Fractured fairy tales shine in stripped-down Woods

Mar 09

Fractured fairy tales shine in stripped-down <i>Woods</i>

You've journeyed Into the Woods, but you haven't ever been into these woods.

When great musicals are revived, the first question has to be: why? Is it going to be another retread of a successful prior production? Or will it be a reinvention, a new take for a new time? Happily the latter is the case with the glorious Fiasco Theater re-imagining of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Into the Woods.

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Gorgeous, moving Fun Home at the Curran

Jan 27

Gorgeous, moving <i>Fun Home</i> at the Curran

At only about 100 minutes, the musical Fun Home, manages to encapsulate a profoundly moving life experience: coming to terms with your parents as human beings and not just the people who gave you life then messed up that life one way or another.

What an extraordinary show to officially re-open the spectacularly renovated Curran Theatre, now in its 95th year and the ongoing project of Carole Shorenstein Hays and her family.

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Finding Neverland: never found, never lands

Jan 19

<i>Finding Neverland</i>: never found, never lands

I'm calling it: the use of Peter Pan as an automatic trigger for poignant reflections on lost youth and the emotional cruelty of aging is officially over. It's been over for a while, but apparently word has not spread to those still hoping to cash in on Captain Hook, Tinkerbell and the whole Neverland crew. That's unfortunate for the musical Finding Neverland.

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A dreamy White Christmas at the Golden Gate

Dec 15

A dreamy <i>White Christmas</i> at the Golden Gate

Eleven years ago, our holiday entertainment bandwidth grew a little wider with the stage adaptation of White Christmas, the 1954 movie that solidified the evergreen popularity of Irving Berlin's holiday ballad.

That production was pure delight, the kind of instant Christmas classic that would inevitably be taking its place alongside the Christmas Carols and Nutcrackers. Sure enough, White Christmas is a perennial, and this year's touring production has returned back to San Francisco

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Holiday cheer in SF Playhouse’s sparkling She Loves Me

Dec 01

Holiday cheer in SF Playhouse’s sparkling <i>She Loves Me</i>

p>The 1963 musical She Loves Me is just a little gem of a musical – full of melody and charm and camaraderie and romance. The recent Broadway revival made a case for the show as sturdy, funny showcase for actors who can perfectly balance realism and musical comedy in a way that makes the show feel intimate and lived in even while it traffics in song and dance.

Just in time for the holidays, San Francisco Playhouse polishes this gem to a sparkling shine.

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Tech & show tunes! SOMA musical skewers Silicon Valley

Oct 23

Tech & show tunes! <i>SOMA</i> musical skewers Silicon Valley

Having lived in San Francisco for 26 years now, it's' sad to say that everything I know about Silicon Valley comes not from firsthand experience of the world outside my doorstep but from the HBO show "Silicon Valley." Based on that show and on the genial South of Market: The Musical, I would venture to say that the best way to deal with that world is through a satirical lens. My impression is that Silicon Valley life/work is so wacky and self-involved it's basically satire that writes itself.

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