Category Archive for: ‘Theater News’








— Lena Hall will reprise her Tony Award®-winning performance as Yitzhak in the highly anticipated National Tour of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, the 2014 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Revival, in performances at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre in San Francisco (October 2-30, 2016). She will join previously-announced Darren Criss on the tour.


In a groundbreaking twist, Lena Hall will also play the role of Hedwig for one performance a week in San Francisco. It is a rare occasion for a Tony Award winner to go on national tour, and historic for the same person to play both Hedwig and Yitzhak. Book writer John Cameron Mitchell enthused, “Oh my Goddess, Lena Hall is the only talent I know who could play a brilliant Yitzhak and Hedwig in the same production. Talk about finding your other half. It’s Hedwig history in the making.”


Hall, thrilled at the opportunity to explore and express this double role, explains, “I’m thrilled to be returning to Hedwig and the Angry Inch performing not one, but two iconic roles in my hometown of San Francisco. I have never been one to shy away from a challenge and playing Hedwig has always been a dream of mine. To be able to play both Yitzhak and Hedwig in the same day presents one of the biggest challenges I have seen to date and I’m so excited! Not only will I get to share the stage with my fellow San Francisco native and friend Darren Criss; but I will also get a chance to begin my own journey as the glam rock heroine Hedwig. To tell her story in my hometown is the greatest homecoming I can think of, and I am looking forward to sharing this journey with my friends, family, and Hedheads.”


Hall will appear as Hedwig in the following performances: Sunday, October 9 at 7pm, Wednesday, October 12 at 8pm, Wednesday, October 19 at 8pm, and Wednesday, October 26 at 8pm.


About the casting of Hall, composer and lyricist Stephen Trask exclaimed, “I love Lena so much. I’ve traveled and performed with her a lot in the last couple years. She’s a kindred spirit and a brilliant, one-of-a-kind, came-out-of-the-sky kind of performer. Everyone who has the chance to see her as Yitzhak should consider themselves really, really lucky.”


The members of “The Angry Inch,” Hedwig’s band — aka “Tits of Clay” — are music director Justin Craig (guitar and keyboards), Matt Duncan (bass), Tim Mislock (guitar), and Peter Yanowitz (drums), all from the original Broadway production.


Brilliantly innovative, heartbreaking, and wickedly funny, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the landmark musical by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask that is “groundbreaking and undoubtedly ahead of its time” (Entertainment Weekly). This genre-bending, fourth-wall-smashing musical sensation, with a pulsing score and electrifying performances, tells the story of one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage. “Internationally ignored song stylist” Hedwig Robinson (Darren Criss) is out to set the record straight about her life, her loves, and the botched operation that left her with that “angry inch.”


Directed by Tony Award-winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) and winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, Hedwig and the Angry Inch played to record-breaking sell-out crowds on Broadway and promises to take North America by storm with what Time Magazine proclaims is “the most exciting rock score written for the theatre since, oh, ever!”


The creative team for Hedwig and The Angry Inch features Emmy Award nominee Spencer Liff (musical staging), Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk Award winner Julian Crouch (scenic design), Tony Award and two-time Oscar nominee Arianne Phillips (costume design), four-time Tony Award winner Kevin Adams (lighting design), Mike Potter (hair and makeup design), Tony Award nominee and platinum-selling record producer Tim O’Heir (sound design), Benjamin Pearcy for 59 Productions (projection design), John Bair/Phosphene (animation), James Calleri (casting), Tony and Grammy Award nominee Ethan Popp (music supervisor & music coordinator), Justin Craig (music director), Stephen Gabis (dialect coach) and Johanna McKeon (associate director).


The Grammy nominated Original Broadway Cast Album for Hedwig and the Angry Inch is available from Atlantic Records.






— Berkeley Rep announced today that Tony Award-winning playwright and performer Sarah Jones (Bridge & Tunnel) will return to the stage as a dazzling medley of characters in Sell/Buy/Date, an exuberant new show she has developed inspired by the real-life experiences of people affected by the commercial sex industry.


“I’m very excited to workshop Sell/Buy/Date at Berkeley Rep before we premiere in New York at Manhattan Theatre Club this fall,” says Jones. “It’s a homecoming of sorts since I workshopped Bridge & Tunnel at Berkeley Rep before it went to Broadway. The Bay Area audience brings such a dynamic mix of receptivity and critical thinking, sophistication and openness. I feel like they’ll challenge and help the piece grow, just as I offer them an intimate window into my process, and give them new ways to talk, think, and even laugh about this topic.”


