2011 in the rearview mirror: the best of Bay Area stages

Dec 29

2011 in the rearview mirror: the best of Bay Area stages

Let's just get right to it. 2011 was another year full of fantastic local theater (and some nice imports). Somehow, most of our theater companies has managed thus far to weather the bruising economy. May the new year find audiences clamoring for more great theater.

1. How to Write a New Book for the Bible by Bill Cain
Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Directed by Kent Nicholson

Only a few days ago I was telling someone about this play – my favorite new play of 2011 and the most moving theatrical experience I've had in a long time – and it happened again. I got choked up. That happens every time I try to describe Cain's deeply beautiful ode to his family and to the spirituality that family creates (or maybe that's vice-versa). Nicholson's production, from the excellent actors to the simple, elegant design, let the play emerge in all its glory.

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Pants down, smiles up: you’ve been HughJacked

May 05

Pants down, smiles up: you’ve been HughJacked

It was hot and steamy in San Francisco Wednesday. And the weather was nice, too. Hugh Jackman, that final Australian frontier of old-school razzle-dazzle entertainment, put on a show at the Curran Theatre.

And it’s about time. In the old days, Jackman would have starred in a weekly variety show on TV, had regular gigs at the Tropicana in Vegas and toured with his celebrity golf tournament.

These days, it’s much harder for an entertainer. Once you have your street cred and your bona fides – sci-fi/action movie star, romantic lead, beloved awards show host, Tony Award-winning Broadway star – you get license to do as you please.

So Jackman has his own show, and it looks and sounds an awful lot like the shows of your – and thank the heavens for that.

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Baby, it’s Hugh

May 01

Baby, it’s Hugh

Australian dreamboat and all-around wonderful entertainer Hugh Jackman is about to take the Bay Area by storm. And if he doesn't, he'll be back to settle our hash in his full Wolverine drag.

This week, Jackman opens a brand-new song-and-dance extravaganza at the Curran Theatre, courtesy of SHN. It'll be like what we've seen him do on the Tony Awards and Academy Awards telecasts, which is to say, he'll charm everyone for miles around and leave us wanting more.

I had 15 minutes on the phone with Jackman, which became a feature in today's San Francisco Chronicle. Read the story here.

Because I had so little time with him, there wasn't a lot of material from the interview that didn't make it into the final article, but there were a couple of things.

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