Wednesday, December 05, 2007

November theatre reviews

November was another busy month of theatre. Between E and I, we saw 14 productions. Two of them were operas, two we saw on a trip to Sacramento, and E saw one Broadway show in New York City.

While in NYC on business, E had time to take in only one Broadway show. Luckily it was one of the shows that did not go on strike.
Kevin Chamberlin and Matthew Montelongo in The Ritz by Terrence McNally at the Roundabout in NYC5*, The Ritz - Terrence McNally, Roundabout Theatre Company
[Gay bathhouse farce. When straight garbage man hides from the mob in a bathhouse hilarity and chaos ensue.]
While E was in NYC, I attended a local university production.
5*, The Mineola Twins - Paula Vogel, Stanford Drama Department
[The story of identical twins, opposite in moral and political temperaments, battling their way through a relationship that spans several decades.]

Earlier in the month we did a weekend trip to Sacramento to check out the theatre and gay scene there. Write up here.
5*, A Skull in Connemara - Martin McDonagh, B Street Theatre
[Did the gravedigger's wife die when he was drunk at the wheel or as a result of a deadly blow ?]
5*, Whistle Down the Wind - Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jim Steinman, California Musical Theatre
[A study of childhood innocence and simple faith follows as three children discover a fugitive in their barn and believe that he is Jesus.]

During one week we saw the best and worst operas of the San Francisco fall season.
2*, Macbeth - Giuseppe Verdi, Carlo Rusconi, San Francisco Opera
[Based on Shakespeare's play. Production marred by bad direction and a lame pop-art, post-apocalyptic set.]
Misha Didyk (Ruggero) and Angela Gheorghiu (Magda de Civry) in Puccini's La Rondine, SF Opera5*, La Rondine (The Swallow) - Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Adami, Alfred Maria Willner, Heinz Reichert, San Francisco Opera (great singing by soprano Angela Gheorghiu)
[An operetta that tells the story of a worldly woman who falls in love with a naïve younger man. Beautiful Art Nouveau set.]

One Sunday morning we woke up and realized that we had absolutely nothing planned for the day, so we got on line and booked tickets for an afternoon and evening show in Berkeley. Both theatres are next door to each other.
Tony Award-winner Mary Zimmerman returns to Berkeley Rep to present the West Coast premiere of Argonautika, an exhilarating new adventure based on The Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts.5*, Argonautika - Mary Zimmerman adapted from the "Voyage of Jason and the Argonauts", Berkeley Repertory Theatre
[Puppet, circus and improv techniques meet Greek drama in epic journey of Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece.]
4*, Sex - Mae West, Aurora Theatre Company
[1926 bawdy comic melodrama of a woman of the night trying to become respectable. Made Mae West a star.]

Other shows we say in November:
4*, The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde, ACT's Master of Fine Arts Program
[Jack and Algernon one-up each other with insane antics to win the hearts of their beloved ladies.]
3*, One Touch of Venus - Kurt Weill, Ogden Nash, S.J. Perelman, 42nd Street Moon
[Confusion runs rampant when a long-lost statue of Venus is accidentally brought to life, and falls in love with a mild-mannered barber.]
Deputy File (Anthony Fusco, center) ardently woos a newly empowered Lizzie Curry (René Augesen) as her younger brother Jim (Alex Morf, left) watches hopefully in A.C.T.’s production of N. Richard Nash’s The Rainmaker. 5*, The Rainmaker - N. Richard Nash, ACT
[The arrival of a rainmaker named Starbuck sets off a series of events which enables Lizzie to see herself in a new light.]
5*, The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison, Lydia R. Diamond, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre
[Based on Morrison's novel. Amazing bare stage production. In her eleven years, no one had ever noticed Pecola. But with blue eyes, she thought, everything would be different.]
Jim Brochu is Zero Mostel in the Zero Hour, at NCTC5*, Zero Hour - Jim Brochu, New Conservatory Theatre Company
[One man show about the humor, outrage, politics and juicy backstage lore of Zero Mostel.]
Oliver! - Lionel Bart, Charles Dickens, Peninsula Youth Theatre (E didn't see)
[Musical is based upon Dickens' Oliver Twist. Youth production.]

Ratings Legend:
5* - Loved It – would see it a second time.
4* - Really Liked It – strong production but not worth seeing a second time.
3* - Liked It –good production but something is lacking or not clicking.
2* - Just OK – had at least one interesting element.
1* - Did Not Like It – waste of time.
No rating – A work in progress (reading or workshop), or children’s production.

Rating*, Show Title - Author, Presenting Theatre (comments)
[Synopsis or review]
TIP: Half-price tickets for many select performances, sporting events and family activities are often available on Goldstar Events. Areas include San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Boston, and Chicago.


Colin said...

What is the gay scene like in Sacremento?

Loren Gessner said...

wow what a busy month

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