Theatre Spring 2016

The links to each play will, sooner or later, expire.

2016-spring-collage

Theatre Winter 2015-2016

I’m still keeping brief entries in Day One, but the application has still not added back the publishing capability, so I don’t have an easy way of sharing these. The links to each play will, sooner or later, expire.

Winter2015

Theatre Summer 2015

A little late to posting summer, and I’d forgotten until tonight when I logged my latest play. I’ve been experimenting with written little short blurbs about the plays in my DayOne journal. Not reviews, just reactions. Those are linked after the entry for each one, but only since I started. Three Shakespeare this season, and another in fall!

2015-summer-play-images

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)

Why I go to San Francisco for musicals

I just came back from a weekend in San Francisco where I saw two musicals, Pippin at SHN Golden Gate Theatre, and Motown, The Musical at SHN Orpheum Theatre. Pippin was great, Motown was spectacular. The only modern-music musical that I’ve seen that surpassed it was Beautiful, the Carole King biography, also at SHN.

Many though not all of these national traveling shows come to Sacramento, most often hosted California Musical Theatre’s Broadway Sacramento at the Sacramento Community Center Theater, which has the tagline of “superb acoustics, unobstructed views,” though some are also hosted at California Musical Theatre’s Music Circus at the Wells Fargo Pavilion. Most of these come through for only a week or two, rather than the five to eight weeks they play in the bay area, and many never come.

So why do I go to San Francisco? Well, let me say up front that I go in part because I love San Francisco, I’m happy when I’m there, I do a lot of things including going to the ocean, to museums, to listen to Irish music, to visit friends, to ride my bike, to eat good bread (Arizmendi and Acme), and I could go on for pages.

But the main reason I go is that I can hear the musicals, and the plays. I don’t think I missed a single word or line in either Pippin or Motown. The sound is crisp and clear. It is loud enough without being too loud. In contrast, Sacramento Community Center Theater sucks. The sound is muddy. I often miss key dialog. In order to overcome the acoustic weakness of the hall, the sound gets cranked up way over the capabilities of the sound system. I have attended several plays and musicals that were so painfully loud I thought of just walking out. In fact, two of the professional community theatres in Sacramento, Capital Stage and B Street Theatre mainstage have considerably better sound quality than the Sacramento Community Center Theater. Maybe the comparison in unfair, as these are small theatres, but when I can pay $32 for a ticket and hear great sound in a small intimate venue with sufficient bathroom capacity, why would I want to pay $43 to $95 (and higher for the popular shows such as Wicked) for muddy sound, in a huge impersonal venue with insufficient bathroom capacity?

In the San Francisco theatres, sight lines are good too. From my seat in the balcony, about two feet of the top of the SHN Golden Gate stage was cut off. I remember seeing Wicked in Sacramento, and more than a third of the stage was cut off from my seat. I missed a lot of action that happened at the edges and top of the stage. And I was in one of the more expensive seats, the Grand Tier rather than the Second Tier. I wonder if people in the Second Tier could even see the stage.

SNH Golden Gate Theatre was built in 1922 and refurbished in 1979, and seats up to 2200. SHN Opheum Theatre was built in 1929 and restored in 1998, and seats 700. Sacramento Community Center Theatre was built in 1974 and seats 2,398, which is larger than any of the theatres in San Francisco. You would think that would allow them to sell lower priced tickets, but the ticket prices are the same or higher.

The concrete bunker that is the Sacramento Community Center Theater will never have good sound, no matter how much is spent on renovation. The only solution is to tear it down and start over. I’m sure the convention center would like to expand into that area. There are a number of empty or developable lots around downtown. In fact the city owns a number of potential locations. Or at least did, until they gave away the properties to the Kings.

So please,

tear down the Sacramento Community Center Theater

and give us a new great place to see musicals, plays, and other cultural performances.

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: Summer 2012

Not new information, but posting older information I had not posted before. This is the last one, since I started keeping track of plays in this season of summer 2012, though I was going to plays in Sacramento for a year before that.

  • 2012-09-06 BigIdea: Red Herring
  • 2012-08-24 CapStage: Playwrights Revolution
  • 2012-08-23 CapStage: Playwrights Revolution
  • 2012-08-22 CapStage: Playwrights Revolution
  • 2012-08-21 CapStage: Playwrights Revolution
  • 2012-08-16 B St: Seminar
  • 2012-08-09 CapStage: Dying City
  • 2012-08-03 SHN Theatres: Les Miserables
  • 2012-07-30 B St: Shakespeare Abridged
  • 2012-07-19 B St: Sketchy

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