Get Eddie’s recommendations for shows on stage now that you should be sure not to miss.
The team of Cyndi Lauper (music and lyrics) and Harvey Fierstein (book)that took New York and the country by storm in 2013 now in 2023 are lucky to have their Kinky Boots open on the intimate stage of City Lights Theatre Company in a production bursting at the seams with as much – or maybe even more – joy, heart, and ecstasy as the original, big-stage version.
For two hours on the San Francisco Playhouse’s rather modest-size stage, this cast will sing and danceA Chorus Line in a production that has all the looks, feel, and sound of the big-stage, New York game-changer that opened on Broadway almost fifty years ago.
Tony-winning Berkeley native Ari’el Stachel delights, astounds, and holds captive the opening night audience of “Out of Character” in a stunning, spectacular performance in which he memoirs his life-long search for his authentic identity while continuously struggling with debilitating anxiety.
The creation of art that occurs in front of our eyes in Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and James Lapine’s (book) Sunday in the Park with George is unmatched in any other play or musical (in my opinion). Gloriously inspired by the stage direction of Alex Perez and the musical direction of Brian Allan Hobbs, an absolutely stellar Los Altos Stage Company cast sings in emotion-laden harmony as they visually become George Seurat’s painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
Even if one has seen Othello a dozen times, the current production of the Shakespeare classic by San Jose Stage Company is one not to be missed. The surprising addition of jazz-infused music, the 1950’s film-noir feel, the masterful direction, and the sheer acting prowess of the cast are all reasons to grab a ticket today to a play that appears to have been conceived in 2023 and not in 1604.
Light vs. Darkness. Love vs. Trust. White vs. Black. Old vs. Young. Friendship vs. Loneliness. Acceptance vs. Prejudice. Apartheid vs. Freedom. Christian Values vs. Eastern Values.
Opposites continuously intercede, sometimes blend, and often explosively collide in Athol Fugard’s thought-provoking and emotionally laden The Road to Mecca, now in a compelling and gripping production by Weathervane Productions at Z Below.
Let’s be clear: Not only are we not in Kansas anymore, in the current American Conservatory Theater production, we are also definitely not in the same version of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz that we read in school or that we watched on TV year after year in our living rooms. We are now in a color-explosive, creativity-gone-wild, kids’ playground of hula hoops, bubbles, kazoos, Tyco playhouses, googly eyes, and even a Twister game where the look is more drag queen than not, where the Mayor of Oz is a fax machine, and where the town meeting spot is at the water cooler. In both this Kansas and Oz, there is a blend of people of all colors, multiple races, and genders mixed and non-conforming. And under the spell cast upon us by Sam Pickleton’s constantly surprising, over-the-top, and imaginative-beyond-description direction, our sides and cheeks are soon aching from laughing so much.
West Bay Opera, under the inspired stage direction of Ragnar Conde, presents a gripping and glorious retelling of an old tale of one man’s seemingly impossible search for redemption and one woman’s unconditional love and willingness to be his long-sought angel. With a cast of incredibly charismatic principals whose voices would be the envy of any opera company, West Bay Opera ends its 67thseason with a not-to-be-missed, fully engrossing and big-sounding production of Richard Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman).
Fueled by ample amounts of both camp and heart, New Conservatory Theatre Center’s West Coast premiere of Charles Busch’s The Confessions of Lily Dare is a trip down memory lane in which the hilariously melodramatic journey is a dream trip for any fan of the San Francisco drag scene.
Adapted to the stage by Jack Thorne, Let the Right One In has a prevalent thread of creepiness with an ongoing threat of sudden surprise; and there are the required bloody murders and some big bites into necks for blood that any story involving a vampire must have. However, Let the Right One is also a beautifully conceived story of unconditional friendship that unfolds much like a sensitively choreographed ballet that is scored by mesmerizing music, a story guaranteed to touch heartstrings and to leave audience members smiling and uplifted.