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Theater - Performing Arts

Live theater thrives in Sonoma County with stages in every city and even small towns. From entertaining musicals to deep dramas, performers bring entertainment into our lives in intimate theaters. Alexa Chipman wite PREViews for our print edition so readers can get a glimpse of what is coming up int he next month in live theater - and REviews on our website all month long.  Please see current and past reviews online.SEARCH: ALEXA CHIPMAN and Harry Duke for their reviews.

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2018-12-10Dec 10, 2018

Eve (Maisy Gibson) is unhappy with the prospect of another Christmas with pink dolls and easy bake ovens that she has no interest in; she would rather be a swashbuckling hero with her own pirate ship. Brandishing a wrapping paper tube, she defies the idea that girls cannot have a life of daring exploits. ‘Yo Ho Ho, A Pirate’s Christmas’ is the product of Eve’s imaginative dream, complete with a dance off between the pirates and Santa’s elves.

2018-11-05Nov 5, 2018

In an era when the spectrum of gender and sexuality has become vibrant and inclusive, how does the new normal affect parents? For Helene, an outspoken mother in New York, her family has become complicated enough that she finds herself in a support group. From a lesbian daughter to a son who adores BDSM “scat play” her acceptance is strained to the maximum.

2018-10-30Oct 30, 2018

Irreverent mayhem turns a prudish Christian service practice into an orgy of foul-mouthed diatribes and impromptu sex—and that’s just the puppets.

2018-10-30Oct 30, 2018

November is the month dedicated to families. Planning Thanksgiving dinner and what to do the days following Thanksgiving. For those of you who don't go to the movies together, change your tradition and go! Trust me you'll feel a lot better. This month there are 10 movies you should see in the theater, Including “Bohemian Rhapsody” about the Iconic Freddie Mercury, Opening November 2nd 

2018-10-23Oct 23, 2018

Playwright Conor McPherson does not ease the audience in, opening with Aimee staggering onstage with a bleeding nose. A disturbing insight into the numbing reality of despair, ‘The Night Alive’ shows a light at the end of the tunnel.

2018-10-16Oct 16, 2018

Sinister and dignified, Mark Gregory’s Count Dracula, enhanced with red-rimmed eyes and pale complexion, has poise and confidence that radiates power. Assisted by clever effects throughout the set, such as balcony windows that open of their own accord, he is a convincing creature of the night.

2018-10-06Oct 6, 2018
2018-10-05Oct 5, 2018

Durang Durang, a trio of one-acts by Christopher Durang, now running at Cloverdale Performing Arts Center, is a night of entertainment for people who love the theater and love to laugh. Durang is best known for his playsBeyond Belief and Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You,both of which were made into movies. With these three plays, Durang takes the art of parody just about as far as it can go.

2018-10-03Oct 3, 2018

Count Dracula at Curtain Call Theater in Monte Rio and The Rocky Horror Show at 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa will take you out of your reality and into theirs!

2018-10-03Oct 3, 2018

By Alexa Chipman

Sonoma County’s Marquee Theater Journalists Association announced the nominees for its 3rd Annual MTJA Awards. Artists and productions were recognized with eighty-five nominations in seventeen categories. The nominations were derived from the sixty-six Sonoma County productions attended by MTJA members in the past year. Recipients will be announced at the 3rd Annual MTJA Awards, which will be held October 22nd at the Juncture Taproom and Lounge in Santa Rosa.

2018-10-03Oct 3, 2018

There's a lot to see at your local movie theaters in October. Starting with “Venom”. Kids of all ages will love this movie. It stars Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams. It opens October 5th. Also opening October 5th is “A Star is Born” starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Cooper also directed this remake.

2018-12-10Dec 10, 2018

The selfish, twisted relationships in 'The House of Yes' will make your family seem refreshingly normal. This brilliant comedy by Wendy MacLeodis like watching a fast-paced tennis match of snappy zingers, with disturbing sexual tension amongst the narcissistic characters. A hurricane is howling outside when Marty and his fiancée Lesly arrive for Thanksgiving dinner, stumbling into a hive of neurotic family members, from the flamboyant mother to Marty's twin sister, who is prone to hysteria when not given her way.

