Beach Blanket still defying gravity

Summer of Love2
The cast of Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon celebrates the Summer of Love. Photo by Rick Markovich.

There’s no big anniversary, but there’s still something to celebrate. Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon is going on 36 years old and is brighter, fresher and funnier than ever. Members of the press were invited to come check out the show recently, and it’s easy to see why producer/co-writer Jo SchumanSilver and director/co-writer Kenny Mazlow are eager to spread the word that the country’s longest-running musical revue is in tip-top condition.

At this point, Beach Blanket is a reliable brand. You know you’ll get a few things when you head to the Club Fugazi, nestled cozily in bustling North Beach. You’ll get broad comedy (often delivered by comic broads), maniacally merry music from every era (Bill Keck is the musical director), fantastic (in every sense) costumes topped by towering hats and the precision popping of popular and political culture. As much as the show changes to accommodate current events and personalities, some things never change. Snow White looks for love and, in the end, turns into Madonna – complete with Jean-Paul Gaultier boob cones – and flies over the audience.

The current edition of Beach Blanket, in addition to some hilarious and timely skewering, finally lands on a way to make that Madonna makeover relevant. Much like the recent “The Power of Madonna” episode of Glee, Madonna is used to represent the ultimate in female empowerment. She’s a pop culture survivor who has remained relevant (relatively speaking) on her own terms and is a role model for women everywhere – at least that seems to be where her image is heading at the moment. Beach Blanket latches on to that, and when Snow White emerges as Madonna, she’s singing a re-worked version of “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, which makes the flying make even more sense. In the tradition of the show, however, the title of the song is now “Surviving Gravity” (look, ma, no chicken arms here!).
BBB Levi Johnston

Madonna is taking her place in the big pop culture pantheon, so it makes even more sense to have her marry Elvis at show’s end.

From the very top of the 90-minute show, the pop-culture references pile on. Mr. Peanut (one of Silver’s signature Beach Blanket figures) shows up carrying a giant iPad. Within minutes, the stage is hosting a flashback to the Summer of Love as Mr. Peanut morphs into a sort of Jerry Garcia figure while songs from Hair let the sunshine in. The Beatles are there, and so is a woman with a Haight-Ashbury street sign sticking out of her head.

When Snow White (played by Shawna Ferris) visits Rome, her entrance is now heralded with “Be Italian” from Nine, and for some reason, Rome leads to the first big political routine involving 1950s-style Bill and Hillary, Schwarzenegger, Nancy Pelosi, John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Barack and Michele Obama. All of these politicos return toward the end of the show for another new showpiece built on Les Miserables. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Lehman Brothers join the pity party, but the real triumph of the bit is that the Obamas come out wielding swords and hope – could the reelection campaign be starting at Club Fugazi?

One of the funniest flash bits involves Tiger Woods retreating from his golf club-wielding wife while she sings “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.” And on the way to Snow White’s happy ending, we’ll see Susan Boyle, Lady Gaga, the Jonas Brothers, Britney Spears, Beyonce (singing “Single Ladies, naturally), a fainting Marie Osmond, Harry Potter, a nude Levi Johnston (seen above right, played by Paulino Duran, photo by Rick Markovich), Taylor Swift, Kanye West, Sen. Larry Craig, Al Gore, Barbra Streisand, the gruesome Gosselins, Octomom, Amy Winehouse (unable to finish her number, poor thing), to drop a few names.
BBB Renee Lubin

Of course we also get the comic wonder of Curt Branom’s lisping, mincing King Louis and the powerhouse vocal stylings of Tammy Nelson (doing her utmost to fill the shoes – and hats—of the dearly missed Val Diamond). But the Beach Blanket MVP is Renée Lubin (seen at right as Am I Blue Lady, photo by Kevin Berne), who is in her 25th year with the show. Still in great voice and fine comic form, Lubin is the show’s star and a clear audience favorite. Her duet with Phillip Percy Williams on “I’ll Be There” is a musical highlight.

Special mention must also be made of Doug Magipong, who is celebrating 20 years in the show. He heads a Michael Jackson tribute that is completely straightforward – no jokes – as he leads the cast through the “Thriller” choreography (the whole high-energy show is choreographed by Mazlow with assistant director/choreographer Mark Reina).

