Don Pasquale

The superbly melodic operas of Gaetano Donizetti represent a triumph of the human spirit over extreme adversities. Long before syphilis and bipolar disorder drove him into an insane asylum and then early death at age 51 in 1848, he had a complicated, difficult life, but his music is often happy,  ...

October Sky

For some reason, when I think about “October Sky” it comes out in the voice of Stefan, Bill Hader’s club character on SNL. ‘This show has everything: rockets, coal, a love song to coal, daddy issues, moonshine, secret finance, songs about following your dreams, more songs about following your dreams.’  ...

Dear Master

Aurora Theatre, Berkeley, California Written by Dorothy Bryant Directed by Joy Carlin Starring Kimberly King, Michael Ray Wisely Website Berkeley playwright Dorothy Bryant seemed delighted to be in the audience at the opening of Aurora Theatre’s 25th anniversary revival of her insightful two-person epistolary play, “Dear Master,” about  ...

Charles III

After rave reviews and awards in London and New York, a new production of “Charles III” opened at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater (ACT). Co-produced by ACT, the Seattle Repertory Theatre and Washington D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre Company, “Charles III” will be performed at all three venues. A Shakespearean-style historical  ...

Caught

Shotgun Player’s production of playwright Christopher Chen’s stimulating, creative and complex work, “Caught,” confounded and ultimately conquered the audience in its opening night performance in Berkeley, California. The mesmerizing “Caught” concerns truth and lies in their infinite varieties, and the place of truth in art, journalism and relationships. Since 2014,  ...

Shakespeare’s Othello

What is it about the human psyche that makes us willing to believe the most insidious and hateful lies about someone else, even one closest to us? Is it because accepting the worst in another makes us feel better about ourselves? Or do such lies satisfy a devious part of  ...

A View from the Bridge

What a treat. The Young Vic production of Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge” is a powerful offering even in the cavernous space of the Ahmanson Theatre. Oh, there have mutterings through the years. ‘View is not Miller’s best work.’ ‘It is too narrow.’ ‘Culturally stereotyping.’ To all of  ...

Dream of the Red Chamber: World Premiere

Ethnic support for opera in multi-ethnic San Francisco is a subject worth scholarly research, which is certainly not being offered here. These are only a few broad observations, leading to a point to be made soon. Italians created and supported for decades San Francisco Opera itself; the  ...