Theater & Dance archive

3Below Theaters
"The People in the Picture" ran at 3Below Theaters, April 26-May 13, 2018, a touching, sometimes funny tale of European Jews escaping the Holocaust to live in New York. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.

"King Charles III" was an amusing, provocative and thoughtful "what-if?" at American Conservatory Theatre. As in, "What if Queen Elizabet II" suddenly croaked and Prince Charles became king? Tony Lacy-Thompson, a Brit himself, reviewed.
"Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play," by Anne Washburn, is a clever play that uses "The Simpsons" as a way of exploring a dystopian future. February 18 through March 15, 2015. Kevin Kelly reviewed.
"A Christmas Carol" at A.C.T., December 5-28, 2014, is one of the best productions ever of this timeless story by Charles Dickens, about the distance between the have yachts and the have nots. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"Testament" is about the ultimate mother's lament, a story of Mary, mother of Jesus. Colm Tóibín's play was at the Geary Theater, October 29 through November 23, 2014, Kevin Kelly reviewed.
"Old Hats" was hilarious bedlam at American Conservatory Theater's Geary Theater. Bill Irwin and David Shiner brought in great physical comedy by the truckload. September 10 through October 12, 2014. Kevin Kelly reviewed.
"Underneath the Lintel" was an astounding one-hander, with David Strathairn brilliant as a very curious Dutch librarian, October 23-November 17, 2013. Read Lloyd G. Francis' review.
"Dead Metaphor" "is a dark comedy for our times, an analogy of the real-life drama that vets face all across America, and perhaps the world," said Lloyd G. Francis of the show, which ran February 28 through March 24, 2013. Read his review.
Lorenzo Pisoni staged his charming autobiographical show August 3-19, 2012. Read Kevin Kelly's review of "Humor Abuse."

A Theatre Near U
"'Twas Brillig" was a fun and meaningful production that took some of Lewis Carroll's ideas and twists and bends them to a modern age. The show ran June 12-27, 2015. John Orr reviewed.

Balagan Theatre
Seattle Rep
Jeff Carpenter / Balagan Theatre
Wade McCollum in "Ernest Shackleton Loves Me."
"Ernest Shackleton Loves Me" (April 18 through May 3, 2014) proved what we have decided is a New Rule of Modern Theatre: If Wade McCollum is in a show, go see that show. Read Jasmine Joshua's review.

Ballet San Jose
Ballet San Jose's "The Nutcracker" offered new choreography by Karen Gabay. The production ran at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts through December 23, 2012. Read Virginia Bock's review.

Berkeley Rep
"Macbeth," which ran February 19 through April 10, 2016, at Berkeley Rep, was one of the most eagerly anticipated productions of the 2016 theater year. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"One Man, Two Guvnors" made for a hilarious, thoroughly fun time in the theater, May 8-June 28, 2015. We know this because Tony Lacy-Thompson went to see it, and reported back here.
"Head of Passes," by Tarell Alvin McCraney, got a powerful staging at Berkeley Rep, April 10-May 24, 2015. Petra Brady reviewed.
"Tartuffe" was a wild, satirical ride, back in Molière’s day, and Berkeley Rep is staged a version, March 13 through April 12, 2015, that still had plenty of sarcastic bite. Read Petra Brady's review.
"Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins," November 21, 2014, through January 4, 2015, at Berkeley Rep, with Kathleen Turner in the title role, kicked ass and tickled tears of joy and sadness. Excellent show. Read John Orr's review.
"Party People" at Berkeley Rep, October 17 - November 30, 2014, was intense and in-your-face, a stunning, music-filled look at the legacy of the Black Panthers and the Young Lords. Petra Brady reviewed.
"The House That Will Not Stand" by Marcus Gardley, proved engaging, January 31-March 16, 2014, in its world premiere. John Orr reviewed.
Man in a Case
T Charles Erickson photo
Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Man in a Case."
"Man in a Case" conflated two Anton Chekov stories into a beautifully told tale of love and oppression. Mikhail Baryshnikov starred, January 25-February 16, 2014. Read John Orr's review.
Candy is dandy but incest is best, at least for one king in Shakespeare's "Pericles, Prince of Tyre," which Berkeley Rep staged through May 26, 2013. Read John Orr's review.

Berkeley Playhouse
"Mary Poppins" was quite charming, in the most delightful ways, as produced by Berkeley Playhouse. Directed by Kimberly Dooley, there is no dawdling in this show. It ran October 30 through December 7, 2014. Read John Orr's review.

Broadway By The Bay
"Aida" was beautiful and charming, November 2-18, 2018. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"Saturday Night Fever" got a well acted, well danced revival, August 10-26, 2018. The singing took some getting used to. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
Janelle LaSalle
Mark and Tracy / BBB
Janelle LaSalle was red hot for the song "Trouble."
"Smokey Joe’s Café" got a great production in June 2017 at Broadway By The Bay, with an excellent cast and band, and clever direction. See John Orr's review.
"Oklahoma!" received a rousing, powerful musical performance at Broadway By The Bay," June 3-19, 2016.John Orr reviews.
"Kiss Me, Kate" is kind of dated, but still a lot of fun, with an excellent cast at Broadway By The Bay, November 6 through November 22, 2015. John Orr reviewed.
"West Side Story" got a grand and impressive production, August 14-30, 2015, by Broadway By The Bay at the Fox Theatre in Redwood city, with a fabulous orchestra. John Orr reviewed.
"My Fair Lady" may be 60 years old, but the old gal was trotted out in her finery by an enthusiastic cast, June 5-21, 2015. Read John Orr's review.
"Les Misérables" is a hugely popular, successful show, and the production at Broadway By The Bay is staged with excellence, but John Orr still hated it. All the actors, design, orchestra, were great. It's a show itself Orr can't stand. Read his rant.
Willkommen, Cabaret
Tracy Martin / Broadway By The Bay Alex Rodriguez, center, as Emcee, and Kit Kat Girls Kayla Berghoff, left, and Erin Lafferty in the number "Wilkommen," that opens "Cabaret" for Broadway By The Bay.
"Cabaret" is a great musical, and it got a great production at Broadway By The Bay, September 13-29, 2013. Read John Orr's review.

Broadway San Jose
"On Your Feet!" danced through San Jose, October 9-14, 2018. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"Jersey Boys" led Baby Boomers on a nostalgia journey at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts, June 5-10, 2018. Georgette Silver reviewed.
"Beautiful — The Carole King Musical" played November 14-19, 2017. Tony Lacy-Thompson href="bsj_beautiful.html">reviewed.
"Wicked" visited, August 27 through September 14, 2014, and we reviewed.
"Memphis," which was born at TheatreWorks on the San Francisco Peninsula, then won a bunch of Tonys in New York, was in San Jose, August 27-September 14, 2017. John Orr reviewed.
The Blue Man Group, they of blue faces, were in San Jose, April 2-7, 2013. Virginia Bock reviewed.
"Rock of Ages" rolled into San Jose January 29-February 3, 2013. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"Mary Poppins: The Musical" wasn't exactly practically perfect in every way in June 2012, but it was fun. See John Orr's review.

Bus Barn Stage Company
"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" received an excellent staging with a delightful cast, September 6 through October 6, 2012. Read John Orr's review.

"Odysseo" featured beautiful horses in beautiful performances. It was in San Jose, California, September 14-October 30, 2016. Jacqueline Lee and Daniel Tkach reviewed.

Cirque du Soleil
"Luzia" was the latest powerful extravaganza from Cirque du Soleil, a feast of sight and sound under Le Grand Chapiteau, February 9 through March 19, 2017 in San Jose. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"Kurios — Cabinet of Curiosities" was an absolute feast for the eyes and a kicking-off place for the imagination, November 14, 2014, through January 18, 2015. Kevin Kelly reviewed.
"Amaluna" is a feminist feast for all the senses that owes something to Shakespeare's "The Tempest," featuring a big cast of fabulous performers. It ran in San Francisco and San Jose in early 2014. Read the review by Lloyd G. Francis.