2018-09-25Sep 25, 2018

Swinging rhythm pulses through the streets of New York, energizing low-life gamblers and nightclub dancers with memorable songs like “I’ve Never Been in Love Before” and “More I Cannot Wish You” in an idealized 1950s setting. Its tenacious vitality and beloved characters enable the classic musical to live on to enthusiastic applause, despite old-fashioned notions of female empowerment.

2018-09-18Sep 18, 2018

‘The Naked Truth’ is an odd combination of explicit sex discussions and heartwarming friendships that last through arguments and tumultuous circumstances. A group of women in a pole dance class find common ground despite a dichotomy of personalities and maturity in a rapid-paced sequence of events. The audience glimpses selected conversations that are either provocative or give insight into the challenge each woman is overcoming—whether finding the strength to see her beauty during relentless breast cancer treatments or having the confidence to speak up for herself.

2018-09-11Sep 11, 2018

In this unique production, Spreckels presents a spectacular example of contemporary drama. Join Christopher on a fascinating journey through his world; terrified of being touched, and unable to comprehend the intricacies of social interaction, the teenager is brilliant with mathematics.

2018-09-11Sep 11, 2018

Boot up your dusty computers from the 1990s to enter a fairy tale video game with frolicking princes, a bitmap Milky White cow, Oregon Trail inspired death scenes, MS-DOS projections, and a selfie-obsessed Little Red Ridinghood. Lucky Penny has turned this musical upside down with a technological twist that gives edgy humor to Stephen Sondheim’s popular work.

2018-09-05Sep 5, 2018

Through an absurd plot and quirky characters, local playwright Bob Duxbury emphasizes conversations about selfish forms of philanthropy, the importance of true kindness, and using objects as a form of spiritually letting go.

2018-09-02Sep 2, 2018

What do the following have in common: a dedicated but woefully underpaid community college professor; a conniving nephew manipulating his elderly aunt; a most unusual creation story; and vigilante enforcement of handicap parking rules?

 

2018-08-31Aug 31, 2018

Blissfully unaware that their home is being undermined by Nazi ideology of antagonism toward anything “other,” the residents of Berlin revel in playful night life and quiet romances. Political tension builds, turning friends against each other, and culminating in a chilling transition into Nazi controlled Germany.

 

2018-08-28Aug 28, 2018

A mysterious patient is wheeled in for “Literary Surgery” by an eccentric group of nurses who bicker over his treatment, occasionally expressing themselves through song. In the bizarre, timeless hospital, the doctor reveals that the afflicted poet is William Shakespeare. To restore him to health and sanity, fragments of his plays are performed through dance, music and a slow-motion broadsword melee choreographed by Marty Pistone.

2018-08-27Aug 27, 2018

I can’t believe Summer is over! The great thing about September is that the Oscar caliber films start coming out. The one I’m excited about is “The Sisters Brothers” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Jake Gyllenhaal.

2018-08-21Aug 21, 2018

Shakespeare’s popular tale of shenanigans in ‘The Comedy of Errors’ is the result of two pairs of twins being mistaken for each other while gadding about town. Merchants, families and citizens are driven to panic by the seeming madness taking hold of Ephesus. Expensive jewelry goes missing, a bachelor finds himself inexplicably married, and flustered conversations based on miscommunication build to the tumultuous conclusion with a wild chase through the audience, ranging up and down the open field at the Cannery ruins.

2018-12-08Dec 8, 2018

If you are looking for a live show to take the family to this holiday season, look no further than Cloverdale Performing Arts Center where both scalawags and elves are having a rollicking good time in Yo Ho Ho, a Pirate’s Christmas! Even if that exclamation mark hadn’t been included in the official title, I’d have added it because this show is so much fun, it deserves some over-the top punctuation!

