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, companies are downsizing or disappearing altogether. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that I don’t see as much theater as I used to and to find the really interesting stuff, you have vary the routine and expand the reach a little more.

That said, there was still plenty of terrific theater in 2014. Herewith some thoughts on an assortment of favorites.


1. Lost in A Maze-ment – Just Theater’s A Maze originally appeared in the summer of 2013, and I missed it. Luckily for me (and all audiences), the company brought it back with the help of Shotgun Players. Rob Handel’s play surprises at every turn and resists easy classification. The cast was extraordinary, and coming to the end of the play only made you want to watch it again immediately. Read my review here.

2. Choosing Tribes – Families were the thing at Berkeley Rep last spring. Issues of communication, familial and otherwise, were at the heart of director Jonathan Moscone’s powerful production of Nina Raine’s Tribes. Dramatic, comic, frustrating and completely grounded in real life, this is a play (and a production) that lingers. Read my review here.

3. Tony Kushner’s Intelligent – There’s no one like Tony Kushner, and when he decides to go full on Arthur Miller, it’s worth nothing. Kushner’s The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures at Berkeley Rep was a master class in the art of dialogue and family dynamics. Read my review here.

4. Adopt a Mutt – San Francisco playwright Christopher Chen’s Mutt at Impact Theater (co-produced with Ferocious Lotus Theater Company) was hilarious. Thinking about Patricia Austin’s physical comedy still makes me laugh. Sharp, edgy and consistently funny, this was my favorite new play of the year. Read my review here.

5. Blazing RaisinCalifornia Shakespeare Theater’s 40th anniversary season got off to a powerhouse start with A Raisin in the Sun, which worked surprisingly well outdoors in director Patricia McGregor’s beguiling production. Read my review here.

6. Party on – The UNIVERSES’ Party People was probably the most exciting show of the year … and the most educational. An original musical about the Black Panthers and the Young Lords, this Party, directed by Liesl Tommy, was thrilling, revolutionary, incendiary and a powerful example of what theater can do. Read my review here.

7. Counting the DaysThe Bengsons, husband-and-wife duo Shaun and Abigail Bengson, proved that a rock musical can have heart and great music and intrigue in Hundred Days. This world premiere had some structural problems (goodbye, ghost people), but with a glorious performer like Abigail Bengson on stage, all is forgiven. Pure enjoyment that, with any luck, will return as it continues to evolve. Read my review here.

8. Fire-breathing DragonsJenny Connell Davis’ The Dragon Play at Impact Theatre was a strange and wondrous thing. Director Tracy Ward found nuance and deep wells of feeling in one of Impact’s best-ever productions. Read my review here.

9. Barbra’s basement – Michael Urie was the only actor on stage in Jonathan Tolins’ marvelous play Buyer and Cellar, part of the SHN season, but he was more incisive and entertaining than many a giant ensemble cast. This tale of working in the “shops” in Barbra Streisand’s basement was screamingly funny but with more. Urie was a marvel of charm and versatility. Read my review here.

10. Thoughts on Ideation – It might seem unfair that Bay Area scribe Aaron Loeb’s Ideation should appear on the year’s best list two years in a row, but the play is just that good. Last year, San Francisco Playhouse presented the world premiere of the play in its Sandbox Series. That premiere resulted in awards and a re-staging with the same cast and director on the SF Playhouse mains stage. More brilliant and entertaining than ever, Loeb’s play is an outright gem.


Best hop from screen to stage – The Broadway touring company of Once, which arrived as part of the SHN season, is a superb example of how deft adaptation can further reveal a work of art’s depth and beauty. Rather than just stick the movie on stage (hello, Elf or any number of recent ho-hummers), director John Tiffany and choreographer Steven Hoggett make the cinematic theatrical and bring the audience directly into the heart of the story. Read my review here.

Dramatic duo – The year’s most electric pairing turned out to be Stacy Ross and Jamie Jones in the Aurora Theatre Company production of Gidion’s Knot. Intense barely begins to describe the taut interaction between a parent and a fifth-grade teacher reacting to crisis and death. These two fine actors (under the direction of Jon Tracy were phenomenal. Read my review here.