City Lights
"Making God Laugh" got some laughs and some sober reflection, thanks to an excellent cast, November 15-December 23, 2018. John Orr reviewed.
"God of Carnage" got a laugh-heavy production, September 13 through October 14, 2018. John Orr reviewed.
"Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley" was delightful and charming, November 16 through December 17, 2017. Read John Orr's review.
"Rapture, Blister, Burn" got a very effective production at City Lights, May 18 through June 18, 2017. John Orr reviewed.
"Green Day's American Idiot" was a big hit for City Lights, July 14 through August 21, 2016. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed the hard-rockin' show.
"Tigers Be Still" was an endearing delight at City Lights, January 21 through February 21, 2016. Read John Orr's review.
"Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," by Jeffrey Hatcher, received an excellent, electrifying production, September 17 through October 18, 2015, at City Lights in San Jose, with a powerful cast directed by Mark Anderson Phillips. Read John Orr's review.
"West Side Story" is big, it's involved, it requires fabulous singers and dancers. And yet, City Lights managed to cram a very, very good production into its small theater in San Jose, July 16-August 30, 2015. Read John Orr's review.
"Exit, Pursued By A Bear" got an excellent production, May 14-June 14, 2015. The Lauren Gunderson script came to life with four excellent actors. John Orr reviewed.
"M. Butterfly" by David Henry Hwang ran at City Lights in San Jose, March 19 through April 19, 2015, in a fine staging with a solid cast. John Orr reviewed.
"Truce: A Christmas Wish from the Great War," by Kit Wilder and Jeffrey Bracco, received its world premiere at City Lights, November 20 through December 21, 2014, telling the story of when English and German troops stopped killing each other long enough to sing some Christmas carols during World War I. John Orr reviewed.
"Monty Python's Spamalot" ran through August 31, 2014, and it was fun. Read John Orr's review.

Divas for Life
Divas for Life was one of those amazing things where top-flight musical theater professionals put on a show for a good cause. We caught the June 2013 version — the 10th anniversary of this fine charity program — and loved it. You shoulda been there. Read John Orr's review.

The Dragon Theatre
David Mamet's "Race," producted as part of Dragon Theatre's 2nd Stage Series, March 16 through April 8, 2018, didn't entirely hold together. Joanne Engelhardt reviewed.
Feichtmeir, Johnson
Kimberlee Wittlieb / Dragon Theatre
Ronald Feichtmeir as Estragon, left, and Jim Johnson as Vladmir are brilliant in delivering Samuel Beckett's astounding dialogue in "Waiting for Godot" at Dragon Theatre in Downtown Redwood City, September 16 through October 2, 2016.
"Waiting for Godot" makes for theatrical brilliance when delivered by the right cast of actors, such as the great bunch directed by Jeanie Smith at the Dragon, September 16 through October 2, 2016. Read John Orr's review.
"The Columnist," by David Auburn, is a fascinating play about Joseph Alsop that ran May 29 through June 21, 2015. Read John Orr's review.
"Take Me Out" was a very impressive show, July 11-20, 2014, with a great script, and an amazingly excellent, 11-man cast. Read John Orr's review.

The Eureka Theatre
"Keith Moon: The Real Me," a play written by and performed by drummer/singer/actor Mick Berry, July 10-28, 201, was a fine production that really brought Moon the Loon" and his drumming alive on stage. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.

Fifth Avenue Theatre
The cartoons of Charles Addams find a voice in the Broadway touring show of "The Addams Family." Read Jasmine Joshua's review of the hilarious show when it played at 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, through November 11, 2012.

Foothill Theatre
"It Can't Happen Here" got an imperfect but still scary and worthwhile production, November 2-19, 2017. John Orr reviewed.
"Shrek The Musical," July 20-August 6, 2017, was tons of fun, says John Orr in his review.
"Our Town" got a clever staging at Foothill Theatre under the steady hand of director Bruce McLeod, November 3-20, 2016. Read John Orr's review.
"She Loves Me," a not especially successful musical from 1963, got a better production than it deserves, February 18 through March 6, 2016, at Foothill Music Theatre. John Orr reviewed.
"Angels in America" is a great and important play, and it got a fine production, May 28 through June 14, 2015, via Foothill Theatre Arts. Read John Orr's review.
"Little Shop of Horrors" is one of the goofiest and most fun musicals ever. Foothill Music Theatre gathered an excellent cast, February 20-March 9, 2014. Read John Orr's review.
You've gotta have heart, and shoes, and miles and miles of hope. Foothill Music Theatre staged "Damn Yankees," July 26-August 18, 2013. Read John Orr's review.
"Spring Awakening" ran February 21 through March 10, 2013, at Foothill Music Theatre. Read John Orr's review.
"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" ran November 1-18, 2012. Read Mary Miller's review of the hilarious production.
"How to Succeed in Business Without Trying," directed by Jay Manley with a great cast, ran July 20-August 12, 2012. Read John Orr's review.

High Release Dance
High Release Dance puts on one big show every two years. We caught the show that ran May 31 and June 1, 2013, and loved it. Read John Orr' review.

Hillbarn Theatre
"Noises Off" received a brilliantly hilarious production, October 11-28, 2018. John Orr reviewed.
"West Side Story" was excellent, August 30 through September 16, 2018, with a magnificent Maria and terrific Tony. John Orr reviewed.
"The Full Monty" got a revealingly good production at Hillbarn Theatre, May 3-20, 2018. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"Peter and the Starcatcher" can be a great; this production, January 18 through February 4, 2018, had some weaknesses. John Orr reviewed.
"The Foreigner" received a fine production with an excellent cast, October 5 through October 22, 2017. John Orr reviewed.
"Sister Act" got a terrific cast at Hillbarn Theatre, May 4 through May 28, 2017. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"Cabaret," one of the greatest, most important musicals of the 20th century, got a fabulous production with an excellent cast, January 19 through February 5, 2017, at Hillbarn Theatre. John Orr reviewed.
"Mary Poppins" got a very lively, excellent production at Hillbarn Theatre, November 25 through December 18, 2016. Read John Orr's review.
Wish Upon A Star BRAVO! 2016 gala was a lot of fun, and also raised money for Hillbarn Theatre, on November 5, 2016. Tony Lacy-Thompson was there and reported.
"A Few Good Men" got a powerful but short-run production, October 13 to October 23, 2016. Read Tony Lacy-Thompson's review.
"Legally Blonde: The Musical" was beautifully sung, danced and acted pink fluff, with a great star turn by Courtney Hatcher. August 25 through September 18, 2016. Read Tony Lacy-Thompson's review.
Monique Hafen
Tracy Martin / Hillbarn Theatre
Monique Hafen in the title role of "Sweet Charity."
"Sweet Charity" featured a terrific star turn by Monique Hafen, May 5-29, 2016. The rest of the cast was quite good, also. Read John Orr's review.
"To Kill a Mockingbird" received a fine staging at Hillbarn Theatre, March 10-27, 2016. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" is one of our favorite plays. Hillbarn Theatre did fine job with it, January 21 through February 7, 2016. John Orr reviewed.
"The Odd Couple," one of the most loved of Neil Simon's comedies, received a fine production, October 15 through November 1, 2015. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
Blackburn, Demers
Mark and Tracy Photography / Hillbarn Theatre
David Blackburn as Hero, left, and Dan Demers as Pseudolus were both hilarious in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" at Hillbarn Theatre, August 27 through September 20, 2015.
"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" got a fabulous revival, August 27 through September 20, 2015. Read John Orr's review.
"Amadeus," by Peter Shaffer, is a great play. Hillbarn Theatre staged this story of Salieri's envy and Mozart's genius with three excellent principal actors, January 22 through February 5, 2015. John Orr reviewed.
"The 39 Steps" got a hilarious, impressive production, October 16 through November 2, 2014, thanks to the immensely talented cast. Read John Orr's review.
"Funny Girl" was a triumphant, delightful success at Hillbarn Theatre, with Melissa WolfKlain completely fabulous as Fanny Brice, and a great cast around her and even a live orchestra! August 28 through September 21, 2014. John Orr reviewed.
"The Color Purple" at Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City was a rousing, heart-touching musical with a fabulous cast, May 8 through June 1, 2014. John Orr reviewed.
"Spamalot" was an adventure. First, it was such a success that it extended a week, running August 30 through September 29, 2013. Then Russ Bohard had to have emergency surgery (he's fine now, we are told), and director Dan Demers had to step in as King Arthur on 23 hours notice. He did great. See John Orr's review of the King Russ version and Orr's review of the King Dan version.
"john & jen" ran March 15 through April 7, 2013. Read John Orr's review.

Los Altos Stage Company
"Man of La Mancha" is one of the greatest musicals of all time, chock-a-block with great tunes, from the title song to "The Impossible Dream" to "Dulcinea," and the show received a fine production in the tiny Bus Barn Theatre, for Los Altos Stage Company, November 19 through December 19, 2015. Read John Orr's review.
Hazeltine, Walter
Richard Mayer / Los Altos Stage Company
Marjorie Hazeltine as Hermia, left, is comforted by Kristin Walter as Jean in "Dead Man's Cell Phone."
"Dead Man's Cell Phone" is a weird story, no doubt about it, but it's smart and poetically written by Sarah Ruhl. Jeffrey Lo did a fine job putting it on stage, September 3-27, 2015, for Los Altos Stage Company. Read John Orr's review.
"The Great American Trailer Park Musical" at Los Altos Stage Company was flat out fun and funny during its September 4-28, 2014, run. Read John Orr's review.
"Company" is a show that has always been loved and hated. It ran May 29-June 28, 2014. John Orr saw it, didn't like it much. Read his review.

