Della Reese has covered a lot of ground in her 60-year career. She’s been a gospel singer, recording artist, nightclub performer, talk show host, film and television actress and — for the past 25 years — an ordained minister. She’ll bring all those facets to her debut at the Rrazz Room on Thursday.“I tell some funny stories. I sing my hits and I sing some other songs,” she says. “I talk about my family. It’s like being in my living room and having a nice afternoon or evening.” Read More
The description of “hardest-working performer in showbiz” is widely used, but in the case of Joan Mankin, it really is apt. Last year, she appeared on more than a half-dozen stages all around the Bay Area, running the gamut from modern comedy to Shakespeare. On Friday, she opens a monthlong run of “Counter Attack” for Stagebridge.The play is adapted by Joan Holden from “Counter Culture: The American Coffee Shop Waitress,” by Candacy Taylor, and is being directed by Sharon Lockwood. Read More
“Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words!” exclaims elocution student Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady.” Less fair and far less sick of words is Lisa Lampanelli, the erstwhile “Queen of Mean,” who appears at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City on Friday.“I have no problem with any word. Any word,” says Lampanelli. “I can’t think of a more controversial term than the N-word or the C-word and all words are equal to me. The thing is, it takes — as Lenny Bruce said — it takes the sting out of it, if there’s no hate behind it and you know that it’s just a word.” Read More
Half of the Fifth Commandment instructs us to honor our fathers. Director Jonathan Moscone is attempting to do just that with “Ghost Light,” which makes its Bay Area premiere Friday at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.
Written by Tony Taccone, Berkeley Rep’s artistic director who conceived and developed the project with Moscone, the play revolves around a director staging a production of “Hamlet” and how this unleashes unresolved feelings about the shooting death of his own father. Read More
“It’s like a full circle experience for me,” says singer Michael Londra of his return to San Francisco in “Celtic Yuletide” at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre. “When I first came over to the U.S. in ’99, I was the lead singer with ‘Riverdance’ and we did a month here. It was the best month of my whole tour with the show. My family and best friends came over from Ireland. It just seemed like I was on vacation.” “It was,” he adds, “a wild time, I will also say. Now I feel like a grown-up which, given the fact I’m in my mid-40s … it’s about time!” Read More
Once a lauded interpreter of European and cabaret songs, Samantha Samuels — “Sam” to her friends — is making a rare stage appearance at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre Monday to support the “Help is on the Way for the Holidays” benefit concert.Samuels performed for decades, touring the country and the world in clubs, concerts and stage productions like “Piaf, No Regrets” and “Nine.” Read More
As the holidays approach, many look back on the year about to end and recall highlights — and perhaps lessons learned. New York producer Scott Siegel’s eye on the Great White Way gazes further back in his “Broadway By The Year” series. A production exploring musicals from 1947 and 1966, the closing offering of Broadway By the Bay’s 46th season, is onstage at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City this weekend. Read More
Around the same the time Megan Mullally was settling into her breakout role as Karen Walker on “Will & Grace,” she also was building a band called the Supreme Music Program. The fruits of those labors will be on display at five performances in The City this weekend.The Oklahoma City native serves as the band’s de facto artistic director, and though she didn’t write the show’s songs, she says they represent a close expression of who she is as an artist.It’s not cabaret. Read More
Once billed as “a man who made something out of nothing” by his press agent, Zero Mostel lived a career of intense highs and lows. For three performances this week, “Zero Hour” presents an intimate portrait of this iconic and creative force.According to playwright and actor Jim Brochu, the idea for the show about Mostel “has really been brewing in my head since the day I first met Zero when I was 14 years old. I already knew I was going to be an actor ... and he was certainly a role model for me, on the stage anyway.” Read More
Offering a more adult version of trick-or-treating, San Francisco’s Castro district had been party central for Halloween’s sexy ghosts and ghoulies and their fans for decades, sometimes bringing hundreds of thousands of revelers to the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, starting in 2002, escalating violence brought the party to an end, and the Home for Halloween campaign (homeforhalloween.com) began in 2007 to redirect fun-seekers to other parts of town. Read More
There’s something engaging about very attractive people who don’t take themselves too seriously. Peter Gallagher — making his Bay Area Cabaret debut Saturday at the Venetian Room — is one of those people.The multitalented artist is quick to joke, often at his own expense. “I’m pretty oblivious to it,” he laughs. The “it” being people’s reaction to the package of piercing eyes, thick brows and lush lips set over a dimple that is his trademark. Read More
From the land of laughs Down Under that gave us Dame Edna Everage and "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert," Pam Ann, the alter ego of Caroline Reid, is cleared for comic landing at the Castro Theatre Saturday.
The sassy stewardess _ that’s what they were called in the Pan Am era _ with the ample bosom and camp couture first saw the runway lights in a Melbourne club where actress Reid was serving as a publicist.
"I’d always wanted to do a one-woman show, says Reid, "but I didn’t know what it was Read More
If Mickey and Judy, the Addams Family, Rod Serling and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence got together to put on a show, it might look something like “Shocktoberfest 12: Fear Over Frisco,” the fun and campy evening of “titillation and thrills” now on the boards at Thrillpeddlers’ Hypnodrome stage.The show opens with a festive title-tune production number penned by Scrumbly Koldewyn and Eddie Muller performed by the entire company. What the various soloists lack in musical prowess, the ensemble more than covers in enthusiasm. Read More
For most people, the musical “Gypsy” — like the current Broadway by the Bay production in Redwood City — is an opportunity for a pleasant evening’s entertainment. For longtime Bay Area resident Erik Preminger, it is a chance to flip through something akin to a living family album.The musical is based on the memoirs of burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee. It traces Lee’s early life on the vaudeville circuit, propelled by her fiercely ambitious mother Rose, and ends as Lee’s ecdysiast star is on the rise. Read More
The Negro spiritual is a core component of black cultural history and it has been at the core of Jacqueline Hairston’s lifelong journey of musical study, teaching and expression. A concert on Sunday featuring Hairston’s arrangements of traditional spirituals will be the closing production of AfroSolo 18, an annual celebration of black performance and creativity curated by Thomas Robert Simpson.The event is a prelude and a fundraiser to help finance a road trip for the East Bay-based Hairston and her 50-member chorus to appear at Carnegie Hall in February. Read More