Bucky’s back – Among the most welcome returns of the year was D.W. Jacobs’ R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe starring original Bucky Ron Campbell. Before, sadly, succumbing to financial hardship, the late San Jose Repertory Theatre brought Bucky back, and everything the man says seems smart and/or funny and/or relevant to our own lives. Read my review here.

Simply Chita! – For sheer pleasure, nothing this year beat the evening spent with octogenarian legend Chita Rivera in Chita: A Legendary Celebration as part of the Bay Area Cabaret season. Chita was a wow in every way. Read my review here.

MVP 1 – Nicholas Pelczar started off the year practically stealing the show in ACT’s Major Barbara as Adolphus “Dolly” Cusins (review here). Later in the year he was the show in Marin Theatre Company’s The Whale (review here). Confined in a fat suit, Pelczar was a marvel of compassion and complication. He also happened to be adorable in Cal Shakes’ Pygmalion and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Pelczar has entered the ranks of the Bay Area’s best.

MVP 2 – Simply put, without Emily Skinner in the lead role, there would have been little reason to see 42nd Street Moon’s production of Do I Hear a Waltz?. Tony nominee Skinner was a revelation as a tightly wound American tourist in Venice. Her voice was spectacular, but her entire performance was even more so. Read my review here.

MVP 3 – Jeffrey Brian Adams deserves some sort of theatrical purple heart medal. His performance as Chuck Baxter in the San Francisco Playhouse production of Promises, Promises is heartfelt, multi-dimensional and entirely likable – in other words, he is everything the production itself is not. In this giant misstep by the usually reliable Playhouse, Adams shone and presented himself as someone to watch from here on out.

No thanks – Not every show can be a winner. Among the shows I could have done without this year: Accidental Death of an Anarchist at Berkeley Rep; Promises, Promises at San Francisco Playhouse; Forbidden Broadway at Feinstein’s at the Nikko; SHN’s I Love Lucy Live on Stage.

Thank you, more please – If these shows didn’t make my best-of list, they came very close: Lasso of Truth at Marin Theatre Company; HIR at Magic Theatre; 42nd Street Moon’s original musical Painting the Clouds with Sunshine; California Shakespeare Theater’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Aurora Theatre Company’s Rapture, Blister, Burn; SHN’s Pippin; Impact Theatre’s Year of the Rooster.

Chita! The liveliest living legend of all

Chita Rivera 1
The liveliest living legend you’re ever likely to see: Ms. Chita Rivera, still going strong at 81, performed her cabaret act Chita: A Legendary Celebration as part of Bay Area Cabaret’s 10th anniversary season in the Venetian Room at the Fairmont. Photo by Monica Simoes. Photo below by Laurie Marie Duncan

In her opening number, Chita Rivera sings, “You’re alive, so come on and show it. There’s such a lot of livin’ to do.” She finishes the song, and the 81-year-old legend adds, “I mean it.” And she’s not kidding. After a triumphant turn in the Fairmont’s Venetian Room in 2010, Rivera returned to the Bay Area Cabaret as part of the company’s 10th anniversary season. Rivera’s performance four years ago was spectacular (read my review here). This time out, she was beyond spectacular. She exuded energy and charm and pizzazz for 90 minutes and dazzled, seemingly without even trying to. It’s just who she is.

In Chita: A Legendary Celebration (somewhat related to the show she did in New York last year with chorus boys and superstar guests), she sings many of the same songs she sang four years ago and told versions of the same stories. While that might work against some performers, Rivera brings exuberance to every full-throated note she sings or word she utters.

Chita Rivera 2

She was in fine voice on Sunday and was especially marvelous on Brel’s “Carousel,” a sometimes annoying musical nervous breakdown that Rivera turned into a showstopper, and on her trio of tunes from Kiss of the Spider Woman.. No one will ever sing songs from Chicago like Rivera. During “Nowadays,” she even did a Gwen Verdon impression that was so uncanny it drew gasps from the adoring audience.

As she sang, told stories and even did a little dancing (she shook her hip at one point and exclaimed, “It still works!”), Rivera was ageless. A hoofer, a workhouse, a true Broadway superstar doing what she does best: making her audience members even happier than they expected to be.

Here are Chita and Gwen from the Mike Douglas Show during the original run of Chicago.