Sell/Buy/Date presents an honest, moving and even humorous look at a complex and fascinating subject, all while preserving the full humanity of voices seldom heard in the theater. Written and performed by Jones and directed by Carolyn Cantor, this limited workshop engagement will run Tuesday, July 12–Sunday, July 31 in the Osher Studio on 2055 Center Street in downtown Berkeley. General admission tickets go on sale Thursday, May 26 for $40 ($20 for patrons under 30) at or by calling 510 647.2949.


*This is a workshop production and is not open to reviews* Sell/Buy/Date will have its world premiere in September at the Manhattan Theatre Club in New York City. An earlier developmental production of Sell/Buy/Date was presented in January 2016 at New York Live Arts. Sell/Buy/Date is commissioned by the Novo Foundation and was developed, in part, at the 2015 Sundance Institute Theatre Lab and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.




Marin Shakespeare Company presents “The Taming” By Lauren Gunderson / Directed by Robert Currier


Marin Shakespeare Company, Marin County’s professional and award-winning outdoor summer Shakespeare festival, opens its 2016 season with Bay Area playwright Lauren Gunderson’s smart and funny “The Taming.” Amid the absurdity of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, the timing is perfect for this modern political farce, which dishes up liberty, justice and comedy for all!


Determined to re-write the U.S. Constitution, beauty pageant contestant Miss Georgia barricades herself in a hotel room with an ultra conservative senator’s aid and liberal bleeding-heart blogger. The U.S. two-party system, its founding fathers and their ideals are examined and lampooned in this timely, all-female comedy. Tristan Cunningham,* Monica Ho,** and Katie Rubin* star as the madcap women in this provocative and hilarious political power-play directed by Robert Currier.


Performances are presented outdoors Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The amphitheater opens one hour prior to show time for picnicking. Audiences are encouraged to bring picnics or purchase snacks at the Theatre Cafe. Warm clothing, jackets and blankets are recommended for evening performances. Parking is free.


Free pre-show and post-show conversations with a company artist or scholar are presented on select performance dates. Shakespeare Dinners are presented at 6:30 p.m. on select Saturdays for an additional $35 for a gourmet picnic and intimate pre-show talk. Wine, beer and soft drinks are available for sale, or bring your own. Shakespeare Dinner reservations are required at least two hours in advance.


WHEN: June 24 to July 17, 2016 Preview: 8 p.m. Friday, June 24 (All tickets $12) Opening: 8 p.m. Saturday, June 25 Performances at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 4 p.m. SundaysSenior Day:  4 p.m. Sunday, July 10 (Half price tickets for seniors)Family Day:  4 p.m. Sunday, July 17 (Youth 18 and under admitted free) COST: $10 to $35 Admission at the door is $35 general; $32 senior; and $10 youth (25 and under). Preview performances are $12 per person. “Pay Your Age” is offered to audience members between the ages of 26 and 34 when purchasing tickets at the Box Office on the day of any performance, with valid identification. Marin Shakespeare Company also offers those 65 and over half-price tickets at Senior Matinees and those ages 18 and under admitted free at Family Matinee performances.


WHERE: Forest Meadows AmphitheatreDominican University of California, 890 Belle Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901 PHONE: 415-499-4488   WEBSITE: PROMO VIDEO:*Member, Actors’ Equity Association. **Appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.



Tony Award-Winning SAN FRANCISCO MIME TROUPE Opens 57 th Season with “SCHOOLED” July 2 – Sept. 5, 2016


Education. It’s like the weather: everyone has an opinion but nobody does anything about it. That’s how Lavinia Jones feels about her son Thomas’ new school, Eleanor Roosevelt High. Decades of funding cuts have resulted in old textbooks, crumbling classrooms, and underpaid teachers,  making Roosevelt exactly the sort of public school that has failed students time and time again. Isn’t it time for something… efficient? And efficient is exactly what Fredersen Babbit, from Learning Academy for Virtual Achievement (LAVA Corp.), promises to bring to the district. New Technology, remote learning, computer-generated teachers –LAVA promises to put the “virtual” in achievement!  But with kids learning from home, do we need all these empty schools? And with privatization on the line, a Wall Street heavy hitter on one side and a feisty octogenarian teacher Ethel Orocuru on the other, suddenly the next School Board election is more about a hidden agenda than the open curriculum. Are schools the last chance for democracy, or is education the next frontier for profit? Can we trust a politician’s public/private plan to replace an out-of-date system, or is there something even more sinister than privatization going on behind the doors of LAVA? And wait – when did the hall monitors start wearing brown shirts and arm bands? When it comes to the real plan for the future of education – and of our democracy – are we all about to get… Schooled?


