Read More
The sound of rain at the Marin Theatre Company doesn’t just signal a change in the weather. In “A Steady Rain,” it’s part of an atmosphere of violence, deception and retribution that threatens a pair of wayward cops and everyone around them. Read More
In a career encompassing film, television and theater roles, Carl Lumbly has played cops, CIA agents and superheroes. But the actor says his latest role, in “Blue/Orange,” may be his most challenging to date.Directed by Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe for the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Joe Penhall’s play about race, madness and identity takes place in a London psychiatric ward. It features Lumbly as Christopher, a man who may or may not be the illegitimate son of an African dictator. Read More
The naked pictures push everyone’s buttons. For one viewer, they’re an invitation to disrobe. For another, they provoke feelings of outrage. And the effect they have on a young man is nearly catastrophic.In “Body Awareness,” the audience never sees the pictures in question. But their arrival in Annie Baker’s comedy, now making its Bay Area premiere in a seriously funny Aurora Theatre Company production, changes one family for good. Read More
The 1978 assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk marked a grim day in San Francisco history. Gunned down by former Supervisor Dan White, the killings sparked riots.The City eventually moved on, but Jonathan Moscone — the mayor’s then-teenage son — was left with a staggering legacy of grief and injustice. Read More
There are many ways to tell the nativity story, and the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre’s “Rejoice!” puts the swing — as well as generous helpings of jazz, blues, rock and gospel — into this year’s version.
The company — which made Langston Hughes’ “Black Nativity” its traditional holiday offering for a decade — is giving the world premiere of this short, sassy musical. Read More
The Devil drives a hard bargain and plays a mean blues. He can whip up a punishing snowstorm and send legions of men into war on a whim. And the hurt he brings into a young girl’s life is epic.The best fairy tales have always been a mix of the magical and the macabre, and “The Wild Bride” achieves an ideal blend. Emma Rice’s Kneehigh Theatre production, which premiered at Berkeley Repertory Theatre last week, is no cuddly bedtime story. Deliciously dark and endlessly imaginative, it turns a minor tale from Grimm’s into a gripping theatrical event. Read More
Tommy James clearly remembers his first experience with Duke Ellington’s music.
“My dad had the record of ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got That Swing),’” he says. “It was the first jazz record I ever heard. I thought it was genius.”
As music director, arranger and pianist of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, James’ initial impression has only grown stronger with time. Ellington’s music, he says, has never been equaled. Read More
Nearly a century after its first performance, “The Soldier’s Tale” remains a one-of-a-kind hybrid. Composer Igor Stravinsky intended the work to be “read, played and danced,” and the new Aurora Theatre Company production delivers a beguiling 80-minute fusion of acting, music and movement. Read More
Trevor Allen went deep into the heart of Disneyland, and lived to tell the tale.
“Working for the Mouse,” Allen’s hilarious one-man show about working as a character actor in the world’s best-known theme park, has been a hit since he introduced it at the San Francisco Fringe Festival in 1996.
The playwright-performer continued developing the play, premiering it in its current form at the Impact Theatre in 2002 and performing it frequently since then. Now he’s reviving it, directed by Nancy Carlin, at the Exit Theatre. Read More
Going home is never easy for adult children. According to Bill, the central character in Bill Cain’s “How to Write a New Book for the Bible,” even Jesus couldn’t do it. But Bill has no choice. His mother’s dying, and it’s up to him to care for her in her final days.
Cain’s luminous and largely autobiographical play, which opened in its world-premiere production at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre last week, is a thoughtful, funny, often poignant and ultimately redemptive exploration of the ties that bind parents and children and the narratives that express their common history. Read More