Howlingly good Dog in the Night-Time offers curious pleasures

Jun 29

Howlingly good <i>Dog in the Night-Time</i> offers curious pleasures

That a play about challenges faced by a 15-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder (just what he's dealing with is never detailed) has become a worldwide phenomenon is surprising only if you haven't seen the play. The touring company of the Broadway production opened Wednesday, June 28 at the Golden Gate Theatre as part of the SHN season, and what the venue lacks in intimacy, the production makes up for with its strong ensemble and its dazzling physical production.

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Hamilton in SF: Re-creating America

Mar 24

<i>Hamilton</i> in SF: Re-creating America

If you love Hamilton, and let me say for the record that I love Hamilton, there's a whole lot to love, including, now, a new company in my hometown. After the Chicago company, which began performances last fall, this new one is what would be considered the national touring company. It's here until August as part of the SHN season before heading to Los Angeles. The full Broadway creative team is represented here, and at Thursday's opening-night production, the show shone through the hype with clarity, excitement and emotional heft.

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Fractured fairy tales shine in stripped-down Woods

Mar 09

Fractured fairy tales shine in stripped-down <i>Woods</i>

You've journeyed Into the Woods, but you haven't ever been into these woods.

When great musicals are revived, the first question has to be: why? Is it going to be another retread of a successful prior production? Or will it be a reinvention, a new take for a new time? Happily the latter is the case with the glorious Fiasco Theater re-imagining of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods.

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Finding Neverland: never found, never lands

Jan 19

<i>Finding Neverland</i>: never found, never lands

I'm calling it: the use of Peter Pan as an automatic trigger for poignant reflections on lost youth and the emotional cruelty of aging is officially over. It's been over for a while, but apparently word has not spread to those still hoping to cash in on Captain Hook, Tinkerbell and the whole Neverland crew. That's unfortunate for the musical Finding Neverland.

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Theater Dogs’ Best of 2016

Dec 28

Theater Dogs’ Best of 2016

The theater event that shook my year and reverberated through it constantly didn't happen on Bay Area stage. Like so many others, I was blown away by Hamilton on Broadway in May and then on repeat and shuffle with the original cast album (and, later in the year, the Hamilton Mix Tape) ever since. Shifting focus back home, theater in the San Francisco Bay Area continues to be a marvel, which is really something given the hostile economic environment arts groups are facing around here.

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A dreamy White Christmas at the Golden Gate

Dec 15

A dreamy <i>White Christmas</i> at the Golden Gate

Eleven years ago, our holiday entertainment bandwidth grew a little wider with the stage adaptation of White Christmas, the 1954 movie that solidified the evergreen popularity of Irving Berlin's holiday ballad.

That production was pure delight, the kind of instant Christmas classic that would inevitably be taking its place alongside the Christmas Carols and Nutcrackers. Sure enough, White Christmas is a perennial, and this year's touring production has returned back to San Francisco

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