Theater

Edie Flores, left, and Carla Gallardo appear in Word for Word’s “Retablos,” based on playwright-director Octavio Solis’ memoir. (Courtesy Lorenzo Fernandez-Kopec)

Winter 2020 Arts Preview: Theater

Bay Area stages offer musicals, dramas, solo shows, local premieres and bigtime stars, too

Edie Flores, left, and Carla Gallardo appear in Word for Word’s “Retablos,” based on playwright-director Octavio Solis’ memoir. (Courtesy Lorenzo Fernandez-Kopec)
Justin Katz, left, and Mike Gaines originated The Edwardian Ball, running Jan. 24-25 at the Regency Ballroom. (Courtesy Marco Sanchez)

Edwardian Ball welcomes guests of all stripes

At 20 years, epoch bash is wild, warm and welcoming

Justin Katz, left, and Mike Gaines originated The Edwardian Ball, running Jan. 24-25 at the Regency Ballroom. (Courtesy Marco Sanchez)
Kate Robards’ solo show “PolySHAMory” runs at The Marsh through Feb. 8. (Courtesy Joan Marcus)

Open marriage goes wrong in funny ‘PolySHAMory’

Yet Kate Robards’ teasing show looks at complex issues slightly

Kate Robards’ solo show “PolySHAMory” runs at The Marsh through Feb. 8. (Courtesy Joan Marcus)
“Beach Blanket Babylon” — with its trademark San Francisco hat — celebrated with its final performance after 45 years on New Year’s Eve. (Ming Vong/S.F. Examiner)
“Beach Blanket Babylon” — with its trademark San Francisco hat — celebrated with its final performance after 45 years on New Year’s Eve. (Ming Vong/S.F. Examiner)
(L-R) Pristine Condition, Marshall Olds, Miss Bobby, Danny Isley, Link Martin. San Francisco, 1971 (Courtesy Fayette Hauser)

Fifty years later, the Cockettes are still kicking

Stage show celebrates legacy of ‘androgynous freaks’ ‘stickin’ it to the man’

(L-R) Pristine Condition, Marshall Olds, Miss Bobby, Danny Isley, Link Martin. San Francisco, 1971 (Courtesy Fayette Hauser)
Pamela Reed, center, plays the title character in Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s “Becky Nurse of Salem.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre)

‘Becky Nurse of Salem’ takes on too many issues

Playwright Sarah Ruhl’s heavy handed in Berkeley Rep premiere

Pamela Reed, center, plays the title character in Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s “Becky Nurse of Salem.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre)
Megan Trout, left, and Celia Maurice appear in Shotgun Players’ production of “Vinegar Tom.”

Shotgun Players stage hypnotic ‘Vinegar Tom’

Caryl Churchill’s 17th century-set witch play is funny, musical, provocative

Megan Trout, left, and Celia Maurice appear in Shotgun Players’ production of “Vinegar Tom.”
‘Pride and Prejudice’ comes to TheatreWorks’ stage with music

‘Pride and Prejudice’ comes to TheatreWorks’ stage with music

But handsome production based on classic novel lacks Austen’s trademark tone

‘Pride and Prejudice’ comes to TheatreWorks’ stage with music
Kim Epifano appears in “Rock & Mortar” at Z Space. (Courtesy Robbie Sweeny)

‘Rock & Mortar’ takes audiences on a journey through memory

Epiphany Dance Theater’s performance art piece transcends time

Kim Epifano appears in “Rock & Mortar” at Z Space. (Courtesy Robbie Sweeny)
From left, Alex Hairston (Disco Donna), Dan’yelle Williamson (Diva Donna) and Olivia Elease Hardy (Duckling Donna) sing up a storm in “Summer” at the Golden Gate Theatre. (Courtesy Matthew Murphy for Murphymade)

‘Summer’ turns up the old victrola

Disco queen’s hits sound great in shallow jukebox musical

From left, Alex Hairston (Disco Donna), Dan’yelle Williamson (Diva Donna) and Olivia Elease Hardy (Duckling Donna) sing up a storm in “Summer” at the Golden Gate Theatre. (Courtesy Matthew Murphy for Murphymade)
American Conservatory Theater is staging its popular production of “A Christmas Carol” for the 43rd year. (Courtesy Kevin Berne)

