Theater Dogs’ Best of 2016

Dec 28

Theater Dogs’ Best of 2016

The theater event that shook my year and reverberated through it constantly didn't happen on Bay Area stage. Like so many others, I was blown away by Hamilton on Broadway in May and then on repeat and shuffle with the original cast album (and, later in the year, the Hamilton Mix Tape) ever since. Shifting focus back home, theater in the San Francisco Bay Area continues to be a marvel, which is really something given the hostile economic environment arts groups are facing around here.

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Madwoman drives a Volvo through ‘the change’

Dec 17

<i>Madwoman</i> drives a Volvo through ‘the change’

If the idea of an NPR-ready take on the challenges and complexity of menopause appeals to you, get yourself to Berkeley Repertory Theatre's Peet's Theatre to see The Madwoman in the Volvo, Sandra Tsing Loh's disarmingly humorous exploration of her midlife mania. If the combo of NPR and menopause raises your hackles, stay away.

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Fences comes home to the Curran Theatre

Dec 16

<i>Fences</i> comes home to the Curran Theatre

Hard to know which was more exciting: the art or the venue. Let's go with both.

The Curran Theatre formally reopened Thursday, Dec. 15, after more than a year of renovations and refurbishments, and it's gorgeous. In shades of elegance and Curran red, Carole Shorenstein Hays' palace has once again cast open its doors.

The first official event, preceding the January bow of the Fun Home tour (get tickets now), was a homecoming of sorts: the San Francisco premiere of Denzel Washington's screen adaptation of August Wilson's Fences.

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A dreamy White Christmas at the Golden Gate

Dec 15

A dreamy <i>White Christmas</i> at the Golden Gate

Eleven years ago, our holiday entertainment bandwidth grew a little wider with the stage adaptation of White Christmas, the 1954 movie that solidified the evergreen popularity of Irving Berlin's holiday ballad.

That production was pure delight, the kind of instant Christmas classic that would inevitably be taking its place alongside the Christmas Carols and Nutcrackers. Sure enough, White Christmas is a perennial, and this year's touring production has returned back to San Francisco

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Tickety boo! Kneehigh, Berkeley Rep jazz up history in Adolphus Tips

Dec 08

Tickety boo! Kneehigh, Berkeley Rep jazz up history in <i>Adolphus Tips</i>

Spirits are high at Berkeley Repertory Theatre this holiday season. What's interesting is that the merry-making on stage in 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips – the singing, dancing and general revelry – is all in service to a story about war and a little-known and avoidable tragedy that cost nearly 1,000 during World War II. So it's happy about sad, which makes sense given the theater company at work here is Kneehigh, the Cornwall-based troupe that has made various Bay Area splashes.

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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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Holiday cheer in SF Playhouse’s sparkling She Loves Me

Dec 01

Holiday cheer in SF Playhouse’s sparkling <i>She Loves Me</i>

p>The 1963 musical She Loves Me is just a little gem of a musical – full of melody and charm and camaraderie and romance. The recent Broadway revival made a case for the show as sturdy, funny showcase for actors who can perfectly balance realism and musical comedy in a way that makes the show feel intimate and lived in even while it traffics in song and dance.

Just in time for the holidays, San Francisco Playhouse polishes this gem to a sparkling shine.

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