“ Schooled” is written by Michael Gene Sullivan and Eugenie Chan. Music & lyrics by Ira Marlowe. Directed by: Michael Gene Sullivan. Music director: Kurt Huget.

Musicians include: Dominic Moisant, Daniel Savio and TBD.

Schooled features veteran SF Mime Troupe collective members: Velina Brown (Lavinia Jones, Estelle), Rotimi Agbabiaka (Thomas Jones, Arthur Quisdedo), Keiko Shimosato-Carreiro (Ethel Orocuru), Lisa Hori-Garcia (Michiko Chimlis, Fredersen. Babbit).




Luther Burbank Center for the Arts announces an expansive new lineup of shows for 2016–2017  The North Bay’s premier performing arts center  presents world-class performances in music, dance,  comedy, speakers and family entertainment


– Today, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts (The Center) announced 16 new events and performances for 2016-2017, featuring world-class performances in music, dance, comedy, speakers and family entertainment. Tickets will be available to members of Luther Burbank Center for the Arts beginning Monday, May 23, 2016 and on sale to the general public on Friday, June 3, 2016 at noon. Tickets and memberships may be purchased online at, by phone at 707.546.3600 or in person at the box office at 50 Mark West Springs Road in Santa Rosa (open daily, 12 – 6 p.m.).


On Thursday, September 15, 2016, The Center welcomes the return of comedian Ron “Tater Salad” White, the cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking funnyman from the “Blue Collar Comedy” phenomenon. A certified platinum-selling artist, having sold over 10 million #1 albums, White continues to be one of the top five grossing comedians on tour.


The seventh annual family-friendly Fiesta de Independencia returns to The Center on Sunday, September 18, 2016. Celebrating Latino Heritage Month, the campus-wide, free festival will showcase a taste of Latino culture in Sonoma County with authentic food, music, entertainment, games, and activities.


Next, on Saturday, September 24, 2016, one of the most prestigious comedy contests in North America—known for launching the careers of people like Ellen DeGeneres and Louis CK—returns to Santa Rosa for The 41st Annual San Francisco Comedy Competition Semi-Finals. With an incredible track record of producing great new talent, the competition has a well-earned reputation as an important showcase of young entertainers who will make it.


Back for a third consecutive year following sold-out performances in 2014 and 2015, Whose Live Anyway? returns to the Center on Saturday, November 5, 2016 for a night of unforgettable improv comedy that requires audience participation with four astoundingly funny comics, including Ryan Stiles from “Whose Line is it Anyway?”.


November continues with the fearless and versatile artist Neko Case on Saturday, November 12, 2016. As a member of the indie-pop super-group the New Pornographers, and through a diverse solo catalog of her own, Case has garnered a reputation as an ardent collaborator and consummate career artist. She brings her unique and extraordinary voice to The Center for the first time this Fall.


On Thursday, November 17, 2016, audiences are invited to travel back in time to a carefree era of romance, cars and surfing with one of the most popular All-American bands in music history, The Beach Boys. With their trademark laid back California vibe, The Beach Boys created legendary hits like “Good Vibrations,” “Wouldn’t it be Nice” and “Surfin’ USA.” They have recorded 36 Billboard Top 40 hits (including four #1 singles) and many best-selling albums, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.  But their greater significance lies in the fact that the band changed the musical landscape so profoundly that every pop act since has been in its debt.


Back at the LBC for the first time since 2009, The Center welcomes Pink Martini’s Holiday Spectacular for a festive, holiday concert featuring songs from around the globe on Tuesday, December 6, 2016. Comprising nearly a dozen instrumentalists with singer China Forbes, Pink Martini draws inspiration from music all over the world, crossing genres of classical, jazz and old-fashioned pop.


