THEATRE NEWS FOR SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA WEEK OF JANUARY 3 2016
AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER TO PRESENT “THE UNFORTUNATES”Created by Jon Beavers, Kristoffer Diaz, Casey Hurt, Ian Merrigan, and Ramiz Monsef
THE ACCLAIMED MUSICAL CULT HIT FROM THE OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL, THE UNFORTUNATES FUSES BLUES, GOSPEL, AND SYNCOPATED RHYTHMS INTO A COMICALLY SURREAL ODYSSEY
A.C.T.’s Strand Theater February 3–April 10, 2016
American Conservatory Theater continues its 2015–16 season with The Unfortunates (February 3–April 10, 2016), a darkly comic musical that uses a unique mix of early 20th century American blues and gospel stylings fused with modern and syncopated rhythms to transport audiences to a world of memory and mythmaking. Inspired by the classic and mysterious blues song, “St. James Infirmary,” made famous in the 1920s by Louis Armstrong, The Unfortunates tells the story of Big Joe, a stalwart, tough-talking soldier cursed with oversized hands, who journeys through a dream world in which he confronts a series of enemies and risks everything to save the armless courtesan Rae from the plague that has decimated all but a handful of survivors. The search for salvation is marked by the characters’ willingness to make music in the face of loss, and search for love in a time of desperation. Journeying from a prison camp to the underworld, The Unfortunates is a musical fever dream that’s as life-affirming as it is darkly imaginative. Performances of The Unfortunates will take place at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater (1127 Market St., San Francisco). Press nights will be on Wednesday, February 17 and Thursday, February 18, 2016. Single tickets (ranging from $35–$95) are available at the A.C.T. Box Office at 415.749.2228 or online at www.act-sf.org. Ticket prices are subject to change without notice.
Says A.C.T. Artistic Director Carey Perloff: “The Unfortunates is going to rock The Strand with its haunting, propulsive score and joyful, passionate company of performers. It’s a story of love, loss, and the meaning of honor set in a funky, mysterious bar and it truly belongs in our beautiful new theater. We are thrilled to give this bold, new musical its next phase of development after a hugely acclaimed first outing at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and to introduce A.C.T. audiences to some of the most exciting new performers in musical theater.”
Under the direction of Shana Cooper, the cast of The Unfortunates includes Jon Beavers, Lauren Hart, Danielle Herbert, Taylor Iman Jones, Christopher Livingston, Amy Lizardo, Eddie Lopez, Ian Merrigan, Ramiz Monsef, and Arthur Wise.
Written by Jon Beavers, Kristoffer Diaz, Casey Hurt, Ian Merrigan, and Ramiz Monsef, the creative team for The Unfortunates includes Casey Hurt (Music Director), Paul James Prendergast (Associate Director), Russell Champa (Lighting Designer), Katherine O’Neill (Costume Designer), Sibyl Wickersheimer (Set Designer), Brendan Aanes (Sound Designer), and Erika Chong Shuch (Choreographer).
In association with The Unfortunates, A.C.T. will offer numerous InterACT events—many of which are presented free of charge—that give patrons opportunities to get closer to the action while having an entire night out at the theater. Visit act-sf.org/interact to learn more about subscribing to these events throughout the season:
- Bike to the Theater Night
Wednesday, February 3, 6:30 p.m.
Providing a greener alternative to theater transportation, A.C.T. and the San Francisco Bike Coalition offer free valet bike parking, as well as a special discount on tickets, for these select performances.
Tuesday, February 16, 5:30 p.m.
Before the curtain goes up, get a sneak peek at the artistic process at this fascinating preshow discussion with the director and artistic staff.
- Theater on the Couch:
Friday, February 19, following the 7:30 p.m. performance
Led by Dr. Mason Turner, chief of psychiatry at San Francisco’s Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, this exciting postshow discussion series explores the minds, motives, and behavior of the characters and addresses audience questions.
- Audience Exchanges:
Tues., March 1, 7 p.m. | Wed., March 16, 2 p.m. | Sun., April 3, 2 p.m.
After the show, stick around for a lively Q&A session with the actors and artists who create the work onstage.
- OUT with A.C.T.:
Wednesday, March 9, following the 7:30 p.m. performance
The best LGBT night in town! Mingle with the cast and enjoy free drinks and treats at this popular after-party.
- Wente Vineyards Wine Series:
Tuesday, March 15, 6:30 p.m.
