Goode shines Light, Frankenstein lives

Jul 11

Goode shines <i>Light</i>, <i>Frankenstein</i> lives

If you need proof of how lively and diverse the San Francisco theater scene can be, let me direct your attention to two wildly different shows I've seen recently. One is about as old fashioned as it gets, while the other is wonderfully experimental.

For sheer retro-musical theater pleasures, Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein – at the Golden Gate Theatre until July 25 – is a prime example of Grade B goods. There was a time on Broadway – think the 1950s and early '60s – when these kinds of shows populated the Great White Way. Taking the term "musical comedy" to heart, these shows have no objective other than to please its audience for a couple of hours. A few laughs, a few hummable tunes, and we're done.

With The Producers Brooks fulfilled a lifelong passion to create a musical theater blockbuster. Now Brooks is settling into his groove with Young Frankenstein, an extremely faithful version of his classic 1974 movie (co-written with star Gene Wilder). As a recycler of his own material, Brooks sticks to the formula that worked for the movie and supplies songs that, while not as catchy as those in The Producers, are appealing.

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Ballet and belts: Smuin Ballet and Sam Harris

May 09

It was a perfect Friday-night cultural double feature: opening night of Smuin Ballet’s spring season at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and then a quick dash to the Rrazz Room in the Hotel Nikko for Sam Harris’ late night cabaret gig. I’m no dance critic, so I won’t even try to analyze the three pieces of Smuin’s highly enjoyable...

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On his toes: Matthew Linzer of Smuin Ballet

May 04

On an uncharacteristically hot San Francisco afternoon, the halls of City Ballet are swarmed with dancers young old. The younger ones are there for afternoon classes. The older ones, most of them members of Smuin Ballet, are just finishing up rehearsals for the launch of the spring season. This is the 15th anniversary season of Smuin Ballet, founded by Michael...

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