The Best Theatre of 2017

Once again we find ourselves at the end of the calendar year, and while most sane humans are taking this time to surround themselves with family and friends in preparation for the new year, the folks who have completely lost their minds—theatre people, as we might term them—use the end of the year to qualify and quantify the theatre performances that they were lucky enough to see throughout the preceding year.

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Review: “The Night Alive” at San Jose Stage Company

Since the death of the great Brian Friel, there are two playwrights who might lay claim to the title of Ireland’s greatest living playwright. Those two are Martin McDonagh and Conor McPherson, a pair of writers who could not be more different in writing style if they were born two thousand years apart. While both write black comedies, McDonagh prefers to encourage the audience to laugh as his characters writhe in the filth of their lives, McPherson forces you into the lives of his characters, so that every laugh has a twinge of pain.

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Review: “The Ice Cream Sandwich Incident” by Barry Eitel, presented by Faultline Theatre

Something wild and wonderful is happening in San Francisco right now. It goes by the name of The Ice Cream Sandwich Incident, and it’s an absolutely unmissable night of theatre. It’s impossible to say if you will actually like the play—it’s far too strange to be everyone’s cup of tea—but you owe it to yourself to see it with your own eyes. Love it or hate it, you certainly will not be able to forget it.

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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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Thoughts On: Live-streamed theatre

On June 30th, BroadwayHD broadcast the Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of the 1963 Bock and Harnick musical She Loves Me to anybody who had paid the $9.99 fee and had a working internet connection. This stream was the first of its kind and has been very well received by those who have seen it, but it raises some interesting questions about the relationship between theatre and the internet in the near future. Continue reading “Thoughts On: Live-streamed theatre”

Thoughts on: A True Blood musical?

According to Michael Riedel of the New York Post, a new musical is being developed based on the hit HBO television series True Blood. Created by Alan Ball (American Beauty, Six Feet Under), the television series was a surprise hit for the network, coming out around the same time that books like Twilight were sweeping the nation, offering decidedly more adult-oriented fare in the same market. Continue reading “Thoughts on: A True Blood musical?”

Read This: John by Annie Baker

The Theatre Communications Group has just published the readers’ edition of Annie Baker’s new play, entitled John. It is a microscopic work of art, so small as to threaten to disappear. It is also the most quietly devastating and beautiful play to be published in recent memory.

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