Review: “Sweeney Todd” in Novato

Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s Sweeney Todd is an exceedingly difficult show to produce.  More opera than musical (San Francisco Opera actually did a production in 2015), the vocal demands alone create a significant casting challenge for most theatre companies. The complexities of Sondheim’s score and the requirements of the set design add to the…

Review: “The Laramie Project” in Healdsburg

It’s been more than two decades since 21-year-old college student Matthew Shephard was kidnapped, beaten, tortured, tied to a fence and left to die in a remote area near Laramie, Wyoming. The savageness and “How could it happen here?” nature of the crime grabbed the world’s attention and Shephard’s funeral and subsequent trials of the…

Review: “Luna Gale” in Petaluma

The term “MacGuffin” was popularized by film director Alfred Hitchcock to describe objects or events that took place in his films that were necessary to begin the plot and motivate the characters but were essentially irrelevant. It may be harsh to refer to a baby as a MacGuffin, but the title character in Luna Gale,…

Review: “Sovereignty” in Mill Valley

There aren’t a lot of plays that explore Native American history or the modern-day social and political issues that continue to challenge that community. Mary Kathryn Nagle’s Sovereignty, running at the Marin Theatre Company through Oct. 20, attempts to do both in about two hours. Sarah Ridge Polson (Elizabeth Frances) returns to the Cherokee Nation…