Not even Oompa Loompas can save this foundering Factory

Apr 18

Not even Oompa Loompas can save this foundering <i>Factory</i>

A golden ticket doesn't buy you much these days – a cut-rate touring musical with chintzy sets, a mediocre score and about as much joy as you'd find in a board meeting about turning wacky movies into boring musicals. You'd be justified in hoping for more from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a new musical re-working of the 1964 novel by Roald Dahl and the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

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Overwhelming humanity, extraordinary theater in The Jungle at the Curran

Apr 11

Overwhelming humanity, extraordinary theater in <i>The Jungle</i> at the Curran

You may enter The Jungle at the beautiful Curran theater in downtown San Francisco, but you exit in an entirely different place – mentally and emotionally speaking, that is.

The idea of immersive theater tends to bring on expectations of fun and intrigue with promises of leaving present circumstances behind and allowing yourself to be somewhere else (possibly someone else or in some other time) for just a little while. But The Jungle is different.

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Berkeley Rep’s HOME is where the (he)art is

Mar 27

Berkeley Rep’s <i>HOME</i> is where the (he)art is

What Dorothy Gale said is true: there's no place like home. But in this particular instance, there is no place and no show quite like HOME, the creation of the marvelous Geoff Sobelle, whom we last saw rummaging through boxes and file cabinets on stage at the Curran in The Object Lesson (read my review here). Sobelle is back with another inventive, wholly unique theater piece, this time at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where he and a mighty crew of designers and actors are homing in on the lives we lead.

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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).

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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.

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Just add water: Metamorphoses returns to Berkeley Rep

Feb 01

Just add water: <i>Metamorphoses</i> returns to Berkeley Rep

Nearly 20 years later, Metamorphoses returns to Berkeley Rep, this time to the Peet's Theatre. The show remains stunning – still gorgeous, still moving, still an example of theater at its sumptuous best. There are moments that are stunning, thrilling, funny and breathtaking. After Berkeley Rep, the show ended up on Broadway, where Zimmerman won a Tony.

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