There is some great theatre playing around the San Francisco Bay Area.
On stage at ACT in San Francisco is Bill Irwin’s take on Molière’s “Scapin”. He is reunited with Geoff Hoyle and other early Pickle Family Circus performers as well as A.C.T. regulars. See why the New York Times describes Irwin “a love child of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Marcel Marceau, and Danny Kaye." Plays through Oct. 23rd.
Earlier this week we saw the controversial musical “Jerry Springer: The Opera”. The SF theatre company ‘Ray of Light Theatre’ is presenting it at the Victoria Theatre on 16th St. It is not often that a show surprises us as much as this one. For a non-Equity cast, it was amazingly professional. It is blessed with a cast of over 40, all who had opera quality voices. As the story progresses into Hell (very Faustian), the singing raises the roof to the heavens. It is shocking, obscene, over-the-top funny and has to be seen and heard to be believed. But hurry, it only plays through Oct. 16th.
One of the major theatrical excitements this fall is the trilogy “The Brother/Sister Plays” by Tarell Alvin McCraney. A different theatre company is doing each play. Part One, “In the Red and Brown Water” started at the Marin Theatre Company. Their last performance is Oct 10. The Magic Theatre is presenting part two, “The Brothers Size” through Oct 17th. Part three, “Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet” starts at ACT on Oct 29 through Nov. 21.
Our local company, TheatreWorks, is presenting “Superior Donuts” by Tracy Letts. It is playing through Oct 31. Letts is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “August: Osage County”. This new play is a story of a former '60s radical who owns a rundown donut shop in Chicago and his energetic but troubled young African American assistant who wants to update the establishment with lively music and healthy menu options. This is one of the best productions we've seen this year in the Bay Area.
At San Francisco Playhouse, they are presenting the west coast premiere of “Sunset Limited” by Cormac McCarthy (novels: “The Road”, “No Country for Old Men”). A startling encounter on a New York subway platform leads two strangers to a run-down tenement where they debate the meaning of human suffering, the existence of God, and the propriety of White's attempted suicide.. On stage through Nov 6.
For an unusual San Francisco treat, don’t miss “Pearls Over Shanghai”. Thrillpeddlers celebrate the 40th anniversary of the gender-bending theatrical troupe The Cockettes with this psychedelic musical inspired by sin-soaked Old Shanghai and Busby Berkeley movie musicals from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Plays weekends through December 19.
Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor Mandy Patinkin is at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in “Compulsion” by Rinne Groff. It is a play that tells the lightly fictionalized story of an obsessive writer's determination to bring “The Diary of Anne Frank” to the stage—no matter what. The character is inspired by a real journalist and screenwriter who helped publicize the existence of the diary, and who came to believe that the chance to adapt it for the stage had been stolen from him. Plays through Oct. 31st.
“Anita Bryant Died for Your Sins” is being done at New Conservatory Theatre Center through Oct 24. It is a coming-of-age story set in the 1970s. 15 year-old Horace Poore is trying to make sense of the tumultuous social/historical events surrounding him. His sexual awakening is hastened by images of Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz and former Miss America/orange juice promoter/anti-gay crusader Anita Bryant. Pushing him along are his idiosyncratic parental units, a draft-dodging brother, and a very dreamy gym teacher.