Theater Dogs Hot list: `War Music,’ Lamott, Wesla, `Coco’

Apr 24

Looking for quality entertainment this weekend? Never a difficult task in the Bay Area. In fact, there’s often too much from which to choose.

Here are some tips:

- American Conservatory Theater’s First look Festival continues Friday and Saturday (April 25 and 26) with Lillian Groag’s War Music, a theatrical adaptation of poet Christopher Logue’s retelling of Homer’s Iliad. The play, revised since its Los Angeles run, will receive a full production during ACT’s 2008-09 season. Groag (right) directs. The script-in-hand workshop is at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10.50 general, $7.50 for students, seniors and ACT subscribers. Call 415-749-2228 or visit www.act-sf.org.

- For the very first time, the work of Marin writer Anne Lamott (left) is being adapted for the stage. San Rafael’s AlterTheater presents the world premiere of Lamott’s first novel, Hard Laughter adapted for the stage Anne Brebner, a longtime friend of Lamott’s, and Laurel Graver. The show opens Friday, April 25 at The Wooden Duck, a store specializing in furniture made from recycled wood (which, not coincidentally, will comprise much of the play’s set). Jayne Wenger directs Lamott’s tale of a free-thinking NorCal bohemian family as they struggle with issues of mortality, sexual freedom and addiction. The cast includes Lindsay Benner, Jeffrey Bihr, Rio Codda, Zac Jaffe, Hannah Rose Kornfeld, Laura Lowry and Frances Lee McCain. The show runs through May 18, and the Wooden Duck is at 1848 Fourth St (at H Street), San Rafael. Tickets are $20-$25. Call 415-454-2787 or visit www.althertheater.org.

- Only one of the greatest singers ever (in the Bay Area or anywhere), Wesla Whitfield (right) appears Saturday, April 26 with the Peninsula Symphony as well as with her husband/arranger Mike Greensill and his trio. Whitfield and Greensill will do what they do best: sing gorgeous tunes from the Great American Songbook, only this time, they’ll be accompanied by more than 20 members of the symphony. The evening will include songs by Gershwin, Ellington, Rodgers and Hammerstein with new arrangements by Greensill (something of a genius when it comes to arrangements). Maestro Mitchell Sardou Klein leads the string orchestra and the Peninsula Symphony French Horn Quartet led by William Klingelhoffer. The show is at 8 p.m. at the Fox Theater in downtown Redwood City. Tickets are $34 general, $29 for seniors and students. Call 650-941-5291 or visit www.peninsualsymphony.org.


- 42nd Street Moon, the San Francisco company that dusts off lost or forgotten musicals and gives them spiffy concert productions, performs that rarity of rarities: a Katharine Hepburn musical. The company is reviving Alan J. Lerner and Andre Previn’s 1970 Coco, which starred Hepburn as the croaking Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel. For the concert production, 42nd Street Moon has the gorgeous Andrea Marcovicci (left) to play the title role. The show previews Friday, April 25 and opens Saturday, April 26 at the Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., San Francisco. The show continues through May 11. Tickets are $22-$38. Call 415-255-8207 or visit www.42ndstmoon.org.

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