Arms and the Man, San Diego

Love and war have so much in common: passion, struggle, the subtle distinctions between victor and vanquished, even how seriously we take both subjects. In the classic comedy “Arms and the Man,” George Bernard Shaw skewers it all and even throws in a little class struggle for giggles. The  ...

The Little Foxes

Most people look at Lillian Hellman’s 1939 play, “The Little Foxes,” as a play about a dysfunctional family battling over sex, money and property. You know, the kind that made Steppenwolf Theatre famous. But this one is being staged at Goodman Theatre and it’s a sumptuous setting in every way,  ...

The Pirates of Penzance

  Admittedly, Gilbert and Sullivan’s "The Pirates of Penzance" isn’t one of my favourite G & S operas, yet Mike Leigh’s new production manages to sustain the audience’s attention through brightly crisp staging, dynamic acting, dazzling singing and  Gilbert's hilarious libretto. Leigh, the mastermind film director behind such  ...

Cinderella

    By appealing directly to Bay Area ballet-goers, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley Artistic Director José Manuel Carreño, with help from Chief Executive Officer, Alan Hineline, and Interim Director of Development Millicent Powers, dodged the depredations of creditors intent on calling in the company’s staggering debt. BSJSV  ...

Bessie

      Finally, a film about the life of iconic blues singer, Bessie Smith (1894 – 1937) will air on television. And it stars multi-talented Academy Award nominee Dana Owens, better known as Queen Latifah (“Chicago”), who shines in the challenging role of Bessie Smith. With  ...

Three Sisters

Anton Chekhov’s 1900 play “Three Sisters” is considered one of his masterpieces and The Hypocrites do it justice in their fine new production. The play is heartbreakingly sad and yet occasionally funny, with intimations of changes to come in Russia. One character says, “Violent change is at the door, the  ...

Avengers: The Age of Ultron

Given that the first Avengers movie made over $1.5 billion, it's safe to say that this highly anticipated sequel has an excellent chance of becoming the most seen movie of 2015 even with a new Star Wars sequel to come later in December. Let me relieve some of that anticipation.  ...

Immediate Family, LA

Who is in your immediate family? Is it nice and tidy, with Mom, Dad, you, and your 1.3 siblings? Or have things gotten a bit mixed up? Half-siblings from one or the other parent's previous (or subsequent) marriage(s) or relationship(s)? A stepparent or two thrown in for good measure,  ...

Unnecessary Farce, San Diego

To the pantheon of iconic stage characters — Hamlet, Willy Loman, Blanche DuBois — I nominate Todd, the Scottish hit man who will slay you in more ways than one in “Unnecessary Farce,” on stage at the North Coast Repertory Theatre. The setup is a dim light bulb of  ...

Romeo and Juliet, San Francisco Ballet

  The simplicity of the three-theme Prokofiev score can beguile us into believing that Helgi Tomasson’s “Romeo and Juliet,” running at warp speed to conclude before the accomplished musicians go on overtime, loses complexity, much in the way Cinderella does her glass slipper, as she scurries to her coach  ...