The trademark Beach Blanket ending still functions like clockwork: “Shout,” “Happy Trails,” the San Francisco hat, the wedding hat, “San Francisco” and we’re done. The smiling audience files out past the T-shirts and souvenirs and into the San Francisco night. Entertainment is a valuable commodity, and Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon remains an abundant source of riches and a true San Francisco treasure.


Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon performs at 8pm Wednesdays and Thursdays, 6:30 and 9:30 pm Fridays and Saturdays; 2 and 5 pm Sundays. Audience members under age 21 welcome at Sunday matinees. Tickets range from $25 to $80. Call 415-421-4222 or visit

A note to readers

After three months on hiatus, Theater Dogs is once again back in action!

I was in Sacramento working for an excellent newspaper, but now I’m back in San Francisco and happily on the theater beat once again. At the risk of sounding sappy, can I just say how much I missed it?

Oh, I saw some good theater: August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean at Sacramento Theatre Company (starring one of my favorite Bay Area leading ladies, C. Kelly Wright) and Margaret Edson’s Wit at the B Street Theatre (starring another favorite Bay Area leading lady, Julia Brothers).

And I managed to see a few things in the Bay Area. Couldn’t miss Wicked — leading lady Teal Wicks is as good as I’d hoped she’d be. And Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s production of Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room (the vibrator play) was one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. No wonder director Les Waters is taking it to Broadway.

But now I’ll see as much as I can across our theatrical compass, from Marin down to San Jose, from San Francisco to Walnut Creek.

Very happy to be back.

Send me theater info, questions, complaints at

SF witches announced for `Wicked’

Some members of the Los Angeles company of Wicked (seen above) will be hopping the broomstick north when the production lands at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre in January. Photo by Joan Marcus

The Wicked Witch is coming, so keep an eye on your little dog, too.

SHN/Best of Broadway is bringing the hit Broadway musical Wicked back to San Francisco, the city that hosted the world premiere in 2003, and now we know who will be creating the magic in the cast.

Teal Wicks, a Sacramento native, is playing Elphaba, the green-skinned girl who turns into the Wicked Witch of the West. Wickes played Elphaba in the long-running Los Angeles company of Wicked, and has worked on the national tour of Pippin and been seen in numerous productions at the Goodspeed Opera House.

Kendra Kassebaum plays Glinda, the Good Witch (she of the famous pink bubble). Bay Area audiences saw Kassebaum play the role the last time Wicked blew through town. Kassebaum starred off-Broadway in the acclaimed The Receptionist, and has been on Broadway in Wicked, Assassins and Rent.

Other cast members include Carol Kane (Taxi, Annie Hall) as Madame Morrible and David Garrison (Married with Children) as the Wizard.

Performances begin Jan. 27 and are slated to continue through June 27 at the Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market St., San Francisco. Tickets range from $30 to $99.

Call 415-512-7770 or visit or for information.

Here’s a treat from YouTube — a battle between Glindas Kassebaum and Annaleigh Ashford (whom Bay Area audiences saw in Legally Blonde):

`Wicked’ witches swarm Union Square

Green-faced fans of all kinds swarmed San Francisco’s Union Square on Friday, Sept. 26 – Wicked Day in San Francisco, according to a proclamation from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom – at a party celebrating Wicked’s return to the city that gave it birth next January. Photos by J. Lynne McVey


San Francisco has often been compared to the Emerald City of Oz. On Friday in Union Square, the comparison was more than apt.

A full-on party, complete with balloons, bubbles and babies bedecked in witchery, surrounded the noon hour in celebration of Wicked, the worldwide hit musical about the witches of Oz that got its start in San Francisco.

Wicked, which premiered at the Curran Theatre in 2003, has become a phenomenon of over-the-rainbow proportions. The show returned briefly in the summer of 2005, but this January, Wicked flies back into town – this time at the Orpheum – for an open-ended run that producers foresee lasting at least a year.

It was no coincidence that the face-painting booths, the singing and trivia contests, the proclamation from the Mayor’s office declaring Wicked Day in San Francisco and performances by cast members from the Los Angeles company occurred on the same day that “Wicked” tickets went on sale.

