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: “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…

Review: “Saturday Night at Grossinger’s” in Sonoma

The Borscht Belt comes to wine country with the Sonoma Arts Live presentation of Saturday Night at Grossinger’s. The musical with book and lyrics by Stephen Cole and music by Claibe Richardson runs in Sonoma through May 8. It’s co-directed by Larry Williams and SAL Artistic Director Jaime Weiser Love. The Borscht Belt is an…

Review: “The Wedding Singer” in Santa Rosa

To some in the theatre world, the sourcing of an Adam Sandler movie as the basis for a musical was the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse. Needless to say, American musical theatre did not come to an end with the arrival of The Wedding Singer on Broadway. The show managed to snag five Tony nominations,…

Review: “Three Tall Women” in Petaluma

Playwriting is often a form of artistic exorcism. Many a play have been written to bring a form of closure to unresolved conflicts, strained relationships, or traumatic experiences and to release the hold that personal demons have on their authors. For playwright Edward Albee (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?), that demon happened to be his…

Review: “Hotter Than Egypt” in Mill Valley

Mill Valley’s Marin Theatre Company has been presenting top-notch productions of often provocative plays for years, so color me a bit surprised by their latest offering. They are currently hosting the world premiere co-production (with Seattle’s ACT) of Yussef El Guindi’s Hotter Than Egypt. Selected by MTC’s new Associate Artistic Director Nakissa Etemad, the John Langs-directed…

Review: “Native Gardens” in Santa Rosa

“Good fences make good neighbors” is an aphorism whose origins are debated but whose truth is generally accepted.  Where the fence actually runs, though, can be a test of neighborly relations as it is in the Left Edge Theatre production of Karen Zacarias’ Native Gardens. The Jenny Hollingworth-directed comedy runs in Santa Rosa through April…