The Marsh
"Loveland," written and performed by Ann Randolph, was funny, touching and meaningful at The Marsh in San Francisco, September 12 through October 17, 2015. Cy Ashley Webb reviewed.
"The Scion" is another excellent one-man show from Brian Copeland about privilege, discrimination, murder, and sausage. It ran January 9 through April 18, 2014. Lloyd Francis reviewed.
"The Jewelry Box" is a Christmas gift from playwright/performer Brian Copeland to us all. World premiere ran November 23-December 28, 2013, at The Marsh San Francisco. Read the review by Lloyd Francis.

Palo Alto Players
"All The Way," Robert Schenkkan's Tony winning play, ran November 2-18, 2018, with a powerful cast, including Michael Monagle as LBJ. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"Tarzan" was a ton of fun, September 7 through September 23, 2018, with the cast joyously swinging from rope to rope across the stage. John Orr reviewed.
"The Man Who Came to Dinner" received an entertaining revival at the Lucie Stern Theatre, June 15-July 1, 2018. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed. John Orr also reviewed.
"Rock of Ages," as a musical, wasn't as good as the cast, band, set and costumes built for it by Palo Alto Players, April 27 through May 13, 2018. John Orr reviewed.
The 2018 gala for Palo Alto Players raised some money and it looked like everybody had fun, March 24, 2018. John Orr dropped in and wrote about the event. Read on.
"Peter Pan" had a great performer, Corrie Farbstein, in the title role, November 3-19, 2017. John Orr reviewed.
"Million Dollar Quartet" was a stunning amount of fun, September 15-August 1, 2017. Read John Orr's review.
"The Graduate" was a welcome surprise at Palo Alto Players, June 16 through July 2, 2017. The opening night audience rocked with laughter and stood in ovation for an excellent cast. John Orr reviewed.
"Monty Python's Spamalot" is so hilarious that even with a few production problems, it was still a blast at Palo Alto Players, April 28 through May 14, 2017. John Orr reviewed.
"Disney's 'The Little Mermaid'" was a big ball of fun at Palo Alto Players, September 16 through October 2, 2016, illuminated by the bright smile of Cheyenne Wells as Ariel. Read John Orr's review.
"Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," by Christopher Durang, got a delightful production at Palo Alto Players, June 10-26, 2016. A very good cast, a great set and excellent production values. Read John Orr's review.
"Clybourne Park" by Bruce Norris is a brilliant and award-winning black comedy that got a short but excellent run at the Lucie Stern Theatre, November 6-22, 2015. Read John Orr's review.
Janelle LaSalle
Joyce Goldschmid / Palo Alto Players
Janelle LaSalle as Velma Kelly in "Chicago" at Palo Alto Players.
"Chicago" was a brilliant success at Palo Alto Players, September 12-27, 2015. John Orr reviewed.
"The Addams Family" at Palo Alto Players proved a terrific show, thanks to an excellent cast and creative team that overcame some weak material to make a laugh-heavy crowd pleaser, April 24 through May 10, 2015. John Orr reviewed.
"Eurydice" by Sarah Ruhl ran January 16 through February 1, 2015, and it wass weird and wonderful and highly recommended. It's all about love and how, sometimes, it's The River of Forgetfulness that saves us. John Orr reviewed.
"The Farnsworth Invention," offered loose history about television and a bunch of fine performances and good direction. John Orr reviewed.
"Young Frankenstein: The Musical" ran April 25 through May 11, 2014. It was hilarious. John Orr reviewed.
"Miss Saigon" was bravely staged, April 26-May 12, 2013. Read John Orr's review.
"Legally Blonde: The Musical" may not cure cancer or put an end to war, but it was a lot of fun as staged September 8-23, 2012. Read John Orr'sreview of the show, which had a terrfically talented and fun cast.
"The Lieutenant of Inishmore." A fine cast delivered the closing production of Palo Alto Players' 81st season, through July 1, 2012. Read John Orr's review.

Pear Theatre
"Hedda Gabler" was impressively staged, October 12-28, 2018. John Orr reviewed.
"Pear Slices 2018" was fun, funny and often quite thought-provoking, May 4 through May 20, 2018. John Orr reviewed.
"An Enemy of the People" was staged October 20 through November 12, 2017. John Orr reviewed.
"In the Next Room, or, The Vibrator Play," by Sarah Ruhl, got a fine and nuanced production, September 8 through October 1, 2017. John Orr reviewed.
"What You Will," a crazy quilt of lines ripped out of Shakespeare's plays and resewn into something new, was a lot of fun, June 23-July 16, 2017. John Orr reviewed.
"Major Barbara" is George Bernard Shaw's love song to rich industrialists, and reviewer John Orr doesn't like it. But, Orr says, The Pear gathered an excellent cast to perform it, October 28 through November 20, 2016. Read Orr's review.
"August: Osage County" received a powerful production, June 24 through July 10, 2016. John Orr reviewed.
"The Beard of Avon," a rollicking satire by Amy Freed, needed a smoother production, but was still fun. Read John Orr's review.
"The Mountaintop," by Katori Hall, is pure, meaningful brilliance, and got a moving staging, January 14-31, 2016. Read John Orr's review.
"The Walls of Jericho" by Diane Tasca received its world premiere at the new and delightful Pear Theatre, September 17 through October 4, 2015. John Orr reviewed.
"Arcadia" ran June 19-July 12, 2015, the last show in the Pear's old home. John Orr reviewed.
"Pygmalion" by George Bernard Shaw got a good production, June 19 through July 13, 2014. Read John Orr's review.
"A King's Legacy" by Elyce Melmon received its world premiere, November 1-24, 2013, and we liked it. Read John Orr's review.
"The Tempest," by William Shakespeare, is a great a play. The Pear Avenue Theatre offered an intimate and worthy production, September 13 to October 6, 2013. Read John Orr's review.
"Superior Donuts" by the great Tracy Letts got an excellent staging at the Pear, June 28-July 14, 2013, with brilliant performances by Ray Renati and Brandon Jackson. Read John Orr's review.

Peninsula Ballet Theatre
"Dracula -- A Ballet To Die For" was a whole lot of fun involving love and blood-sucking, through October 28, 2012. Read Virginia Bock's review.

Renegade Theatre Experiment
"She Kills Monsters" at first seems a little goofy, but evolves into a deeply touching story of family and love. November 16-December 7, 2013. John Orr reviewed.

San Jose Rep
"One Night With Janis Joplin" was a huge success at San Jose Rep, with Kacee Clanton and a terrific cast blowing everyone's socks off with amazing performances. The show has moved on to New York. See its website. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"The Snow Queen" is a world premiere musical that ran November 27 through December 22, 2013, at San Jose Rep. We had a good time. Read John Orr's review.
"One Night With Janis Joplin" was a huge success at San Jose Rep, September 5 through October 6, 2013, before it went to New York. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
The Flying Karamazov Brothers landed at San Jose Rep February 15-24, 2013, with a show that wasn't quite ready. Read John Orr's review.

San Jose Stage Company
"Between Riverside and Crazy," a rich and rewarding play, got an excellent production in San Jose, with a deeply impressive performance by L. Peter Callender, November 21 to December 16, 2018. John Orr reviewed.
"Hedwig and the Angry Inch" got a powerful, totally entertaining production, May 30-July 22, 2018, thanks to a great cast led by Keith Pinto and Ashley Garlick, a fabulous band, and director Allison F. Rich. John Orr reviewed.
"The Postman Always Rings Twice," in a new adaptation by Jon Jory, received its world premiere at San Jose Stage Company, April 11 through May 6, 2018, in a powerhouse of excellent acting. John Orr reviewed.
"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" received an excellent production at San Jose Stage Company through March 18, 2018. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"The Wild Party," book, lyrics and music by Andrew Lippa, is an adult portion, with a focus on sex, booze and drugs. San Jose Stage had a very impressive production of it, June 4 through July 24, 2016. Read John Orr's review.
"Boeing Boeing" is a madcap, hilarious French farce. San Jose Stage filled with laughter when it ran, April 6 through May 1, 2016. Read John Orr's review.
"The 39 Steps" is one of the fine stage comedies, of the sort that could not be translated to any other form. San Jose Stage Company had a fine production, November 25 through December 20, 2015, and Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"RFK" a taut political thriller and a fascinating one-man show about Robert F. Kennedy, ran September 30-October 25, 2015. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"The Addams Family," based on the great Charles Addams cartoons, made for a suprisingly fun musical, June 3 through July 26, 2015. Read Tony Lacy-Thompson review.
Dave Lepori / San Jose Stage Company
Jackson Davis as The Poet in "An Iliad."
"An Iliad" at San Jose Stage Company was not to be missed, April 9 through May 4, 2014. Jackson Davis was the one-man cast in this brilliant adaptation of the ancient epic. Read John Orr's review.
"Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson." What? An emo punk rock comedy historical musical? Some of it works, some does not, at San Jose Stage Company through July 29, 2012. John Orr reviewed.