SHN/Best of Broadway CEO Greg Holland described Wicked as a “theatrical earthquake” first felt in San Francisco. “We were the first fans,” he said, “so we take pride in the show’s coming back.”

Producer David Stone who, along with producing partner Marc Platt, helped bring Wicked to life, said it’s an emotional thing to bring the show back to the place it started.

Looking around a Union Square crowded with miniature witches, moms and daughters, teenagers and fans of all stripes and colors, Stone said he remembered being locked in a hotel room with the entire creative team at the Clift for eight hours making cuts.

Looking up at the Cheesecake Factory atop Macy’s, Stone remembered taking star Kristin Chenoweth (who originated the role of Glinda) out for a giant piece of cheesecake to ease her worries when some of her funny lines had to be cut for legal reasons (MGM, the movie studio behind The Wizard of Oz, was being very careful about what the Wicked folks could and couldn’t use from the land of Oz).

“I remember Marc and (composer) Stephen (Schwartz) having an animated discussion in front of the Geary Theater that ended up in the street,” Stone said. “And one time, Kristin was taking a breather in front of the theater when a homeless man came up to her and said she looked like an alien. She was pretty upset until she realized she was still wearing her head microphone and earpiece.”

After the event over lunch, Stone recalled the tough birth of Wicked.

“New musicals just don’t want to be born,” he said. “The whole creative team basically saw the same show from the beginning, and we worked toward that, but the last 10 to 20 percent was tough to work out. We knew it was working and saw what it could be. That put the pressure on us not to screw up.”

Stone admitted that tension mounted, especially between Schwartz, director Joe Mantello and book writer Winnie Holzman.

“Everybody loves each other now – and why not? – but the nearly four months we took off between San Francisco and Broadway was tough. March and I did a lot of shuttle diplomacy. But by the time rehearsals started in New York, everyone was fine.”

Stone said those months in between the San Francisco production and the opening of New York was the best possible route the show could have taken. He credits Schwartz with the idea of not rushing straight to Broadway.

“I can’t even tell you how valuable that time was,” Stone said. “Stephen knew that once the train left the station, it would be unstoppable. It cost us a million and a half dollars, and it was worth it. I don’t know about these shows like The Little Mermaid, Young Frankenstein and Shrek and how they have time to get done what needs to get done between out of town and Broadway.”

Now that Wicked is a worldwide sensation – with four companies abroad in London, Australia, Japan, Germany and four in the U.S. in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and on tour – Stone finds his days consumed with witchy business that sells about $9.5 million in tickets every week.

But he has managed to produce other shows, some of which we’ve seen in San Francisco such as Fully Committed, The Vagina Monologues and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

He may be working again with the Spelling Bee team of composer William Finn and director/librettist James Lapine, who are reportedly at work on a musical version of the hit indie film Little Miss Sunshine. He’s hopeful about a rock musical that’s still evolving called Next to Normal about a woman (played by Alice Ripley) with bipolar disorder and the effect her illness has on her family.

Earlier in the day, Stone summed up his Wicked experience with a memory: the first preview at the Curran and Idina Menzel as Elphaba, the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West in training, makes her entrance and comes running downstage toward the audience.

“Here was this character people had known and been scared of most of their lives and she turns out to be nothing like they thought she was,” he said. “She’s more complicated than they could have imagined, and that’s a big idea to put across, but the audience got it in a moment. In that moment we understood what this show might be. This country likes to point fingers and say you are this: right or left, black or white. Maybe there’s no right or left or red or blue – only green.”

Wicked begins performances on Jan. 27, 2009 at the Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market St., San Francisco. Tickets are $30-$99. Call 415-512-7770 or visit or

`Wicked’ witches head west, Taylor Hicks follows

Wicked, the hit musical positively rolling in green, had its world premiere at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre before heading to Broadway ‘s Gershwin Theatre, where it has broken the house record 18 times and regularly grosses more than $1.4 million each week.

Now one of the most successful shows in Broadway history (3.6 million people have seen it on Broadway alone since 2003, and all told, the Broadway production and its four North American companies have grossed nearly $950 million), Wicked is coming back to where it all started.

“There’s no place like home,” as Dorothy Gale learned at the end of The Wizard of Oz, the inspiration for Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked, which in turn inspired composer Stephen Schwartz to create the musical.

