It's a time of year for dinner dates and holiday gifts and roaming Union Square amid the bustle, so you may want to consider a couple of options for some December theater-going.
Coming up later this month and next in the local theater scene is a new parody musical involving last years big BDSM bestseller, and a star-studded revival of Harold Pinter's No Man's Land in its pre-Broadway, out-of-town tryout, starring Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, and Billy Crudup.
The summer is a fairly quiet time for Bay Area theater, but over in Orinda the California Shakespeare Theater usually puts on some terrific renditions of both Shakespeare plays and classic plays through the season. Next up, starting previews on July 3, is Shakespeare's beloved tragic romance Romeo & Juliet, directed by Shana Cooper.
The season is winding down at the American Conservatory Theater, with its productions of Arcadia and Black Watch both set to close this weekend; and at the Magic Theatre, where the American premiere of Mark O'Rowe's Terminus closes Sunday as well. But across the Bay there is still stuff happening at Berkeley Rep and CalShakes, with the latter having just kicked off its summer season last week, and a small S.F. company is doing Sondheim's great fairy tale mashup, Into the Woods.
For six whole decades, the Bay Area has been a hotbed for risk-taking theater. This Sunday, filmmaker Austin Forbord’s documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theater in San Francisco premieres on KQED as part of their Emmy Award-winning series Truly CA: Our State, Our Stories. The film raises the curtain on the long history of progressive and experimental theater in the Bay Area with more than 45 interviews (think Robin Williams, Bill Irwin, and Peter Coyote, to name a few) and rare archival performance footage.
There’s an inherent danger in marrying blockbuster musical theater with weighty subjects like political and social oppression. On one hand, the people must be entertained and stimulated...shiny lights everywhere, please! On the other, such stories demand a faithful and meaningful reading, with all respect paid to the maligned. And somehow, neither can be compromised.
American Conservatory Theater’s A Christmas Carol
Ghosts in chains, portly men dancing jigs, a cooked goose, and profound character rehabilitiation - there’s a reason A Christmas Carol is the world’s favorite tale of holiday haunting. This week, the spooks of Christmas past, present, and future take the stage at ACT, as they’ve done every December for the past 35 years. Charming and beautifully-produced, this holiday show is well worth checking out.
December 1-24. American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary Street. Tickets are $15-150 at 415-749-2228 or act-sf.org.
African-American Shakespeare Company’s Cinderella
Before local ODC Theater resident Catherine Galasso jets off to Paris and New York with her latest show, she's premiering Bring On The Lumière! right here at homebase. The show—a combination of dance, theater, light, and illusion—is inspired by the French forefathers of film, the Lumière brothers. Like all of her work, Galasso pushes the boundaries of traditional performance in an exploration of uncharted territories. We took a few minutes of Galasso's time to talk about Bring On The Lumière!.
Teatro Zinzanni’s German circus tent has been an integral part of Pier 39 for the last eleven years. In honor of On the Air - after which the show’s fate is still unknown - we spoke with Kristin Clayton, the opera diva who’s been with Teatro Zinzanni since the beginning.