Before the show, raise a glass at this wine-tasting event featuring the Bay Area’s hottest local winery.
Saturday, April 9, 12:45 p.m.
Before this matinee performance, get hands-on with the artists who make it happen at this interactive theater workshop.
A.C.T.’s production of The Unfortunates is made possible by executive producers Frannie Fleishhacker, Arthur Rock and Toni Rembe; producers Rose Hagan and Mark Lemley, Robina and John Riccitiello, Anne and Michelle Shonk; and associate producers Concepcion S. and Irwin Federman, and Vicki and David Fleishhacker.
We’re excited to announce our 2016 Season, with special season pass pricing for early purchasers. Become a ROLT season passholder and see both of our shows for just $55!
The Wild Party Book, Music, Lyrics by Andrew Lippa Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March May 20th – June 11th, 2016The Victoria Theatre, San Francisco
Featuring one of the most exciting, pulse-racing scores ever written, this lurid prohibition tale steamrolls and roars its way across the stage.
Lovers Queenie and Burrs throw the party to end all parties in their Manhattan apartment. After the colorful arrival of a slew of guests living life on the edge, Queenie’s wandering eyes land on a striking man named Black, while his date Kate sets her sights on Burrs. As the decadence reaches a climax, so does Burrs’ jealousy. Gun in hand and inhibitions abandoned, Burrs turns on Queenie and Black. The gun goes off, but who’s been shot?
Little Shop of Horrors Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman Music by Alan Menken Based on the film by Roger Corman September 16th – October 8th The Victoria Theatre, San Francisco
The deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi smash musical!
Meek floral assistant Seymour Krelborn stumbles across a new breed of plant: a foul-mouthed, R&B-singing carnivore Seymour names ‘Audrey II’ after his coworker crush. The plant promises the destitute Seymour fame and fortune–as long as he keeps feeding it human blood. Seymour soon discovers Audrey II’s out-of-this-world origins and global domination intentions, but is it too late to stop the plant and get the girl?
Audition for Our 2016 Season
Our general auditions will be held in January on the below dates at The Victoria Theatre (2961 16th Street, San Francisco). Click here to reserve a spot!
January 17th, 12pm – 5pm January 18th, 7pm – 10pm January 20th, 7pm – 10pm January 21 7pm – 10pm
Requirements Headshot / Resume One song. Strict 32 bars
If there are no time slots available, please email your headshot & resume to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
THE SHOTGUN PLAYERS PRESENT OUR NEW BLAST FESTIVAL exploding the limits of possibility every February
— Making theater that makes a difference has always been our mission. BLAST launches our annual celebration of difference—a month-long festival of new ideas, visions, and possibilities. BLAST aims to explode our boundaries with innovative performances by local and national theater artists. We think life is dynamic, changing, ephemeral, strange, and beautiful. Theater should be too! The BLAST Festival (#blastival) runs February 5 – March 6, 2016.
Over the last decade, The Shotgun Players have come across some of the great performers of the Bay Area’s delicious subculture: performance artists, poets, musicians, aerialists, drag queens, dancers, filmmakers, and vaudevillians to name a few. It hasn’t been so easy to find a place for these folks in our main stage season. But we do sometimes have available nights, and we do have a liquor license… So, the Shotgun Cabaret was born! This year, in celebration of our 25th anniversary season, Shotgun has created a new program that combines the powerful work of these interesting and unexpected theater artists into a month-long festival.
WHAT BLAST IS:
Shotgun is curating a range of theater, dance, drag performance, live art, multi-disciplinary work, new ideas, and new takes on old ideas. We’re presenting polished, exciting work that is executed with skill and creativity. BLAST is not an incubator for new work. We respect such ventures. BLAST is not one of them. Rather than workshop productions or in-process showings of work in development, BLAST presents performance that is fully realized.
My Mind is Like an Open Meadow
by Hand2Mouth – Portland, Oregon
Friday, February 12 & Saturday, February 13, 8PM
For one year, Erin Leddy lived with her grandmother and recorded her memoirs. Sarah Braveman led a dynamic life – working as an actress in Boston, Manhattan, and upstate New York from the 1930s until the 1990s, and the tapes Erin recorded form the bones for this solo performance, a meditation on consciousness, memory and things passed down through generations. Hand2Mouth crafts a sonic and visual world – a strange control station of the mind where memory overcomes live performance and the two realms blur into an elegant mixture of lighting, pre-recorded voice, music, dance and scenery.
