Theater

Rey Lucas and Liz Sklar are excellent in California Shakespeare Theater’s “Macbeth.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)

Actors take charge in Cal Shakes’ ‘Macbeth’

Tragedy boasts strong ensemble, innovative set design

Rey Lucas and Liz Sklar are excellent in California Shakespeare Theater’s “Macbeth.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)
‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ a vivid, cautionary tale

‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ a vivid, cautionary tale

Word for Word brings Coleridge’s epic poem to life

‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ a vivid, cautionary tale
Jo Mei plays Hanako, a teen who kidnapped, in “The Great Wave” at Berkeley Rep. (Courtesy Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre)

Tension missing in Berkeley Rep’s ‘Great Wave’

U.S. premiere of political drama falls flat

Jo Mei plays Hanako, a teen who kidnapped, in “The Great Wave” at Berkeley Rep. (Courtesy Kevin Berne/Berkeley Repertory Theatre)
American Conservatory Theater’s “Top Girls” features (top row, from left) Monique Hafen Adams, Lily Harris, Michelle Beck, Julia McNeal, Summer Brown, Monica Lin and Rosie Hallett; and, kneeling, from left, Gabriella Momah and Nafeesa Monroe. (Courtesy Robert Sokol, BAYSTAGES)

ACT’s ‘Top Girls’ leads local Caryl Churchill revival

Production offers new take on 1982 award-winner

American Conservatory Theater’s “Top Girls” features (top row, from left) Monique Hafen Adams, Lily Harris, Michelle Beck, Julia McNeal, Summer Brown, Monica Lin and Rosie Hallett; and, kneeling, from left, Gabriella Momah and Nafeesa Monroe. (Courtesy Robert Sokol, BAYSTAGES)
Leigh Rondon-Davis, left, and Christell Lewis appear in Crowded Fire Theater’s production of “Inked Baby.” (Courtesy Cheshire Isaacs)

Disparate stories don’t connect in ‘Inked Baby’

Crowded Fire production could go deeper

Leigh Rondon-Davis, left, and Christell Lewis appear in Crowded Fire Theater’s production of “Inked Baby.” (Courtesy Cheshire Isaacs)
Tovah Feldshuh’s cabaret act offers a peek of “The Queen of Mean,” a musical about Leona Helmsley. (Courtesy photo)

Tovah Feldshuh brings Leona Helmsley to life

‘Walking Dead’ actress previews musical about Queen of Mean

Tovah Feldshuh’s cabaret act offers a peek of “The Queen of Mean,” a musical about Leona Helmsley. (Courtesy photo)
Ray of Light Theatre’s production of “Caroline, or Change,” features, from left, Elizabeth Jones, Cadarious Mayberry and Majesty Scott as The Radio; Jasmyne Brice in the title role; Anthone Jackson as The Dryer and Leslie Ivy as The Washing Machine. (Courtesy Nick Otto)

‘Caroline’ needs change

Ambitious Ray of Light production suffers from sound challenges

Ray of Light Theatre’s production of “Caroline, or Change,” features, from left, Elizabeth Jones, Cadarious Mayberry and Majesty Scott as The Radio; Jasmyne Brice in the title role; Anthone Jackson as The Dryer and Leslie Ivy as The Washing Machine. (Courtesy Nick Otto)
Berkeley Repertory Theatre presents the U.S. premiere of Francis Turnly’s “The Great Wave.” (Courtesy Berkeley Repertory Theatre)

‘Great Wave’ playwright wants to wash away stereotypes

Francis Turnly’s drama touches on Japanese, North Korean relations

Berkeley Repertory Theatre presents the U.S. premiere of Francis Turnly’s “The Great Wave.” (Courtesy Berkeley Repertory Theatre)
The national tour of “Anastasia” at the Golden Gate Theatre features the funny Edward Staudenmayer as Vlad and Tari Kelly as Countless Lily, center, and an excellent ensemble. (Courtesy Matthew Murphy/Murphymade)

Sumptuous ‘Anastasia’ retells historical myth

National tour boasts great sets and supporting characters

The national tour of “Anastasia” at the Golden Gate Theatre features the funny Edward Staudenmayer as Vlad and Tari Kelly as Countless Lily, center, and an excellent ensemble. (Courtesy Matthew Murphy/Murphymade)
From left, Anne Yumi Kobori, Michael Barrett Austin and Regina Morones appear in the Free Shakespeare in the Park 2019 production of “As You Like It.” (Courtesy John Western)

SF Shakes stages tuneful ‘As You Like It’

