Monthly Archive for: ‘April, 2017’









– ​The Curran and Stanford Live at Stanford University, in association with Magic Theatre and Pomegranate Arts, announced today that they will present California native Taylor Mac’s groundbreaking performance art concert A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC, in its entirety this September for the first time since the historic 24-hour marathon performance at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse last fall. Over four performances, audience members can experience Mac’s pièce de résistance, which The New York Times’ Wesley Morris called “one of the great experiences of my life.” For the upcoming performances at the Curran—made possible by an unprecedented collaboration between these esteemed Bay Area institutions—the concert will be reworked into four six-hour Chapters, with performances at the Curran (445 Geary Street) Friday, September 15, at 5pm; Sunday, September 17, at 2pm; Friday, September 22, at 5pm; and Sunday, September 24 at 2pm.


For more information, and to be the first to know when tickets go on sale, please visit Tickets for the abridged Bing Concert Hall performance go on sale to the general public on June 8, following a pre-sale period for Stanford Live donors and subscribers. For more information, visit


A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC is Mac’s multi-year effort to chart a subjective history of the United States through 246 songs that were popular throughout the country, and in its disparate communities, from 1776 to the present day. In performing the work, Mac is joined by an orchestra—led by Music Director Matt Ray, who created new arrangements of all 246 songs—plus an ensemble of “Dandy Minions” and a variety of local special guests, including members of the audience cast as colonial needleworkers, World War I soldiers and Yum Yum from The Mikado. Costume designer Machine Dazzle, a longtime Mac collaborator, has handmade an outrageously imaginative, world-unto-itself costume specific to each decade.


A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC recently won the 2017 Edward M. Kennedy Award for Drama inspired by American History and was a 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama, in addition to being included on an unprecedented three New York Times “Best of…” lists in 2016: Performance, Theater and Classical Music.


The performances at the Curran are:


Friday, September 15 at 5pm (Chapter 1: 1776-1836): The American Revolution from the perspective of the yankee doodle dandy, the early woman’s lib movement, an epic battle between drinking songs and early temperance songs, a dream sequence where the audience is blindfolded and the heteronormative narrative as colonization.


  • Sunday, September 17 at 2pm (Chapter II: 1836-1896): Walt Whitman and Stephen Foster go head to head for the title of Father of the American Song, culminating in the queerest Civil War Reenactment in history. Oh, and: a production of The Mikado set on Mars.


  • Friday, September 22 at 5pm (Chapter III: 1896-1956): A Jewish tenement, a WWI trench, a speakeasy, a depression, a zoot suit riot all make the white people flee the cities.


  • Sunday, September 24 at 2pm (Chapter IV: 1956-the present): Bayard Rustin’s March on Washington leads to a queer riot, sexual deviance as revolution, radical lesbians, and a community building itself while under siege.


A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC is Created, Written, Performed and Co-Directed by Taylor Mac, with Co-Direction by Niegel Smith, Music Direction/Arrangements by Matt Ray, Costume Design by Machine Dazzle, Dramaturgy by Jocelyn Clarke, Scenic Design by Mimi Lien, Lighting Design by John Torres. A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC is produced by Pomegranate Arts and Mac’s company Nature’s Darlings.


This engagement marks a special partnership between the Curran and Stanford Live. Prior to the Curran presentation, Stanford will host Mac and other members of the creative team in a creative residency on campus. As part of the University’s Arts Intensive Program, students will help prepare various elements of the production and then will have the opportunity to participate in both the San Francisco and Stanford performances, either on stage as “Dandy Minions” or as part of the backstage crew.


A special three-hour abridged version of A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC will be presented at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall (327 Lasuen Street, Stanford, CA 94305) on Wednesday, September 27, at 7:30pm.


Taylor Mac’s A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC will be the fourth event at the Curran in 2017, opening first with the Tony Award-winning musical FUN HOME in January, which was followed by the critically acclaimed plays ECLIPSED in March and THE ENCOUNTER in April.


“Stanford is excited to play a role in bringing Taylor Mac home to the Bay Area,” said Chris Lorway, Executive Director of Stanford Live. “I was lucky enough to catch the marathon performance in Brooklyn last fall and can say firsthand that having our students participate in a project of this magnitude will be a once in a lifetime experience. I thank my colleagues at Stanford for believing in and supporting this very important work.”


Loretta Greco, Artistic Director of Magic Theatre said, “It has been Magic Theatre’s great privilege to support the shapeshifting work of visionary Taylor Mac over the last eight years. We are over-the-moon to be a part of bringing Mac’s latest masterwork, A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC, to San Francisco in this unprecedented partnership with Pomegranate Arts, the Curran and Stanford Live.”