SHN/Best of Broadway celebrates the Wicked homecoming with a giant party in San Francisco’s Union Square from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26, which also happens to be the day tickets go on sale for Wicked‘s run at the Orpheum Theatre beginning in January 2009 (tickets are $30-$99).

The party will feature cast members (currently at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles) and a whole lot of fans participating in trivia contests , karaoke contests, CD giveaways and “magical makeovers” (which must involve, as Elphaba the witch might put it, a degree of verdigris, meaning green faces). The free bash is hosted by Don Bleu from Star Radio and Jessica Aguirre from NBC TV.

In other SHN/Best of Broadway news, it was announced today that “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks, now playing the Teen Angel on Broadway in the revival of Grease, will reprise that role when the show goes on the road and heads into the Golden Gate Theatre next March.

This is the production used a reality show, “Grease: You’re the One That I Want,” to cast its leads and marks the first Broadway production of the show to incorporate songs from the 1978 movie, “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” “Sandy,” “Grease” and “You’re the One That I Want.” (and p.s., shouldn’t it be “You’re the One WHOM I Want?” Just asking).

Visit for more information on both Wicked and Grease.

The brilliance, literally, of Dolly Parton

There’s no getting around the fact that for more than 40 years now, Dolly Parton has been a bright light of show business. She quickly transcended her beginnings on country radio and corny country TV shows to become a pop icon, movie star and savvy businesswoman.

She’s one of the most recognizable women in the world, and the curious thing is that under all that hair, makeup, glitz and God-given curviness, Parton is an extraordinary talent. Her voice is so unique it’s immediately recognizable and difficult to imitate, and her songwriting skill – which is criminally underrated – will eventually have its own section in the Great American Songbook.

The 62-year-old Parton was in the Bay Area Tuesday night at the Greek Theatre on the UC Berkeley campus as part of her Backwoods Barbie tour. As amazing as she was – and boy howdy was she amazing – I was disappointed she didn’t mention the latest feather in her cap: Broadway composer.

One of Parton’s biggest movie and musical hits, 9 to 5, is heading to Broadway. In addition to the title song, she has written about 20 new songs for the show, which is directed by Joe Mantello of Wicked fame. The new musical has its world premiere Sept. 3 through Oct. 19 at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles before heading to Broadway’s Marriott Marquis Theatre. You can get tickets to the L.A. run here. Check out the site for the Broadway run here. Alison Janney heads the cast in the role played on film by Lily Tomlin.

Parton has always had a flair for the theatrical, so it’s not at all surprising she’s finally made her way to musical theater. And reports from rehearsals in L.A. are that Parton is so enthused about the project she shows up early and stays late whenever she can.

But rehearsing a Broadway show must be difficult when you’re taking your own show on the road.

Sadly, the crowd at the 8,500-seat Greek was not at capacity. Reports are that it was around 50 percent – a disappointing turnout for a living legend – but that was a wildly enthusiastic 50 percent, a fact Parton acknowledged when she said there may have been more people at the L.A. shows a few nights previous, but they weren’t as loud, as welcoming or as attractive.

Even before much of the crowd had taken its seats, indeed before the clock had even struck 8, Parton was rarin’ to go with “Two Doors Down,” which led directly into one of her rowdy pop-honky tonkers, “Why’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That?”

In between songs, while courteously taking flowers from fans and chatting with some kids in the audience (who know her as godmother to Miley Cyrus aka Hannah Montana), Parton showed off her glam high heels to the front few rows and, as a result of her short, spangly gold skirt, revealed more than she wanted. “Ohhh,” she squealed. “I think I just showed him the box office!”

Whether singing one of her classics (“Jolene”) or covering someone else’s (John Denver’s revised “Thank God I’m a Country Girl”), Parton is an extraordinary performer with boundless energy. I wasn’t always convinced the vocals were entirely live, but a girl does what she needs to do, and the Teleprompters on each side of the stage ensured there would be no lyrical gaffs.

From the spirited new album she performed a cover of Fine Young Cannibals’ “Drives Me Crazy” (complete with hoedown section) and the title track, which features the lyric: “I might look artificial but where it counts I’m real.”

