Yo to the Ho! Pirates rock in Penzance

Mar 05

Yo to the Ho! Pirates rock in <i>Penzance</i>

Singing pirates automatically make me think of two things: the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride in Disneyland with their rousing "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" and the dreadful and utterly loveable 1982 movie musical flop The Pirate Movie starring Kristy McNichol and Christopher Atkins as Mabel and Frederic, respectively, in a pop-rock adaptation of The Pirates of Penzance. Along with Grease 2 (also 1982), this is one of the worst movie musicals ever and, also like Grease 2, one of my all-time favorites. For a taste of The Pirate Movie, see the videos below. Would that I could show you the whole, terrible thing. We'd have so much fun.

I'm thinking about singing pirates because I had the pleasure of seeing Berkeley Playhouse's production of The Pirates of Penzance this weekend.

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Sing out, Aslan! Narnia warbles a show tune

Mar 21

Sing out, Aslan! <i>Narnia</i> warbles a show tune

If your Narnia lacks magic, there’s a problem. C.S. Lewis’ contribution to the enchanted lands branch of children’s literature requires that the kingdom beyond the back wall of the musty old wardrobe demands magic.

The books in the Narnia series certainly do the trick of transporting readers to someplace beyond the page. The various film versions have been hit and miss with the enchantment. The most recent Disney versions are heavy on the CGI effects, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee a magical spark.

Berkeley Playhouse, that bold company creating professional theater that appeals to family members of all ages, does a much more effective job locating that magic in its musical adaptation, Narnia – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

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Berkeley Playhouse and the future of theater

Aug 16

Peter Pan (Brandy Collazo) outwits Captain Hook (Gabriel Grilli) in the Peter Pan, The musical, a Berkeley Playhouse production playing through Aug. 23 at Ashby Stage. Photo by Ralph Granich   A trip to Neverland this weekend refreshed my hope for the future – not just the future of theater, but the future of the arts and the future of this country. It’s...

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Review: `The BFG (Big Friendly Giant)’

Nov 02

Some of the enthusiastic cast members of Berkeley Playhouse’s The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) are (clockwise from top right) Nkechi, Alona Bach, Tom Darci and Niko Darci-Maher. Photo by Kevin Berne.   Berkeley Playhouse scores big fun with energetic `Giant’«««« In only its second full production, Berkeley Playhouse is proving itself to be a joyously...

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An Ahrens & Flaherty weekend

Nov 12

Broadway may have been pretty quiet last Saturday night (what with the stagehands strike and all), but the Broadway show tunes were ringing sweetly through the Bay Area. More specifically the show tunes of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty were in the air on both sides of the Bay. In Berkeley, the newly formed Berkeley Playhouse opened its inaugural production,...

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Berkeley gets a new Playhouse

Nov 01

Elizabeth McKoy(above left) and Kimberly Dooley (above right) are creating a children’s theater, and they know what they’re doing. In addition to theatrical qualifications, the two women have, between them, six children. McKoy has four, ages 13, 10, 5 and 7 months. Dooley has a 3-year-old and a 10-month-old. “Imagine this: me and Kimberly...

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