Seattle Musical Theatre
"Legally Blonde: The Musical" was a lot of fun in 2012. Read Jasmine Joshua's review.

SF Playhouse
"Tree," by Julie Hébert, is a powerfully staged and performed exploration of the meaning of family. The show ran January 24 through March 7, 2015. Read Kevin Kelly's review.
"Ideation" was a wild fusion of ideas from innovative playwright Aaron Loeb. Strap yourself in; it's a bumpy ride, says reviewer Kevin Kelly.. September 23 through November 8, 2014.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream" is usually performed, ya know, with costumes and scenery. At ShakesBEERience in San Jose, they didn't bother with that. But they had beer, on April 17, 2017. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"The Winter's Tale," by William Shakespeare, got the ShakesBEERience treatment at Café Stritch on January 11, 2016. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"ShakesBEERience: Your Way" on September 22, 2015, raised some money to keep this nutty and fun project going, wherein actors in casual clothes, scripts in hand, perform Shakespeare at Café Stritch in San Jose. Tony Lacy-Thompson writes about it. Read on, McDuff!
ShakesBEERience has a tradition: Every time a character dies, the audience has to take a drink. In "Richard III," verily, there be much drinkin' goin' on. Tony Lacy-Thompson had a fine time. Read all about it.

Dean, Pallozzi
Chris Hardy / Smuin
Terez Dean, left, and Mattia Pallozzi celebrate the season in Smuin’s The Christmas Ballet touring the Bay Area through December 24, 2018.
"The Christmas Ballet 2018" was a fun, sexy treat filled with excellent dancing and good humor. Vanessa Ochavillo reviewed.
Smuin Ballet's XXmas: The Christmas Ballet, 2013 Edition was a delight for dance fans, running November 22 through December 28, 2013, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read Virginia Bock's review.
The Fall/Winter 2013 Program was fabulous. Read Virginia Bock's review.
The Smuin Ballet toured the San Francisco Bay Area with its The Christmas Ballet, 2012 Edition, from November 23 to December 23, 2012. Read Virginia Bock's review of opening night in Mountain View.

Stanford Live
"Story/Time #40" already happened. The next time Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company performs "Story/Time," it will be different in ways we cannot predict. Virginia Bock was at Stanford to see "Story/Time #40," which was impressive. Read her review.
Grupo Corpo danced into Memorial Auditorium January 31 and February 1, 2014, and while the dancers were talented and athletic, they didn't seem to challenge themselves in what became a rather monotonous performance. Virginia Bock reviewed.
Audra McDonald has had an amazing career on Broadway and elsewhere, and we got to go hear and see her live in concert at the Bing Concert Hall on January 17, 2014, and can happily report she is as great as everybody says she is. Read John Orr's review.

Sunnyvale Community Players
"The Mystery of Edwin Drood" is a great musical that is just buckets of fun. Sunnyvale Community Players staged it with a fine cast, April 4 through April 26, 2015. John Orr reviewed.

Tandy Beal & Company
"JOY!" was a delightful show from Tandy Beal that combines dance, music and circus, November 23-December 2, 2018. Vanessa Ochavillo reviewed.

"Tuck Everlasting" delighted audiences with its magical tale of living forever and the meaning of familial love, November 28 – December 30, 2018. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"Fun Home" was a beautifully told story, October 1-28, 2019. Dad is gay, daughter is lesbian. For him, a terrible struggle. For her, joy and acceptance. Reviewed by John Orr.
"Native Gardens" by Karen Zacarias wass charming, funny and seductive, August 22 through September 16, 2018. John Orr reviewed.
"Finks," in its California premiere, offered song, dance, jokes and some grim history of a bad time in the 1950s when entertainers were hurt by the very unamerican activities of Congress, June 6-July 1, 2018. Joanne Englehardt reviewed. John Orr also reviewed.
"The Bridges of Madison County," a musical based on the popular romantic novel, played for TheatreWorks in Mountain View, April 4-29, 2018. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"Our Great Tchaikovsky" is one of Hershey Felder's brilliant, great composers series. It ran January 10 through February 11, 2018. John Orr reviewed.
"The SantaLand Diaries" by David Sedaris was a holidays treat for adults by the great David Sedaris. Max Tachis was hilarious as Crumpet the elf, December 5-23, 2017. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"Around the World in 80 Days" was a joy, November 29 through December 31, 2017, directed by the great Robert Kelley and featuring a fabulous cast. John Orr reviewed.
"The Prince of Egypt" had its world premiere at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, October 6-November 5, 2017. John Orr reviewed.
"Hershey Felder, Beethoven" was a great treat for lovers of music and of theater, June 7 through July 9, 2017. John Orr reviewed.
"Calligraphy" had some lovely moments, but TheatreWorks could have done a better job with it, March 8 through April 2, 2017. John Orr saw it almost at the end of its run, and reviewed.
"Crimes of the Heart" won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, for good reason. John Orr reviewed the excellent TheatreWorks production, which ran January 11 through February 4, 2017. Read the review.
"Daddy Long Legs," a completely charming, funny and romantic musical, ran November 30 to December 31, 2016. John Orr reviewed.
"Outside Mullingar" is full of charm and wit and, eventually, romance. TheatreWorks staged a must-see production of the John Patrick Shanley play, October 5 through October 30, 2016. John Orr reviewed.
"The Life of the Party" is Andrew Lippa, who proved to be a pretty good singer and hoofer in this show dedicated to his compositions. The show ran August 24 through September 18, 2016. John Orr reviewed..
"Confederates," by Suzanne Bradbeer, in its world premiere at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, got a fine production that posits tough ethical dilemmas, July 13 through Aug. 7, 2016. Serious, funny, thought-provoking. John Orr reviewed.
J. Anthony Crane
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
J. Anthony Crane in the title role of "Cyrano."
"Cyrano" — in an efficient and charming new translation of the Rostand classic — received an excellent production, April 6 through May 1, 2016. John Orr reviewed.
"Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin" proved to be an excellent, very rewarding show, Januar 13-February 14, 2016. John Orr reviewed.
"Jane Austen's 'Emma,'" with book, music and lyrics by the brilliant Paul Gordon, is a "glorious experience in the theater," and set a TheatreWorks box office record for its December 2, 2015, through January 2, 2016, run. Read John Orr's review. Also, please read Joanne Engelhardt's review.
"The Country House" by Donald Margulies got its regional premiere in Mountain View, August 26 through September 20, 2015. Joanne Engelhardt reviewed the handsome production.
TheatreWorks New Works Festival opened on August 8, 2015 at Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto. John Orr reported on opening night.
"Triangle" proves to be an excellent new musical, with comedy, pathos and romance combining with beautiful tunes. July 8-August 2, 2015. Read John Orr's review.
"Fallen Angels" by Noël Coward got an amazing production at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley that was surprising in its hilarity, with amazing physical comedy from an A-list cast. The show ran June 3-28, 2015. Read John Orr's review.
"Fire on the Mountain," staged April 1-26, 2015, had a heart-rending but ultimately hopeful true tale to tell. Joanne Engelhardt gave it a glowing review for Regarding Arts, and that story can be read here. Tony Lacy-Thompson also reviewed for Regarding Arts, and that review can be read here.
"The Lake Effect" by Rajiv Joseph proves a brilliant piece of work, receiving an excellent production directed by Giovanna Sardelli at TheatreWorks, March 4-29, 2015. John Orr reviewed.
"Peter and the Starcatcher" was TheatreWorks' 2014 holiday play, a "gift to the community." Almost an overload of fun and hilarity, that ran December 3, 2014, through January 3, 2015. Read John Orr's review.
TheatreWorks 45th Anniversary Celebration was held November 8, 2014, at the swanky Sofitel in Redwood Shores, and a lot of money was raised for the troupe's excellent educational programs, not to mention its busy production schedule. John Orr was there, and writes about it.
"Sweeney Todd" was advanced to 1940 in this innovative production. Mrs. Lovett needs meat for her pies? What to do? Sweeney Todd has the answer. Read Joanne Engelhardt's review. And, read Tony Lacy-Thompson's review. The show ran October 8 through November 2, 2014.
"Water by the Spoonful" was not without a problem or two in the TheatreWorks staging of Quiara Alegría Hudes' brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning play, but it was still powerful and moving, August 20 through September 14, 2014. Read John Orr's review.
"The Great Pretender" moved the audience to tears of laughter and sweet sadness in its world premiere at TheatreWorks, July 9-August 3, 2014. The script by David West Read is brilliant. Read John Orr's review.
"Marry Me a Little" proved a complete charmer at TheatreWorks, June 4-29, 2014. John Orr reviewed.
"The Hound of the Baskervilles" proved a howling good time, April 2-27, 2014, with three actors essaying 20 roles and goofiness and silliness in constant control of the stage. Read John Orr's review. Or, read Joanne Englehardt's review.
"Once On This Island" had its second visit to TheatreWorks, March 5-30, 2014, and it was delightful. Read Joanne Engelhardt's review.
"Silent Sky" tells of Henrietta Leavitt, who worked hard in the world of chauvinistic men astronomers and in a sense gave us all the universe. It ran January 15-February 9, 2014. Read John Orr's review.
"Little Women", which ran December 4, 2013-January 4, 2014, was amazingly good, with a brilliant cast. Read John Orr's review.
"Warrior Class," by Kenneth Lim, featuring Robert Sicular, Pun Bandhu and Delia MacDougall, ran October 9 through November 3, 2013, at TheatreWorks Mountain View. John Orr reviewed.
"Other Desert Cities," by Jon Robin Baitz, kind of Shakespearian comedy/tragedy/history, ran August 21 through September 15, 2013. John Orr reviewed.
"The Loudest Man on Earth" connected deeply with its audience, in its tale of a deaf theater director and a charming, highly intelligent journalist. It ran July 13, runs through August 4, 2013. Read John Orr's review.
"Wild With Happy," a comedy by Colman Domingo, ran June 5-30, 2013. Domingo and Sharon Washington were both fabulous, powerful and hilarious. John Orr reviewed.
"Being Earnest" takes Oscar Wilde's brilliant and timeless comedy, "The Importance of Being Earnest," and adds a book, lyrics and music by Paul Gordon and music by Jay Gruska, and it makes for a delightful two hours in the theater. It ran April 3-28, 2013. Read John Orr's review.
"The Mountaintop" ran March 6-April 7, 2013, a powerful work that moved the audience to tears and left them remarking about how the play's humor. Read John Orr's review.
"Somewhere," by playwright Matthew Lopez, proves a masterfully told epic ode to the ongoing battle between love of art and paying the bills. The show ran through February 10, 2013. Read John Orr's review.
"Big River," a musical based on "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," was staged by TheatreWorks in Palo Alto through December 30, 2012. Read John Orr's review.
"33 Variations," about Beethoven and those wonder about him, was fabulous. It ran October 3-28, 2012. Read John Orr's review.
Anything Goes, as advertised, took place on October 20, 2012, and some 400 people showed up in all kinds of colorful costumes to have a good time. Read about it.
"Time Stands Still" offered astounding performances by Mark Anderson Phillips and Rebecca Dines, and excellent performances by Rolf Saxon and Sarah Moser in a story about wounded war journalists. The show ran August 22 throug- September 16, 2012. Read John Orr's review.
Upright Grand
Tracy Martin / TheatreWorks
Renata Friedman as Kiddo in "Upright Grand" at TheatreWorks. July 11-August 10, 2012.
Laura Schellhardt's "Upright Grand," played beautifully on the heart strings of its audience. An astounding cast and a great script add up to a deeply moving experience in a great production that ran July 11 through August 10, 2012. Read John Orr's review.
"Wheelhouse." GrooveLily rolled into TheatreWorks Mountain View through July 1, 2012, with a fabulous musical autobiography. John Orr reviewed.
"Yellowface." An excellent, hilarious staging of David Henry Hwang's brilliant play, August 26 through September 20, 2009. Read John Orr's review.

