THEATRE NEWS FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA —WEEK OF DECEMBER 20TH
CURRAN: UNDER CONSTRUCTION” CULMINATES WITH TAYLOR MAC’S “A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC: 1776-1836” IN TWO PARTS
SIX PERFORMANCE ENGAGEMENT AT THE CURRAN BEGINS THURSDAY, JANUARY 21
SIX-HOUR MARATHON OF PARTS I AND II TO BE PRESENTED AT FINAL PERFORMANCE
– The Curran is proud to present Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1776 – 1836 as part of “Curran: Under Construction,” the ground-breaking series of intimate and non-traditional programming curated by Carole Shorenstein Hays. The six-performance limited engagement will begin Thursday, January 21 at the Curran (445 Geary St). As recently announced, “Curran: Under Construction” kicks-off a new era for the historic theatre, which is undergoing a major renovation and will reopen as a full-sized venue in early 2017. Throughout “Curran: Under Construction,” audiences will enter through the Curran’s stage door alleyway and be seated on stage alongside the action.
A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: 1776 – 1836 will be presented in two parts — Part I: 1776-1806 on January 21-23, and Part II: 1806-1836 on January 26-27. A six-hour marathon of both parts I and II will be presented at the final performance on January 30.
“Taylor Mac is a visionary talent and we are delighted to welcome him, for the first — but not last — time to the Curran. His epic work-in-progress promises to be a great climax to our Curran: Under Construction adventure,” said Shorenstein Hays.
Taylor Mac is embarking on an ambitious, highly entertaining and stirring project called A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, a durational performance art concert and a subjective history of the past 240 years in America. This highly anticipated project incorporates over 30 different performance art concerts, a number of co-commissioners from around the world, and will culminate in a one-time only 24-hour event. He will be performing mini-marathons of 3 and 6 hour excerpts of the piece, both as developmental workshops prior to the 24 hour piece, and touring after the “premiere.” The Curran is proud to co-commission this ambitious work and present the first six decades beginning with the birth of the nation in 1776, here in the city that inspired him to create it: San Francisco.
Mac is a legendary downtown New York theater artist, originally from Northern California, with a large and dedicated audience in the Bay Area. He is a playwright, actor, singer/songwriter who has performed internationally from the Public Theater in New York to Sydney Opera House. He is currently an artist in residence at the Park Avenue Armory and the Sundance Institute’s Theater Lab at for summer 2015. He is this year’s recently named recipient of the Herb Alpert Award for theater.
Tickets for Taylor Mac are priced at $50, with marathon tickets priced at $75, and can be purchased exclusively via Eventbrite by visiting SFCURRAN.COM, where you can also find all the latest information about “Curran: Under Construction” and plans for the new Curran theatre.
A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is created, written, co-directed and performed by Taylor Mac, with co-direction by Niegel Smith, music direction by Matt Ray and costumes by Machine Dazzle. The work is co-produced by Pomegranate Arts and Nature’s Darlings.
AURORA THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS THE WORLD PREMIERE OF “LITTLE ERIK” January 29-February 28, 2016 A contemporary adaptation of Ibsen’s Little Eyolf World Premiere
Aurora Theatre Company continues its 24th season with the World Premiere of LITTLE ERIK. Written and directed by award-winning Bay Area auteur Mark Jackson (The Letters, The Arsonists, Salomania), LITTLE ERIK features Marilee Talkington, Joe Estlack, Wilma Bonet, Greg Ayers, Mariah Castle, and Jack Wittmayer. LITTLE ERIK plays January 29 through February 28 at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley. For tickets ($32-60) and information the public can call (510) 843-4822 or visit auroratheatre.org.
Joie brings in the big bucks from the tech industry. Her husband, Freddie, wants to write a great novel about human responsibility. On a weekend getaway to the new home they have built in the mountains north of San Francisco, their crippled son, Erik, drowns and their world turns upside down. This new play, developed at Aurora, grapples with the unsolvable mysterious forces that bind marriage, family, nature, and technology to our deepest hopes and dreams. About Jackson’s work, the San Jose Mercury News said, “Playwright/director Mark Jackson has made his name as a first-class theatrical provocateur. Gutsy showmanship, brainy literary instincts, and laser-sharp satire mark his canon,” and the East Bay Express declared “Anyone familiar with the work of playwright and director Mark Jackson can attest that he is an unparalleled talent in the Bay Area theatre scene, and possibly the nation at large.”