Celebrating its 10th anniversary at The Center, Sonoma County audience favorite Ballet Folklórico de Sacramento’s Posada Navideña returns Friday, December 9, 2016. Families and audiences of all ages are invited to experience the folk culture of Mexico and its unique customs and traditions during this Christmas production and traditional Posada celebration.


The holiday season at The Center will feature a special performance on Friday, December 16, 2016 with America’s beloved sibling entertainers, Donny and Marie Osmond. In the holiday tradition of the “Osmond Family Christmas” television specials, the legendary Donny and Marie invite families and audiences of all ages to celebrate the spirit of the season with them in true Osmond fashion.


On Saturday, December 17, 2016, The Center continues to ring in the holiday season with Grammy Award-winner Aaron Neville: A Christmas Celebration as he brings his angelic falsetto to Christmas carols, R&B favorites and some classic pop tunes, as well as songs from his latest recording, “My True Story.”


The quintessential Christmas experience returns to Santa Rosa direct from Russia with the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker on Sunday, December 18, 2016. With larger than life magical props, a growing Christmas tree and spectacular Russian-made costumes and sets, the world’s best dancers present a must-see holiday event, also featuring young dancers from Santa Rosa.


Entertainment in the New Year starts on Thursday, January 26, 2017 with the smash hit duo, Black Violin. Back by popular demand after an acclaimed performance at The Center in 2016, Black Violin is a blend of classical, hip-hop, rock, R&B, and bluegrass music. Classically trained on violin and viola, Kev and Wil have garnered rave reviews from NPR to Essence and recent appearances on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and “The Tavis Smiley Show.” Black Violin are joined onstage by DJ SPS on the turntable and Nat Stokes on percussion.


On Saturday, January 28, 2017, the host and creator of NPR’s Radiolab, Jad Abumrad makes his debut at The Center with special guest Zoë Keating. By integrating his background as both journalist and composer, Jad Abumrad has experienced great success with the public radio program, Radiolab. He orchestrates dialogue, music, interviews and sound effects into compelling documentaries to create “a new aesthetic” in broadcast journalism. Joined by renowned cellist (and Sonoma County resident) Zoë Keating, their live show “Gut Churn” is set to be a fascinating discussion complimented by an intriguing layer of sound.


On Wednesday, February 15, 2017, the Broadway smash hit RAIN: A Tribute to the Beatles comes to The Center for one night only. The live multimedia spectacular that takes audiences on a musical journey through the life and times of the world’s most celebrated band will feature new songs and high definition imagery. This expanded RAIN performance adds even more hits from the vast anthology of the Beatles with classics such as “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Hard Day’s Night,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Let It Be,” “Come Together” and “Hey Jude.” The stunning concert event takes audiences back in time with the legendary foursome delivering a note-for-note theatrical event that is the next-best-thing to the Beatles.


On Friday, March 31, 2017 celebrated author Neil Gaiman comes to Santa Rosa. One of the bestselling writers of our time, Gaiman’s popular and critically acclaimed works bend genres while reaching audiences of all ages. In this live event, An Evening with Neil Gaiman, he will tell stories and read stories, answer questions, and in his own words, “amaze, befuddle and generally delight.”


On Sunday, May 7, 2017, David Sedaris, the NPR humorist and bestselling author of “Naked,” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim” and “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” returns to Santa Rosa for An Evening with David Sedaris. With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America’s preeminent humor writers.


The 2016-2017 lineup also includes previously announced performances from musical acts Lyle Lovett and His Large Band on Thursday, July 7, the original Jersey Boy himself Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons on Tuesday, July 19, British supergroup Culture Club on Tuesday, August 9, the legendary Jeff Beck on Wednesday, August 17, famed English rocker Peter Frampton on Tuesday, August 23, and singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne on Wednesday, September 7. Other acts coming to The Center include Emmylou Harris on Friday, September 30, Jethro Tull written and performed by Ian Anderson on Tuesday, October 25, Celtic Thunder on Sunday, November 13, the viral sensation Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox on Tuesday, November 22, a special Home for the Holidays performance from the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus on Sunday, November 27 and five performances of Joy to the World by Sonoma’s acclaimed Transcendence Theatre Company, December 2 – 4. The 2016-2017 line-up also features comedic performances from George Lopez on Friday, July 22 and Paula Poundstone on Friday, October 21.  The Center also previously announced the four-concert Symphony Pops Series, a collaboration with the Santa Rosa Symphony, as well as the six-performance Clover Stornetta Family Fun Series.