We Players
"Romeo and Juliet" didst perhaps never have a lovelier stage. Villa Montalvo played host to the We Players, who installed and performed Shakespeare's romantic tragedy in several parts of the beautiful estate, with the audience following along, October 6-16, 2016. Tony Lacy-Thompson reviewed.
"Macbeth," as staged by We Players at Fort Point in San Francisco, was brilliant. Sadly, it's run was cut short by the federal government shutdown. Read Lloyd Francis' review.

Brendan Milburn
Mark Kitaoka /
Brendan Milburn

Hildebrandt, Sammon, O'Hara, Reber
Mark and Tracy Photography / Hillbarn Theatre
Sammi Hildebrandt, Brenna Sammon, Randy O’Hara, and Christopher Reber, from left, in Hillbarn Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol,” which runs November 29–December 16, 2018.
Randy O'Hara often is called on to wear a ton of costuming and makeup. In "A Christmas Carol" at Hillbarn Theatre, November 29–December 16, 2018, he also got to play a handsome young msn. He spoke with John Orr.

Pantoja, Kinney
Bruce McLeod / Foothill Theatre Arts
Fight Choreographer Carla Pantoja, left, works out some swordplay moves with actress Sidney Kinney (and a dragon), for the comic drama "She Kills Monsters," presented by Foothill Theatre Arts November 2-18, 2018, at the Lohman Theatre in Los Altos.
Stage combat coach Carla Pantoja said she thoroughly enjoyed teaching mostly women to fight each other in "She Kills Monsters" for Foothill Theatre. Pantoja is one of a rare breed of female fight directors. She spoke with John Orr.

Noel Anthony Escobar is a terrific singer who started to learn his art from his father, crooning Spanish love songs. These days he is a class act of musical theater, ranging from the cutthroat violence of "Sweeny Todd" to the bubble-gum music of "Mamma Mia!" John Orr spoke with him. Read the story.

Madeline Lee and Jack Gilford
Courtesy of Joe Gilford
Madeline Lee Gilford and Jack Gilford in 1949.
Writer Joe Gilford grew up as the son of Jack and Madeline Lee Giford, who were both very funny and very talented, but who had been victims of the 1950s Hollywood blacklists. He wrote a play, "Finks," which takes a fictionalized look at that era. It received its California premiere June 6 to July 1, 2018 at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley. Joe Gilford talked with John Orr. Read the story.

Nick Kenrick
Alicia Jeffrey / Broadway by the Bay
Nick Kenrick rehearses his role as Jerry Lee Lewis in "Million Dollar Quartet," which opens on Friday, June 8, and closes on June 24, 2018, at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City. Photo made on May 29, 2018, at the TheatreWorks rehearsal space in Redwood City.
Nick Kenrick is a terrific musical theater performer who was an absolute knock-out as Jerry Lee Lewis in "Million Dollar Quartet" for Palo Alto Players. Then he reprised the performance for Broadway by the Bay. John Orr spoke with Kenrick. Read the interview.

Keith Pinto
Dave Lepori / San Jose Stage Company
Keith Pinto stars as Hedwig in the San Jose Stage Company production of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," which opens in previews on May 30 and runs through July 22, 2018.
Keith Pinto troweled on the makeup (with help from Ashley Garlick) to play the lead role in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," May 30-July 22, 2018. Pinto talked about the show with John Orr. Read the story.

Brad Satterwhite is building a strong career as an actor and singer on Peninsula stages, not to mention being very productive as a novelist. And, working a day job. Busy fella. He starred in "The Full Monty," which ran May 3 - May 20, 2018, at Hillbarn Theatre. John Orr interviewed him.

"Keith Moon: The Real Me" is writer/performer Mick Berry's tribute to one of the classic bad boys of rock. Tony Lacy-Thompson spoke with Berry before the April 20-22, 2018, show. Read the story.

Rhys Williams, Rich
Dave Lepori / San Jose Stage
Jonathan Rhys Williams, left, and Allison F. Rich in "The Postman Always Rings Twice," which ran April 11 through May 6, 2018, at San Jose Stage.
Allison F. Rich captures an audience's interest immediately with her striking beauty, but it is her talent, charisma and craft that keeps them watching. She spoke with us before the opening og "The Postman Always Rings Twice" at San Jose Stage in April 2018. John Orr interviewed her. Read on.

Gough, Herndon
Taylor Sanders / City Lights Theater Company
Brian Herndon as the moneylender Shylock in "The Merchant of Venice," staged at City Lights Theater Company in San Jose, March 22 through April 22, 2018. In the background is Tom Gough as the Duke of Venice.
Brian Herndon took on the role of Shylock in City Lights Theater Company's production of "The Merchant of Venice." He was well aware of the heritage of the famous role, and its meaning in an age when antisemetism has been raising its ugly head. He talked about it with John Orr for a story that ran on March 24, 2018. Read the story.

Jeffrey Lo
Mark Kitaoka photo
Portrait of director Jeffrey Lo at Hillbarn Theatre in January 2018, as he was working on "Peter and the Starcatcher." He is directing "Cowboy Versus Samurai," which just opened at The Pear.
Jeffrey Lo was named casting director at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, but was still completing his work on directing "Cowboy Versus Samurai" at The Pear. The busy, busy man spoke by phone with John Orr. Read the story.

Abbey, Traub, Maxey, Pinto
Mark & Tracy Photography / Hillbarn Theatre
Jessica Rosa Maxey as Frenchie, center, in "Cabaret," which ran January 19 through February 5, 2017, at Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City. At left are Rachelle Abbey as Rosie, and Gabbi Traub as Lulu. At right is Keith Pinto as Emcee.
Jessica Rosa Maxey is a knock-out as a dancer, singer and actor in musicals all around the San Francisco Bay Area. Also, she is a Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering at Stanford. It can be said that both sides of her brain work very well. Read John Orr's interview with her.