2018-08-21Aug 21, 2018

The history plays of William Shakespeare vary from intricately political to genuinely fascinating stories in their own right. ‘Henry IV, Part 1’ is delicately balanced between raunchy entertainment and epic battles for the throne. The Curtain Theatre wisely introduces the three groups of protagonists before the action begins: royals, rebels, and pubcrawlers, adding a high-spirited song to reiterate the political situation while enthusiastically capering. As a result, it is easy to follow the machinations for the crown, and gives the production a spirited atmosphere.

2018-08-16Aug 16, 2018

Inspired by the joys and heartache of romantic encounters, ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ is a quirky musical revue with lively, captivating songs byJoe DiPietroandJimmy Roberts. Vignettes of couples during various stages of dating and marriage emerge in a shifting landscape of desire and disappointment. Raven Players has produced the updated 2018 version, which includes new songs, women who no longer sit around waiting for a phone call, but are proactive in searching for happiness, LGBTQA couples and revised references to online dating technology.

2018-08-16Aug 16, 2018

Retired veterans of World War I gather on the veranda of a hospital, subtly discontented with the monotony of their lives. Flashy escapades are in the distant past, replaced with dull hours under the close supervision of Sister Madeleine. With a bleak future before them, the men search for reasons to go on and something worth looking forward to. A ridiculous, endearing notion takes hold of them—escape.

2018-08-10Aug 10, 2018

Heroes was written by Gerald Sibleyras in 2003 and translated into English in 2007 by Tom Stoppard. The action, or possibly inaction, takes place in a care home for elderly veterans somewhere in France. DirectorYave Guzmanhas made the wise choice of not having the actors affect French or English accents. This gives the play a more inclusive feel. These men could be living in France, America or Moldova, for all it matters; the themes are universal.

2018-08-07Aug 7, 2018

Scintillating rhythm spreads across vineyards and historic ruins in Jack London State Historic Park with Transcendence Theatre’s Broadway spectacular ‘Shall We Dance’ which lives up to its name with flashy choreography by Marc Kimelman.

2018-08-03Aug 3, 2018

Romantic escapades and daring sea voyages surround the rarely performed ‘Pericles’ with assassins, pirates, bold heroes and true love. It is the theater equivalent of an action adventure blockbuster, with a ‘Flash Gordon’ theme of strange worlds and science fiction props. The protagonist is searching for a partner to rule with him, encountering unique civilizations and cultural expectations of leadership, from savage dictators to fainthearted monarchs.

2018-07-30Jul 30, 2018

Hidden within the Foundry Wharf business park is a pristine riverside lawn that becomes the setting for Petaluma Shakespeare Company’s free plays during the summer. Bring a blanket or low folding chair to enjoy the rarely performed All’s Well That Ends Well and creative celebration “Speechless Shakespeare” with dancing, comedy and exciting stage combat.

2018-07-30Jul 30, 2018

I can’t believe the end of Summer is approaching. The good news is there are amazing movies to see in the theater. The first must see movie is “Blindspotting”.

2018-07-23Jul 23, 2018

Lady Luck is with this sensational ‘Guys and Dolls’ with exuberant street action, sultry big band music and soaring romance. DirectorJenny Boynton has a keen eye for detail, adding subtle background touches and turning the chaotic street scenes into an orchestra of vibrant personalities. The attention to detail in this staging demonstrates that a small theater used well can become a dynamic production.

2018-07-17Jul 17, 2018

Torn between poetic passion and family obligations, Viola dallies with her secret dream of becoming an actor, while conscious that the reality of duty will put an end to her fleeting moments of freedom. Her unshackled escapades captivate a fictional depiction of William Shakespeare, who is mired by lack of imagination until discovering that she is the muse who can rekindle his fire of creativity.

2018-12-05Dec 5, 2018

 

Rather than a formal staging, the solo performance ‘Every Brilliant Thing’ feels like the audience is relaxing in a living room, listening to an enthusiastic anecdote told by a beloved relative. The lights are up throughout the play, interaction is encouraged, and Ron Severdia’s casual persona is easily approachable.

