Theatre: Spring 2015

Though I’ve seen Into the Woods many times, and also saw Conner’s showcase of Sondheim titled Marry Me a Little, the breadth of my Sondheim exposure was limited, so I was pleased to finally see another, A Little Night Music, at A.C.T. in San Francisco. It was my favorite of the season, though Trouble Cometh at San Francisco Playhouse and Rapture, Blister, Burn at CapStage were close seconds. Twelve plays for the season.

  • 2015-05-30 ACT: A Little Night Music (Stephen Sondheim)
  • 2015-05-29 Green Valley: VerteFe Cabaret
  • 2015-05-28 Big Idea: Coriolanus (William Shakespeare)
  • 2015-05-16 SF Playhouse: Trouble Cometh (Richard Dresser)
  • 2015-05-15 Green Valley: Dogfight (Benj Pasek & Justin Paul)
  • 2015-05-14 CapStage: The Homecoming (Harold Pinter)
  • 2015-04-30 Celebration Arts: Best of Enemies (Mark St. Germain)
  • 2015-04-19 New Helvetia Theatre: Opening Doors
  • 2015-04-16 B Street B3: Buyer and Cellar (Jonathan Tolins)
  • 2015-04-11 SF Playhouse: Stupid Fucking Bird (Aaron Posner)
  • 2015-04-10 Big Idea: 33 Variations (Moises Kaufmann)
  • 2015-03-26 CapStage: Rapture, Blister, Burn (Gina Gionfriddo)

play-images_Spring2015

New Helvetia Theatre and R Street

NewHelvetiaTheatre_logoThis evening I attended New Helvetia Theatre’s Opening Doors, which is somewhat ironically named, as it is the closing show for the venue on R Street. Founder Connor Mickiewicz and several friends performed numbers from musicals, a revue of favorites and shows never done. The evening was remarkable, silly, sad. With the passion that Connor and friends have, I am sure Connor will find a new home for his vision. Every seat was full, and a second show was added, so there is a lot of support for Connor and the type of theatre and musical theatre he is so committed to. I don’t necessarily think this is a loss for the arts community in Sacramento – Connor is is still here, and his productions will be back.

But it is a huge loss for R Street. R Street is presented as the happening arts and social district of Sacramento. Two years from now, five years from now, everyone will be saying R Street is great, but what it really lacks, to make it click, is theatre. And it won’t be easy to recreate it. Successful theatre is generated by a mix of driving passion by one person or a small group of people, and a large portion of magic that may or may not happen. Will any theatre actors, directors, producers feel welcome on R Street, when they were driven out? I realize that the loss of lease for New Helvetia was the act of a single developer, not the work of the developer community, but I am very, very surprised that the developer community did not recognize the potential loss and come to the rescue. Nor CADA, the agency which has led redevelopment of R Street with the city. Nor the city.

Our community is poorer today than it was yesterday.

Theatre: Fall 2014

It is often hard to pick my favorite play or musical from a season, as I strongly enjoy nearly every one of them, but I have to say that Motown: The Musical stood out above the rest. It was so full of good energy and good memories for me (I’m of that age when Motown was what we listened to). The acting and singing were superb. Eleven plays for the season.

  • 2014-12-11  New Helvetia Theatre: Marry Me A Little (music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, conceived and developed by Craig Lucas & Norman Rene)
  • 2014-12-10  Sacramento Theatre Company: Kate (Rick Foster)
  • 2014-12-05 Big Idea Theatre: Jungle Book (Rudyard Kipling, adapted by Briandaniel Ogelsby)
  • 2014-11-20  New Helvetia Theatre: I’m Getting My Act Together (music by Nancy Ford and book and lyrics by Gretchen Cryer)
  • 2014-11-06  Cap Stage: Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy, adapted for the stage by Helen Edmundson)
  • 2014-11-01  San Francisco Playhouse: Ideation (Aaron Loeb)
  • 2014-10-30  Green Valley Theatre: Rocky Horror Show (music, lyrics and a book by Richard O’Brien)
  • 2014-10-03  City Theatre: The Uninvited (Tim Kelly, from the novel by Dorothy Macardle)
  • 2014-10-02  Big Idea Theatre: Exit Interview (William Missouri Downs)
  • 2014-09-27  SHN Theatres: Motown, The Musical (a book by Berry Gordy)
  • 2014-09-26  SHN Theatres: Pippin (Stephen Schwartz and a book by Roger O. Hirson)

