ACT’s musical Moon never quite achieves lift off

Jun 16

ACT’s musical <i>Moon</i> never quite achieves lift off

There's a better musical struggling to emerge from the overgrown but amiable mess that is A Walk on the Moon, the world premiere that American Conservatory Theater is launching on the Geary Theater stage.

Based on the 1999 movie of the same name and featuring a book by Pamela Gray, who also wrote the screenplay, the musical is...

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Parks finds poetry, drama in epic Father

May 02

Parks finds poetry, drama in epic <i>Father</i>

There's some epic myth-making happening on the stage of American Conservatory Theater's Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3). Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks – one of those great American playwrights whose mere name should always inspire you to check out her work – nods in the direction of other great epics, most notably The Odyssey, but also, as she has said, The Oresteia and The Mahabharata as she tells the story of a slave who reluctantly follows his master into the Civil War.

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Hymns of praise for Kushner’s Angels at Berkeley Rep

Apr 29

Hymns of praise for Kushner’s <i>Angels</i> at Berkeley Rep

Angels in America is back in the Bay Area, this time at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where it is directed by Tony Taccone, who, with Oskar Eustis helped bring this play into the world when it premiered at their Eureka Theatre in 1991. The play's staggering genius is on full display in Taccone's marvelous production, as is Kushner's prescience (Russia, Republican politics, the environmental crisis).

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Vietgone at ACT

Mar 12

<i>Vietgone</i> at ACT

Bold, irreverent, and laugh-out-loud funny, Qui Nguyen's Vietgone, at American Conservatory Theater's Strand Theater, can also be frustratingly scattershot and amateurish.

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Complex, human look at gun violence in Berkeley Rep Hours

Mar 02

Complex, human look at gun violence in Berkeley Rep <i>Hours</i>

Julia Cho is exactly the kind of playwright I crave. She's thoughtful, adventurous and fanciful in a way that relates directly to reality (she's not a fantasist – her flights mean something in the day to day). She cares about people and their messes, both internal and external. Her Aubergine at Berkeley Repertory Theatre was a revelation (read my review here) and has become one of my favorite plays in recent memory. Her play Office Hour, now at Berkeley Rep's Peet's Theatre, is a thorny piece of work.

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Shavian wit still dwells in Aurora’s Houses

Feb 04

Shavian wit still dwells in Aurora’s <i>Houses</i>

George Bernard Shaw's Widowers' Houses last played Berkeley's Aurora Theatre Company more than 20 years ago, and though the theater company has come up on the world (bigger, spiffier theater), the satirical world of Shaw's play still reflects badly on our own lack of evolution where greed, poverty and decency are concerned.

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