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Local Theater Preview: 'Into the Woods,' 'American Night,' 'Dear Elizabeth,' and 'Gershwin Alone'

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.

Stage Left: San Francisco’s Theater History

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.


Two More Weeks to Catch the Genius, the Fun, and the Righteousness of Fela!

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.

‘Tis The Season Traditions at the Theater

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 

African-American Shakespeare Company’s Cinderella 

Local Artist Catherine Galasso Premieres Work About the Forefathers of Film

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!.

Interview with an Opera Diva and Teatro Zinzanni’s Final Show at Pier 39

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. 

David Mamet’s Controversial "Race" Makes Its West Coast Debut at ACT

When a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who enjoys pushing buttons tackles race, there are going to be some theatrical fireworks. That's just math. David Mamet's latest Broadway hit, Race is a scathing courtroom comedy making its west coast debut at ACT this month. 

Multimedia Theater Evolves in Sticky Time

One woman’s desperate need to escape threatens her family and the world in the bending, twisting landscape of Sticky Time. With 360 degree projections, surround sound and choreography, this is Crowded Fire’s most technically ambitious production yet. 

Shocktoberfest's "Fear Over Frisco" Gets You Shrieking at The Hypnodrome

Halloween in San Francisco isn’t complete until you’ve absorbed the bloody mayhem of Shocktoberfest, now in its twelfth year of gore and festive holiday shrieking. The bloodthirsty Parisian theater tradition of Grand Guinol meets film noir in Fear Over Frisco, Thrillpeddlers' latest. 

Presenting three shorts by playwright Eddie Muller, this year’s Shocktoberfest does some time traveling through San Francisco’s history -  modern day deja vu in The Grand Inquisitor, post-WWII hysteria in An Obvious Explanation, and back to the Prohibition for The Drug. We meet a disfigured artist, the reclusive widow of San Francisco’s most notorious serial killer, and a doctor who plays fast and loose with some un-FDA approved substances. 

"Making Porn" At Boxcar Theater Skewers The 80s Adult Movie Biz

Skewering San Francisco’s gay porn industry of the early ‘80s, Ronnie Larsen’s hit comedy has made the rounds in New York, Boston, Miami, Chicago, and LA. Slapstick, strip teases, and directors yelling things about being meaner and dirtier make it as lurid and uninhibited as one would hope from a play called Making Porn

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