Theatre: Summer 2014

Another season of plays, fourteen this time. My favorite was Songs from An Unmade Bed, New Helvetia Theatre’s one-man performance by Conner Mickiewicz. I was leery – could he really pull it off? – but he did, in fine form and voice. I saw Into the Woods (Sondheim & Lapine) at San Francisco Playhouse. This is my favorite play of all time, and one I have seen far more than any other. This performance was on par with others, but not the best. The best was actually the very first one, in Chico, put on by a community theatre whose name I don’t even remember. Chico Theatre Company is in the space now, but they say they started in 2004, and I saw the play about 1991. I think I have seen the play seven times now.

  • 2014-09-18  CapStage: Tribes
  • 2014-09-17  STC: Taming of the Shrew (Young Professionals Conservatory)
  • 2014-09-05  Green Valley: The Light in the Piazza
  • 2014-08-29  Teatro Espejo: Enslaved
  • 2014-08-28  B Street: The Conference of the Birds
  • 2014-08-13  Cap Stage: Orchid Child (Playwright’s Revolution)
  • 2014-08-12  Cap Stage: Black Fly Spring (Playwright’s Revolution)
  • 2014-08-02  SF Playhouse: Into the Woods
  • 2014-08-01  Big Idea Theatre: The Language Archive
  • 2014-07-27  Ovation Stage: The Flu Season
  • 2014-07-12  SHN: Once
  • 2014-07-11  New Helvetia Theatre: Songs from an Unmade Bed
  • 2014-07-10  Shakespeare Davis: Much Ado About Nothing
  • 2014-07-08  B Street: Provenance

Theatre: Fall 2012

Not new information, but a posting of plays and theaters that I had not previously posted.

  • 2012-12-14 SHN Theatres: The Lion King
  • 2012-12-13 Sacramento Theatre Company: A Christmas Carol
  • 2012-12-07 BigIdea: Love’s Labor Lost
  • 2012-12-06 B St: A Pail of Grace
  • 2012-11-29 CapStage: Mistakes Were Made
  • 2012-11-01 CapStage: The Woman in Black
  • 2012-10-28 GreenValley: Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • 2012-10-25 B3: The Price
  • 2012-10-12 NewHelvetia: Next to Normal
  • 2012-10-11 B St: The K of D
  • 2012-10-04 CapStage: Enron

Theatre: Spring 2013

Again, not a new post, but separated out of my Spring 2013 post.

I saw twelve plays this quarter, just amazing. Hedda Gabler at Capital Stage was the best, and A Contemporary American’s Guide to a Successful Marriage 1959 at Big Idea Theatre was the funniest.

  • As You Like It, Big Idea Theatre
  • Avenue Q, Runaway Stage
  • Billy Elliot, Sacramento Community Center Theatre
  • The Mountaintop, CapStage
  • Dark Meets Light, Ovation Stage
  • 42nd Street, Runaway Stage
  • Private Eyes, Big Idea Theatre
  • The Little Dog Laughed, Closet Door Theatre
  • How We Got On, B Street Theatre
  • Gingerbread Lady, New Helvetia Theatre
  • Hedda Gabler, CapStage
  • Jerusalem, Green Valley Theatre
  • A Contemporary American’s Guide to a Successful Marriage 1959, Big Idea Theatre

Theatre: Winter 2013-2014

The plays which I saw this quarter are listed below. Twelve play, about the right amount for 12 weeks. You can see the Sacramento area theaters I go to on my Theatre page. I have had a subscription to the SHN Theatres in San Francisco this year, which I’ve much enjoyed and have two performances left to see. I also went to the Berkeley Rep(ertory) Theatre this month and will attend more there in the future. I saw Angels in America, both parts, at TAAC (The Alternative Arts Collective), and after thinking about it for a long time, realized that my dissatisfaction was not with the local staging or actors, but with the play itself. It is too sprawling, too scattered, too much dialog rather than action to bring out the themes. I think my favorite of the quarter was Passion at New Helvetia Theatre, but there are several in close competition.

