Raging with Marty @ ACT’s Strand

Dec 02

Raging with Marty @ ACT’s Strand

If Martin Moran wanted to tell me about his trip to the dentist, I would stop whatever I was doing and listen in rapt attention knowing that Moran is a master storyteller and will inevitably find every telling detail, every character nuance, every link to something bigger than just the story he's relating.

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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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Pops is tops in ACT’s Satchmo

Jan 21

Pops is tops in ACT’s <i>Satchmo</i>

John Douglas Thompson is tall and handsome, which is to say, he looks nothing like Louis Armstrong. But so deft is Thompson's performance as the legendary trumpeter in Terry Teachout's captivating Satchmo at the Waldorf that audiences could almost swear they were in the company of the late, great man himself.

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Slice of SF life in fascinating Pornographer’s Daughter

Jan 23

Slice of SF life in fascinating <i>Pornographer’s Daughter</i>

Liberty Bradford Mitchell's story of pornography, family and murder could so easily come across as a public form of therapy. Given what she and her family have been through, that would certainly be understandable and maybe even interesting in a sort of voyeuristic way. But Bradford Mitchell, working with director Michael T. Weiss as crafted something much richer and more interesting in The Pornographer's Daughter, a solo show for performer and rock band now at Z Below.

Bradford Mitchell is the daughter of Artie Mitchell and niece of Jim Mitchell, the infamous Mitchell Brothers, purveyors of porn and major players in ...

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So Mike Tyson walks into the Orpheum Theatre …

Mar 01

So Mike Tyson walks into the Orpheum Theatre …

It sounds like a set up for a joke. Mike Tyson, battered and bruised by his career as a champion boxer, by his addictions, by his ego, by life itself, walks onto the stage of the Orpheum Theatre, where people have paid good money - upwards of $110 - to listen to him talk about his tempestuous life for two hours.

If the 46-year-old "Iron Mike" (photo at right by Jerry Metellus) hadn't already done this with some degree of success, you'd be excused for thinking this was an elaborate prank. And with the estimable Spike Lee as the director of this bizarre theatrical outing, you know there must be something interesting going on in Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, a one-man show by a somewhat baffling man.

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Brian Copeland enters a compelling Period

Feb 28

Brian Copeland enters a compelling <i>Period</i>

There's nothing unusual about the following statement: Brian Copeland is a funny, funny man. He has proved that time and time again over the course of his stand-up career and his TV work. We started to see more of Copeland in his extraordinarily successful solo show Not a Genuine Black Man, which ran for more than 700 performances then became a book. Though about something serious – the extreme racism of San Leandro in the 1970s – the show offered abundant laughter and gave audiences the unique experience of dealing with real-world problems in a funny and theatrical way.

Copeland takes that notion a step further with his new solo work, The Waiting Period. Like his previous show, this one is co-developed and directed by David Ford, and it has sprung to life at The Marsh in San Francisco. But unlike his previous outing, this is no comedy. Far from it.

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