Hand2Mouth is a theatre ensemble committed to creating original work. We celebrate the raw, charged potential of the live encounter, and our methods and styles change to meet the demands of the work. Hand2Mouth performances push boundaries towards theatre that is bold and accessible.
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind
(30 Plays in 60 Minutes)
Created by Greg Allen
Written, Directed and Performed by The San Francisco Neo-Futurists
Wednesday, February 17 & Thursday, February 18, 8PM
Rooted in the belief that the same idea can be communicated in two minutes as it can in a two-act play, The San Francisco Neo-futurists engage in an on-going, ever-changing attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. These plays aren’t sketch or improv. They are attempts to create fully-realized plays in the span of about two minutes. Some plays are funny. Some are sad. Some we thought were funny and turned out sad (we call those “art”).
The Neo-Futurists started in Chicago with TMLMBGB written and directed by the visionary Greg Allen in 1988, which has been performed every weekend since. They have now expanded into San Francisco with an ongoing experimental presence.
The Right Now
By Shotgun Company Member Fontana Butterfield, Mariah Howard and Claire Slattery
Sunday, February 21, 7PM
These three invariably hilarious women met and immediately knew they shared a deep connection to honest, character-driven improvised performance. They are serious about their funny and serve up a unique blend of character-driven long-form improvisation that ranges from absurd logic to absurd physicality. Quick, connected, and just a little bit wild.
Now For Now
By Shotgun Company Members Mark Jackson & Megan Trout
Saturday, February 27, Sunday, February 28 & Monday, February 29, 8PM
Now for Now is a multimedia physical theater piece about embarrassing things, created and performed by Bay Area theater makers Mark Jackson and Megan Trout. Three relationships between a woman and man a generation apart—a daughter and father, a romance, a student and teacher—are followed over 40 years. Their stories converge and diverge in dialogues, movement, IMs and Skypes. Now for Now explores uncomfortable, ugly, embarrassing issues about age and gender dynamics with both depth and humor.
Curated by Fauxnique & Martha T. Lipton
Friday, February 25 & Saturday, February 26, 8PM
A cabaret-style evening of theatrical drag and drag-fueled theater with some of San Francisco’s finest champions of both. Multi-faceted artist Monique Jenkinson (Fauxnique – SF’s reigning female drag queen – and last seen at Ashby Stage in as Eurydike in Shotgun’s Antigonick.) and eccentric character artist Evan Johnson (Martha T. Lipton) bring an ensemble cast of up and coming drag stars that promise to entertain, educate and inspire by dissecting and reconfiguring traditions of both drag and theater. There will be wigs, heels and sequins aplenty. Girl! Beads will be flying!
Bend the Rules, Eat the Head
by Micael Bogar
Friday, March 4 & Saturday, March 5, 8PM
Ms. Durdah Devil, aided by her number one fan Rudolph, celebrates the 50th anniversary of her famous drag show. The trouble, see, is that one can’t put on a proper spectacular triumph with a broken heart. One can’t do too terribly much…but try to pick up the pieces. A faux drag queen of epic proportions gripped by a broken heart takes on bouffon-inspired characters, stars, shadow play, and a touch of magic. BEST OF SF FRINGE 2015.
Do What You Love
Created by The Naked Empire
Directed by Robert Rosen (co-founder of the Tony Award winning Theatre de la Jeune Lune)
Friday, March 4 & Saturday, March 5, 8PM
The appetite of the bouffon is singular: to play with what society has to hide. Why? Because it’s fun. The bouffon uses mockery, wit, and parody. His likeness is rarely seen on American stages. Come experience the relentless and hilarious skewer of class privilege in an evening of high impact satirical sport.
The Naked Empire Bouffon Company was founded in 2009 by Nathaniel Justiniano with a vision of social change and the belief that this starts by acknowledging our problems. The public doesn’t hear anything if they are being accused, patronized, confused, or bored, so the bouffon theater is the vehicle instead. Naked Empire is the only company in the country exclusively dedicated to this form and the expansion of its practice. Their work is designed to both charm and challenge the audience.