[bonus interview]
I had the great pleasure of chatting with Chita Rivera for a story in the San Francisco Chronicle. Read about Ms. Rivera’s TV viewing habits and her desire to play a zombie on The Walking Dead. Click here to read the story.

Also, there was a nugget of info that didn’t make it into the story but did make it into the editor’s note that also had to do with TV:

When you picture Chita Rivera, you think Broadway. You think “West Side Story.”

But when Chad Jones interviewed Rivera for this week’s cover story, they had a great conversation about, of all things, television.

“When she’s not working, Rivera likes to watch TV,” Jones says. “She has complete disdain for reality shows, especially ‘Dance Moms’ about kids in dance class.” Among her favorites? There’s “Walking Dead,” “Breaking Bad” and pretty much anything on PBS, Jones says. But “she will admit that if she has time in the morning, she likes ‘The Price Is Right’ and ‘Let’s Make a Deal,’ both of which tap into the positive attitude she’s managed to hold onto all these years,” Jones says.

“I like people jumping up and down and winning things and not being afraid to look foolish,” Rivera says. “There’s a life lesson in there.”

Ben Vereen and a sweet, happy life

Ben Vereen - Photo 1

When you call Ben Vereen’s mobile phone, you get a most entertaining voicemail message. It’s Chita Rivera singing, “My wish for you is a sweet, happy life.” Then a cheerful Vereen says that’s his wish for you as well. It’s such an uplifting message that by the time you hear the beep, you realize you don’t really miss talking to the man himself.

But then you get the man himself, and he proves to be even more cheerful than that message. At 65, and after a car accident in 1992 that would have sidelined just about anyone else, Vereen is a man on the move, a man with a plan. He’s bringing his show Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen to the Rrazz Room June 12-17. Next month he’ll play the newly opened 54 Below, the cabaret underneath the former nightclub (now legit Broadway theater) Studio 54. Then he goes to Australia, and after that, it’s Broadway, baby. At least that’s the plan. Vereen is hard at work on the show he’s call in The Last of the Showmen, and that’s really what he is.

As someone who has worked with the greats like Sammy Davis Jr. on the way to becoming great himself, Vereen knows all about the golden age of showmen – the unique razzle dazzle of someone who can sing, dance, act and fill a stage – and is the ideal entertainer to bring some attention to the legacy of legendary showmen, of which he is undeniably one. That’s not to say, however, that showmanship is dead. On the contrary.

“Let’s talk about my godson, Usher,” Vereen says on the phone from Los Angeles. “What about Will.i.am? Or Beyoncé? Cats like that. It’s a younger generation doing their own thing, entertainment metamorphosing into something different. But we’ll always have song-and-dance men and women. I’m proud to be part of that legacy.”

Rrazz Room audiences may get a peek at some of the Showmen material while he journeys through some highlights of his storied career – like his Tony-winning turn in Pippin or his memorable performances in Jesus Christ Superstar, Chicago or, most recently, Wicked (he was the Wonderful Wizard of Oz). Vereen was last here three years ago (read my review of that show here), and if the new show is anything like the one he unleashed then, audiences are in for a treat.

But don’t expect Vereen to spend a lot of time wallowing in the past. Ask him what he’s most proud of in his 65 years, thinking maybe he’ll say it was playing Chicken George in the seminal miniseries Roots or working with Bob Fosse on Sweet Charity or Pippin (pictured below). But Vereen is a man of the moment.

Ben Vereen Pippin

“I’m most proud of working in the Rrazz Room next week,” he says. “I’m in the present. I wake up in the morning and get another opportunity to do what I do. People ask me what I still want to accomplish, and I say, ‘The next day.’ Today is enough. I will take what I can in today and be fulfilled in today. I had to learn to live in the present. It happened when I found my breath. I’m a grandfather now. That’s something that will slow you down and make you grateful for each day.”

Vereen says he has a special fondness for San Francisco because he claims it’s where his career really took off. Even though he’d already done Sweet Charity in Las Vegas with Fosse and Golden Boy with Davis, he says it all really started when he drove his mail truck – he was living in it at the time – from Los Angeles to San Francisco to replace Philip Michael Hall in Hair. The year was 1970.

