High-voltage acts power Cirque’s new Volta

Nov 16

High-voltage acts power Cirque’s new <i>Volta</i>

The new touring spectacle, Volta, opened Thursday night under a gray-and-white-striped tent in the AT&T Park for a nearly three-month run before heading down to San Jose. It's a high energy show with more sparkle and verve than the requisite Cirque pretension, and it was a welcome relief to the smoke-choked air that was strangling the world outside the tent.

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Shooting the rapids and tweaking history in ACT’s Men on Boats

Nov 02

Shooting the rapids and tweaking history in ACT’s <i>Men on Boats</i>

Oars up! Oars out! We're going adventuring.

The first thrill of our adventure is the sheer delight of seeing 10 women on stage – 10! – in the American Conservatory Theater production of Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus now at The Strand Theater. How often do we get to see that many marvelous women on a stage together? Hardly ever.

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Slice of life served up sweet and tuneful in Waitress

Oct 18

Slice of life served up sweet and tuneful in <i>Waitress</i>

Waitress is very much like one of the wacky pies its title character concocts – an odd combination of ingredients that come together in a surprisingly delightful way. As a musical, it's about ordinary life – low-paying jobs, abusive relationships, childhood trauma, the families we make as opposed to the ones we're born into – but it sings, often beautifully, about the deep pain and the little joys of everyday living, and it finds ways to make the ordinary soar with lyricism and expressive movement.

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Slammed door opens in Doll’s House, Part 2 at Berkeley Rep

Sep 14

Slammed door opens in <i>Doll’s House, Part 2</i> at Berkeley Rep

Playwright Lucas Hnath imagines what happened to Nora after she stepped through that door in the audaciously titled A Doll's House, Part 2, which opens the Berkeley Repertory Theatre season in a razor-sharp, vital and funny production directed by Les Waters.

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Rhythm almost gets you in On Your Feet

Sep 13

Rhythm almost gets you in <i>On Your Feet</i>

On Your Feet! The Emilio & Gloria Estefan Broadway Musical is exactly what you think it's going to be, and that's not a bad thing. Nor is it a great thing, but this amiable show lands squarely in the middle lane of enjoyable live musical entertainment. Is it a musical? Well, it's a jukebox musical, meaning it mixes pop songs into a narrative, and some of it lands very well and some of it not so much.

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Kids rock in Lloyd Webber’s middling School

Jun 28

Kids rock in Lloyd Webber’s middling <i>School</i>

p>What's the primary reason to see Andrew Lloyd Webber's School of Rock? It's elementary: the kids.

This grand-scale musical adaptation of the 2003 movie hit (screenplay by Mike White, direction by Richard Linklater) makes a lot of sense as far as movie-to-musical projects go because music – and a lot of it – is built right into the story of a baby-man who fakes being a substitute teacher at a private school and turns around the lives of his students by helping them form a rock band.

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Soft Power electrifies at the Curran

Jun 22

<i>Soft Power</i> electrifies at the Curran

Remarkable. Inspiring. Hilarious. Moving. There aren't enough descriptive words to fully express just how wonderful and fascinating and exhilarating it is to experience Soft Power the new musical by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori now at the Curran Theatre.

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