Aurora Theatre Company has assembled a talented ensemble for LITTLE ERIK. Marilee Talkington, who appeared in the company’s productions of Rapture Blister Burn, and the World Premiere of Mark Jackson’s Salomania, returns as Joie in LITTLE ERIK. Credits include productions at Berkeley Repertory Theater, Crowded Fire Theater, American Conservatory Theater, Magic Theatre, and Center REPertory Company; she appeared off-Broadway in the World Premiere of Justin Quinn Pelegano’s The Last Day and in A.R. Gurney’s The Middle Ages. She has appeared in several off-Broadway productions and is the founder of Vanguardian Productions. Also returning is Joe Estlack as Freddie in LITTLE ERIK; he previously appeared in Aurora Theatre Company’s Bay Area Premiere of THE LYONS. Additional credits include productions at Shotgun Players, Magic Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, San Jose Stage, Boxcar Theatre, Theater First, and Mugwumpin, among others.
Making her Aurora debut is Bay Area favorite Wilma Bonet as Rat Wife. Credits include productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Mark Taper Forum, Berkeley Repertory Theater, American Conservatory Theater, Magic Theatre, Marin Theater Company, and Campo Santo, among others. Greg Ayers returns to the Aurora as Bernie; he previously appeared in the company’s production of Small Tragedies.
Rounding out the cast and making their Aurora debuts are Mariah Castle (San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Boxcar Theatre, and Willows Theatre) as Andi, and Jack Wittmayer (Berkeley Playhouse) as Erik.
THE MARSH ANNOUNCES FREE PERFORMANCES OF BRIAN COPELAND’S ACCLAIMED SOLO SHOW “THE WAITING PERIOD”Written and Performed by Brian CopelandSundays at 5:30pm starting January 10, 2016
–The Marsh announces a landmark endeavor by award-winning performer Brian Copeland, who will present free performances of his acclaimed solo piece, THE WAITING PERIOD, an unflinching examination of depression. His primary goal is to reach those struggling with depression who would be otherwise unable to attend due to the cost of admission. Featuring humorous, poignant, and riveting insights, THE WAITING PERIOD is written by Brian Copeland and directed by David Ford. Performances will take place Sundays at 5:30pm at The Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia Street. To reserve seats or for more information, the public may visit www.themarsh.org or call 415-282-3055 Monday through Friday between 1:00pm and 4:00pm.
General admission for these performances is free, although reservations are recommended. For patrons interested opportunities to support The Marsh’s ongoing endeavor make this groundbreaking piece accessible to all, a limited number of reserved seats are available for $50 and $100. This run of THE WAITING PERIOD is currently funded through the spring. For more information about the ongoing fundraising campaign or to help The Marsh meet its $150,000 goal, please visit http://www.gofundme.com/xknytk.
PIEDMONT OAKLAND REP PREMIERES ORIGINAL MUSICAL “BLOOD TANGO” IN FEBRUARY
Info at www.PiedmontOaklandRep.org
“‘Blood Tango’ is an original musical twenty years in the making,” said playwright and composer John McMullen, artistic director of Piedmont Oakland Repertory Theatre. “Twenty three years actually.”
With music by McMullen, Tal Ariel, and Elizabeth Dunne and book and lyrics by McMullen, “Blood Tango” will preview Feb 5, 6, 7, 12, with the opening premiere Saturday Feb 13 and runs through March 13. “All vampire tales—and this one in particular with the tango feel—have a sensual side to them, so it seemed a propos to open on Valentine’s Day weekend. We’re aiming to heat up February,” McMullen said.
Piedmont Oakland Rep’s new home at the Pacific Boychoir Academy, 215 Ridgeway in Oakland, located two blocks off fashionable Piedmont Avenue with its quaint shops and highly rated restaurants.
“We have attracted some very good people: Lisette Perelle—who has trained USA Argentine Tango Champions– is choreographing the tango and training the actors in the dance, John Minagro is coaching the vocals, and the response in the community has been enthusiastic.”
