Bay Area theater 2015: some favorites

Dec 22

Bay Area theater 2015: some favorites

One of the best things about the year-end exercise to round up favorite theatergoing memories of the preceding year is that it can be such a powerful reminder of how much good theater we have in the Bay Area and how many really extraordinary theater artists we have working here. Another element jumps out at me this year and that is how, in addition to great homegrown work, our area also attracts some of the best theater artists from around the world to come and share their work (at the behest of savvy local producers, of course). Herewith, some favorites from the year that was.

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Sir Noël’s been Lansburied. Lucky Sir Noël.

Jan 22

Sir Noël’s been Lansburied. Lucky Sir Noël.

Is anyone in the theater world more spirited than Angela Lansbury? She has been giving great performances on stages and screens of various sizes for 70 years. She has every right to rest on her laurels and be adored as the legend she is. But not right now. She has work to do.

At 89 (you'd never know it by watching her on stage), Lansbury is taking a victory lap, a final North American tour in Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit. She is playing oddball spiritualist Madame Arcati in director Michael Blakemore's production (part of the SHN season). It's a role that earned her a fifth Tony Award in 2009. To be clear, this is as sturdy a production of Coward's 1941 comedy as you're likely to see, performed with wit, sophistication and, perhaps surprisingly, heart. The cast is excellent, the design just right and the sound (in the cavernous Golden Gate Theatre) startlingly clear. But you come to this production first and foremost for Lansbury, and she is every bit the warm and wonderful genius you want her to be.

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Tony, Tony, Tony!

Jun 07

Live (well, the West Coast version of live, which is actually three hours NOT live, but hey, we’re on the West Coast) 63rd Annual Tony Awards blogging! Please comment and join the conversation! Hit refresh for anything new. P.S. Comments will be shared (with your permission) in the main part of the post as they arrive. Warning: there’s liable to be a lot...

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Dolly Awar, er, Tony Awards nominations

May 05

Tony nominations came out today, and there are a couple of things that make me happy. Dolly Parton is a Tony nominee! [title of show] was not completely shout out! Some favorite actors – Jessica Hynes, Jane Fonda, Angela Lansbury, Janet McTeer, Raul Esparza, Harriet Walter, Gavin Creel, Allison Janney, Alice Ripley – were recognized. Jerry Herman is...

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Theater review: `High Spirits’

Apr 11

Spirits are blithe in Moon’s `High Spirits’««« ½ What’s the point of reviewing a show just a few days before it closes? Not much from a commercial point of view. But given the sudden interest in all things Noel Coward, I had to check out 42nd Street Moon’s production of High Spirits, a 1964 musical based on Coward’s play Blithe...

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Hello, Jerry Herman!

Mar 29

Saw a fantastic documentary last night that I highly recommend: Word and Music by Jerry Herman. It was on PBS for about a second, but it’s available via PBS Home Video. Clearly this was a labor of love for Amber Edwards, who produced, wrote, directed and edited the 90-minute movie. She adores Herman, and it’s easy to see why. He’s frank, funny and...

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