Tuesday, January 11, 2011

GuyDads 2010 Theatre Wrap-up

2010 began for us with Ed still recovering from cancer surgery and with a major surgery still to go in April. Our usual number of about 100 plays, musicals, and operas attended thus fell a bit this past year to “only” 76. (Somehow, even in April when Ed spent a week in the hospital, we still saw 6 productions!)

For a complete list of our 76 productions and our ratings/summaries, go to http://www.guydads.com/ticketstubs2010.html.

So, looking back, here is our “TOPS OF 2010” lists:

Top Ten Plays and Musicals We Saw in the SF Bay Area

#1: Or, - Liz Duffy Adams, Magic Theatre 
[Aphra Behn, former spy and soon to become England's first professional female playwright if she can finish the script. All that’s standing in her way are King Charles II, actress Nell Gwynne, and double agent William Scot. Double-crossing, cross-dressing, sex, art, and politics all come together in this hilarious bodice-ripper.]

#2: Superior Donuts - Tracy Letts, TheatreWorks[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.]

#3: Equivocation - Bill Cain, Marin Theatre Company 
[What if the government commissioned William Shakespeare to write the definitive history of a national crisis, the Powder Plot, in one of his plays.]

#4: Girlfriend - Todd Almond, Matthew Sweet, Berkeley Rep
 [Boy meets Boy in this two-character chamber/juke box musical that celebrates the pain and joy of first love with a Matthew Sweet playlist.]

#5: …and Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi - Marcus Gardley, The Cutting Ball Theater
 [A fable of Demeter & Persephone and Jesus. A father flees the bonds of slavery and travels the river in search of his family.]

#6: In the Wake - Lisa Korn, Berkeley Rep 
[Lesbian drama that's a wild ride through the frustrations of the urban left during the Bush II years.]

#7: Opus - Michael Hollinger, TheatreWorks
 [A behind-the-scenes look at a string quartet. Forced to find a new member just days before an appearance, they are caught in a crescendo of talent and personality, their collaboration tested and their art insecure.]

#8: Jerry Springer: The Opera - Richard Thomas, Stewart Lee, Ray of Light Theatre
 [A crudely delightful yet heartbreaking operatic farce. "How does our American obsession with confessional and reality television, our aspirations for empty fame, and our glee at sneering over the mistakes of others function like a national religion?"]

#9: In the Red and Brown Water - Tarell Alvis McCraney, Marin Theatre Company 
[Part 1/3 "The Brother/Sisters Plays". Based loosely on "Yerma," Federico Garcia Lorca's 1934 tragedy of a woman tortured by her failure to produce a child. It also draws on a West African source -- Yoruba mythology. The woman, Oya, is a goddess of wind and fertility.]

#10: Scapin - Molière, Bill Irwin, Mark O'Donnell, A.C.T.
 [A lively baggy-pants comedy, the rascally Scapin balances his penchant for mayhem and mischief with a promise to help two pairs of wide-eyed lovers.]

Honorable Mention: A Christmas Memory - Truman Capote, Duane Poole, Larry Grossman, Carol Hall, TheatreWorks[New musical based on Capote's short story. A wistful memoir of cherished youth—a shy boy and his eccentric cousin launch kites, haunt speakeasies, and mail fruitcake to the President!]

Top Plays and Musicals We Saw in New York in July

(Actually, we really liked everything we saw this year except Mamet’s Race; but of the 14 productions, these six really stood out for us.)

#1: Memphis, the Musical - Joe DiPietro, David Bryan, 
[Sex and race and rock ’n’ roll, , a white radio DJ whose love of good music transcends race lines and airwaves in the turbulent south in the 1950s. The musical workshopped and premiered at our local TheatreWorks]

#2: La Cage aux Foilles - Jerry Herman, Harvey Fierstein, (Kelsey Grammer, Douglas Hodge) 
[The story of a gay couple who run a transvestite nightclub in St Tropez. The plot expands when their son declares to marry a woman that is a daughter of a moral crusader.]

#3: Lend Me a Tenor - Ken Ludwig, [An uproarious farce blending slapstick with classical opera, the play recounts the travails of world-famous tenor performing in a small city.]

#4: Fences - August Wilson, (Denzel Washington, Viola Davis)
 [Explores the life and relationships of Troy Maxson, an activist-minded trash-collector and former baseball hero. The protagonist represents the struggle for justice and fair treatment during the 1950s.]

#5: Promises, Promises - Neil Simon, Burt Bacharach, Hal David, (Sean Hayes, Kristin Chenoweth) 
[Based on the film The Apartment by Billy Wilder. it’s Manhattan in all its 1960’s and bachelor Chuck has what some of his colleagues desire: an apartment for fooling around.]

#6: Next Fall - Geoffrey Nauffts, [Two gay men, one very religious and one agnostic, are partners and lovers. Their relationship is so fun and funny until tragedy enters the scene.]

Top Operas We Saw in SF in 2010

(All 10 San Francisco Operas were outstanding overall. We were totally pleased with the year’s offerings.)

#1: The Marriage of Figaro - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, [Servants are preparing to wed, but the Count wants the woman for himself. Meanwhile, the pageboy Cherubino is panting after the Count’s wife while the governess is chasing Figaro. In the end, Figaro gets his bride, and the estranged Count and Countess reunite.]

#2: Aida - Giuseppe Verdi, [Bitter Egyptian love triangle. A captured Ethiopian princess comes between a military commander, Radames, and Pharaoh's daughter Amneriss.]

#3: Cyrano de Bergerac - Franco Alfano, Henri Cain, (with Plácido Domingo) 
[An operatic adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s celebrated play.]

#4: Die Walküre - Richard Wagner, [A epic tale of an emotionally volatile father, Wotan, and his disobedient children (Siegmund & Brünnhilde) done with a distinctly American touch while honoring its mythic roots.]

And the WOrst??

In every season, there will be some productions that just do not cut it. We all should expect that. But why must ACT in SF continue always to have 1-2 of the worst things we see on the list each year? This year, two of the VERY worst things we saw were there:

1. The Caucasian Chalk Circle - Bertolt Brecht, Domenique Lozano, A.C.T. (dir. John Doyle)
 [Left at intermission. The only time we did so this year! Attend the tale of ...John Doyle's approach to Brecht's parable about contested motherhood.]

2. The Tosca Project - Carey Perloff, Val Caniparoli, A.C.T.
 [An uninspired interpretive dance work based on a cultural timeline and the SF North Beach bar, Tosca Cafe. Joint work of ACT actors and SF Ballet dancers.]

1 comment:

Kenny Chesney Tickets said...

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