“I was a hippie!” Vereen says with glee. “I was a black hippie living in a puke-green ’54 mail truck I called Henry Charles Mailer. I had a tambourine, a guitar and a footlocker full of clothes. I think there was even an American flag hanging on the truck. I pulled up to the Orpheum Theatre to do Hair, and then after that I stuck around for the play No Place to Be Somebody. A journalist named John Wasserman wrote a story called ‘How a Star Is Born,’ and my career took off. Next stop was Broadway in Jesus Christ Superstar.”

San Francisco was also the birthplace of Vereen’s daughter, Naja, who died tragically in a 1986 car accident. “San Francisco is where my daughter came into the world. How could that city not hold a special place in my heart?” Vereen says.

Vereen is clearly a man of spirit. One of his many activities these days is teaching young people the performing arts.

“In the beginning, biblically speaking, God created Earth,” Vereen says. “It’ doesn’t say God manufactured Earth. What we’re trying to do now is manufacture young people into life. Life itself is an art form. As long as we try to manufacture, we take out the essence and the spirit of life. Spirit is art. Children express art from the first cry out of their mother’s womb. They come to bring us art, and we try to separate that by educating them. We cut away the arts from the school system, and we’re cutting away our soul, our spirit.”

Earlier this year, Vereen and the rest of the Roots met for a reunion at the home of Oprah Winfrey. It was a reunion of sorts for Vereen and Winfrey as well.

“I met her years ago when she was working in Baltimore. She interviewed me in a little room,” Vereen recalls. “Sitting in her home, she said, ‘I remember you. We go way back.’ It was wonderful. The whole experience was wonderful. Imagine we’re still talking about Roots 35 years later. Talking about the value of it, what it brought to the country and our world. It’s not just about African-American life but about life itself, about true spiritual roots. If we can get back to those roots, maybe we can find peace on the planet. If enough people can believe in that with me, it can happen.”

And wouldn’t that be a sweet, happy life.

[bonus video]

Please enjoy Ben Vereen and Chita Rivera in the 1999 Las Vegas production of Chicago.



Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen Live! runs June 12-17 at the Rrazz Room in the Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St., San Francisco. Tickets are $45-$50 plus a two-drink minimum. Call 800-380-3095 or visit www.therrazzroom.com.

Chita’s jazz…and all that

Chita headshot

Chita Rivera, a true Broadway legend, wowed a capacity audience at the Venetian Room as part of the Bay Area Cabaret Series. Photo by Laura Marie Duncan. Below: Rivera as Anita in West Side Story. Photo by Leo Koribbean. Bottom: Rivera with the songwriting team Kander and Ebb and Liza Minnelli. Photo by Martha Swope.


Last night I fell in love with a 77-year-old Broadway legend.

Actually, I started with a giant crush that developed during a recent phone interview with Chita Rivera (read the story in the San Francisco Chronicle here), and then that crush fell off the deep end when I saw her in person at the recently re-opened Venetian Room in the Fairmont Hotel as part of the Bay Area Cabaret series.

About 13 years ago, when I was the new theater guy at the Oakland Tribune/ANG Newspapers, I had the chance to interview Rivera in person at the Clift Hotel. She was launching a Broadway-bound autobiographical show called Chita & All That Jazz. On my way to the interview, I passed a flower stand, and on impulse, I bought her a gardenia. I knew that’s not what a seasoned professional would do, and my purpose wasn’t to butter her up – it was more about honoring her extraordinary career. To arrive empty handed felt like…not enough. When I sat down with her and gave her the flower, her eyes welled up, and the interview was wonderful. I got a big hug at the end, and I was happy.

Chita West Side

The problem, a few weeks later, was the show. It was like a big cruise ship entertainment with a glossy spin on Rivera’s storied career. A legend deserves better. She tried again with The Dancer’s Life, another autobiographical show scaled to Broadway size. But it didn’t do as well as people had hoped. That’s when Rivera decided to scale it down for cabaret. She started at Michael Feinstein’s club in New York and has since taken it around the country. She works with a trio (because she thinks it’s sexy to be able to say, “And now I’d like to introduce you to my trio.”) and with bigger bands and orchestras. And the one-on-one aspect of the cabaret arrangement is a wonderful way to experience the Chita magic.