Bay Area Cabaret  Presents  Bill Porter Broadway and Soul Sunday, May 14 at 7:30 PM Venetian Room in the Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill


Bay Area Cabaret celebrates their season finale with Tony and Grammy Award-winner Billy Porter performing Broadway and Soul. Entertainment weekly says, “Billy Porter is remarkable in a star-making turn.” As the irrepressible Lola in the musical Kinky Boots, Billy made an indelible mark on Broadway when his electrifying performance earned him the Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critic Circle Awards.


In April 2016, Billy returned to Broadway, co-starring with fellow Tony-winners Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell in the Tony-nominated musical Shuffle Along. Mr. Porter’s other Broadway appearances include Miss Saigon, Five Guys Named Moe, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Grease! and Dreamgirls: Actors Fund Concert. Among his Off Broadway credits are The Merchant of Venice, Topdog/Underdog, King Lear, Chicago, Ghetto Superstar (which he also wrote), and the critically acclaimed 20th Anniversary production of Angels In America. Billy won the NAACP Theatre Award for Best Direction of a Musical for his production of Once On This Island at Reprise Theatre Company, where he also conceived and directed a new musical revue called The Soul of Rodgers.  He recently directed the revival of George C. Wolfe’s The Colored Museum at Boston’s Huntington Theater.


His recordings include the newly released “Billy Porter Presents the Soul of Richard Rodgers,” “Untitled,” “At the Corner of Broadway & Soul” and “Billy’s Back On Broadway.” Billy’s original song “Time” has been featured twice on the mega-hit television series So You Think You Can Dance. His feature films include The Broken Heart’s Club, Intern, Noel, and The Humbling. His 2015 TV special, Live From Lincoln Center—Billy Porter: Broadway and Soul, aired on PBS. He plays DJ Malibu in Baz Luhrman’s Netflix television series The Get Down.


Go in the studio with Billy Porter and friends making his new CD. When:  Sunday, May 14 at 7:30 PM Where: Venetian Room of the Fairmont San Francisco(950 Mason Street, atop Nob Hill, San Francisco) Tickets ($58): or (415) 927-4636





Director Desdemona Chiang makes her Cal Shakes debut, infusing Shakespeare’s  romantic comedy with the vibrant, complicated, and shifting energy of the Bay Area.

– California Shakespeare Theater begins its 43rd Season with Shakespeare’s gender-bending comedy, As You Like It. In director Desdemona Chiang’s all new production, adaptable and resilient Rosalind must leave everything she knows behind to find her true family. Disguised as a boy named Ganymede, she and her cousin Celia journey through the forests of Arden with the jester Touchstone, meeting both long-lost and newfound friends. Realizing that family is not just for those related by blood, she sheds her identity and transforms her relationships, discovering who she is along the way. Low-priced previews take place May 24-26; Opening Night is May 27, and performances continue through June 18 at the Bruns Ampitheater. Press night will be held Saturday, May 27, at 8 pm. Tickets (ranging from $20-$92) are available through the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666 or by visiting Ticket prices are subject to change without notice.


“Our 2017 season is opening with Desdemona Chiang’s thought-provoking reimagination of that most quintessential of Shakespearean journeys,” says Cal Shakes Artistic Director, Eric Ting. “As You Like It is ultimately a story of leaving everything you know behind, interrogating the very things that define ‘you’ to the rest of world, leading you to a new self in ways you’d never imagined before. In my time here in the Bay Area, I’ve been struck by how this community is a beacon for those seeking to redefine themselves—for those seeking to expand their sense of ‘family.’ We all have amazing journeys of self-discovery and I’m looking forward to Bay Area audiences reflecting on their own paths through one of Shakespeare’s great characters, Rosalind.”

As part of Cal Shakes’ ongoing efforts to engage with community partners around issues in our plays, we are partnering with community-based nonprofits Rainbow Community Center and Youth Uprising to engage with non-binary, genderqueer, and/or gender nonconforming youth (18-24) for Story Circles around journeys of finding home. The director and selected members of the cast will share food and stories with community members about how they’ve come to understand and articulate their gender identities, and how they’ve found and built community, touching on biological family, chosen family, and intimate relationships. The story circles will not be open to the public; however, there will be a public exhibit at the Bruns Amphitheater during the run of As You Like It.


