ODDBALL OUTCASTS It pays homage to the goofy compassion exhibited by claymation holiday specials, especially the iconic classic where the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys are rescued by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Now a world premiere musical by Pride Films and Plays staged by director/choreographer Donterrio Johnson, America’s Best Outcast Toy — An […]

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GET YOUR SOUL SALVAGED The minute I sat down at the Lounge theatre and saw the rundown bar on the stage equipped with a few tables, a jukebox and several guitars hanging on the walls along with a photograph of a famous country musician named Floyd Whitaker, I was transported to some small rural town […]

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THIS IS ONE HANDSOME HARROWING HANSEL AND GREAT GOOEY GRETEL Well, how thrilling is it to see a brand new production in the world of opera. Especially given that this one is a winner replete with charm and cast with perfection. This new SF Opera co-production of Hansel and Gretel with London’s Royal Opera House […]

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DOES GROUNDHOG DAY BEAR REPEATING? At the center of San Francisco Playhouse’s first regional premiere of Broadway’s Groundhog Day the Musical is the brilliant, perfectly cast Ryan Drummond, playing local TV news weatherman, Phil. This arrogant, uncaring teaser must relive Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney until he learns to care about other people. This musical adaptation of the […]

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PUNK’D In many ways, Gregory S. Moss’s 1980s-themed punkplay feels like a dream. Props and seasons are generically labeled. Flights of fancy are realized like make-believe. Even the era itself is presented as a distant memory we’re not sure really happened. Unfortunately, the wistfulness of a nighttime enigma doesn’t always make for compelling storytelling. Co-directed […]

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HERE COMES SAN FRANCISCO’S STUPENDOUS SYMPHONY SERVING COLOSSAL CHRISTMAS CONCERTS We all know that San Francisco Symphony can easily be labeled one of our country’s best orchestras, but it’s a no-brainer to visit them this season given the amazingly diverse options you have this year. Here are my favorites. (And through Monday, Dec 2 at […]

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CHRISTMAS AS A CIRCUS There’s a beloved poem behind these multiple circus acts in one act: Clement Moore was never that fond of his famous 1837 poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas (better known as ’Twas the Night Before Christmas). Written in a jog-trotting anapestic tetrameter, the now-treasured verse was for its author a mere […]

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BETWEEN TWO WORLDS The opening track of Gabrielle Stravelli’s latest CD Pick up My Pieces — which covers Willie Nelson originals and songs he’s covered — is delicious and delightful. Front and center in the medley of “Lady Luck” and “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time” is that voice! I’m a huge […]

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THE ILLUSION OF SAFETY If you have ever thought, I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in a situation as awful as a school shooting, this incredible new short film will show you. Without bloodshed, writer/director/producer Fabrice Joubert creates an effectively tense film with little more than a ten-minute run-time. There’s just […]

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NOT AS KEYED UP AS IT SHOULD BE The Geffen Playhouse has really been on a roll under the newest Artistic Director Matt Shakman. There are many more interesting scripts, and many more chances are being taken. And as always, both of Geffen’s playhouses are given Broadway-caliber production values. Shakman is also to be thanked […]

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