Aside from dancing, Berkeley Rep Square is far from paradise

Jan 11

Aside from dancing, Berkeley Rep <i> Square</i> is far from paradise

There are actually two competing musicals in Paradise Square: A New Musical now having its world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. One of them is much better than the other.

Incredibly ambitious and overstuffed, Paradise Square wants to create excitement about a particular moment in American history with a wonderfully diverse cast and a score that blends show music, traditional music and contemporary sounds (sound familiar? can't blame producers for not wanting to throw away their shot). But this show, many years in the making, is still fuzzy, unfocused and only intermittently interesting.

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Fela! explodes with music, dance

Nov 17

<i>Fela!</i> explodes with music, dance

You don’t walk into Fela! expecting Oklahoma!. With the visionary Bill T. Jones serving as director, choreographer and co-writer, you know this is going to be different. And it’s going to be something to see.

Fela! is a concert, a dance extravaganza and, to a lesser degree, a theatrical biography of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. It is, in short, a raging party.

Such a hybrid experience is only fitting for Fela, a renegade pop star, activist, agitator and rebel. Was he a man driven by social conscience? By ego (he did, after all, have 28 wives)? After seeing the show, my guess is both. We’re a little short on details but long on feeling.

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Review: `Spring Awakening’

Sep 08

Opened Sept. 7, 2008 at the Curran Theatre, San Francisco   Kyle Riabko and Christy Altomare are Melchior and Wendla, the doomed lovers in Spring Awakening, the Tony Award-winning musical that launched its national tour at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre. Photos by Paul Kolnik.   Sex, violence and rock ‘n’ roll: `Spring Awakening’ jolts...

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