Allie Townsend is a successful, modern working person who thinks highly of what Dolly Parton did with "9 to 5: The Musical." Townsend played the Parton part in a production of the show at Foothill Music Theatre. She spoke with John Orr. Read the story.

Hershey Felder
Courtesy of Hershey Felder Presents
Hershey Felder portrays and performs as Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in "Our Great Tchaikovsky." TheatreWorks Silicon Valley brought the show for its Bay Area premiere to the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, January 10 through February 11, 2018.
Hershey Felder is a proven treasure of music and theater, with his brilliant, inimitable, one-man shows about great composers. He is brought his "Our Great Tchaikovsky" to TheatreWorks in Mountain View, and took the time to talk with John Orr about it. Read the story.

Dawn Troupe
Tracy Martin / Hillbarn Theatre
Dawn L. Troupe as Deloris Van Cartier, pretending to be Sr. Mary Clarence, right, gets a load of the singing of the nuns as City of Angels Church in Hillbarn Theatre’s production of "Sister Act," May 4 through May 28, 2017.
Dawn L. Troupe has blessed many a Bay Area stage with her talented presence. In May 2017, she answered the call to play the lead in "Sister Act" at Hillbarn Theater. She talked with John Orr. Read the story.

Kit Wilder
Courtesy of Kit Wilder
Kit Wilder directs a show at City Lights, circa 2015. His adaptation of "Frankenstein" opened March 25, 2017, and ran through April 23, 2017, at City Lights in San Jose.
Kit Wilder, playwright, director, actor — all things theater — talked with John Orr about adapting Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus" for the stage. It ran March 25 and through April 23, 2017, at City Light in San Jose. Read the story.

Riley Costello may only be 23 — and may look like he is maybe 14 — but he is a Broadway veteran and a Hollywood actor. He talked with John Orr about directing "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" for Hillbarn Theatre. Read the story.

WolfKlain, Pinto
Tracy Martin / Diablo Theatre Company
Melissa WolfKlain, left, and Keith Pinto in "Singin' in the Rain," at Diablo Theatre Company in 2013.
Keith Pinto is a song-and-dance man who has been excellent in musicals all across the nation and in the San Francisco Bay Area. He's just finishing up a stellar performance in "Cabaret," is next to direct "Altar Boyz" and there will be more shows to come. Read John Orr's profile of Keith Pinto.

Ambler, McGinty
Mark & Tracy Photography / Hillbarn Theatre
Jim Ambler as Bert, left, and Caitlin McGinty in the title role of "Mary Poppins," playing November 25 through December 18, 2016, at Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City.
Caitlin McGinty, all six feet of her, was delightful in the title role of "Mary Poppins" at Hillbarn Theatre. John Orr got to talk with her, and believes she may be, in fact, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Read the story.

Austin, Hatcher
Dave Lepori / San Jose Stage Company
Michael Barrett Austin as Robert, left, is having an increasingly hard time coping as the farce hits the fan in Act II of "Boeing Boeing," much to the amusement of Courtney Hatcher as Gloria, one of his friend Bernard's three fiancées in San Jose Stage Company’s production of the hilarious French farce, "Boeing Boeing." The show runs April 6 through May 1, 2016.
Courtney Hatcher has been terrific in all kinds of different shows we've seen. We thought it was about time we wrote about her. John Orr interviewed the talented performer.

Phillips, Ross
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Mark Anderson Phillips as Fred, left, gets an earful from Tory Ross as Saunders in "Fallen Angels." The TheatreWorks production of the Noël Coward play ran June 3-28, 2015, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
Mark Anderson Phillips has enjoyed a great career as an actor, and has, in turn, been enjoyed by thousands of theater fans. He brings his skill to directing as well, such as "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." John Orr talked with Anderson Phillips. Read about Mark Anderson Phillips.

Jasmine Joshua has wanted to perform in the musical "1776" pretty much since she first saw it. Trouble is, no roles for a woman singer with a powerful stage presence who is more character actor than ingenue. But then she got the idea, how about an all-woman cast? And that's what she and a big crew did in Seattle, June 25-28, 2015. John Orr talked with Joshua. Read the story.

Lauren Gunderson
Kirsten Lara Getchall photo
Playwright Lauren Gunderson, whose "Exit, Pursued By A Bear" was staged by City Lights Theater Company in San Jose.
Playwright Lauren Gunderson talks with John Orr about "Exit, Pursued By A Bear," which was staged in 2015 at City Lights in San Jose. Read the story.

Ron Gasparinetti
John Orr / Regarding Arts
Ron Gasparinetti pops out of the crypt he designed for "The Addams Family," which opens in a cemetery, at Palo Alto Players, partway through set construction on Thursday, April 16, 2015.
Ron Gasparinetti started in theater as an actor, but for him, the real magic happens backstage, and now he is a busy set designer and production manager. He designed the set for "The Addams Family," which opens on Saturday at Palo Alto Players. John Orr talked with Gasparinetti. Read the story.

Kathleen Turner
Mark Garvin / Berkeley Rep
Kathleen Turner in "Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins."
Kathleen Turner — that is, Kathleen the Great — was at Berkeley Rep, November 21, 2014, through January 4, 2015, with a one-woman show, "Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins." She talked with John Orr about doing the show about the great columnist, who was a friend of hers. Read the story.

Ross Neuenfeldt tells us what it's like to play dozens of characters in one play — "The 39 Steps," which was on stage at Hillbarn Theatre through November 2, 2014. Read the interview.

Funny Girl
Tracy Martin / Hillbarn Theatre
Melissa WolfKlain as Fanny Brice in Hillbarn Theatre's production of Funny Girl," running August 28 through September 21, 2014.
Melissa WolfKlain talked with us before opening night of "Funny Girl" at Hillbarn. We couldn't oeverstate how great she was in that show. Read John Orr's story about Ms. WolfKlain.

Tracy Martin / Broadway By The Bay
Alex Rodriguez as Emcee in "Cabaret." The Broadway By The Bay production was on stage through September 29, 2013, at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City.
Alex Rodriguez is an astounding presence on stage. He was so good as Che Guevara in "Evita" recently that reviewer Joanne Engelhardt wondered if maybe the show could have been renamed "Che." John Orr saw him as the Emcee in "Cabaret" and was hugely impressed. We have a story about Rodriguez. Read the profile.

Brendan Milburn
Mark Kitaoka /
Composer Brendan Milburn
Composer Brendan Milburn is a remarkable man, set on filling his life with remarkable activities, making wonderful memories in the process. Such as walking from Glendale, across Los Angeles, to the Pacific Ocean, to celebrate his birthday. And writing the music for "WATT?!?" a new comedy musical with book by his buddy David Javerbaum. "WATT?!?" is about — believe it or not — James G. Watt, who was Ronald Reagan's first secretary of the interior, a man reviled by practically everyone, except maybe by coal-mining and oil-drilling companies. What we've heard of "WATT?!?" is great. "People who don't hate it will love it forever and ever," says Milburn. Read our interview.

Jared Oates / Berkeley Rep
Jesse J. Perez as Bertozzo, left, and Renata Friedman as Felletti in Dario Fo’s classic comedy, "Accidental Death of an Anarchist," at Berkeley Rep, March 7 through April 20, 2014.
Renata Friedman is one of the most brilliant actors we've ever seen. She was mesmerizing in "Upright Grand" at TheatreWorks a few years back, and helped audiences roll with laughter in "Accidental Death of an Anarchist" at Berkeley Rep. We talked with her. Read the interview.

Jeffrey Lo likes to stay busy, and accomplish things in the theater world. That's why he works at TheatreWorks, is producing and directing a play at Dragon Theatre and does about a gazillion other things. Sleep? Not so much. Read John Orr's interview with Jeffrey Lo.

Marcus Gardley talked with John Orr about his very expressive way of writing plays, including "The House That Will Not Stand," a new play by Gardley commissioned by Berkeley Rep. Read the interview.

"Goliath" is a play born of collaboration by playwright Takeo Rivera and director Alex Mallory when they were both students at Stanford. Since then, the play has gone on to New York and elsewhere and won some awards. Rivera and Mallory brought it back to Stanford, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz for quick-hit performances. Virgina Bock talked with Rivera and Mallory. Read the Q&A.

Wade McCollum is a powerful singer, a commanding, charismatic presence on stage and he was, in fact, born to entertain. We interviewed him around the time he toured through the San Francisco Bay Area with "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert." Check out the feature.

