A song of Bernadette (Peters, of course)

Jul 16

A song of Bernadette (Peters, of course)

Buckle up, Broadway Babies. It's time to revel in all things Bernadette. The loveable diva Bernadette Peters, she of the curls, the va-va-voom figure and the knockout voice, will return to the concert stage in Davies Hall to perform with the San Francisco Symphony on Tuesday, July 23 (for ticket info, click here). This is a re-scheduled concert after the pesky musicians' strike scrapped Peters' previous plans to dazzle us with her latest concert.

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Dirty puppets + improv = hilarity

Aug 19

Dirty puppets + improv = hilarity

If you’ve ever wondered what happens when the Muppets go blue, check out Stuffed and Unstrung, the blush-inducing, laugh-happy puppet improv show from Henson Alternative, the adult arm of the Jim Henson Company.

Six puppeteers, one video camera, two screens and a wall of puppets with a penchant for f-bombs combine for about 100 minutes of comedy bliss – brought to us by SHN. All the usual improv stuff is here – suggestions from the audience (“Prostitution!” seemed to come up a lot at Thursday’s opening-night performance), interactions with willing suckers pulled form their seats (one lucky guy actually got to operate a Muppet on stage – an actual Muppet! Lucky bastard) and all kinds of shiny, happy nastiness.

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This Composer really is dead

Dec 03

This <i>Composer</i> really is dead

There’s a moment of absolute magic in the world premiere of Lemony Snicket’s The Composer Is Dead now at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

We’ve just been subjected to a rather dispiriting film (more on that in a minute), a sort of theatrical appetizer, and we’re making the transition into the main course. The curtain on the Roda Theatre rises to reveal an absolutely magnificent set that looks like a life-size Victorian paper theater.

There’s an orchestra full of puppets – each personality-infused face affixed to a representation of an instrument – and Geoff Hoyle (the only human in the show) as the Inspector in a fantastic plaid suit preparing to solve the crime of who murdered the world’s greatest, formerly living composer.

The reveal of the set in all its glory is by far the best part of this strangely moribund evening. The show, including the movie, is just over an hour, and yet it seems much longer.

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Reviving Muppet mania: Next stop Broadway?

Oct 27

I’m always surprised when theater pops up in pop culture, more specifically, in popcorn movies. Sitting at home, I was thoroughly enjoying Forgetting Sarah Marshall, a comedy written by and starring Jason Segel (of TV’s “How I Met Your Mother” – an admirable sitcom set in New York but none of the 20somethings ever goes to the theater!)....

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`Emmett Otter’ on stage

May 30

Now here’s a no-brainer: there’s finally going to be a stage musical version of the classic 1977 Muppet made-for-TV musical “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas.” Variety’s Gordon Cox reports that the Jim Henson Co. and iTheatrics are teaming up to create a stage version that will utilize actors and puppets. Paul Williams (Oscar...

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