Madame Butterfly, SF Opera

As a stunning curtain, decorated with modernistic kimonos, rises on an equally striking set, all light and platforms in primary colors, it seems that the new San Francisco production of “Madame Butterfly” is going to be about Jun Kaneko’s production  ...

La Traviata, SF Opera

“La Traviata,” that quintessential tale of a Parisian courtesan-with-a-heart-of-gold-except-she-dies-of-consumption-at-the-end, is one of Verdi’s most beautiful and beloved operas. That’s the first reason to go and see the revival at San Francisco Opera. The second is the production, originally directed by  ...

Marry Me a Little, Mountain View, CA

It’s a very slender branch on which to hang a show. But the leaves are songs by Stephen Sondheim and the roots are anchored in the longing for love, so what can be bad? Playwright Craig Lucas (“Light in the  ...

Maestro, Berkeley

One of my favorite Stephen Sondheim lyrics is sung by a stripper with the improbable name of Mazeppa (he rhymes it with “shleppah”) in, of course, “Gypsy.” The song is titled “You Gotta Get a Gimmick” and it reminds me  ...

Show Boat, SF Opera

Y’all come on down to the levee folks. The “Show Boat” is in town and it’s a singin’, dancin’ romp. But is it an opera? Well, maybe more of an operetta, but who cares? In a spiffy production at San  ...

A Raisin in the Sun, Cal Shakes

It has been more than half a century since Lorraine Hansberry’s iconic “A Raisin in the Sun” first took the stage, for those who saw it changing the way white America viewed the upward struggle of their African American neighbors.  ...

The Suit, SF

“The Suit” doesn’t fit as well as expected. With the renowned director Peter Brook’s name attached, one goes in expecting something magical like that long-ago “Midsummer Night’s Dream” or the “Marat/Sade” that set a standard for much that followed  ...

Mahagonny Songspiel and Les Mamelles de Tirésias, SF

Just when you think it can’t get any better, amazingly it does. In its brief history Opera Parallèle, under the artistic direction of founder/conductor Nicole Paiement, has presented little-known contemporary works by Phillip Glass, Samuel Barber, John Harbison, Leonard Bernstein  ...

Not a Genuine Black Man, Berkeley

Brian Copeland has a sad story to tell. But he tells it with such wit and self-deprecating humor that his audience has been laughing through its tears. For 10 years, in fact, making “Not a Genuine Black Man” allegedly the  ...