Monthly Archive for: ‘January, 2017’

THEATRE NEWS FOR SAN FRANCISCO BAY —week of January 22

CURRAN ANNOUNCES   CAST FOR   WEST COAST PREMIERE ENGAGEMENT OF  “ECLIPSED”  WRITTEN BY DANAI GURIRA  DIRECTED BY LIESL TOMMY PERFORMANCES BEGIN MARCH 7

TICKETS ON SALE TODAY CHARTER CURRAN CLUB MEMBERSHIP  EXTENDED TO ALL WHO PURCHASE  TICKET TO ECLIPSED

The Curran today announced casting for the Tony Award-winning play Eclipsed, which will have a limited engagement beginning March 7 through March 19 as part of the Curran’s inaugural first productions following an extensive two-year renovation that is now complete. Starring in this gripping powerhouse ensemble of women will be Joniece Abbott-Pratt (Original Broadway cast), Akosua Busia (Original Broadway cast), Ayesha Jordan (Original Broadway cast), Adeola Role (Original Broadway cast) and Stacey Sargeant (McCarter and Public Theater casts).  Written by Danai Gurira and directed by Liesl Tommy, Eclipsed has an official opening night set for Thursday, March 9 at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets for Eclipsed are also on sale today and the Curran is extending charter Curran Club memberships to Eclipsed ticket buyers. Individuals who purchase a ticket to Fun Home and Eclipsed will automatically receive one year of charter access to the Curran Club – a members-only service that honors the Curran community with special perks.  More information on the Curran Club can be found at https://sfcurran.com/curran-club/ .

The Curran will continue (as it was began by Danai Gurira for the Broadway production), an ongoing dedication after each performance to the still missing schoolgirls of Chibok, Northern Nigeria. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, along with the Curran’s Deputy Director, Wally Hays, announced this ongoing initiative on stage on Broadway last spring.  The Curran will also work to bring students in the Bay Area to see Eclipsed, and take part in the dedication, with special priced student tickets.

Eclipsed is the story of five extraordinary women brought together by upheaval in their homeland of Liberia. They forge a close-knit community… one that inspires them to feats of increasingly greater strength. Eclipsed marked a historic moment on Broadway: the first time the cast, director, and playwright are composed entirely of female artists, fitting for a production that so stunningly chronicles the experiences of a group of very resilient women.

 

Written by playwright Danai Gurira (star of AMC’s “The Walking Dead”) and directed by Liesl Tommy (whose critically acclaimed Bay Area productions include Ruined, Party People and Hamlet), Eclipsed features Set and Costume Design by Clint Ramos, Lighting Design by Jen Schriever and Original Music and Sound Design by Broken Chord. This production is being presented by arrangement with Stephen C. Byrd and Alia Jones-Harvey, and was first presented in a sold-out run at The Public Theater in New York, and subsequently transferred to Broadway where it was nominated for six Tony Awards including Best Play, and won for Best Costume Design (Clint Ramos).

Fun Home is the first event at the Curran in 2017, a year featuring an eclectic array of programming.   Following Eclipsed is The Encounter,  Simon McBurney’s riveting one-man play where audience members must wear headphones to take part in the journey, will be the third event at the Curran, this spring, April 25 – May 7, 2017.

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For information, visit SFCURRAN.COM.

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New Conservatory Theatre Center presents world premiere of  Jewelle Gomez’s new play, “Leaving the Blues” Play centers on the life of Blues singer-songwriter Alberta Hunter

 

New Conservatory Theatre Center continues its 35th Anniversary celebration in March, proudly presenting the world premiere of Jewelle Gomez’s Leaving the Blues, an NCTC commissioned play with music imagining the life of legendary Blues singer-songwriter Alberta Hunter (1895-1984). In the new play by the celebrated Gilda Stories’ author, Hunter is backstage preparing for a professional comeback, knowing just how many doors to the past it may open. Spanning 60 years, Leaving the Blues imagines a journey through the public life Hunter led as an African-American musician, the private life she hid as a lesbian, and the ghosts that won’t let her forget.

Leaving the Blues was commissioned and developed as part of NCTC’s New Play Development Lab, and will be directed by Arturo Catricala.

Leaving the Blues runs March 3 – April 2, 2017. Opening Night is Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 8pm. Tickets are $25–50 and available at nctcsf.org or by calling (415) 861-8972.

For the world premiere of Leaving the Blues, NCTC is proud to partner with the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD). NCTC and MoAD presented special events for their members, including writing workshops with Gomez and a cabaret featuring a selection from the play and discussion with Gomez.

Every Thursday at 7pm in the NCTC lobby, audiences can enjoy a live-music pre-show by Mr. Tipple’s Musicians, from Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio, the local jazz bar located in Hayes Valley/Civic Center.

Special Engagements:

During the run of the show, audiences can enjoy many special events:

Live Music Thursdays: live-music pre-show by Mr. Tipple’s Musicians at 7pm in the lobby.