Playing the dulcimer she sang “Shattered Image,” then accompanied herself on the autoharp for a touching version of “Coat of Many Colors.” Then she picked up the penny whistle for the Celtic-tinged “Only Dreamin’.” Act 1 ended in blaze of gospel glory with “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show” bookending a mega-medley of gospel tunes.

Act 2 brought a sassy red dress and some of the most impressive showmanship I’ve seen on a stage. After a rousing “Baby I’m Burning,” Parton tore through two songs from the new album – the inspirational and funny “Better Get to Livin'” complete with video starring Amy Sedaris and the forgettable but fun “Shinola” – and then got down to some serious vocals.

Surrounded by the seven male members of her band, she sang an a cappella version of “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind,” and the already Dolly-crazy audience went ballistic. She stayed on the a cappella track with her two female backup singers for a chilling, thrilling “Little Sparrow” that made you long for an entire Parton concert with no band at all.

Then came the hit parade: “Here You Come Again,” “Islands in the Stream” (with Richard Dennison), “9 to 5” (and no mention of the Broadway show) and, of course, “I Will Always Love You.”

Because of time restrictions at the Greek (city noise ordinances or some such), Parton trimmed the piano version of “The Grass Is Blue” she usually does, but she did end with her fiery new song “Jesus and Gravity.”

At one point early in the show, as the sun was setting, the sky turned a soft shade of pink over the stage as if to underscore the point that one of the best places in the universe is in the audience for a Dolly Parton show.

Here’s a pirated video from Parton’s European tour last month of “Little Sparrow.” The sound’s not perfect, but you’ll get the idea.

Idina Menzel wants your video

Tony Award-winning singer/actress Idina Menzel once was Wicked.

Now she’s going viral.

Menzel, who is on a concert tour promoting her most recent solo album, “I Stand,” received a fan video as a birthday present inspired by the title song from her new album.

Now Menzel has her own channel on YouTube:

And there’s a site on Facebook as well:

She’s asking fans to submit their own videos declaring what they stand for. So far on the channel there are five videos. Maybe you should submit one.

Menzel’s concert tour pulls into San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts Theatre Aug. 14. Visit for information.

Idina Menzel flying into SF

A Tony Award-winner for Wicked (and we all know it isn’t easy being green), Idina Menzel is bringing her concert tour to the Bay Area.

The former Rent star, who just released a major label album called I Stand, will play the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre on Aug. 14.

Though touring to support her new disc, Menzel (who appeared on big screens, but did not sing in Disney’s Enchanted), will not disappoint fans who want to hear her sing some of her famous show tunes. As Menzel told “It’s not such a hard stretch because the shows I’ve been in are contemporary. I take them out of their context and unplug them a little bit and strip them down and put them more into the context of my show. They seem to work really well, and they’re not changed so much that die-hard theatre fans would be disappointed, I don’t think. I feel like I’m getting a good response. So that’s really nice for me, to kind of join all my worlds together, and it doesn’t feel like it’s so erratic. It feels cohesive, and it feels like all one artist.”

For information visit

Stephen Schwartz shares musical `Snapshots’

In terms of Broadway composers, Stephen Schwartz is up there with Sondheim and Lloyd Webber as one of the latter-day saviors of modern musical theater.

From his first show, Godspell, right up through his most recent hit, Wicked, Schwartz has been up, down and in between, but his work has been constant. Some of that work has been for movies as well. He won Oscars for his work on Disney’s Pocahontas and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and earlier this year, three of the songs he and Alan Menken wrote for Disney’s Enchanted were nominated for Academy Awards.

At 60, and with Wicked showing no signs of slowing down (the national tour hits the Bay Area yet again in February 2009), Schwartz doesn’t need creative projects, but a long-gestating revue/musical – we’ll call it a revusical, though Schwartz himself calls it a “musical scrapbook” – is coming up for air once again. Way back in the mid-’90s, Michael Scheman and David Stern, who were then both working on one of Broadway’s most notorious flops, Nick & Nora, approached Schwartz about using songs from his existing catalogue and turning them into something more than a revue – a book musical that told a story through songs and gave the songs – some familiar, some obscure – a new spin.

