Three Identical Strangers (2018)

On a rainy night in 1980, Robert Shafran’s father realized he’d left his umbrella behind. He and his wife were one of three adoptive couples that had just met with the Louise Wise [adoption] Agency Executive Board. They met with the board to ask whether it had known that three  ...

Quixote Nuevo

How many works of literature can you name that have given rise to a regularly used English adjective? Not many? Me neither. But the word, “quixotic,” defined as “foolishly impractical, especially in the pursuit of ideals; especially marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or extravagantly chivalrous action,” is based on  ...

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  ...