At the 380-seat Venetian, with a show called Chita Rivera: My Broadway, she was incandescent. She walked on stage (from the kitchen, which is how you do it at the Venetian) in a sparkly red dress and matching jacked. With her trio behind her, she launched into a medley of “I Won’t Dance” and “Let Me Sing.” Over the course of the 90-minute show, she would actually dance – maybe not full on choreography but just enough to let us know she’s still got the sharpest, sexiest moves around – and we would have let her sing all night if she had been willing.

Rivera exudes charm but doesn’t actively try to charm. Her expertly structured and scripted show seems casual and off the cuff. She’s warm and funny and dazzling in the most appealing show-biz way. She radiates Broadway pizzazz but comes across as a grounded gal you’d love to pal around with. That’s the kind of combination that let’s you get away with anything.

Not that Rivera takes advantage. We’re in the palm of her hand, but she never coasts. She takes us through highpoints (and a few low) of her career with stops along the way for her mega hits: West Side Story’s “A Boy Like That”/”America,” Sweet Charity’s “Where Am I Going?,” Bye Bye Birdie’s “Put on a Happy Face”/ “How Lovely to Be a Woman”/ “A Lot of Living to Do” and Kiss of the Spider Woman’s “Where You Are”/ “Kiss of the Spider Woman.”

Before launching into her signature tune, “All that Jazz” from Chicago, Rivera noted that when Rita Moreno played her role of Anita in the movie version of West Side Story and Catherine Zeta Jones played Velma Kelly in the movie of Chicago, both won Oscars. Rivera, a two-time Tony Award winner, said that was OK with her. “I’d rather get there first anyhow.”

Chita Liza Kander Ebb (fix)

Paying homage to her dear friends John Kander and Fred Ebb, she sang “Love and Love Alone” from the still-gestating musical The Visit and a wistful “I Don’t Remember You” from The Happy Time and “Chief Cook and Bottle Washer” from The Rink in which she starred opposite Liza Minnelli as her daughter.

Rivera’s voice these days is husky but expressive. She swings almost as well as she moves, and her rapport with the adoring audience is cabaret ecstasy.

Reminiscing about her experiences in San Francisco, Rivera said she first visited the city at age 17 when she was in a tour of Call Me Madam starring Elaine Stritch. She’s been back many times and still loves the city even though her tour of Kiss of the Spider Woman wasn’t the hit here that she had imagined. She came here as a well-trained musical theater neophyte and this weekend returned as theater royalty. She made a cabaret room feel like a Broadway stage and we were all up there with her doing high kicks in the spotlight.

That’s a great feeling, and it’s only something you can experience when a performer as talented and generous as Rivera opens her heart and lets you in.

Here’s a treat – Rivera singing Kander and Ebb’s “Love and Love Alone” from The Visit:


Visit Chita Rivera’s official website here.

Rita Moreno offers cabaret `Tributes’ at Rrazz Room

The Bay Area’s resident superstar, Rita Moreno, opens a new cabaret act at San Francisco’s Rrazz Room on Wednesday, Nov. 5. But she was recently at the Rrazz Room as an audience member for her dear friend Chita Rivera’s Bay Area cabaret debut.

“We got together afterwards and just laughed and laughed,” Moreno says.

Moreno and Rivera often joke that each has been mistaken for the other more times than they can count. Rivera originated the role of Anita on Broadway in West Side Story and Moreno won an Academy Award in the same role, but in the movie version.

So why don’t the two durable divas put an end to the confusion and do a show together?

“We’ve been hearing that for years,” Moreno says. “But what would we do? The two of us would burn up the stage.”

That’s probably true. Moreno, who will be 77 in December, seemingly never stops. The kind of energy that has won her an Oscar, an Emmy (several Emmys, actually), a Tony and a Grammy still fuels her to work on TV (in recent years she has been a regular on “Oz” and “Cane”), in concert, on the lecture circuit and on the theater stage. She regularly appears at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, which just happens to be the professional theater company closest to the Berkeley hills home she shares with her husband of 43 years, Dr. Leonard Gordon.

“Every once in a while, my husband and I look out the window at the view across the bay and say `What a good thing we did moving here.’ We really love it,” Moreno says.

Shortly after Moreno moved to Berkeley in 1998, she made her cabaret debut at the now-defunct Empire Plush Room in the York Hotel. She dazzled critics and audiences alike and has since become a cabaret regular both here and in New York.