Resident theater companies Left Edge Theatre, North Bay Stage Company and Roustabout Theater will continue to call The Center home for their 2016–17 seasons, producing a diverse range of works for audiences of all ages. Left Edge Theatre will present their upcoming season in a newly-converted space at Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, the Left Edge Studio Theatre .



Single tickets are available online at, by calling 707.546.3600, and in person at 50 Mark West Springs Road in Santa Rosa.

Monday, May 23, 2016 available to members of Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

Friday, June 3, 2016 on sale to general public




New productions receiving TBA Awards Recommended status this week:


Dancing at Lughnasa / Novato Theater Company / Novato




The Last Five Years / American Conservatory Theater / San Francisco




Robert Louis Stevenson: Jekyll and Hyde / Central Works / Berkeley



The Wild Party / Ray of Light Theatre / San Francisco





Previously recognized TBA Awards Recommended productions still running:


Elect to Laugh: 2016 / The Marsh / San Francisco




The Light in the Piazza / Altarena Playhouse / Alameda


The Most Dangerous Highway in the World / Golden Thread Productions /

San Francisco


Sweet Charity / Hillbarn Theatre / Foster City




Treasure Island / Berkeley Repertory Theatre / Berkeley




The Untamed Stage: Weimar Berlin Kabarett / Thrillpeddlers / San Francisco




When the Rain Stops Falling / Dragon Productions Theatre Company /

Redwood City



You’re Gonna Cry / Theater MadCap / San Francisco




Information about the TBA Awards program can be found at


For discounts on Bay Area shows (including TBA Awards Recommended productions), sign up for the “Theatregoer,”, Theatre Bay Area’s weekly email newsletter, with discounted tickets, show recommendations and more




OSF Receives $25,000 Shakespeare in American Communities Grant. This will help students and teachers in underserved communities experience Shakespeare


.—The Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is one of 40 nonprofit, professional theatre companies chosen to participate in the 2016-17 Shakespeare in American Communities program. OSF will receive a $25,000 grant award from Arts Midwest, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, in support of efforts to expose underserved students and teachers to the works of William Shakespeare.


Shakespeare in American Communities has contributed to OSF’s education efforts for 12 years. OSF will use this latest award to help students and teachers in underserved communities in Oregon and California access to 294 performances of five Shakespeare plays in 2016 and 2017—Twelfth Night, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Henry IV, Part One and Henry IV, Part Two—plus related classroom curricula and actor workshops, post-show discussions, tours, Prologues and teacher training classes.


“It is a joy and an honor to introduce students to the plays of William Shakespeare,” said Joan Langley, OSF Education Director. “The Shakespeare in American Communities grant allows us to keep fees low and offer scholarships and complimentary tickets to students and teachers in communities who would not otherwise be able to attend plays and education activities at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.”


Participants from 44 high schools and five middle/elementary schools (approximately 900 students) will benefit from the grant through the following core initiatives: the Ashland Schools Project, which serves the local high school in OSF’s hometown of Ashland; the Bowmer Project for Student Playgoers, serving southern Oregon and northern California schools within a day trip of OSF; and School Visit Partnerships, serving schools as far as 400 miles away. The SAC grant also supports professional development and teacher training programs, including Shakespeare in the Classroom and Inside Shakespeare, which both train teachers in a theatre-based approach to teaching Shakespeare. The OSF Teachers First! catalog provides information about the plays in each season and education opportunities available at OSF. Teachers are also supplied with study guides, pre-show Prologues and post-show discussions which all help to maximize their students’ visit.


In this 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s death, both the Shakespeare in American Communities program and Shakespeare’s work continue to be relevant. “Each year, the theater companies we support present Shakespeare’s plays to a new group of middle and high schoolers across the country,” said Susan Chandler, Arts Midwest’s vice president. “And those students discover—through the artistry of these 40 outstanding theater companies—that Shakespeare wrote about the joy of young love, the perils of war, and the inequity of racial injustice. We are grateful that the National Endowment for the Arts’ partnership with us opens students’ eyes to Shakespeare and all the meaningful issues he wrote about that continue to resonate today.”


Since the program’s inception in 2003, Shakespeare in American Communities has introduced middle and high school students to the power of live theater and the masterpieces of William Shakespeare, benefiting more than 2.8 million individuals, including 2.3 million students, with live performances and educational activities.






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