Jean Schiffman

Michael Gene Sullivan's comedy, “The Great Khan,” is about three Black teenagers, their teacher, a mother and, yes, the Mongolian emperor Genghis Khan. (Courtesy San Francisco Playhouse)

Mime Troupe’s Michael Gene Sullivan likes to walk and can’t be bought

A Q&A with the native playwright on the first coproduction between the Mime Troupe and SF Playhouse

Michael Gene Sullivan's comedy, “The Great Khan,” is about three Black teenagers, their teacher, a mother and, yes, the Mongolian emperor Genghis Khan. (Courtesy San Francisco Playhouse)
San Francisco Playhouse and the San Francisco Mime Troupe have joined forces to produce “The Great Khan,” about a Black teenage boy (Leon Jones, pictured with Brian Rivera) and his struggle to find his own identity. (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli/San Francisco Playhouse)

Live theater is back with a vengeance

A haunted house on steroids, an absurdist immigration comedy

San Francisco Playhouse and the San Francisco Mime Troupe have joined forces to produce “The Great Khan,” about a Black teenage boy (Leon Jones, pictured with Brian Rivera) and his struggle to find his own identity. (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli/San Francisco Playhouse)
Ron Chapman as Pericles and Carolina Morones as Marina appear in Episode 4 of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s 2021 Free Shakespeare in the Park production of “Pericles, Prince of Tyre.” Performances continue in San Francisco and Cupertino. (Courtesy Jay Yamada)

SF Shakes stages free, fun, family-friendly ‘Pericles’

Outdoor performances round out troupe’s hybrid season

Ron Chapman as Pericles and Carolina Morones as Marina appear in Episode 4 of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s 2021 Free Shakespeare in the Park production of “Pericles, Prince of Tyre.” Performances continue in San Francisco and Cupertino. (Courtesy Jay Yamada)
Jordan Maria Don, left, and Troy Rockett are excellent in Crowded Fire Theater’s “The Displaced.” (Courtesy Adam Tolbert/Crowded Fire Theater)

‘Displaced’ an intriguing gentrification horror story

Crowded Fire show engages, entertains, enlightens

Jordan Maria Don, left, and Troy Rockett are excellent in Crowded Fire Theater’s “The Displaced.” (Courtesy Adam Tolbert/Crowded Fire Theater)
The Marsh Berkeley returns to live theater with fan favorite Don Reed in the solo show “Going Out.” (Courtesy Daniel D. Baumer)

Unfailingly funny Don Reed takes on COVID in ‘Going Out’

Solo artist shines describing ‘adventures before and after the pan-pan’

The Marsh Berkeley returns to live theater with fan favorite Don Reed in the solo show “Going Out.” (Courtesy Daniel D. Baumer)
From left, Keith Pinto, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Rinabeth Apostol and Melissa WolfKlain are excellent in “Starting Here, Starting Now,” a revue featuring songs by David Shire and Richard Maltb, Jr. at San Francisco Playhouse. (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)
From left, Keith Pinto, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Rinabeth Apostol and Melissa WolfKlain are excellent in “Starting Here, Starting Now,” a revue featuring songs by David Shire and Richard Maltb, Jr. at San Francisco Playhouse. (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)
From left, dane troy, Craig Marker, Safiya Fredericks and Sharon Shao are excellent in California Shakespeare Theater’s “A Winter’s Tale.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne/California Shakespeare Theater)

Cal Shakes’ ‘Winter’s Tale’ springs to life in second half

Versatile cast boasts music, dance and comedy skills

From left, dane troy, Craig Marker, Safiya Fredericks and Sharon Shao are excellent in California Shakespeare Theater’s “A Winter’s Tale.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne/California Shakespeare Theater)
Jeremy Kahn and Monica Ho are excellent in San Francisco Playhouse’s production of Lauren Yee’s “The Song of Summer,” being presented live and online. (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)

Touching relationship at heart of ‘Song of Summer’

Lighthearted SF Playhouse show ‘feels right for this moment’

Jeremy Kahn and Monica Ho are excellent in San Francisco Playhouse’s production of Lauren Yee’s “The Song of Summer,” being presented live and online. (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)
Annemarie MacLeod is the narrator in Pear Theatre’s production of “Late Wedding.” (Courtesy Squirrel Visuals)

‘Late Wedding’ a zany show about marriage and more

Pear Theatre stages, streams Christopher Chen’s puzzling play

Annemarie MacLeod is the narrator in Pear Theatre’s production of “Late Wedding.” (Courtesy Squirrel Visuals)
Jomar Tagatac is excellent as Gordon Hirabayashi in San Francisco Playhouse’s production of “Hold These Truths.” (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)

‘Truths’ tells story of a Japanese-American resister

SF Playhouse returns inside with sensitive solo show about man who defied 1942 executive order