McMullen wrote the book, lyrics and most of the melodies. “It’s the old vampire myth with a new
twist,” he noted. “It started after I finished my MFA thesis at Carnegie Mellon entitled ‘A Freudian Approach to the Vampire Play.’ Or maybe it really started when I was eight years old and went with my seven cousins to see the Bela Lugosi in ‘Dracula.’ I slept with the light on till I was eleven.”
In the cast are Marc Berman, Geoffrey Colton, John Hale, Don Hardwicke, Melody Perera, Austin Pierce, Tatiana Prue, Dee Wagner, and Robyn Gray as “Vlad.”
Piedmont Oakland Rep is now in residence at the Pacific Boychoir Academy for all of 2016. “We are incredibly grateful that they’ve opened their doors to us. They are quite a prestigious school; Kevin Fox and the Boychoir have won two Grammies, so we are in good artistic company.”
McMullen explained some of the advantages and plans for the musical at length:
“Most small theatre companies can’t afford to do musicals because of the hefty royalties and costs of renting the musical scores. In this case, we don’t have to pay royalties. And we decided to use pre-recorded music. That way, we can get any sound or combination of instrumentation we desire—even a whole orchestra. There are hardly any musicals that offer this option to small theatres.”
“None of this would have been possible without the incredible talent of Tal Ariel. I hum something and he plays it, first time every time. He asks me to describe the character of a passage, like “sweet and demure,” or “churning and foreboding” and he adds the harmony chords that have just the right tenor to them. He doesn’t come from a musical theatre background, which is a blessing, because he isn’t mired in the musical platitudes of the genre,” the composer added. “And the inspiration of Elizabeth; she listens to a passage I wrote, changes a couple of notes and brings it alive.”
CURTAIN TIMES AND TICKETS
Previews Feb 5, 6, 7, 12 at 7:30pm – $19
Opens Saturday, Feb. 13 at 7:30pm – $29 includes reception, with refreshments. Runs through Mar. 13. Fri-Sat-Sun at 7:30pm – $25 Running Time: Approx. 2 hours 20 minutes with Intermission.
For more information, go to www.PiedmontOaklandRep.org or call Brown Paper Tickets 800-838-3006
Theatre Bay Area Announces TBA Awards Recommended Productions for the week of December 16, 2015
– Each week, hundreds of adjudicators attend and evaluate eligible productions from all over the Bay Area on behalf of the TBA Awards. Based on the overall production scores from their peers, Theatre Bay Area issues a weekly list of productions that have reached the required threshold of scoring to be deemed “TBA Awards Recommended.”
This week, six new productions are recommended through the TBA Awards process, which involves more than 250 industry volunteers attending shows and logging scores within 48 hours of viewing the performances.
New productions receiving TBA Awards Recommended status this week:
Always…Patsy Cline / Altarena Playhouse / Alameda
A Christmas Carol / American Conservatory Theater / San Francisco
TWO REVIEWS CAN BE FOUND IN TALKINBROADWAY ARCIEVES.
Handle with Care / City Lights Theater Company / San Jose
Jane Austen’s Emma / TheatreWorks / Palo Alto
REVIEW CAN BE FOUND ON SAN FRANCISCO REGIONAL OF TALKINBROADWAY AND ALSO ON MY BLOG
The Secret Garden / Contra Costa Civic Theatre / El Cerrito
SubUrbia / Breach Once More / San Francisco
Previously recognized TBA Awards Recommended productions still running:
Disgraced / Berkeley Repertory Theatre / Berkeley
REVIEW CAN BE FOUND ON SAN FRANCISCO REGIONAL OF TALKINBROADWAY
The Hypocrites’ Pirates of Penzance / Berkeley Repertory Theatre / Berkeley
REVIEW CAN BE FOUND ON SF REGIONAL OF TALKINBROADWAY
In Love and Warcraft / Custom Made Theatre Co. / San Francisco
REVIEW CAN BE FOUND ON SF REGIONAL OF TALKINBROADWAY.
Man of La Mancha / Los Altos Stage Company / Los Altos Hills
Stage Kiss / San Francisco Playhouse / San Francisco
REVIEW CAN BE FOUND ON SF REGIONAL OF TALKINBROADWAY.
Information about the TBA Awards program can be found at www.theatrebayarea.org/?page=Awards.
Information about Theatre Bay Area can be found at www.theatrebayarea.org.