2018-07-17Jul 17, 2018

Patsy Cline evokes tender nostalgia for melodious country music with its naïve, mournful refrains and quiet empathy. In her brief career, Cline pushed boundaries for female singers, recording classics like“Walkin’ After Midnight” and “I Fall to Pieces” for an enraptured audience. Her Southern charm has dwindled with time—younger generations have not heard her name—yet she lives on in this touching tribute to friendship.

 

2018-07-10Jul 10, 2018

The Imaginists are a creative, satirical theater company, presenting free performances in local parks with minimal props and sets. They arrive on bicycles, quickly setting up a backdrop and finalizing costuming while the audience gathers with folding chairs, blankets and friendly dogs to watch the show and enjoy Sonoma County’s beautiful outdoors.

2018-06-29Jun 29, 2018

This year, the 4th of July falls on a Wednesday so you can definitely catch up on movies you missed in June on Friday or Saturday. “Incredibles 2” was much better than expected so definitely see this on the big screen and not at home.

2018-06-27Jun 27, 2018

William Shakespeare’s festive comedy ‘Twelfth Night’ has been revised with contemporary language and exuberant songs by Peter Mills andCara Reichel. Capturing the spirit of the original play, it is reflective of modern sensibilities, for a delightfully romantic musical.

2018-06-26Jun 26, 2018

Inspired by a documentary theater project for the Petaluma sesquicentennial, Brian Glenn Bryson founded Walking Elephant Theatre Company as an opportunity for social and ecological healing.

2018-06-21Jun 21, 2018

Excitement is palpable on the grounds of Jack London State Historic Park in the afternoon before a performance, with picnicking and wine tasting on the picturesque grounds of Beauty Ranch overlooking vineyards. As the sun sets, Jeffrey Porter’s lighting design casts a riot of color, flickering flames and atmospheric shadows in the winery ruins, to magical effect.

2018-06-20Jun 20, 2018

Clashing perspectives jostle for attention in a thought-provoking examination of racism in the cold-blooded realm of marketing. Opening with an advertisement for Skymax shoes that turns violent, the hypothetical discussion of demographics becomes a genuine struggle between employees of the company.

2018-12-02Dec 2, 2018

 

Vibrant garlands and glistening lights festoon storefronts and neighborhoods in December. For David, holiday enthusiasm has become an obsession. His imaginative, careful planning ensures a perfect fictional Santa Claus for his children, with detailed rules like “packaging from ‘Santa Gifts’ must be disposed of at least two blocks away from the house.” When the festive spirit is clouded by a sudden, tragic loss, he struggles to maintain the magic for his family, as they face a new, sorrowful reality.

2018-11-28Nov 28, 2018

Generosity and holiday cheer infuse this sentimental story of a lonely orphan who discovers wealth and familial love with a crotchety old bachelor. Daddy Warbucks has striven for commercial success his entire life, and finds himself looking back to realize that it means nothing without companionship. When he invites Annie to stay for Christmas, she sweeps him away with her childish charm and irrepressible zeal for looking on the bright side of any situation. As a musical, it is rather repetitive, depending heavily on a few catchy tunes to carry the show.

2018-11-23Nov 23, 2018

Live Theater by Alexa Chipman - December 2018. ‘The Tailor of Gloucester’ light operetta. ‘The Nutcracker’ magical visions of graceful dancers.

2018-11-22Nov 22, 2018

We finally made it to December! The best month for movies. Everyone loves the iconic song,”12 Days of Christmas”. So I made a list for all you movie lovers. 

 

2018-11-20Nov 20, 2018

Dreaming of a happily ever after with a handsome knight, Princess Fiona discovers that reality does not conform to storybooks, when a good-hearted ogre and his saucy donkey sidekick arrive instead of her pre-planned fairytale romance. Based on the popular film “Shrek,” this cheeky musical has tap dancing rats, an impressive dragon puppet, and a tight-knit ensemble that will delight all ages.

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