Jomar Tagatac is excellent as Gordon Hirabayashi in San Francisco Playhouse’s production of “Hold These Truths.” (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)
Devin A. Cunningham plays Baby Boy in Theatre Rhinoceros’ world premiere of Kheven LaGrone’s “Pillow Talk.” (Courtesy Tanika Bapatiste)

‘Pillow Talk’: a real encounter between two Black gay men

Actors shine in Theatre Rhino’s 1995-set premiere

Devin A. Cunningham plays Baby Boy in Theatre Rhinoceros’ world premiere of Kheven LaGrone’s “Pillow Talk.” (Courtesy Tanika Bapatiste)
Tina D’Elia is excellent as shop owner Peggy Caserta in “OUT of Site: Haight-Ashbury.” (Courtesy Robbie Sweeny)

Haight history comes to life in theatrical walking tour

Show pays tribute to characters from the 1960s-70s

Tina D’Elia is excellent as shop owner Peggy Caserta in “OUT of Site: Haight-Ashbury.” (Courtesy Robbie Sweeny)
Stacy Ross appears in American Conservatory Theater’s virtual production “Communion.” (Courtesy American Conservatory Theater)

ACT’s latest virtual theater performance strives to foster ‘Communion’

If there’s any one thing theater-goers have been missing during these past…

Stacy Ross appears in American Conservatory Theater’s virtual production “Communion.” (Courtesy American Conservatory Theater)
Fred Pitts portrays Stephen of Blois in Exit Theatre’s online production of “The Arms and Armament of Stephen of Blois.”<ins> (Courtesy Fred Pitts)</ins>

Exit Theatre’s 12th century-set tale speaks to contemporary times

‘Arms and Armament’ a funny portrait of a forgotten ruler

Fred Pitts portrays Stephen of Blois in Exit Theatre’s online production of “The Arms and Armament of Stephen of Blois.”<ins> (Courtesy Fred Pitts)</ins>
Sean San José, new artistic director at the Magic Theatre, has plans to work collaboratively. (Courtesy Joan Osato)

Bold new direction at Magic Theatre, Golden Thread

Sean San José, Sahar Assaf lead troupes telling diverse stories

Sean San José, new artistic director at the Magic Theatre, has plans to work collaboratively. (Courtesy Joan Osato)
Pearl Marill takes flight as Hermes in “Psychopomp” in McLaren Park. (Courtesy We Players)

‘Psychopomp’ a magical, meditative walk through McLaren Park

We Players’ live show takes theatergoers on enchanting journey

Pearl Marill takes flight as Hermes in “Psychopomp” in McLaren Park. (Courtesy We Players)
From left, Melissa Ortiz, Lorri Holt, Dan Hiatt and Blythe de Oliveira Foster appear in San Francisco Playhouse’s production of Ruben Grijalva’s “Shoot Me When… .” (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli/San Francisco Playhouse)

‘Shoot Me When…’ a heartfelt look at dementia

SF Playhouse stages entertaining family dramedy by Ruben Grijalva

From left, Melissa Ortiz, Lorri Holt, Dan Hiatt and Blythe de Oliveira Foster appear in San Francisco Playhouse’s production of Ruben Grijalva’s “Shoot Me When… .” (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli/San Francisco Playhouse)
Ghostie (Akaina Ghosh) and Ghosty (Maria Marquis) are called by Mugwumpin’s creatures in Cutting Ball Theater’s “Phantasmagoria.” (Courtesy Cutting Ball Theater)

Cutting Ball and collaborators stream wonderfully wacky ‘Phantasmagoria’

Clever 50-minute show amusingly explores notions of self-identity

Ghostie (Akaina Ghosh) and Ghosty (Maria Marquis) are called by Mugwumpin’s creatures in Cutting Ball Theater’s “Phantasmagoria.” (Courtesy Cutting Ball Theater)
American Conservatory Theater’s digital reading of “Arms and the Man” features, top (from left), Phillip James Brannon and Kimberly Hébert Gregory; Allie Marie Evans, center; and bottom (from left), Danny Scheie and Ariel Shafir.

ACT streams fun reading of Shaw’s ‘Arms and the Man’

Romantic comedy classic entertains, even in Zoom boxes

American Conservatory Theater’s digital reading of “Arms and the Man” features, top (from left), Phillip James Brannon and Kimberly Hébert Gregory; Allie Marie Evans, center; and bottom (from left), Danny Scheie and Ariel Shafir.
From left, Akaina Ghosh, Linda Girón and J Riley Jr. play Spirit Gods in Shotgun Players’ “Feel the Spirit.” (Courtesy Leannna Keyes)

‘Feel the Spirit’ explores challenges of faith during COVID

But Shotgun Players’ commission feels overlong and underdeveloped

From left, Akaina Ghosh, Linda Girón and J Riley Jr. play Spirit Gods in Shotgun Players’ “Feel the Spirit.” (Courtesy Leannna Keyes)