The show she’s opening Wednesday is called Little Tributes, and it started out to pay homage to all the singers and composers that Moreno admires. The show sort of took a different direction, but the title stuck, and there are some tributes – to Peggy Lee, to Harold Arlen.

“I’m doing a lot of Broadway stuff this time,” Moreno says. “I have a gift for finding the one song in a hit musical that nobody has ever heard. I did Sunset Boulevard and there’s a song that I think comes at a seminal moment in the show. It’s just electric, and people don’t know it. Norma realizes that Joe is very quickly falling out of love with her, and the song is her desperate attempt to bring him back into her arms. It’s a short but really wonderful piece. Quite dramatic. I love becoming her again for those few moments.”

Putting together a new act is a labor of love for Moreno. She keeps a pad and pencil at all times in case she hears a song she likes, and she has been known to drop $1,000 at New York’s Colony record store buying CDs that intrigue her.

Curiously, Moreno says she doesn’t think about the audience at all when piecing together a new act.

“I just have to believe that if I like it, they’ll like it,” she says. “In other words, I trust them.”

The act will feature ballads, two Spanish numbers (“One with castanets!” Moreno enthuses) and what Moreno calls the “opener of openers.”

“I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but it’s Kander and Ebb, and I bet you’ve never heard it,” Moreno says. “I don’t come in shouting like Ethel Merman or anything, but it’s really delicious.”

After the cabaret act, Moreno will do some serious thinking about her next project with Berkeley Rep.

“I have a director, (Berkeley Rep artistic director) Tony Taccone, but we don’t have a play,” Moreno says. “We’re planning something, but it will take a while because it’s something more personal as opposed to an existing play. It’s something quite original.”

She’ll also attempt to be home more enjoying her daughter, Fernanda, who lives nearby, and her two grandsons, who Moreno describes as “my heart and soul.”

“What a discovery it is to be home and cook a lot,” she says. “I love to cook and garden and just luxuriate in my beautiful house. I am quite active but not as much as before. Home has always been important, but it has become more important. Now that I’m a whole bunch older, I want to take advantage of this wonderful thing of home and family life.”

But don’t expect Moreno to become a total homebody.

“I’m not planning a retirement. I can’t conceive of such a thing.”

Rita Moreno’s Little Tributes opens Wednesday, Nov. 5 and runs through Nov. 23 at the Rrazz Room in the Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St., San Francisco. Tickets are $50-$55 plus a two-drink minimum. Call 866-468-3399 or visit www.therrazzroom.com or www.ticketweb.com.

Here are Rita Moreno, Chita Rivera and (?) Bette Midler performing “America” from West Side Story at a benefit in LA:

Cleo, Chita & Rita heading to Rrazz Room

San Francisco’s Rrazz Room has announced its fall schedule, and it’s pretty amazing, especially for theater aficionados.

The season opens in September with Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth, one of the most celebrated jazz duos on the circuit. Although restricting them to one label is chintzy. Laine’s album of Sondheim songs is one of her best, and her album of Shakespeare verse set to Dankworth’s music is stunning. They play the Rraz Sept. 2-14.

Two words: Chita. Rivera. The Broadway legend is apparently going to be high stepping her way through the cabaret circuit. A two-time Tony Award winner (The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman), Rivera was recently in Kander and Ebb’s The Visit and the Tony Award-winning revival of Nine. Her autobiographical show, Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life, was supposed to hit the Bay Area but never did. This will make up for it. Rivera does the Rrazz Sept. 23-Oct. 5.

When is drag never a drag? When it’s done by Miss Coco Peru aka Clinton Leupp. She brings her Ugly Coco show to the Rrazz Room Oct. 15-Nov. 2.

Local award goddess (recite the mantra with me: TonyEmmyOscarGrammy) Rita Moreno makes her Rrazz Room debut with a new musical revue of classic favorites, forgotten chestnuts and new work in a show called Little Tributes Nov. 4-23.

The gorgeous Rrazz Room is in the Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St., San Francisco. Tickets range from $30-$65 plus a two-drink minimum (and there’s a full of menu of excellent Hotel Nikko food). Call 888-468-3399 or visit www.therrazzroom.com.