“As You Like It has always been a coming-of-age story to me. It is a journey of joy, danger, and liberation, where the strange becomes familiar and disguise leads to revelation,” says director Desdemona Chiang. “In our production, Shakespeare’s Forest of Arden is re-imagined from a pastoral landscape to an abandoned urban jungle occupied by displaced and disparate people. They are survivors who breed connection from banishment, love from tragedy, and ultimately create community and home in this unlikely and surprising place.”


This reimagining lead Ting and Chiang on a broad search when casting the pivotal role of Rosalind, performed by Jessika D. Williams in her Cal Shakes debut. Says Chiang, “traditionally, the Rosalind arc is ‘I must pretend to be a boy, it’s very difficult, and what a relief it is to be a girl again.’  I like the idea that dressing like a boy actually feels surprisingly right to her.  It’s not about disguise…these new clothes are a liberation rather than a restriction. This character is both Rosalind and Ganymede—she is true to both parts of herself.”


Cal Shakes veteran and Bay Area favorite, James Carpenter—returning from his turn as Iago in last season’s Othello—plays Rosalind’s father and uncle, Duke Senior and Duke Frederick, respectively.


Rounding out the cast for As You Like It are: Maryssa Wanlass as Celia (Hermione in The Winter’s Tale and Lady Macduff in Macbeth at San Francisco Shakespeare Festival); Patrick Russell as Orlando (Noises Off, Red Velvet, and Trouble Cometh at San Francisco Playhouse, A Bright New Boise and Wilder Times at Aurora Theatre Company, and King Charles III and Once in a Lifetime at A.C.T., among others); Craig Marker as Oliver (King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Macbeth at Cal Shakes, Invisible Hand and Anne Boleyn at Marin Theatre Company, Deathtrap, Clybourne Park, and Arms and the Man at Center Rep, among others); Warren David Keith as Touchstone (The Winter’s Tale, Much Ado About Nothing, Henry IV (pts 1&2) at Cal Shakes, What We’re Up Against, Mauritius, and The Rules of Charity at Magic Theatre, The First Grade and The Devil’s Disciple at Aurora Theatre, War Music and ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore at A.C.T., among others); Patty Gallagher as Audrey (Comedy of Errors and Happy Days at Cal Shakes, Hamlet, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Santa Cruz Shakespeare, and Conference of the Birds at Folger Shakespeare Theatre, among others); William Hodgson as Silvius (It Can’t Happen Here at Berkeley Rep, I am My Own Wife at Ubuntu Theater Project, An Octoroon at Mixed Blood, among others); Jomar Tagatac as Jaques (Life is a Dream at Cal Shakes, Jesus in India, The Happy Ones, and Every 5 Minutes at The Magic Theater, You For Me For You at Crowded Fire Theater); and Lisa Hori-Garcia as Phebe (Freedomland and Schooled, among others at SF Mime Troupe, Holiday High Jinx at Word for Word, The Tooth of Crime at Camp Santo/A.C.T.). Hodgson, Hori-Garcia, Russell, and Wanlass also make their Cal Shakes debuts with this production.


The creative team for As You Like It includes scenic designer Nina Ball, whose previous designs for Cal Shakes include Othello, Twelfth Night, and The Comedy Of Errors; costume designer Melissa Torchia, whose work for Cal Shakes includes You Never Can Tell (BATCC Award Nominee), King Lear, and The Verona Project; lighting designer Masha Tsimring, whose work has been seen at InterAct Theatre (Grounded by George Brant), Chautauqua Theatre Co. (In The Next Room, [or the Vibrator Play] by Sarah Ruhl), and locally at Marin Theatre Company (The Way West) and Crowded Fire (Good Goods, Drip); and sound designer Sharath Patel, whose work has been heard at A Contemporary Theater (The Royale by Marco Ramirez), Yale Repertory Theater (The People Next Door by Henry Adams), and Artists Repertory Theater (The Mother F**ker With the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis, Tribes by Nina Raine), among others. This production of As You Like It marks Cal Shakes debuts for both Tsimring and Patel.


Single tickets for As You Like It range from $20 to $92, with discounts available for seniors, youth, students, military families, persons age 30 and under, and groups. Prices, dates, titles, and artists are subject to change. For information or to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard, or American Express, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666. Additional information and online ticketing are available at



World Premiere of Vonnegut adaptation by Custom Made Artistic Director Brian Katz; Follows His Staging of Highly Praised “Slaughterhouse Five”Press Opening is Sunday, May 28 at 7:00 pm

Once again, Custom Made Theatre brings a Kurt Vonnegut novel to the stage with the world premiere of Brian Katz’s adaptation of Vonnegut’s third and highly celebrated novel, Mother Night. It’s a meta-theatrical tale of duplicitous spies, bumbling white supremacists, and an anti-hero that served “evil too well and good too secretly, the crime of our times,” writes author Vonnegut.  Mother Night is also a love story, which fantasizes an idyllic “nation of two” as the only way to survive when the world has gone mad.  Mother Night runs May 25-June 24 at Custom Made Theatre, 533 Sutter Street in San Francisco.