Geoff Hoyle in Geezer
Patti Meyer photo
Geoff Hoyle in his one-man show, "Geezer," playing at The Marsh Berkeley, January 23-March 1, 2014. Call 415-282-3055 or visit
Geoff Hoyle's "Geezer" is a great show that gives us plenty to laugh about and think about in our race to getting older. Read our interview with Geoff Hoyle, a brilliant physical comedian.

Kathleen Madigan loves her life on the road. Is that so hard to understand? Also, she's very funny. Paul Freeman talked with her.

The more we learn about Molly Bell, the more we admire her. Singer, dancer, actor, playwright, composer, doer of good works, mom to two beautiful children. We just want to know what phone booth she uses to change into her superperson garb. She's great. Read about Molly Bell.

Flying Karamazov Brothers
Courtesy of The Flying Karamazov Brothers
Nick Flint (Maximov), left, and Paul Magid (Dmitri) of The Flying Karamazov Brothers, some years ago. One of them is wearing a fake nose to make fun of the other. Can you tell which is which?
The Flying Karamazov Brothers performed at San Jose Repertory, February 15-24, 2013. Read John Orr's interview with Dmitri, wherein some history is recounted. And, read the review of the show.

David Allen / TheatreWorks
Actor and dancer Michael Rosen, director Giovanna Sardelli and TheatreWorks Artistic Director Robert Kelley, from left at the opening night of "Somewhere" at TheatreWorks, January 19, 2013.
Director Giovanna Sardelli talked with us about her own show-biz family, and the one in "Somewhere," which she directed in San Diego and also at TheatreWorks in Mountain View. Read the interview.

Playwright Dan LeFranc talked with us about "Troublemaker, or, The Freakin' Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright, an action-adventure for the stage," which ran from January 4 through February 3, 2013 at Berkeley Rep. Read the interview.

Playwright David Henry Hwang, author of "Yellow Face," Chinglish" and other brilliant, well-recived plays, talked with us just before "Chinglish" opened at Berkeley Rep in 2012. He describes his work as writing about "the fluidity of identity." Read the interview.

"Chinglish" is a funny and thought-provoking play by the great David Henry Hwang. John Orr talked with Mr. Hwang in 2012 about the play, when it was being produced at Berkeley Rep. Now, Palo Alto Players is staging the play, and we are re-running that interview with Mr. Hwang to help readers understand why it's important. This link has photos and production info for the Palo Alto Players show. This link goes to the original 2012 story.

Rebecca Dines and The Life Theatrical. At the time of this interview, she was in Carmel, in "God of Carnage" and "The 39 Steps" in repertory at PacRep. Then she went home to Playa Del Rey for a quick visit before heading to Mountain View, to star in "Time Stands Still" for TheatreWorks. Read more about Rebecca Dines


American Conservatory Theater
"4000 Miles," by Amy Herzog, is a funny, charming, beautiful and subtle play. We talked with director Mark Rucker and actor Reggie Gowland, who staged it in San Francisco, January 17 through February 10, 2013. Read the interview.
"The Scottsboro Boys" drew some fuss in early shows, among people who hadn't actually seen the play. It ran June 21-July 22, 2012. Read Kevin Kelly's interview with playwright David Thompson.

Bus Barn Stage Company
"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" ran September 6 through October 6, 2012. We talked with director Milissa Carey about staging the show. Read the interview.

ComedySportz World Championships happened June 28 through July 1, 2017, in San Jose. Tony Lacy-Thompson previewed.

Foothill Theatre
"Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets." Jen Wheatonfox took on the role made famous almost 60 years ago by Gwen Verdon, and had a blast with it at Foothill Music Theatre, in a production of "Damn Yankees." Read the interview.
"Spring Awakening" ran February 21 through March 10, 2013, at Foothill Music Theatre. We talked with director Milissa Carey and actor Juliana Lustnader. Read the story.
Bruce McLeod has spent his entire life working in the theater, but "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern" are still dead. McLeod knows, because he is directing the show, which ran at Foothill Theatre through November 18, 2012. Read John Orr's profile of Bruce McLeod. Also, Read Mary Miller's review. of the play.
Barbara Heninger talks about the joy of performing, and how it helped her in a scary time. She was in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" at Foothill Music Theatre. See more about Barbara Heninger.

Hillbarn Theatre
Hillbarn staff
Courtesy of Hillbarn Theatre
The Hillbarn Theatre staff supports San Mateo High School Junior Class with a visit to Sandwich Monkey. From left are Conservatory Director Nancy Fitzgerald-Metzler, Marketing and Operations Director Dan Demers, Associate Executive Director Amanda Roccuzzo and Executive Producing Director Lee Foster. Foster plans to leave Hillbarn in June 2014, and Demers will take that position.
Lee Foster, who took Hillbarn Theatre from a failing community theater to an ambitious and successful artistic operation, is leaving the Foster City troupe for a home in Georgia. She's leaving the company in good hands: Dan Demers, well known in the San Francisco Peninsula theater community, will take her spot. Read an interview with both.
Spamalot Kuo-Hao Lo
Mark Kitaoka /
Underneath all that paint is Kuo-Hao Lo, the set designer and artist for "Spamalot" at Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City, California. The idea is, the audience walks from the lobby directly into medieval times. Kuo-Hau Lo took a break from building the set on August 13, 2013, to pose. Read our interview with director Dan Demers about this show.
The adventure that was "Spamalot" at Hillbarn began with a fabulous set design, followed by a great cast and a successful run that extended, then a star had to have surgery and drop out and the director had to step in for the last four shows. Amazing. Read our interview with Dan Demers from before the show opened.
Director Jay Manley, known for huge casts and great musicals, took on a seldom-seen two-hander musical, "john & jen." Read the interview.
Hillbarn Theatre's Lee Foster talks about putting the massive musical "Ragtime" on stage in Foster City, August 30 through September 23, 2012. See the story.

Menlowe Ballet
Dennis Nahat
John Gerbetz / Menlowe Ballet
Dennis Nahat at the rehearsal of his "In Concert" with Menlowe Ballet dancers.
Menlowe Ballet, founded in Menlo Park by Artistic Director Michael Lowe, is making an effort to make dance as much a part of the community as sports. Virginia Bock dropped in at a rehearsal for the "Legend" program, which was danced on November 8, 9 and 15, 2014. Read her story.

Natasha Carlitz Dance Ensemble
Carlitz Ensemble
Yaron Kidron photo
Natasha Carlitz Dance Ensemble performs "Julia & Mandelbrot" (fractal), part of the "Momentum" program to be performed October 17 and 18, 2014, in San Francisco.
"Momentum" is a program by the Natasha Carlitz Dance Ensemble that was previewed on June 13 and 14, 2014. The full show is to be performed in October, and Virginia Bock gives us an idea of what wonderful things match, music and dance can do together in the show. Read Ms. Bock's review/preview.

North California Arts Collective
Stanford, Ivy-Louthaman, Armour
Damian Marhefka photograph
Pasha Stanford, Leslie Ivy-Louthaman, and Kymi Armour in “Juke Joint Jukebox,” January 11-27, 2019, at The Shelton Theatre in San Francisco.
“Juke Joint Jukebox,” January 11-27, 2019, took its audience on a well-sung tour of black American music, from times of slavery to the death of Martin Luther King Jr. Writer/director/performer Gary Stanford Jr. talked with John Orr about the show.

Palo Alto Players
The 2018 Palo Alto Players fundraising gala was called "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" in honor of a play the troupe was about to produce, "The Man Who Came To Dinner." And, to celebrate some surprise performers who were at the colorful event. Read more about it.
"In the Heights" ran September 13-29, 2013, at Palo Alto Players. We talked with the troupe's executive director, Peter Bliznick, about the ah ha season. Read the interview.
Director Dan Demers talks about "Legally Blonde: The Musical," which ran September 8-23, 2012, at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto. Read our interview with Dan Demers.
Frankline and Angelina
Photo by Angelina Cardona
Franklin the French bulldog.
Franklin the French bulldog is the lucky pooch who gets to kiss Sasha Motalygo every night in "Legally Blonde: The Musical." He's a star! He has a Facebook page and everything! Read about a sweet pup named after a great president.

Pear Theater
Tasca, McAlister, Smith
John Orr / Regarding Arts
The Pear Theatre Founder and Artistic Director Diane Tasca, left, and Mountain View Mayor John McAlister, with some help from frequent Pear creative force Jeanie K. Smith cut the ribbon for the walk through of The Pear's new theater, on Saturday, August 15, 2015. It was quite the process; those scissors couldn't cut warm butter.
The Pear Theatre, formerly known as The Pear Avenue Theatre, let supporters and reporters tour its new building on August 15, 2015, and Regarding Arts' John Orr was there and reported back that the new space is great. Read his story.
Alan Ayckbourn' "House & Garden" makes for a challenging production, one met by director Jeanie K. Smith and the Pear: Two plays staged simultaneously in two auditoria, with separate audiences by the same cast, and related story line. Read about it.

