The Magic Flute, SF Opera

To the many interpretations of “The Magic Flute,” San Francisco Opera has added one with the distinction of looking like an animated cartoon. The company’s current production, which debuted in 2012, appears by turns Disney, Looney Tunes, and Hanna-Barbera; it has a vernacular English libretto (by outgoing General Director David  ...

Disgraced, Berkeley Rep

Who are you? I mean, really? Are you who you want to be, pretend to be or who your mother told you you ought to be? This, I think, is the question at the heart of Ayad Akhtar’s searing “Disgraced,” the 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama that raises more questions than  ...

Pirates of Penzance

        "The Hypocrites," an ebullient, talented young musical troupe from Chicago is storming the beaches of Berkeley Rep (and Penzance) in their loving send-up of Gilbert and Sullivan’s "Pirates of Penzance." These performers are so gifted in both voice and acting that they  ...

The Propelled Heart, Lines Ballet

          According to Lines Ballet’s current program at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the propelled heart locates a voice for the body in motion. Artistic Director Alonzo King is famous for the broad-spectrum musical talent he invites in, notably Zakir  ...

A Day of Silents

      San Francisco Bay Area silent film fans won't have to wait until summer to get their fix: "A Day of Silents," a one-day, five-film orgy of non-talkies, will be held at San Francisco's Castro Theater on December 5th. Pack a cushion, pack a lunch  ...

Trumbo (2015)

    It was disheartening to read in the “Trumbo” publicity that the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s, including the now-reviled House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), was a “forgotten piece of history.” On the other hand, the engaging and accessible biopic “Trumbo” is illuminating this shameful  ...

Proof

    "Proof," which ran for 917 performances in an extended run on Broadway, is a double-entendre-titled work about a mad prime number academician, and the daughter who dutifully attends to him. As his mania increases, she quietly and cautiously finds her depth, but not before one situation  ...

China Doll

Some think that it is not kosher to review a play while it is still in previews, but, I don't live in New York any longer and my recent visit there was timed to coincide with other events. But how could I miss seeing and reporting on Al Pacino in  ...

Hamilton

When a Broadway show gets uniformly rave reviews, I worry that the performance can't possibly live up to the hype. Not so with “Hamilton.” What makes “Hamilton” unforgettable, in addition to its creative concept by the mega-talented Lin-Manuel Miranda (“In the Heights”), brilliant hip-hop music, inventive lyrics, energetic acting, rhythmic  ...