FOOL LA LA
Written and Performed by Unique Derique
February 6 & 7 at 1PM – $10 tickets for kids 4+
This circus-inspired show features slapstick comedy punctuated with dance and percussive music, transforming into a live one-man dancing-band. With a whole new bag of tricks, the always-popular clown Unique Derique delivers a comedy show for the whole family. Following the show, Derique will lead a twenty minute Hambone and juggling workshop so the whole family can put a little zip in their step. “He’s hip!”- Arsenio Hall
Sunday, March 6, 1PM – $10 tickets for kids 4+
California musician Andy Strain, will perform “The Bremen Town Musicians.” Strain’s family program begins with a grand entrance and unveiling of a trombone. He will then tell the Brothers Grimm story, playing each musical character. At the end of the performance, a red trombone makes a memorable appearance for those in the audience to try. Andy has been seen on Shotgun’s mainstage performing the trombone in Beardo, and is a regular horn sharing the stage with Joanna Newsom.
CENTRAL WORKS 2016 SEASON
Four Plays From The Utterly Ridiculous To The Horrific: Families and Genius On The Edge – February – November 2016 Central Works Joins The National New Play NetworkWith The Rolling World Premiere Of “Into the Beautiful North”
Central Works 2016 Season (CW ‘16) celebrates a continuing commitment to new work drawing from history, literature and events in our contemporary world that affect life as we live it. The Central Works 25th Anniversary Season last year was a grand success, double digit increases in attendance, the highest grossing season, and the awarding this past fall of “Outstanding World Premiere“ to Patricia Milton’s Enemies: Foreign and Domestic by Theatre Bay Area (TBA) when judged against all TBA Bay Area theater companies. This season also marks CW’s partnership with National New Play Network for the Rolling World Premiere of Into the Beautiful North by Karen Zacarias, the first playwright-in-residence at Washington, DC’s Arena Stage.
The Central Works 2016 Season opens with the utterly ridiculous, deadly serious, Oedipal family drama Totem and Taboo by David Weisberg, (February 20 to March 20), developed in the Central Works Writers Workshop. In the spring Robert Louis Stevenson enters a fever dream, unleashing the deep unconscious recesses of his mind in Robert Louis Stevenson: Jekyll and Hyde by Gary Graves, (May 14 to June 12). In July, Patricia Milton, the winner of last season’s “Outstanding World Premiere” award by TBA, premieres the “seriously” funny Hearts of Palm in which unrequited love meets unregulated capitalism. Also developed in Central Works Writer’s Workshop (July 16 to August 14). Closing the season, Into the Beautiful North, a new play by Karen Zacarias (the first playwright-in-residence at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC), and based on the novel by Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Alberto Urrea. Into the Beautiful North is inspired by the classic Hollywood western The Magnificent Seven. A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere (October 15 to November 13).
Bay Area Children’s Theatre Brings Bad Kitty to the Stage, Saturday, January 23 Nick Bruel, author-illustrator of Bad Kitty series, to sign books at opening
In the beginning, there is Kitty. Just Kitty. But then—What’s that awful smell?—Puppy arrives. And then –Oh, no!—the Baby!
Expect hilarity and high jinks when the Bay Area Children’s Theatre (BACT) presents Bad Kitty On Stage, a world premiere based on the wildly popular comic adventures of Bad Kitty and her quirky animal friends—not to mention a few zany humans, like Uncle Murray—by author and illustrator Nick Bruel.
Bad Kitty on Stage opens Saturday, January 23, at the Freight and Salvage, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA 94703, and plays weekends through February 21. The production then moves to the Dougherty Performing Arts Center, 10550 Albion Road, San Ramon 94582, for February 27-28, and to the Children’s Creativity Museum Theater, 221 4th Street, San Francisco CA 94103, weekends, March 5-26. Performances at all three venues are at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
To celebrate the opening of this brand new stage adaptation of the Bad Kitty series, Bruel is coming to Berkeley to meet audience members and sign books at both performances on Saturday, January 23. Families are urged to get their tickets early. Bad Kitty on Stage is recommended for age 4 and up. The performance will be 60 minutes, with no intermission. The Freight & Salvage is just steps away from the downtown Berkeley BART station. BART is a BACT community partner.
TICKETS: $22 adults, $20 seniors, $18 children, $13 groups (minimum 15) BOX OFFICE: www.bactheatre.org or call (510) 296-4433.
Bad Kitty on Stage is directed by Benjamin Hanna, with book and underscoring music by Min Kahng. Hanna has previously directed BACT hit shows, Ivy and Bean, the Musical, and Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy, the Musical. Kahng created BACT’s award-winning musical version of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. BACT has co-commissioned the play with the Oregon Children’s Theatre. BACT’s run begins in January; Oregon’s, in February.