Final shows of free summer season come to The City

From left, Anne Yumi Kobori, Michael Barrett Austin and Regina Morones appear in the Free Shakespeare in the Park 2019 production of “As You Like It.” (Courtesy John Western)
From left, Justin Howard, Chris Ginesi and Ari Rampy are excellent in Shotgun Players’ “The Flick.” (Courtesy Ben Krantz Studio)

‘The Flick’ takes a tender look at movie house workers

Shotgun Players stage engaging production of Annie Baker’s Pulitzer Prize winner

From left, Justin Howard, Chris Ginesi and Ari Rampy are excellent in Shotgun Players’ “The Flick.” (Courtesy Ben Krantz Studio)
The award-winning, two-part “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” comes to San Francisco’s Curran in October. (Courtesy Matthew Murphy)                                The award-winning, two-part “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” comes to San Francisco’s Curran in October. (Courtesy Matthew Murphy)

Fall 2019 Arts Preview: Theater

Classic and contemporary stories come to stages across the Bay

The award-winning, two-part “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” comes to San Francisco’s Curran in October. (Courtesy Matthew Murphy)                                The award-winning, two-part “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” comes to San Francisco’s Curran in October. (Courtesy Matthew Murphy)
From left, Cassidy Brown, Ron Campbell, Annie Abrams and Lance Gardner dazzle in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s “The 39 Steps.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)

Slapstick heaven in TheatreWorks’ ‘39 Steps’

Quartet of actors awe in fast-paced comedy

From left, Cassidy Brown, Ron Campbell, Annie Abrams and Lance Gardner dazzle in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s “The 39 Steps.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)
Emma Van Lare, left, and Sango Tajima appear in California Shakespeare Theater’s “House of Joy.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)

‘House of Joy’ a rich fairy tale set in imperial India

Madhuri Shekar tells complex story in Cal Shakes premiere

Emma Van Lare, left, and Sango Tajima appear in California Shakespeare Theater’s “House of Joy.” (Courtesy Kevin Berne)
“The Play That Goes Wrong,” a riotous slapstick comedy, is onstage in a short run at the Golden Gate Theatre. (Courtesy Jeremy Daniel)

‘Play That Goes Wrong’ downright hilarious

Actors, crew display talent, bravery

“The Play That Goes Wrong,” a riotous slapstick comedy, is onstage in a short run at the Golden Gate Theatre. (Courtesy Jeremy Daniel)
Martha Brigham, left, and Lauren English are excellent in Just Theater’s “Cry It Out” onstage at Custom Made Theater. (Courtesy Jay Yamada)

‘Cry It Out’ addresses new mother work-life balance

Molly Smith Metzler’s humorous play could dig deeper

Martha Brigham, left, and Lauren English are excellent in Just Theater’s “Cry It Out” onstage at Custom Made Theater. (Courtesy Jay Yamada)
Jeunée Simon, left, and Lauren Hayes appear in the premiere of “Roan @ The Gates” in Berkeley. (Courtesy J. Norrena)

‘Roan @ The Gates’ looks at whistleblower’s dilemma

Yet drama’s missing in Central Works’ production of Christina Gorman play

Jeunée Simon, left, and Lauren Hayes appear in the premiere of “Roan @ The Gates” in Berkeley. (Courtesy J. Norrena)
A Theatre Near U’s “Guppy,” a comedy about the big man on a high school campus, is onstage at Fort Mason. (Courtesy Rob Wilen)

New musical ‘Guppy’ bravely swims upstream

A Theatre Near U performers show spirit

A Theatre Near U’s “Guppy,” a comedy about the big man on a high school campus, is onstage at Fort Mason. (Courtesy Rob Wilen)
Leontyne Mbele-Mbong and Adrian Roberts appear in African-American Shakespeare Company’s contemporary interpretation of “Macbeth.” (Courtesy Joseph Giammarco)

African-American Shakespeare Co. sharpens Macbeth’s dagger

Modern translation of classic tragedy resonates

Leontyne Mbele-Mbong and Adrian Roberts appear in African-American Shakespeare Company’s contemporary interpretation of “Macbeth.” (Courtesy Joseph Giammarco)
Jomar Tagatac, left, and Adrienne Kaori Walters, foreground — along with, background, from left, Elena Wright, Francis Jue and Emily Kuroda — appear in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s production of “The Language Archive.” (Courtesy Alessandra Mello)

Sweet, loving words spoken in ‘Language Archive’

TheatreWorks mines comedy in quirky Julia Cho script

Jomar Tagatac, left, and Adrienne Kaori Walters, foreground — along with, background, from left, Elena Wright, Francis Jue and Emily Kuroda — appear in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s production of “The Language Archive.” (Courtesy Alessandra Mello)