Holiday Theater 2019: ‘Christmas Carol’ and more

Classics, musicals, fairy tales and drag queens take to the stage for the season

American Conservatory Theater is staging its popular production of “A Christmas Carol” for the 43rd year. (Courtesy Kevin Berne)
In the San Francisco production of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” John Skelley as Harry (second from right) and loved ones Hermione (Yanna McIntosh), Rose (Folami Williams), Ron (David Abeles), Lily (Natalie Adele Schroeder), James (William Bednar-Carter), Ginny (Angela Reed) and Albus (Benjamin Papac) gather at the train station. (Courtesy Matthew Murphy)

Eighth Harry Potter tale takes to the stage quite well

Special effects, tender story magically meld in hit show at the Curran

In the San Francisco production of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” John Skelley as Harry (second from right) and loved ones Hermione (Yanna McIntosh), Rose (Folami Williams), Ron (David Abeles), Lily (Natalie Adele Schroeder), James (William Bednar-Carter), Ginny (Angela Reed) and Albus (Benjamin Papac) gather at the train station. (Courtesy Matthew Murphy)
From left, Jorge Luis Diaz, Loreigna Sinclair, Larissa Kelloway, Kathryn Hannah, Ryan Drummond (center), Dean Linnard, Sophia Introna, Danielle Philapil and Montel Anthony Nord appear in San Francisco Playhouse’s “Groundhog Day the Musical.” (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)

‘Groundhog Day the Musical’ rants more than enchants

Stage show lacks sweet tone of filmic source material

From left, Jorge Luis Diaz, Loreigna Sinclair, Larissa Kelloway, Kathryn Hannah, Ryan Drummond (center), Dean Linnard, Sophia Introna, Danielle Philapil and Montel Anthony Nord appear in San Francisco Playhouse’s “Groundhog Day the Musical.” (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)
Father Christmas is among the highlights of the annual Great Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace. (Cathy Bowman/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Dickens fair hosts Father Christmas and much more

Victorian England comes to life at Cow Palace in 20th anniversary festivities

Father Christmas is among the highlights of the annual Great Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace. (Cathy Bowman/Special to S.F. Examiner)
From left, Dorcas Leung plays Despereaux and Yasmeen Sulieman is Princess Pea in PigPen Theatre Co.’s “The Tale of Despereaux” at Berkeley Repertory Theatre through Jan. 5. (Courtesy Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre)

PigPen Theatre charms with ‘Tale of Despereaux’

Funny, musical fairy tale onstage at Berkeley Rep

From left, Dorcas Leung plays Despereaux and Yasmeen Sulieman is Princess Pea in PigPen Theatre Co.’s “The Tale of Despereaux” at Berkeley Repertory Theatre through Jan. 5. (Courtesy Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre)
From left, Ariela Morgenstern, Jade Shojaee and DC Scarpelli appear in Bay Area Musicals’ “Gypsy.” (Courtesy Ben Krantz Studio)

Bay Area Musicals stages thoroughly entertaining ‘Gypsy’

Troupe kicks off fifth season with solid cast in classic show biz tale

From left, Ariela Morgenstern, Jade Shojaee and DC Scarpelli appear in Bay Area Musicals’ “Gypsy.” (Courtesy Ben Krantz Studio)
Sara Moore appears in “Atomic Clown” at Potrero Stage this week. (Courtesy Fernando Gambaroni)

‘Triptych of hell’ inspires ‘Atomic Clown’

Sara Moore details bad spell in funny semi-autobiographical play

Sara Moore appears in “Atomic Clown” at Potrero Stage this week. (Courtesy Fernando Gambaroni)
From left, Millie Brooks, Arwen Anderson, Lipica Shah, Meera Rohit Kumbhani and Avanthika Srinivasan are excellent American Conservatory Theater’s “Testmatch.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)

ACT’s ‘Testmatch’ takes on cricket, colonialism

Political messages are clear in amusing century-spanning premiere

From left, Millie Brooks, Arwen Anderson, Lipica Shah, Meera Rohit Kumbhani and Avanthika Srinivasan are excellent American Conservatory Theater’s “Testmatch.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)
LaChaze brings her semi-autobiographical cabaret act to The City. (Courtesy photo)

Tony winner LaChanze is ‘Feeling Good’

Broadway star makes SF Bay Area Cabaret debut

LaChaze brings her semi-autobiographical cabaret act to The City. (Courtesy photo)
Madonna dazzles the audience on her all-over-the-place “Madame X” tour. (Courtesy Stufish)

Madonna’s Madame X comes alive, rises

Pop diva takes control in ‘intimate’ Golden Gate Theatre

Madonna dazzles the audience on her all-over-the-place “Madame X” tour. (Courtesy Stufish)