Monthly Archive for: ‘September, 2017’

THEATRE NEWS FOR SAN FRANCISCO BAY—week of September 24

 

THEATREWORKS SILICON VALLEY ANNOUNCES CAST FORTHE WORLD PREMIERE OF The Prince of Egypt Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz Book by Philip LaZebnik Directed by Scott Schwartz October 6 – November 5, 2017 Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, Mountain View

 

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley continues its mission of developing new works in the Bay Area with the World Premiere of The Prince of Egypt, a soaring celebration of the human spirit and one of the greatest stories ever told: the saga of Moses, his Pharaoh brother Ramses, and the indomitable people who changed them both forever. The musical score and lyrics come from Grammy and Academy Award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin), with book by Philip LaZebnik (Pocahontas, Mulan), who will both be in residence at TheatreWorks continuing to develop this stage adaptation of the acclaimed DreamWorks Animation film. Featuring the Oscar-winning Best Song “When You Believe,” this vibrant new stage musical will be directed by multi-award-winning Broadway director Scott Schwartz (Golda’s Balcony; Jane Eyre; Bat Boy; Tick, Tick… Boom!), and features a multi-ethnic cast led by Diluckshan Jeyaratnam, an acclaimed Danish actor/singer making his US debut as Moses, and Broadway’s Jason Gotay (Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), as Ramses. This Co-World Premiere will be presented in collaboration with Fredericia Teater in Denmark, where it will be staged in 2018.

 

The World Premiere of The Prince of Egypt will be presented by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley October 6-November 5, 2017 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. For tickets ($40-$100) and more information the public may visit TheatreWorks.org or call (650) 463-1960.

 

“We are thrilled to bring this new musical to life,” said Founding Artistic Director Robert Kelley. “At TheatreWorks Silicon Valley we seek works that celebrate the human spirit, and believe that The Prince of Egypt could not be a better fit for us. We also are more than delighted to welcome back Stephen Schwartz, who has been a partner of our New Works Initiative developing shows such as Snapshots and whose other works we have presented seven times over the years, and Scott Schwartz, who has directed several shows for TheatreWorks including his World Premiere drama My Ántonia.”

 

 

The Prince of Egypt is produced in collaboration the Fredericia Teater, which will host the Co-World Premiere in Denmark in April 2018. “Collaborating with the Fredericia Teater for this World Premiere is remarkable,” said TheatreWorks Managing Director Phil Santora. “TheatreWorks has established itself as one of the nation’s foremost professional theatres championing the creation of new works, and we are honored to be working in tandem with one of Europe’s top companies.”

 

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has assembled an exceptional cast with assistance from Stewart/Whitley Casting for this World Premiere, searching far and wide to help bring this production to life. “The Prince of Egypt celebrates the human spirit with a universal story treasured by many cultures around the world,” said Kelley. “Our production will honor that legacy with a cast drawn from the world’s many races, ethnicities, and religions playing characters from the diverse cultures portrayed in the show.”

 

The role of Moses will be played by Diluckshan Jeyaratnam, a Danish native who will also be playing the role at the Fredericia. His international credits include Shubidua The Musical and Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Fredericia Teater, and Jesus Christ Superstar and Cats with MCH Musicals at the Herning Congress Center. Broadway actor/singer Jason Gotay co-stars as Ramses, Moses’ adoptive brother and successor to the Pharaoh. Gotay has been seen on Broadway as Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and as Randall in the original cast of Bring It On the Musical. His extensive Off-Broadway and regional credits include Paper Mill Playhouse, Theatre Under The Stars, concerts at Jazz at Lincoln Center and 54 Below, and the national tour of Bring It On the Musical. Among his television credits, he was seen as the Lost Boy Toodles in NBC’s recent Peter Pan Live.

 

Brennyn Lark will play Tzipporah, Moses’ wife. She has performed as Eponine in Les Miserables on Broadway, as well as at many New York theatres including Connelly Theater, and Cherry Lane Theatre. Julia Motyka will portray Moses’ biological sister Miriam. She returns to TheatreWorks where she was last seen in The Learned Ladies of Park Avenue, which captured her a San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics’ Circle Award for Best Ensemble Performance, and a Dean Goodman Choice Award for Outstanding Principal Performer. Off-Broadway, she has been seen with many companies including La MaMa, and Player’s Theatre, and regionally she has performed with The Alley, Denver Theatre Center, Folger Theatre, and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, among others.

 

Pharaoh Seti will be played by Obie Award winner Tom Nelis. Among his Broadway credits are Indecent, The Visit, Enron, and Aida, as well as dozens of other New York productions. Nelis was also seen in NBC’s Smash, and has been a recurring character on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Christina Sajous as Queen Tuya also boasts Broadway credits including Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and Green Day’s American Idiot. She has performed regionally with Williamstown Theatre, Denver Center Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music’s New York City Opera, and the Folger Theatre, and others.

