A hitch in the getalong: Looking back at 2014′s best

Dec 22

A hitch in the getalong: Looking back at 2014′s best

Reviewing the shows I reviewed this year, I was struck by two things: first, and as usual, there’s an abundance of talented people doing great work at all levels of Bay Area theater; second, this was a lesser year in Bay Area theater. Perhaps the reason for the later has to do with the changes in the Bay Area itself – artists are fleeing outrageous rents,...

Read More

Bucky’s back and better than ever

Feb 06

Bucky’s back and better than ever

I've probably seen D.W. Jacobs' R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe five times now, and I get something new out of it every time. I saw the one-man show starring the extraordinary Ron Campbell about 14 years ago when it opened in San Francisco at Theatre Artaud. That production ran for over a year, went on tour, then came back about a year later. I thought I might get weary of Bucky and his fascinations, but that was never the case.

Now History/Mystery is back...

Read More

Scheie shines in SJ Rep’s poignant Next Fall

Oct 26

Scheie shines in SJ Rep’s poignant <i>Next Fall</i>

As an actor and director, there is seemingly nothing Danny Scheie cannot do. Over the summer, he dazzled in several drag roles in California Shakespeare Theater's Lady Windermere's Fan (read my review here), and now he's doing a serious about face in the drama Next Fall with San Jose Repertory Theatre.

Geoffrey Nauffts' play is formulaic to a degree, but it's a sturdy formula, and Scheie – not to mention the rest of the excellent cast – bring out the best in this play about faith, love and family.

Read More

2011 in the rearview mirror: the best of Bay Area stages

Dec 29

2011 in the rearview mirror: the best of Bay Area stages

Let's just get right to it. 2011 was another year full of fantastic local theater (and some nice imports). Somehow, most of our theater companies has managed thus far to weather the bruising economy. May the new year find audiences clamoring for more great theater.

1. How to Write a New Book for the Bible by Bill Cain
Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Directed by Kent Nicholson

Only a few days ago I was telling someone about this play – my favorite new play of 2011 and the most moving theatrical experience I've had in a long time – and it happened again. I got choked up. That happens every time I try to describe Cain's deeply beautiful ode to his family and to the spirituality that family creates (or maybe that's vice-versa). Nicholson's production, from the excellent actors to the simple, elegant design, let the play emerge in all its glory.

Read More

A mighty Spring awakens at San Jose Rep

Sep 10

A mighty <i>Spring</i> awakens at San Jose Rep

The original production of Spring Awakening, the musical based on the 1891 play by Frank Wedekind, was so vivid, so powerful and so widely seen throughout the Bay Area, it's rather astonishing that San Jose Repertory Theatre has the cheek to produce the show's first regional production. Ah, but what cheek. Director Rick Lombardo, also San Jose Rep's artistic director, choreographer Sonya Tayeh (a guest judge and choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance) and musical director Dolores Duran-Cefalu have done such original work that they make the show their own.

Read More

`Summer Blockbusters’ at San Jose Rep

Jun 13

Many theater companies take a break during the summer months and send audiences into the great outdoors for some Shakespeare or Mime Troupe action. But San Jose Repertory Theatre is launching what it calls a “Summer Blockbuster Series.” The two-show series opens July 7 with Forbidden Broadway — 25th Anniversary Tour. Gerard Allessandrini’s...

Read More