Ray of Light’s Party is wild and winsome

May 26

Ray of Light’s <i>Party</i> is wild and winsome

San Francisco has known its share of wild parties, but the particular bit of revelry now happening at the Victoria Theatre under the auspices of Ray of Light theatre is of particular interest. Once again, this enterprising company ignites the local musical theater scene with remarkable energy and talent, and their production of The Wild Party imbues a flawed show with undeniable passion and pizazz.

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Drag rock nirvana in Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Showgirls

May 07

Drag rock nirvana in <i>Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Showgirls</i>

Once the full-out rock song "Flesh Popsicle" has reached its climax, there can be no doubt: Above and Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Showgirls is a bona fide rock musical performed by a raucous five-piece band (that includes a one-woman horn section!) and a raging cast of women, men and men-as-women that would send North Carolinians into fits of moral paralysis. In other words, this is an original drag rock musical that kicks (and shakes) some serious booty.

It should come as no surprise that this two-hour slice of "broad" comedy should come from the pen of D'Arcy Drollinger...

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Enchantment, off-key comedy in revised Cinderella

May 05

Enchantment, off-key comedy in revised <i>Cinderella</i>

If audiences get confused by this abundance of Cinderella that's completely understandable, especially if they assume that the Rodgers and Hammerstein version has something to do with Disney. Any confusion will only be exacerbated by the 2013 Broadway production, which involved some major revision in the book by Douglas Carter Beane and a production design that looks like it took inspiration from Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

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This Lion is king at ACT

Apr 21

This <i>Lion</i> is king at ACT

If Benjamin Scheuer were simply a musical act, I'd happily go see him in concert and buy his albums. his voice can go from sweet to gravelly, aggressive to tender, rollicking to romantic even within the space of a single song, and the same can be said for his guitar playing. He puts himself out there in his music, and in addition to being aurally pleasing, his music is also deeply satisfying.

But Scheuer is more than a concert act. He's also a playwright and actor. So his version of a concert is the one-man autobiographical musical The Lion now at American Conservatory Theater's Strand Theater.

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Slick moves and a cornered Baby in live Dirty Dancing

Feb 25

Slick moves and a cornered Baby in live <i>Dirty Dancing</i>

Oh, help. Someone put Baby in a corner and she can't get out! The corner is actually the stage of the Golden Gate Theatre, where, as part of the SHN season, she is appearing in Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage, a reasonably entertaining show that feels less like a national touring production and more like a slick, overly faithful film re-creation you might find in a theme park where the loyal fans come to pay homage and wallow in nostalgia.

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Bright, shiny Christmas Story musical delights

Dec 10

Bright, shiny <i>Christmas Story</i> musical delights

I remember seeing A Christmas Story in the movie theater in 1983 (I was in high school), and since then, I've probably seen it 50 times or so (in whole or in part) on TV. It helps that TBS has been known to show it in constant rotation for days. So I have affection for the movie and for Jean Shepherd the man who created it (and narrated the movie is wonderfully droll, comforting voice). It's no surprise that this beloved Story has been adapted for the stage as a play (by Philip Grecian, which popped up at the now-extinct San Jose Repertory Theatre a few times) and now as a big old Broadway-style musical.

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