This winter StanShakes, Stanford’s well-loved Shakespeare Company, strikes again. Unlike last quarter, when it won us over through “clean, raunchy, intelligent humor,” it is through heart-wrenching tragedy that StanShakes makes its presence felt with this production.
The Bing Stanford in Washington Program (SIW) will offer a new track focused on visual arts, arts administration and theater and performance starting in winter quarter of 2014.
Last night’s production was my third time seeing “Wicked” and probably the millionth time I have listened to the songs, and yet I learned the most from the musical the third time around.
With the simple knowledge that was engrained within us all in high school, “Any Which Way You Like It” is clean, raunchy, intelligent humor.
Noel Coward’s hilarious play “Blithe Spirit” has been revived with gusto and skill at the California Shakespeare Theater (Cal Shakes) in the East Bay. The production has an impressive combination of clever dialogue and actors with precise comic timing who accentuate the wit. Like Oscar Wilde’s plays, Coward’s are full of banter and silliness, and just as Rupert Everett seems born to perform Wilde, the Cal Shakes cast is perfect for the play.
The new SHN production of “War Horse” in San Francisco is all spectacle: amazing lights, sounds, sets, song and staging, as well as some impressive life-sized horse puppets operated by multiple puppeteers. “War Horse” is the epic story of a boy and his horse before and during World War I and tells of how both sides took turns caring for and loving the horse; if you saw the Spielberg film last year, this is a less polished version of the story. The play, however, equals, if not exceeds, the extravagance and drama of the film.
SF Playhouse, a small theater company that has been consistently producing some of the best productions in the Bay Area, does it again with director Bill English’s reinterpretation of the classic Broadway musical “My Fair Lady.”
On the surface, “Curse of the Starving Class,” written by Pulitzer Prize winner Sam Shepard, is the story of an American family that slowly deteriorates thanks to a fraudulent land speculator who toys with their lives in the countryside. However, the play also addresses many deeper, modern issues, such as poverty, overbearing corporations and alcoholism.