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Swan Lake, Australian Ballet (U.S. West Coast tour)

Who says you can’t teach an old bird new tricks? Certainly not choreographer Graeme Murphy, who has taken the venerable “Swan Lake” and stood it on its head. The result is a gorgeous, sophisticated dance-fable that will satisfy all but  ...

Forever, LA

In lean times theater directors turn more frequently to one person performances and very small casts. For material, the "written-and-performed-bys" mine the depths of memory. It is so much the easier if the remembered are dead and will never see  ...

Un Ballo in Maschera, SF Opera

What better way to celebrate the birthday of Giuseppe Verdi than with his famous costume party? And so it was that I found myself on October 10 at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House raising a metaphorical glass to  ...

Joe Goode Performance Group

“He’s a good boy…Heeee zzza Goode boooboi…He’s a…” chants and slurs Melecio Estrella at the start of “29 Effeminate Gestures.” Estrella hits this angry mantra over and over as if it were a punching bag, until the sentence turns into  ...

Bright Star, San Diego

Steve Martin once said: “When you’re playing the banjo, everything’s OK.” And that may be what ultimately saves “Bright Star.” Despite some pretty glaring deficiencies, the music is so good you almost don’t care about lyrics, dialogue or plot. This  ...

Affluence, LA

Affluence is a major issue in American society today — a few people have a lot of it while a lot of people have none and probably never will — so it’s not surprising that some playwrights are drawn to  ...

Choir Boy, LA

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to win a MacArthur genius grant? I mean, aside from the fact that a sweet stipend would come to you for five years, no questions asked, no forms to be filed,  ...

The Trip to Bountiful, LA

"The Trip to Bountiful" is an old-fashioned story mounted with old-fashioned style. Not that that is all bad. It is what passes as a classic in the 21st century. Horton Foote's first iteration of this memory tale was as a  ...

Marjorie Prime, LA

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" was the mantra of my youth, but that mantra does not serve a critic well. Looking forward to the opening night of "Marjorie Prime," I thought, "At last Michael  ...