“Gypsy, A Musical Fable” in Ross

About once a year now, The Mountain Play comes down from atop Mt. Tam’s 3,750-seat Cushing Memorial Amphitheatre and joins forces with the Ross Valley Players to present a classic Broadway musical in the 99-seat Barn Theater at the Marin Art and Garden Center. This year it’s Gypsy, A Musical Fable, the Arthur Laurents/Jule Styne/Stephen…

Review: “The River Bride” in Santa Rosa

Folks who like their fairy-tale endings in the “and they lived happily ever after” vein may find themselves challenged by Marisela Treviño Orta’s The River Bride. Part Brazilian folklore and part Brothers Grimm at their grimmest, it’s the tale of two sisters and the men in their lives. Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Playhouse has a…

Review: “Clybourne Park” in Healdsburg

The roots of racism run deep in the American housing market. Playwright Lorraine Hansberry addressed the issue in 1959 with A Raisin in the Sun, the first play written by an African-American woman performed on Broadway and the first to have an African-American director. Playwright Bruce Norris took Hansberry’s story and in 2010 wrote a…

Review: “Sweeney Todd” in Napa

Within the last year we’ve lost Angela Lansbury and Stephen Sondheim and each passing brought to mind their most successful collaboration – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The original Broadway production nabbed eight of the nine Tonys for which it was nominated and has become a Halloween-season staple of community theatres. After…

Review: “Misery” in Petaluma

Adaptations of the works of Stephen King for film and television have been hit or miss over the years. For every The Shining or ‘Salem’s Lot, there’s a Firestarter or The Langoliers. Mainstream theatrical adaptations have been limited to a 2018 musical version of Carrie (a major Broadway flop but cult hit) and Misery, which…

Review: “The Music Man” in Rohnert Park

American musical theatre doesn’t get any more old-fashioned than it does with The Music Man. Broadway is currently hosting a revival of Meredith Willson’s melodic tale of con man Harold Hill and Marian the Librarian but North Bay audiences looking to travel back to turn-of-the-century River City, Iowa need only head to Rohnert Park. The…

Review: “Circle Mirror Transformation” in Novato

If you’ve ever glanced at a flyer hanging from a community center bulletin board that offers an acting   course and worried about the time commitment required, playwright Annie Baker’s got you covered. In Circle Mirror Transformation, now running at the Novato Theater Company through September 25, Baker covers in two hours what most courses do…

Review: “The Realistic Joneses” in San Anselmo

Will Eno’s The Realistic Joneses is a difficult play to categorize. Is it a drama or a comedy? Realistic or surrealistic? Life-affirming or death-obsessed?  The answer to all these questions is “yes”. You can decide for yourself by attending the Jolee & Too Soon Old production that’s running at the Playhouse in San Anselmo through…

Review: “Fun Home” in Santa Rosa

The California Theatre, the North Bay’s newest entertainment venue, hosts Left Edge Theatre’s season-opening production of Fun Home. The musical adaptation of Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir of the same name took home five Tonys, including Best Musical, for its 2015 Broadway run. The show is scheduled to run through September 18. Bechdel’s original work,…