Ilana Walder-Biesanz

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Ilana is an Associate Product Manager at Yahoo! and a freelance theater and opera critic. She holds a B.S. in Engineering from Olin College and an M.Phil. in European Literature from the University of Cambridge. She currently reviews for Stark Insider, Bachtrack, and San Francisco Classical Voice. [Web Site]

‘Ah, Wilderness!’ deserves its exclamation point at the ACT

Above photo: Sid Davis (Dan Hiatt, pictured in orange suit) indulges the Miller family with food gags at the dinner table in Eugene O'Neill's Ah, Wilderness!, performing at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater through Sunday, November 8. ‘Eugene O’Neill’ and ‘hilarious’ don’t usually belong in the same sentence. America’s great tragedian did...
Dear Armen - San Francisco Review

Dear Armen, a show in progress

Armen Ohanian was clearly a fascinating person whose story deserves to be told. A genderqueer Armenian over a century ago, she began life as an "honest woman" in an upper-class family but pursued a career as an artist. She danced on tour in Europe, wrote poetry, and composed Orientalized...
Dogfight - San Francisco Playhouse

Nothing’s ugly about ‘Dogfight’

"The ugliest girl wins the dough for the guy who brought her." On their last night before deployment, six Marines make a bet—a dogfight. The tough-talking Eddie Birdlace finds a waitress for his entry, but he quickly discovers himself falling for her in spite of her appearance. As produced by...

‘This is Our Youth’ amuses and moves at The Custom Made Theater

Kenneth Lonergan’s This is Our Youth is about rich, bored, high kids in the Upper West Side of New York City in the Reagan era with a bundle of cash and a good drug dealer network. This goes about as well as you’d expect. Kicked out of his house...
Ann Randolph

Laughter and death at Ann Randolph’s ‘Loveland’

Ann Randolph’s greatest strength as a performer is her utter willingness to look foolish. In Loveland, her alter ego Franny dances awkwardly, speaks nasally, and says whatever she happens to be thinking—even if that’s recounting her experiences masturbating in massage chairs at Whole Foods. Franny’s vocation and “special talent” is...