Mother Night tells the story of Howard W. Campbell, whom audiences may remember as the American-born, Nazi propagandist from “Slaughterhouse-Five”.


n Mother Night, we learn that Campbell’s story is much more complicated – that he was actually a double agent for the Allies, and was passing along secrets coded in his anti-Semitic radio broadcasts heard throughout the Third Reich. But at the same time, these broadcasts inspired and entertained Germans, helping them to believe the racist, totalitarian lies of Hitler and Goebbels.


Years later, Campbell has been living quietly in New York City, mourning the loss of his wife, when his solace is shattered by one betrayal after another. Eventually, he finds himself in a jail cell in Jerusalem, awaiting his fate, revisiting his past, and wondering if evil was served too well, and good too little.

In true Vonnegut fashion, Mother Night uses non-linear storytelling to piece together Campbell’s history, and expertly fills in the jigsaw puzzle of a life that mirrors the great events of the last century.

Brian Katz directs a cast of seven who assume multiple roles in this epic, existentialist story.




Chris Morrell* – Howard W. Campbell, Jr.

David Boyll – O’Hare, ensemble

Megan Briggs – Helga, ensemble

AJ Davenport* – Witeren, ensemble

Catz Forsman – Jones, ensemble

Adam Niemann – Epstein, ensemble

Dave Sikula* – Kraft, ensemble




After a 2016-2017 season filled with iconic American stories and Theatre Bay Area Recommended Productions, Los Altos Stage Company is pleased to announce its 2017-2018 season of plays and musicals, continuing its proud tradition of presenting bold, entertaining, and thought-provoking theater.


Five productions are slated for the 2017-2018 season, beginning with a masterwork of American drama: Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.The 1953 Tony winner for Best Play, The Crucible has been considered a central work in the American dramatic canon for over 60 years. Originally written as an allegory for McCarthyism, Miller’s masterwork continues to serve as a sobering reminder about the dangers of persecuting those who are “different” in the eyes of the ruling class. The Crucible will be directed by Jeffrey Lo (Dead Man’s Cellphone – LASC 2015, Yellow Face – LASC 2017) and performs September 7 through October 1, 2017.


Nostalgia is in the air during the holidays when The 1940s Radio Hour takes the stage this December. Set in 1942 New York, The 1940s Radio Hour follows a group of colorful radio singers and personalities presenting their holiday broadcast for the fighting forces overseas. Filled with touchstones of the time like “Strike Up the Band” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”, The 1940s Radio Hour has been hailed as “exhilarating” by The New York Daily News. The 1940s Radio Hour will be directed by Lee Ann Payne (Assassins – LASC 2016) and performs November 30 through December 23, 2017.


Personal electronic devices that the government can use to spy on its citizens. Wars with invisible enemies that are seemingly never-ending. “Alternative Facts” displacing scientific proof and historical record. Sound familiar?  These realities of the 21st Century were accurately predicted nearly 70 years ago by George Orwell in 1984, and Los Altos Stage Company is thrilled to bring this iconic work to the stage in January 2018. Long considered one of the most important and influential works in English literature, 1984 is more relevant to the American experience than ever, and plays at the Bus Barn Theater January 25 through February 18, 2018.


Lisa Loomer is one of America’s most important contemporary playwrights, having won critical acclaim for her play The Waiting Room, and for co-authoring the screenplay for Girl, Interrupted. In April, Los Altos Stage brings to life one of Ms. Loomer’s most timely plays with Distracted. 9-year-old Jessie is out of control; his teacher says he has ADD, his Dad claims he’s just a boy, and his Mom is on a quest for answers. Lauded as “sharply observant” by The Associated Press and “chronically entertaining” by The New York Daily News, Distracted asks the question; Are we so tuned-in to our 24/7 info-rich world that we’ve tuned out what really matters? Distracted performs April 12 through May 6, 2018.


Los Altos Stage Company closes out the 2017-2018 season with a little magic, as the beloved musical Pippin comes to the stage in May 2018. The Tony Award-winning musical by David O. Hirson and Stephen Schwartz brings whimsy, reflection, and humanity to the stage in a truly unique way. Following the title character on a quest to find out what his role in the universe is supposed to be, Pippin draws its audience in and invites them to take part in their own journey of self-discovery. Pippin performs May 24through June 24, 2018.