 

 

Although he was seen as Bobby Dupree in Broadway’s Memphis (which got its start at TheatreWorks), Will Mann is making his local debut with the company as High Priest Hotep. Mann has starred in the national tours of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Memphis, Billy Elliot, and Wonderful Town, and regionally has performed with Dallas Theatre Center, Sacramento Music Circus, and North Shore Music Theatre, among others. He was also seen as a principal dancer in the film Ricki and the Flash, starring Meryl Streep. David Crane will portray Aaron, the biological brother of Moses. He has performed with regional theatres including the Mountain Play Association, and Sacramento Theatre Company, among many others, and can be seen in various roles with BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, with some of his sketches accumulating more than 40 million views online.

 

 

Known to Bay Area audiences for roles at PlayGround, SF Playhouse, Ray of Light, Theatre of Yugen, Shotgun Players, and Custom Made Theatre, Ayelet Firstenberg makes her TheatreWorks debut as Youcheved, the biological mother of Moses. Her national credits include work Off-Broadway at the Vital Theatre, among others. Jamila Sabares-Klemm will play Nefertari, Ramses’ wife. She has performed in the first national tour of Hair, and at many regional theatres. Paul-Jordan Jansen, as Jethro, made an impact on TheatreWorks audiences at last summer’s New Works Festival reading of Something Wicked This Way Comes, in which he appeared as the ominous Mr. Dark. Jansen has performed with New York’s Westchester Broadway Theatre, and regionally with Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Maine State Music Theatre, and others.

 

Natalie Schroeder and Alexandra Van De Poel will share the role of Young Miriam. Schroeder has been seen in American Conservatory Theater’s production of A Christmas Carol, performed at Carnegie Hall, and with the Orinda Community Center and Town Hall Theater. Van De Poel has performed with the Peter Pan Foundation, and the Berkeley Playhouse, among other local appearances. Playing Young Aaron is Dylan Kento Curtis, who has performed with StarStruck Theater and San Jose Dance Theatre, and Oliver Yellin, who has starred in several Children’s Musical Theater San Jose productions including Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, as the hyperactive kid addicted to television Mike Teavee.

 

The diverse ensemble for this musical will include C.J. Blankenship, Dominic Dagdagan, Katherine Dela Cruz, Jourdan Epstein, Brian Flores, Gabriel Hyman, Joshua Keith, Travis Leland, Alison Mixon, Ramone Owens, David Sattler, Alicia Shumway, and Kalyn West.

 

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CALIFORNIA SHAKESPEARE THEATER ANNOUNCES 2018 SEASON OF BRUNS DEBUTS 44TH Season includes stories of visionary scope:an adaptation of Cervantes’ masterpieceby Octavio Solis; a Branden Jacobs-Jenkins West Coast premiere;and an epic Shakespearean event

California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes) today announced its 2018 Season of firsts at the Bruns Amphitheater: Quixote by Octavio Solis, adapted from Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes, June 13-July 1; the West Coast premiere of Everybody by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, July 18-August 5; and The War of the Roses, adapting William Shakespeare’s historical tetralogy covering Henry VI, parts 1, 2, and 3, and Richard III, August 22-September 9. Cast and creative teams for each will be announced at a later date.

 

First up, a literary classic re-imagined: Quixote marks the return of playwright Octavio Solis (John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven) to the Bruns with his acclaimed adaptation originally commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival but conceived anew, setting La Mancha as a modern-day Texas border town. Filled with flights of fancy and Tejano tunes, Don Quixote and his trusty sidekick Sancho ride into battle against dragons, evil enchanters, and illusions of the mind.

 

Next, a 21st-Century riff on the medieval morality play: Everybody by acclaimed playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (An Octoroon) in its West Coast premiere. Everybody dies. It’s the one universal truth. So when death comes knocking, one of six actors chosen randomly at the top of each performance seeks companionship for their final journey in an allegorical play that plumbs the depths of the human condition with surprising humor, heart, grace, and dancing skeletons.

 

Finally, a Shakespearean event of epic proportions: The War of the Roses, a monumental evening of theater spanning four of Shakespeare’s histories—the Henry VI trilogy and Richard III—delivering a fast-paced, far-ranging, vividly theatrical depiction of two powerful families—the Lancasters and the Yorks—and their decades-long fight for English rule that’s sure to leave you breathless. When weak leadership and civil strife run rampant, what are the consequences? Who will take the throne?

 

“I’m excited to share with you our plans for 2018—stories of visionary scope that speak as much to who we are as to who we’ve been,” says Eric Ting, Artistic Director. “This season also brings changes. We listened as many of our audiences expressed concerns over their increasingly hectic summers and the erratic weather of spring and autumn.  We heard from many of our most ardent supporters that Cal Shakes should always be BOLD theater—big enough to fill the vast outdoors. We wanted new ways to celebrate the unique experience of the Bruns, be they return engagements of popular productions or extraordinary events that we couldn’t pass up. And so we’ve created a concentrated subscription season filled with the epic and eventful work so many of our audiences crave, of scale and scope and audacious, uncompromising vision—a true summer at the Bruns, anchored by three plays from June to September. This also affords us room to explore additional programming at the Bruns—with subscribers benefitting by broadened experiences and early access to tickets. Stay tuned for more information as those plans develop.”

