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  ...

Tribes, Berkeley

Lovers and losers; speaking and signing; silence and sound; but, above all, family. It’s all interwoven in the intricate pattern of Nina Raine's “Tribes,” one of the best shows to come down the pike in a long, long time. As  ...

Venus in Fur, San Francisco

Don’tcha just hate those people who, hearing of a local production of a hot new play, look down their noses and pronounce: “I saw it in New York”? “Venus in Fur”? I saw it in New York. And, while  ...

Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Berkeley

Full disclosure: I don’t much like farce. Slapstick and pratfalls and opening and slamming doors somehow never manage to tickle my funny bone. That said, I am forced to tell you that I could not stop laughing during Berkeley Rep’s  ...