Onstage Insight, Post-Show Discussion after the following performance:

Sunday, March 19 at 2pm– Panel discussion featuring the cast, moderated by the play’s director.

Low-cost Previews: Friday, March 3 – Friday, March 10.

Opening Night will take place on Saturday, March 11 at 8pm. The performance will be followed by a reception catered by 16-17 Season Restaurant Sponsor, Mina’s Brazilian.

The cast of Leaving the Blues features Desiree Rogers, Leontyne Mbele-Mbong, Michael Gene Sullivan, Jasmine Milan Williams, Anthony Rollins-Mullens, Paul Collins, Matt Weimer, and Tai Rockett.

The creative team of Leaving the Blues includes musical arrangements and direction by Scrumbly Koldwyn, scenic design by Kuo-Hao Lo, costume design by Keri Fitch, lighting design by Christian V. Mejia, and choreography by Jayne Zaban, and stage management by Kaitlin Rosen.

 

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BAY AREA MUSICALS! CONTINUES ITS SECOND SEASON WITH THE SONDHEIM TOUR-DE-FORCE MUSICAL, ASSASSINS ▪ February 18–March 18, 2017 ▪ Single tickets available now!

 

– Bay Area Musicals!, the newest non-profit theatrical organization to join the vibrant San Francisco Bay Area arts community, continues its second season with the acclaimed tribal Stephen Sondheim musical, Assassins. A multiple Tony Award-winning theatrical tour-de-force, Assassins combines Sondheim’s signature blend of intelligently stunning lyrics and beautiful music with a panoramic story of our nation’s culture of celebrity and the violent means some will use to obtain it, embodied by America’s four successful and five would-be presidential assassins. Bold, original, disturbing, and alarmingly funny, Assassins is perhaps the most controversial musical ever written, making a great show for Bay Area Muscials’ second season.

 

Assassins will perform February 18–March 18, 2017 at San Francisco’s Alcazar Theatre (650 Geary Street). Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m. Press night for Assassins will be Saturday, February 18 at 8 p.m. and Friday, February 24 at 8:00pm. Single tickets for regular performances range in price from $35–$60. Tickets for preview performances (Thursday, February 16 at 8 p.m. and Friday, February 17 at 8 p.m.) are $20. Tickets for the opening night fundraiser on Saturday, February 18 are $100 and include an opening night party with the cast immediately following the performance. All proceeds from the opening night fundraiser ticket sales will benefit future Bay Area Musical! projects and productions. Tickets are available now by calling 415-340-2207 or visiting www.bamsf.org.

 

Assassins lays bare the lives of nine individuals who assassinated or tried to assassinate the President of the United States, in a one-act historical “revusical” that explores the dark side of the American experience. From John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, writers Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman bend the rules of time and space, taking us on a nightmarish roller coaster ride in which assassins and would-be assassins from different historical periods meet, interact and inspire each other to harrowing acts in the name of the American Dream.

Assassins features an ensemble of 14 of the best performers from throughout the Bay Area. They are: Jessica Fisher (Sara Jane Moore), DC Scarpelli (Leon Czologsz), John Brown (Samuel Byck), Derrick Silva (John Wilkes Booth), Kelli Schultz (Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme), Zac Schuman (John Hinkley), Sage G.C. (Balladeer/Oswald), Eric Neiman (The Proprietor/Ensemble), Terrence Mclaughlin (Giuseppe Zangara), Peter Budinger (Chales Guiteau), Rebecca Davis (Housewife/Ensemble), Gary M. Giurbino (Ensemble), and Maximilian Wix (Boy).

Directed by Daren A.C. Carollo, the creative team for Assassins also includes choreographer Matthew McCoy, music director Jon Gallo, associate director Ryan Weilble, assistant stage manager Wesley Rou, costume designer Brooke Jennings, sound designer Julie Indelicato, and prop designer Devon Labelle.

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FOOTHILL MUSIC THEATRE GIVES BAY AREA FIRST LOOK AT NEWLY REVISED VERSION OF ACCLAIMED BROADWAY MUSICAL “SIDE SHOW” March 2 – 19, 2017 Lohman Theatre, Los Altos Hills

 

Multi-award winning Foothill Music Theatre will give Bay Area audiences their first look at the 2014 revised version of the acclaimed Broadway musical Side Show. This dazzling work, featuring music by Henry Krieger (Dreamgirls), and book/lyrics by Bill Russell (Pageant, Lucky Duck), was nominated for four 1998 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, and Best Actress. The 2014 revival, which incorporates a revised script and several new songs, received additional critical acclaim, was nominated for five Drama Desk Awards including Outstanding Revival, and was awarded the 2015 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Musical. Side Show is based on the true story of Daisy and Violet Hilton, conjoined twins who rose from a sideshow attraction to become sensational vaudeville stars in the 1930s. Side Show will be directed by Milissa Carey, with musical direction by Dolores Duran-Cefalu, and choreography by Brett and CJ Blankenship and will play March 2 – 19, 2017 (press opening: March 3, 2017) with performances 7:30pm Thursdays, 8:00pm Fridays & Saturdays, and 2pm Sundays at the Lohman Theatre, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills. Tickets ($12 – $32) and information can be found at www.foothill/theatre.edu or by phone at (650) 949-7360.

