Chen causes masterful Harm in the Playhouse Sandbox

Jun 16

Chen causes masterful <i>Harm</i> in the Playhouse Sandbox

Christopher Chen’s world-premiere play You Mean to Do Me Harm features a cast that includes (from left) Charisse Loriaux as Samantha, James Asher as Ben, Don Castro as Daniel and Lauren English as Lindsey. Below: Loriaux’s Samantha (left) English’s Lindsey go for a hike. Photos by Ken Levin San Francisco playwright Christopher Chen has brains for...

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TheatreFirst reveals short, powerful HeLa

May 23

TheatreFirst reveals short, powerful <i>HeLa</i>

Chances are good that, unlike so many scientists for so many years, you have heard of Henrietta Lacks, whether from Rebecca Skloots' best-selling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or, more recently, the HBO movie based on the book starring Oprah Winfrey as Lacks' daughter Deborah. The story continues to be told, this time for the stage, in the world premiere play from TheatreFirst: HeLa by Bay Area playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Geetha Reddy.

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Musical Monsoon Wedding debuts at Berkeley Rep

May 20

Musical <i>Monsoon Wedding</i> debuts at Berkeley Rep

Beauty, heart and fun flood the stage of Berkeley Repertory Theatre's world premiere of Monsoon Wedding, the musical adaptation of the 2001 film of the same name. There's clearly a lot of love invested in the making of this show, from the original film's director, Mira Nair, who returns to helm this ambitious stage version, to the ebullient cast.

But is it a good musical? Well, it's a new musical, and it still needs a lot of work.

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Humanity shines in ACT’s Splendid Suns

Feb 16

Humanity shines in ACT’s <i>Splendid Suns</i>

Let's be honest: sitting in a beautiful theater watching a well-crafted play is an absolute privilege, so where better to challenge our very notions of privilege and confront the reality that much of the world's population is having a very different experience than those of us sitting in the velvet seats? With a play like A Thousand Splendid Suns, the world-premiere adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's 2007 novel now at American Conservatory Theater's Geary Theater.

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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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Heat, sizzle fire up SF Playhouse’s Seared

Oct 02

Heat, sizzle fire up SF Playhouse’s <i>Seared</i>

I'm going to spoil something right off the bat about Theresa Rebeck's fantastic new play Seared now receiving its world premiere from San Francisco Playhouse: there is no conventional romance. Just because the cast consists of one woman and three men does not mean there's going to be a burgeoning love story or a sordid triangle or break-ups or make-ups. No, the central love story comes out of a friendship and business partnership between a chef and a money guy who open a small restaurant in Brooklyn.

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