 

Last season, Cal Shakes saw record single ticket sales for its hit show, black odyssey, and the audience and critical response was overwhelmingly positive. California Shakespeare Theater continues to redefine the boundaries of classical theater for the 21st century, producing new works inspired by classic texts and presenting Shakespeare that engages with the contemporary moment. “Who we are as a people, as human beings, is in no small part defined by the stories that we were raised on,” continues Ting. “Stories, in their way, teach us how to be human. They teach us our morality, our sense of right and wrong, how to love, how to hate, how to live. Next year’s stories will be no exception.”

 

Season packages for the three-play season are available now; single and group tickets go on sale to the public April 9, 2018. Prices start at $99 for a three-play subscription, with discounts available for seniors, youth, and full-time K-12 educators.

 

For information or to charge tickets by phone with VISA, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express, call the Cal Shakes Box Office at 510.548.9666. Additional information and online ticketing is available at www.calshakes.org.

 

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BERKELEY REPERTORY THEATRE EXTENDS AIN’T TOO PROUD—THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE TEMPTATIONFOR AN ADDITIONAL TWO WEEKS — MUST CLOSE SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5

By popular demand, 16 additional performances added

 

– In response to critical praise and overwhelming demand, Berkeley Rep has announced that the world-premiere musical Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of The Temptations will add two more weeks of performances to its extended run and will now close on Sunday, November 5.

Tickets for the added sixteen performances will be available to the general public beginning today Tuesday, September 19 via the Berkeley Rep box office at 510 647-2949 and online at berkeleyrep.org.

 

Praise from critics:

“ABSOLUTELY ELECTRIFYING! The music alone is enough to make this a must-see theatrical event…. A rich and rewarding pleasure.” – TheaterDogs.net

“THROBS WITH GRIT AND GROOVE. Now more than ever, the magnitude of what the band accomplished, crossing over into the mainstream, and what they sacrificed to get there resonates. There’s nothing [like] the irresistible beat of ‘The Temptations.’”  – San Jose Mercury News

 

“Not just your imagination: ’TEMPTATIONS’ MUSICAL ROCKS! Richly textured, perfectly blended harmonies back lead vocals that somehow combine swaggering showmanship, meticulously honed technique and emotion of almost unbearable intensity.” – San Francisco Chronicle

 

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Eugene O’Neill Foundation Announces   “One Festival, Two Countries” –International Theatre Festival of O’Neill Plays  in Danville & Ireland in 2018

The Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House announced today that it is joining with the O’Neill Ancestral     Trustof Ireland to produce an international festival of Eugene O’Neill’s plays in the fall of 2018.

The close bilateral partnership, reflected in the slogan “One Festival, Two Countries,” will feature productions of O’Neill plays in Danville, California, throughout September 2018, and in New Ross, Ireland, October 11-14, 2018. It is anticipated that the jointly produced “One Festival, Two Countries” will become an annual event.

“One of the most gratifying things about this project is the friendships that have developed, both civic and

personal,” said Dan McGovern, the president of the board of the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, Tao House, and the American co-chair of “One Festival, Two Countries.” “Danville and New Ross are planning to enter into an official Friendship City relationship, and I could not have better Irish colleagues than my co-chair, Sean Reidy, and our academic advisor, Richard Hayes.”

 

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PlayGround’s 24th Season / October 16, 2017-June 17, 2018 2017-18 Monday Night PlayGround   October 16, 2017 –  March 19, 2018 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre 018 PlayGround Festival of New Works May 10-June 17, 2018 at Potrero Stage

Commissioned Premieres by William Bivins & Julianne Jigour

PlayGround’s 24th season begins October 16, 2017 and runs through June 17, 2018 in Berkeley and San Francisco. The Season opens October 16, 2017 –  March 19, 2018 in Berkeley with its acclaimed Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. In the spring, PlayGround’s season continues with the PlayGround Festival of New Works from May 10-June 17, 2018 at San Francisco’s Potrero Stage, the company’s newly-renovated home. A highlight of this year’s PlayGround Festival are premieres of two PlayGround commissioned full-length plays: SCAPEGOAT by William Bivins and BRIGHT SHINING SEA by Julianne Jigour, both originally developed at the 2016 Festival.

THEATRMonday Night PlayGround- Oct. 16, 2017 –  Mar. 19, 2018 at The Berkeley Repertory Theatre

 

Monday Night PlayGround launches on Monday, October 16 with an evening of original short plays written by members of the just-announced 2017-18 Writers Company (Writers Pool and Resident Playwrights), with the October topic to be announced on Friday, September 29. The Monday Night PlayGround series continues on third Mondays through March at Berkeley Rep. Monday Night PlayGround season subscriptions start at just $75 and individual tickets are $15-$30. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://playground-sf.org

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