Season subscriptions (5 plays) are on sale now at or by calling the Los Altos Stage Company Box Office at (650) 941-0551. Prices range from $100 (student) to $170/subscription. Single tickets go on sale July 1, 2017.






— The innovative educational program that launched in 2016 at HAMILTON on Broadway, and has subsequently debuted in Chicago and San Francisco, will make history on April 26, 2017 when more than 5,000 students and teachers from Title 1 schools attend matinee performances of the musical at The Richard Rodgers Theater on Broadway, The PrivateBank Theatre in Chicago and at the SHN Orpheum Theater in San Francisco.

The three April 26th student matinee performances are being underwritten by


In addition to seeing a performance of HAMILTON, the students will participate in a Q&A with members of the HAMILTON cast in each city.  As well, students representing various schools in attendance will perform an original work they created based on their classroom studies—songs, rap, poetry, scenes, monologues—on stage in front of their peers.


“ is proud to provide grant support for the Hamilton Education Program. This funding will enable 5,000 Title I students in New York, Chicago and the Bay Area to see HAMILTON as the capstone of a six-week high school course about the Founding Era,” said Justin Steele, Principle for “By enabling students from all backgrounds to see themselves reflected in such a powerful portrayal of American History, we hope to empower underrepresented students to full academic and social participation.”


Steele continues, “Because we are committed to bringing the best of Google to our grantmaking, Google is also launching, with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, new digital content that helps students, teachers, and fans around the world to engage more deeply with Alexander Hamilton’s history through Google Expeditions and our Google Cultural Institute.”


HAMILTON producer Jeffrey Seller—who devised the education program in New York in tandem with HAMILTON creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Rockefeller Foundation, the NYC Department of Education and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History—says about Google’s support, “Google’s support is a welcome addition to our education initiatives.  Their commitment to this program is a tremendous opportunity for the students to engage and connect with American History through study, live performance and technology.


James G. Basker, President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, adds, “This project is transformative.  Over the next several years, hundreds of thousands of students in New York City, Chicago and other cities where HAMILTON tours will experience American history in a new way and find their own connections to the Founding Fathers, to the performing arts, and to the future of our country.”


Schools participating in the April 26 program include:

  • Arroyo High School
  • Aspire California College Preparatory Academy Richmond
  • Aspire Golden State College Prep
  • Jesse Bethel High School
  • Buhach Colony High School
  • Ceres High School
  • Coliseum College Prep Academy
  • De Anza High School
  • Dewey Academy
  • Eastside College Preparatory School
  • Florin High School
  • Grant Union High School
  • Jefferson High School
  • Madison Park Business and Art Academy
  • McClymonds High School
  • MetWest High School
  • Oakland Charter High School
  • William C. Overfelt High School
  • Rudsdale High School
  • San Jose High School
  • San Leandro High School
  • Skyline High School
  • Woodland High School


The Rockefeller Foundation provided an initial grant of $1.46 million that funded the educational partnership in New York City.  After the resounding success of the partnership in New York, The Rockefeller Foundation committed an additional $6 million to the effort to support the national expansion of the program.


Dr. Rajiv Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation said “After the initial success of the partnership in New York City we could not throw away our shot to ensure students across the United States had the opportunity to witness living breathing history. We look forward to more amazing partnerships like and to seeing the creativity and engagement this program continues to spur.”


The HAMILTON producers are making tickets for the April 26 educational program available for $60, all of which is subsidized by




USAAF 2017 presents Jason Bayani’s “Locus of Control”Thursday thru Saturday, June 1st – 3rd, 2017 at 8:30pm Debut solo show delivers a compelling mix of poetry, storytelling, and performance

The Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center of San Francisco’s 20th annual United States ofAsian America Festival is proud to present the world premiere of Jason Bayani: Locus of Control  , the debut solo show by internationally touring poet and published author,

Jason Bayani  Directed by award-winning performing artist, Kat Evasco (Mommy Queerest), the show explores the lives of Filipino immigrants in America, taking you through Bayani’s hip-hopinspired youth, club-going college days, and turbulent adulthood.

Locus of Control   navigates his experience dealing with race, mental health, addiction, and his status as the firstAmerican-born child in his family. Utilizing poetry, storytelling, music, and multimedia, Bayanipieces together the different threads of his life while struggling to make sense of WalterBenjamin’s notion of redeemingthe past in present time.

Locus of Control runs at Bindlestiff Studio in SF from June 1st – 3rd at 8:30pm. Presale ticket prices start at $12, $15 at the door

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