Review: “City of Angels” at the San Francisco Playhouse

Few genres of movie went out of style as quickly as noir. Ushered in with the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock movie Rebecca and proving to be one of the most popular genres with audiences, the last recognizable entries in the genre were in 1959. Though it’s doubtful many modern audiences have watched a true film noir from start to finish, the imprint that these films left on the public consciousness can not be erased. City of Angels, a musical from 1989, was written specifically to parody and comment upon the generally vague concept of noir that audiences have. It’s not a wholly successful show, mostly because noir tropes just don’t translate to live performance, but it is unlikely that you will ever get to see a better production of the show than the one currently running at the San Francisco Playhouse, which continues the company’s legacy of extremely high quality live theatre in the best way. Continue reading “Review: “City of Angels” at the San Francisco Playhouse”

Review: “La Cage Aux Folles”, presented by Bay Area Musicals

La Cage aux Folles was as timely when it opened as shows like Hamilton are today. Despite the show’s old-fashioned sensibility and slightly drippy sentimentality, it celebrated being gay at a time when gay men were dying by the thousands due the AIDS epidemic, all while their own government refused to even acknowledge them. This was a panic-stricken time in New York’s history, and La Cage was so vital because it clung to a sense of desperate optimism at a time when many felt that it would be impossible to be optimistic ever again. Modernity has brought with it an acceptance of the gay-rights movement, so the show has lost its edge, but that does not mean that its boundless joyfulness can not still resonate with audiences. Thankfully, that spirit is still very much alive in Bay Area Musicals’s production of La Cage Aux Folles, which is highly entertaining, if rather pointedly imperfect.

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