Theater and Stage

Plays, live performances, film, independent cinema. Plus behind the scenes, reviews and videos.
Tuck & Patti - San Francisco Jazz Festival Review

36th Annual San Francisco Jazz Festival in Full Swing: Tuck & Patti (Review)

The repertoire of Tuck and Patti deftly illustrates the purpose of this venue — bring people together across the Americas to celebrate music, love and life.
San Francisco Theater Review: ME AND MY GIRL at 42nd Street Moon, San Francisco

Tap and Tomfoolery: Me and My Girl

It’s funny how two people can discover the same thing at once. Calculus. Oxygen. A neglected musical. Me and My Girl, hardly a household name even among connoisseurs of classic musical theater, is getting simultaneous revivals from 42nd Street Moon in San Francisco and Encores! in New York –...
The Color Purple - SHN Orpheum Theatre review by Ilana Walder-Biesanz

Star power makes The Color Purple bright

The women of The Color Purple have unimaginably hard lives. They’re subject to an unrelenting series of rape, abuse, and racism. The musical (currently on tour to the SHN Orpheum) is touching and uplifting in spite of that, because it’s the story of how they overcome all those forces...
Father Comes Home From the Wars, Parts 1, 2 & 3 at American Conservatory Theater, San Francsisco

Searching for freedom with Father Comes Home from the Wars

Midway through Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3, at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater in San Francisco), a Confederate colonel sets his Union prisoner Smith guessing his slave Hero’s price. The callous discussion of a human being’s dollar value horrifies Smith (and the audience), but to...
Theater Review: Timon of Athens at Cutting Ball, San Francisco

Shakespeare’s obscure ‘Timon’ sears at Cutting Ball

Shakespeare completionists surely took note when Cutting Ball Theater announced Timon of Athens as part of their 2017–18 season. It’s a difficult one to check off your see-them-all list: a few dozen Hamlets and Macbeths get produced for every time someone is brave enough to mount this “problem play.”...
Berkeley Repertory Theatre season announcement external building

Berkeley Rep Announces 2018-19 Season: Doll’s House Pt. 2, Fairview, Home, Good Book, more

Iconic theater celebrates 50th anniversary with 6 shows under Tonny Taccone's last year of artistic directorship.
The Effect at San Francisco Playhouse

The Effect‘s side effects: laughter and angst

How can we trust in love if it’s reducible to brain chemistry?
Vietgone Review - ACT Strand San Francisco

Romance, rap and a road trip for refugees of Vietgone

Ilana Walder-Biesanz reviews Vietgone, American Conservatory Theater's (A.C.T.) latest production, now playing at The Strand in San Francisco. Humor is not what you’d expect from a play about the Vietnam War, but Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone consistently had the whole audience in stitches. Inspired by his own family history (“Any resemblance...
Theater Review: WIDOWERS' HOUSES at Aurora, Berkeley

A nineteenth-century housing crisis at Aurora Theatre

Widowers’ Houses is, by Shaw’s own categorization, a “play unpleasant.” No one on the stage is remotely likeable. Certainly not Blanche (Megan Trout), the spoiled young lady with a temper so violent that she beats her maid. Her on-and-off fiancé Trench (Dan Hoyle) is perpetually slack-jawed, a Bertie Wooster without...