Soft Power

Just when I was bemoaning the dearth of newly minted original musicals, along comes “Soft Power,” a wonderfully innovative, exciting, intelligent and tuneful show, created by Tony-winning playwright David Henry Hwang ("M. Butterfly") and Tony-winning composer Jeanine Tesori ("Fun Home"). “Soft Power” has a play-within-a play framework, or as  ...

Piedra y planta [Stone and Plant]

Gabriel Ledón is Artistic Director of the contemporary dance company Cuarto Fractal, and has also been Executive Director of Brazeros Dance Company in Los Angeles, Calif. Ledón is a trained visual artist as well as a dancer and choreographer. On April 23, 2018, I saw Cuarto Fractal’s two-man show, “Piedra  ...

The Humans

Either the emperor is wearing no clothes or I need to return to the Ahmanson and watch “The Humans” again. It won the Tony 2016, for best play. It has been greeted with accolades by major critics in its off-Broadway, Broadway, and the national tour performances. Los Angeles is  ...

SF Danceworks.

“¡Socorro!” in Spanish means “Help!” of the kind that begs for succor, comfort, a poultice for one’s wounds. If the San Francisco dance cohort, having plateaued about three years ago, sent up such a cry, then the goddess Terpsichore has answered it with SF Danceworks. The boutique-sized company is  ...

The Father

What goes on in the mind of someone with dementia? Way beyond the minor annoyance felt when we can’t find our car keys, it’s a world where conversations are recycled in an endless loop, time becomes meaningless and complete strangers purport to be family members leading to angst, anger and  ...

A Walk on the Moon

It seems that there are very few newly minted original musicals these days. They are either revivals or are based on existing books or movies, which provides producers and audiences with familiarity and confidence. With the exorbitant cost of producing a musical, not to mention of  ...

Mies Julie

"Mies Julie" is a scorchingly sexy, shockingly violent adaptation of August Strindberg’s "Miss Julie," transported from 1888 Sweden to 2012 South Africa. Incidents that may or may not happen offstage in 1888 happen onstage in 2012. In "Mies Julie" at Victory Gardens Theater, playwright Yaël Farber translates the relationship  ...

Dry Land

Two teen-aged girls on a Florida high school swim team navigate the precarious path to female adulthood and friendship in Ruby Rae Spiegel’s honest, meaningful and intense 90-minute drama, “Dry Land.” It premiered in New York City when Spiegel was only 21 years old, and the author captures fully the  ...

Native Gardens

A young couple buys a fixer-upper in an older affluent neighborhood only to discover a fence, hastily installed by the previous owner, shortchanges their property line by two feet. Breaking the news to their neighbors – who, unaware of the misalignment, have for years invested time, money and ego into  ...

New Century Chamber Orchestra

We love to put people in boxes. She's progressive, he's conservative. This music is twelve-tone, that music is minimalist. But the final concert of San Francisco's New Century Chamber Orchestra showed how artificial these divisions are. Music is supposed to communicate, otherwise what's the point? And this beautifully assembled program  ...