San Jose Stage Company
"Alcoholidaze" was drinking for a good cause -- raising money for The Stage in San Jose, on December 21 and 22, 2019. Plus, it was a good party, with very talented people singing clever songs. John Orr spoke with Allison F. Rich about the event.
Randall King, talked with Kevin Kelly before the opening of David Mamet's "Race," which ran October 3-28, 2012. Read the interview.

ShakesBEERience San Jose
Condardo, Marx
Tony Lacy-Thompson / Regarding Arts
Kevin Condardo, left, script in hand, as Richard the Third, and Josh Marx, center, further back, script in hand, as Richmond, in the ShakesBEERience production of "Richard III" at Café Stritch in San Jose on Monday, April 20, 2015. A party is planned to help support the program.
ShakesBEERience San Jose brings big fun to the Bard, with plays that take place among the diners and drinkers at Café Stritch in San Jose. A fund-raiser with plenty of fun was planned for September 22, 2015. Tony Lacy-Thompson said, get thee to a ticketry! Read his preview.

Silicon Valley Shakespeare
"The Hood of Sherwood" by Doug Brook was an all new tale of Robin Hood. It ran July 27-August 31, 2018. Brook talked with John Orr.

Smuin Ballet
Keith Sutter / Smuin Ballet
Erin Yarbrough is lifted by Jonathan Powell, left, and Weston Krukow in Amy Seiwert's "Objects of Curiosity," part of Smuin Ballet's "Untamed" Dance Series in the 2014-2015 season. Yarbrough and Powell are engaged to be married in July 2015.
Erin Yarbrough is the beautiful and sexy Frankie of Michael Smuin's ballet "Frankie & Johnny," and she is dancing it as part of Smuin Ballet's "Unwrapped" season, which is underway. John Orr spoke with Ms. Yarbrough. Read on.
The Smuin Ballet offered Bouquet for its spring program. Triviana dance writer Virginia Bock, herself a dancer, watched the troupe rehearsing "Petal," by Helen Pickett. Read Ms. Bock's May 9, 2013, story about the experience.

Teatro ZinZanni
Manuela and Mom Kitaoka
Mark Kitaoka / Mark & Tracy Photography
Teatro ZinZanni was displaced from its San Francisco home so a bunch of rich people with boats could hold some kind of race there. Maybe San Francisco will eventually find another spot for this unusual tented dinner theater, but in the meantime, what to do? A temporary parking spot was found at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, through February 17, 2013. Photographers Mark Kitaoka and Tracy Martin made some photographs. Mark Kitoaka reports on the experience in his usual idiosyncratic way. He took his mom to see the show and meet some of his friends. Here is his caption for this photo: "With heels, Manuela is 7 feet tall. My Mom is 5-foot-2. Manuela uses a whip for entertainment, Mom's a Kendo master. My money's on Mom! Read more, see more.

Robert Kelley
CarlaBefera photo
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Founder and Artistic Director Robert Kelley describes the company's 2018-19 season during a session Monday, February 12, 2018, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's 2018-19 season lineup is a promising bunch of plays and musicals that are likely to entertain and illuminate. John Orr wrote about the season.
Bowen, Bose, Poss
Kevin Berne / TheatreWorks
Jason Bowen as Bernard, left encounters mourning siblings Nilanjana Bose as Priya and Adam Poss as Vijay in Rajiv Joseph's "The Lake Effect," produced by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto, March 4-29, 2015.
"The Lake Effect" got its West Coast premiere, March 4-29, 2015, at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto. John Orr spoke by phone with director Giovanna Sardelli and playwright Rajiv Joseph. Read the story.
Tocco and Frey
Jeanne Tanner / Courtesy of Rubicon Theatre Company
Christopher Tocco, left, and Thomas Frey in a 2014 Rubicon Theatre Company production of "2 Pianos 4 Hands." Frey is directing the TheatreWorks' production of "2 Pianos 4 Hands," playing January 14 through February 15, 2015, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Tocco is in the TheatreWorks show. John Orr talked with Mr. Frey.
Julie kaufman
Tracy Martin / TheatreWorks
TheatreWorks Board Chair Julie Kaufman at the TheatreWorks costume gala Anything Goes, November 2, 2013, at the Palo Alto Hills Golf and Country Club. She is wearing a dress from "Emma" and a hat from "Ragtime." "Different eras," she posted on Facebook. "I think actually different centuries! But I was happy wearing both." This year, the big TheatreWorks gala was black tie. Read the preview. Also, read the review of the 2014 gala.
Little Women
Tracy Martin / TheatreWorks
The March family in the TheatreWorks production of "Little Women," clockwise from left: Arielle Fishman as Amy, Elizabeth Ward Land as Marmee, Sharon Rietkerk as Meg, Emily Koch as Jo, and Julia Belanoff as Beth. The holiday musical plays December 4 through January 4, 2014, at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto.
Arielle Fishman was an excellent member of an excellent cast in "Little Women." We chatted with her just before the show opened. Read the interview.
Adrian Blue
Mark Kitaoka /
Portrait of actor and director Adrian Blue. Blue is acting in "The Loudest Man on Earth," written by Catherine Rush and directed by Pamela Berlin, at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto, July 10 through August 4, 2013.
"The Loudest Man on Earth," an unusual romantic comedy about a deaf theater director and a journalist, was a huge hit at TheatreWorks' 2012 New Works Festival. The Catherine Rush play, starring her husband, Adrian Blue, and Julie Fitzpatrick, received its world premiere, produced by TheatreWorks, July 10 through August 4, 2013, at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto. Also in the cast are Cassidy Brown and Mia Tagano, who play 21 roles between them. John Orr interviewed Mr. Blue and Ms. Rush at TheatreWorks. Check it out.
Sharon Washington
Tracy Martin / TheatreWorks
Sharon Washington was so great in "Wild With Happy" that we were all advised to wear sunscreen to the theater. She plays two roles in the Colman Domingo play, which ran June 5-30, 2013, at TheatreWorks. We spoke with Ms. Washington. Read the interview.
Sharon Washington helped playwright Colman Domingo shape his bright new comedy. Read the interview
Gruska, Gordon
Photo courtesy of TheatreWorks
Jay Gruska, left, and Paul Gordon, who created the musical "Bring Earnest," based on the classic comedy by Oscar Wilde.
Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska talk about how they took Oscar Wilde's brilliant comedy, "The Importance of Being Earnest," and turned it into a musical. Read the interview.
The Mountaintop
Tracy Martin / TheatreWorks
Simone Missick as Lorraine Motel maid Camae, left, and Adrian Roberts as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have terrific chemistry in the TheatreWorks production of "The Mountaintop," which plays March 6 through April 7, 2013, at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto.
"The Mountaintop," by Katori Hall, is great. Adrian Roberts had the terrifying honor of portraying Martin Luther King Jr. We talked with him about it. Read the interview.
Big River
Tracy Martin / TheatreWorks
Alex Goley as Huck Finn, center front, is soundly, roundly lectured by a lot of people in the song "Do You Wanna Go to Heaven," the opening song of "Big River." The show ran through December 30, 2012, at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto, California. Read John Orr's interview of Goley.
"33 Variations" was a terrific treat, because it was about Beethoven, starred Howard Swain and had William Liberatore playing piano. Before the show, which ran October 3-28, 2012, we talked with Liberatore and with Rosina Reynolds.
Anything Goes, TheatreWorks annual costume-gala fundraiser, October 20, 2012, had theater fans giddily getting dolled up. Read about Anything Goes.
A talk with Brett Ryback, as he was preparing for "Upright Grand," which ran through August 10, 2012, at TheatreWorks. Read more about Brett Ryback.

We Players
Tracy Martin /
A scene from "Macbeth" at Fort Point in San Francisco, staged by We Players. The production was supposed to run through October 13, 2013, at Fort Point in San Francisco, but the federal government closure forced a move from that National Park to a parade ground at the Presidio. Click on the image to see a larger version of this beautiful Tracy Martin image.
Ava Roy is a brilliant and energetic part of We Players, which finds amazing ways to stage amazing plays in public places. John Orr spoke with her not long before We Players opened "Macbeth" at Fort Point, a pre-Civil War fort in San Francisco. Read the interview.

Mark Kitaoka's profiles
Billy Liberatore
Mark Kitaoka photo
Image back story:
Me: "Emily I want you to tell me the most embarrassing story about your Dad that he'd never want anyone to hear!"
Billy: "Emily, do you ever want to sing in one of the school performances ever again?"
The Dog: "Photographers are bad people!"
TheatreWorks Music Director, music professor at Gunn High, conductor of symphonies and choral groups, William Liberatore is an amazing and deeply respected fellow. Read Mark Kitaoka's profile of him. This profile is part of an ongoing series of idiosyncratic profiles written and photographed by Mark Kitaoka. See the index to these pieces.