Review: “The Drowsy Chaperone” in Sonoma

“I hate theatre.” No, that’s not the long-suspected confession of a theatre critic. It’s the opening line from Sonoma Arts Live’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone.  The show runs through July 31.   That line, followed by a litany of complaints about modern theatre (shows are too long, actors shouldn’t interact with the audience, Elton John,…

Review: “9 to 5, the Musical” in Santa Rosa

It’s been over 40 years since Dolly Parton made her film debut in 9 to 5 and the title tune topped the charts. The film and song (which garnered Parton an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song) became markers in the struggle for parity in the workplace for women. Thank goodness it was achieved…

Review: “The Sound Inside” in Mill Valley

Audiences who don’t mind leaving a theatre a bit unsettled would do well to check out the West Coast premiere of Adam Rapp’s The Sound Inside at Mill Valley’s Marin Theatre Company.The Jasson Minadakis-directed show runs through June 19. The lights come up on a solitary female figure. “A middle-aged professor of undergraduate Creative Writing…

Review: “Wink” in Sebastopol

Feline conspiracy theorists who believe that cats are plotting to take over the world might count playwright Jen Silverman as an ally to their cause with Wink, Silverman’s absurd look at the nature of human transformation… and a vengeful cat.  Sebastopol’s Main Stage West has a production running through June 25.    Sophie (Ilana Niernberger)…

Review: “Hello, Dolly!” on Mt. Tam

The Mountain Play returns to the Cushing Memorial Amphitheater atop Mount Tamalpais with a boisterous production of the Jerry Herman classic Hello, Dolly! Directed by Jay Manley, the quintessential American musical runs Sundays (and one Saturday) though June 19. Matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi (Dyan McBride) has been hired by well-known Yonkers, New York half-a-millionaire and…

Review: “A Doll’s House, Part 2” in Novato

Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House premiered in 1879 to great controversy. His look at the limitations and restrictions placed on women in a patriarchal society was considered quite scandalous at the time. Many consider it to be the beginning of modern feminist literature, though Ibsen himself denied that. Suffice it to say that…

Review: “The Book of Will” in Healdsburg

William Shakespeare, who wrote a couple of plays, never had one actually published in his lifetime. They existed, often in pieces, in hand-scrawled scripts and in the memories of the actors who performed them. If not for Shakespeare’s friends and colleagues’ efforts to preserve his work for posterity, high school drama students would have a…

Review: “The Sound of Music” in Mill Valley

Mill Valley’s Throckmorton Theatre is alive with The Sound of Music. Their production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic runs through May 29. The show stars Katrina Lauren McGraw – a recent recipient of a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Principal Performance in a Musical – in the role of Maria Rainer, a…

Review: “Matilda the Musical” in Rohnert Park

After a two-year pandemic-induced delay, Matilda the Musical finally hits the expansive Codding Stage at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park. The musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s tale of a gifted little girl navigating a treacherous world runs through May 22. Matilda Wormwood (played by Gigi Bruce Low, alternating with Anja Kao Nielsen)…

Review: “The Government Inspector” in Ross

The good ol’ USA has never had a lock on corrupt, windbag politicians as evidenced by Russian dramatist Nikolai Gogol’s The Government Inspector. Originally published in 1836, Gogol’s takedown of the dishonesty, greed, and stupidity that runs rampant in government is considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest comedies. Director Lisa Morse…