  • 2014-03-16 Berkeley Rep: The House That Will Not Stand
  • 2014-03-07 Green Valley Theatre: The Wild Party
  • 2014-03-06 B Street: Wrong for Each Other
  • 2014-03-01 Cap Stage: The Real Thing (again)
  • 2014-02-28 Big Idea Theatre: The Merry Wives
  • 2014-02-27 New Helvetia Theatre: Passion
  • 2014-02-14 TAAC: Angels in America 2: Perestroika
  • 2014-02-12 Cap Stage: The Real Thing
  • 2014-01-24 Big Idea Theatre: When the Rain Stops Falling
  • 2014-01-17 TAAC: Angels in America 1: The Millenium
  • 2014-01-16 B Street Theatre: Elemeno Pea
  • 2014-01-10 Runaway Stage: Young Frankenstein

Theatre: Fall 2013

Sixteen plays. Am I overdoing it? Maybe, but there are worse foibles. I became a member of SHN Theatres in San Francisco. I enjoy the event of going to the theatre in SF, but to be honest the productions aren’t any better than what I can see at home in Sacramento. I appreciate most the energy and courage of Big Idea Theatre, and the consistent quality of Cap Stage, but I also very much enjoy the diversity of opportunities in Sacramento, from a group of friends all the way up through traveling shows of national stature.

The Sacramento News & Review had a year-end review of the theatre scene for the year. Many I saw, some I did not.

  • 2013-12-20 SHN Theatres: The Book of Mormon
  • 2013-12-07 UC Davis Theatre & Dance Department: Spring Awakening
  • 2013-12-05 Big Idea Theatre: Outrage
  • 2013-12-03 B Street Theatre: Not in the Stars
  • 2013-11-22 Actors Workshop of Sacramento: The Sunset Limited
  • 2013-11-17 Runaway Stage: Spamalot
  • 2013-11-15 Ovation Stage: Buried Child
  • 2013-11-10 SHN Theatres: Porgy and Bess
  • 2013-11-09 SHN Theatres: Peter and the Starcatcher
  • 2013-11-07 Cap Stage: Macbeth
  • 2013-10-31 B Street Theatre: Detroit
  • 2013-10-25 New Helvetia Theatre: Tell Me On A Sunday
  • 2013-10-24 Sacramento Theatre Company: Pride & Prejudice
  • 2013-10-06 SHN Theatres: Beautiful
  • 2013-10-04 City Theatre: After Juliet
  • 2013-10-03 Big Idea Theatre: Lonesome Hollow

I’ll post about other activities during the fall shortly.

Theatres on the grid

I was speaking to several people this evening at the Turn Downtown Around Open Forum about the wonderful abundance of theatres near where I live in Sacramento, on the grid (downtown & midtown) and near the grid. I’ve no doubt missed a few, particularly theatre companies and playhouses don’t run things very often, but here is my list for what it is worth:

On-the-Grid Theatres

B Street Theatre, http://bstreettheatre.org/
Capital Stage, J St, http://capstage.org/
New Helvetia Theatre, R St, http://www.newhelvetia.org/
Sacramento Theatre Company, H St, http://sactheatre.org/
R25 Theatre Complex, 25th & R St

California Musical Theatre, http://www.californiamusicaltheatre.com/, at Wells Fargo Pavilion and Community Center Theatre
Geery Theatre, L St, http://wjgeerytheater.com/

Continue reading “Theatres on the grid”