“They had a lot of down time working on Nick & Nora,” Schwartz explains on the phone from the TheatreWorks rehearsal hall in Mountain View. “They had the idea of taking my songs and putting them into a new story framework. I said it would be impossible for me to allow that. I’d never seen it done successfully and frequently seen it done unsuccessfully. But I said do a reading, I’ll come and we’ll see. They did, and I have to say, they had some interesting takes. For various reasons, nothing went much further. A few years later, the thing reared its head.”

The show, called Snapshots, saw incarnations in Norfolk, Va., and more recently at Seattle’s Village Theatre in 2005, but the TheatreWorks version that begins previews today (June 18) and opens Saturday, June 21, is even more fully revised and includes songs from Wicked.

Schwartz insists that this is not a revue because it does indeed tell a story (penned by Stern) about a middle-age couple whose marriage is on the brink of collapse. A box of old photos sends the couple reeling into the past. The structure allows six actors to play the couple at various ages. Schwartz thinks the concept really works this time around.

“I’ve seen this tried before, and the script and the songs are inconsistent in both lyrics and tone,” Schwartz explains. “The songs were clearly not meant to fulfill dramatic moments in this particular story. It always seemed like a shotgun marriage. When I saw what was being developed for this story in terms of interesting relationships, I said if you’re really going to do this, the lyrics ought to be revised and songs ought to be rearranged or put into medleys to tell the story properly. That’s what we’ve done. This is truly a hybrid in almost the true botanical nature of the word because it yields a strange, exotic flower for fruit.”

Schwartz estimates that all the songs – most from his shows and movies, with only the title song freshly penned – have been about 50 percent rewritten, which could irk his fans.

“I can see how audiences will either be intrigued by it and think it’s cool or some will say it’s too weird and that they’re not accustomed to hearing certain songs with new words,” he says. “It’s adventurous and challenging, which makes it fun.”

Admitting that some might consider it sacrilege to re-write songs like “Meadowlark” from The Baker’s Wife or “Popular” from Wicked, Schwartz says he relishes revisiting and revising his own work. In some cases, there are only a few lyrical changes, a verse here, a line here. In others, it’s the same tune with entirely new words.

“If, for instance, you know `Lion Tamer’ from The Magic Show, you’re suddenly going to hear words you’ve never heard before,” Schwartz says. “Other songs, like `Popular’ are pretty much the same except for a few words but in a totally different situation. If people are willing to get their heads turned around a little bit, then it’s fun. If that’s hard for them to do, it will just be annoying or disturbing.”

The last time Schwartz was in the Bay Area was to fine tune the world premiere of Wicked. He was so busy then that he didn’t deign to chat with journalists.

“In all honesty, the San Francisco run couldn’t have been better for us,” he says. “The show was well enough received that no one was panicking or feeling it was a disaster – no throwing of bathwater or babies. It was clear there was work to be done and revisions to be made in the book and the score. The critical community was, frankly, very helpful to us. We learned a lot from the reviews, which were honest and constructive in the aggregate, unlike New York, where the critics make up their minds before they come to the theater. It’s not just the negativity the critics express but their corruption.”

TheatreWorks, thankfully, is far from that critical crowd. Schwartz says he had enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the company and its founding artistic director, Robert Kelley, who is directing Snapshots. Schwartz even remembers – barely – a previous attempt at a Schwartz musical revue done at TheatreWorks in the late ’70s or early ’80s, but he can’t quite remember the name.

His big project at the moment is an opera commissioned by Opera Santa Barbara based on the movie Séance on a Wet Afternoon, a 1964 British film about a psychic who kidnaps a child to “prove” her abilities. The opera is slated to have its premiere in December 2009.

And for Wicked fans who were hoping that Schwartz and team might turn the book’s sequel, Son of a Witch, into a musical, don’t get your hopes up.

“I’m not big on sequels,” Schwartz says. “I don’t quite get why other than for economic incentive, they’re necessary. We told that story. I can understand the perspective of Gregory Maguire (the book’s author) about writing a sequel. I encouraged the writing of the sequel and another. I think he should make it a trilogy.”

Snapshots continues through July 13 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, corner of Castro and Mercy streets, Mountain View. Tickets are $26-$64. Call 650-903-6000 or visit for information.