 

The meteoric rise of the twins from obscurity to the spotlight paralleled the exploding popularity of the musical itself, which garnered national attention and was hailed as the most stunningly original musical in years. At its debut, critics praised the honest, compassionate, and sometimes disquieting look into the nature of feeling different, calling it “Something to marvel at. A daring, enthralling production” (The New York Times), a “bright and moving musical that demands attention” (New York Post).  This revised version includes new songs as well as additional biographical details of the Hilton twins’ life, and historical figures of the era. The revival was hailed as “Electrifying. Beautiful and wrenching. It’s just a wonderful musical” by The New York Times.

Foothill Music Theatre has assembled an outstanding cast for this production. Lauren Meyer and Jessica LaFever will be playing the roles of conjoined twin sisters, Violet and Daisy Hilton. Meyer (Violet), who returns to Foothill where she was seen in How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, has appeared at many local theatres including Children’s Musical Theater of San Jose, Broadway By the Bay, and Palo Alto Players. She reprises the role of Violet, which she performed at the Capistrano Center for the Performing Arts. LaFever (Daisy), a Bay Area native, will be making her Foothill debut. She has appeared in leading roles in many productions at Sunnyvale Community Players, Marin Summer Theater, and South Bay Musical Theater, among others.

 

Edward Clark (Jake) was last seen in Tabard Theatre’s production of Memphis. Tarif Pappu (Buddy) has been seen in productions with City Lights and the Los Altos Stage Company, among others. Sean Okuniewicz (Terry) returns to Foothill, where he was last seen in First Person Shooter, and Appointment with Death. He has also been seen in productions with City Lights Theater, TheatreWorks, and Broadway By the Bay. Also returning to Foothill is Kenneth Boswell (Sir), who performed with Foothill in The Producers, and has been featured at a variety of Bay Area theatre companies including Broadway By the Bay, City Lights, Pear Avenue, Los Altos Stage, Bus Barn Stage Company, and 42nd Street Moon.

 

The talented ensemble for this musical will also include: Vanessa Alvarez, Kyle Arrouzet, Melissa Baxter, Matthew Blank, Felicity Chang, Naomi Evans, Christina Fortune, Kayvon Kordestani, Danny Martin, Sam Nachison, Nick Rodrigues, Heather Steffen, and Robert Vetter.

 

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Golden Thread Productions, the first American theatre company devoted to the Middle East, continues the celebration of its 20th anniversary with an ambitious and truly international season of new work featuring artists and stories from or about Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine, Turkey, Iraq, Armenia, Japan, England, and the U.S. The mainstage season includes the world premiere of Autobiography of a Terrorist, a fiercely funny dive into the absurdity of the immigrant experience by Whiting Award–winning playwright and memoirist Saïd Sayrafiezadeh, directed by Evren Odcikin (April 14–May 7, 2017) and the return of Golden Thread’s signature program ReOrient 2017 Festival of Short Plays, featuring seven new plays from or about the Middle East (November 17–December 10, 2017). ReOrient 2017 writers selected from 79 submissions from 14 countries are Melis Aker, E.H. Benedict, Sevan K. Greene, Hannah Khalil, Junichi P. Semitsu, Betty Shamieh, and Torange Yeghiazarian. Both productions will be presented at Potrero Stage (previously Thick House) in San Francisco. Also included is Amir Nizar Zuabi’s Oh My Sweet Land, a tour-de-force solo show based on the Palestinian writer’s interviews with Syrian refugees in Jordan. Directed by Torange Yeghiazarian and featuring Nora el Samahy, Oh My Sweet Land will perform in a limited engagement tour of Bay Area kitchens in October 2017.

 

Golden Thread’s annual celebration of International Women’s Day, What Do the Women Say? moves to Brava Theater Center this year. Dedicated to Syria and named Syria Mon Amour: Food, Home, and Healing (March 8, 2017) will showcase the work of leading Middle Eastern female artists and chef Reem Assil. Also at Brava is audience-favorite New Threads staged reading series (July-August, 2017), introducing four new plays from and about the Middle East in development. Golden Thread Fairytale Players will tour Bay Area schools and libraries throughout the year with a brand new play: Leila’s Quest for Flight, in which a menagerie of mythic birds helps a little girl’s dream of becoming a pilot despite her poor eyesight. Find out more about Golden Thread and its 2017 Season at goldenthread.org/2017-Season.

“During precarious political times, nothing is more subversive than celebrating our community in all its beauty and complexity,” said Founding Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian. “In 2017, I’m excited to renew our commitment to providing space for meaningful conversations inspired by thought-provoking plays; plays that are rarely seen anywhere but here.”