Come to the Cabaret at SF Playhouse

Jul 12

Come to the <i>Cabaret</i> at SF Playhouse

San Francisco Playhouse's Cabaret is, to put it simply, a wow. A big, debauched, delightful wow. Everything in director Susi Damilano's production just clicks. The look, the feel, the sound of this John Kander and Fred Ebb classic are all securely in place, so this well-constructed musical (Damilano is using the 1998 Broadway revival as her base) can connect directly with its audience.

Read More

Vivacious Aztec tunefully reclaims, re-writes Latinx history

Jun 07

Vivacious <i>Aztec</i> tunefully reclaims, re-writes Latinx history

After 33 years at Berkeley Repertory Theatre – 22 as artistic director – Tony Taccone is taking a final bow with Kiss My Aztec, a world-premiere musical that serves as a fitting farewell. Hatched from the fervid mind of John Leguizamo, the show hits a lot of Taccone hot spots. It attempts to stick it to the white man (in this case, the Spanish conquistadors who colonized, destroyed and attempted to erase Aztec civilization) while re-writing history with a focus on those who should have had a hand in recording it in the first place. It's a sprawling, inclusive, celebratory explosion of energy that continually lobs truth bombs at its audience through crude, incisive, often hilarious lines and lyrics.

Read More

Carole King and all that is Beautiful

May 30

Carole King and all that is <i>Beautiful</i>

Almost six years ago, a Broadway-bound musical had its world premiere at San Francisco's Curran Theatre, and though there were a few issues, the show looked like a bona fide hit. Sure enough, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical became a smash on Broadway, winning a Tony Award for star Jessie Mueller and continuing to draw a cheering audience more than five years later.

Read More

Hamilton continues to dazzle in new #AndPeggy tour

Feb 22

<i>Hamilton</i> continues to dazzle in new #AndPeggy tour

If anything, the current company – known as the #AndPeggy company – of Hamilton now at the SHN Orpheum Theatre through Sept. 8, is even better than the one we saw at the same theater in 2017. Maybe it's because this company got to perform for three weeks in Puerto Rico with the show's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, reprising the lead role. Or maybe the Hamilton machine, with productions in New York, Chicago and London and with tours here, Tampa and Cincinnati, has just become so incredibly efficient that it has collected all the best performers in all the land(s).

Read More

Well, well helloooo, Dolly!

Feb 21

Well, well helloooo, <i>Dolly</i>!

The Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly! has spawned a national tour with the marvelous Betty Buckley as Dolly, and while the erstwhile star of Cats, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Sunset Boulevard may not be the first person you think of when you think of musical comedy, she attacks the material as a serious actor and delivers a deeply felt performance full of life and love.

Read More

Aside from dancing, Berkeley Rep Square is far from paradise

Jan 11

Aside from dancing, Berkeley Rep <i> Square</i> is far from paradise

There are actually two competing musicals in Paradise Square: A New Musical now having its world premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. One of them is much better than the other.

Incredibly ambitious and overstuffed, Paradise Square wants to create excitement about a particular moment in American history with a wonderfully diverse cast and a score that blends show music, traditional music and contemporary sounds (sound familiar? can't blame producers for not wanting to throw away their shot). But this show, many years in the making, is still fuzzy, unfocused and only intermittently interesting.

Read More