Pocket full of ticket stubs

A list of 76 plays we saw in 2004 organized by month. Visited NYC, Washington DC, Vienna and Prague.

Ratings Legend:
5* - Loved It – A classic, would see it a second time.
4* - Really Liked It – Excellent, strong production.
3* - Liked It – Good production but something is lacking or not clicking.
2* - Just OK – Below average but had at least one interesting component.
1* - Did Not Like It – Waste of time.
No rating – A work in progress (reading or workshop), or children’s production.

Rating*, Show Title - Author, Presenting Theatre (comments)
[Synopsis or review]

January:
5*, Memphis - Joe DiPietro and David Bryan, TheatreWorks (saw twice)
[New work. Loosely based on the life of Memphis DJ Dewey Philips, one of the first white DJs who dared to play African American music in the 1950s.]
3*, Dreamgirls - Tom Eyen and Henry Krieger, American Musical Theatre of San Jose
[A trio similar to the Supremes who strive to cross over to the white-dominated pop charts in the early '60s]
5*, Beach Blanket Babylon - Steve Silver, Club Fugazi
[Nonstop onslaught of musical, celebrity and pop-culture lampoons and fantastically sculpted hats and hairdos.]
4*, The Last Sunday in June - Jonathan Tolins, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Gay comedy/drama in a Village apartment above the NYC gay pride parade.]

February:
2*, A Midsummer Night's Dream - William Shakespeare, San Jose Repertory Theatre (SITI Company, Anne Bogart dir.)
[8 actors, "Grapes of Wrath" style, confusing and weary]
4*, The Last Schwartz - Deborah Zoe, Marin Theatre Company (Michael Tucker, Jill Eikenberry)
[Poignant comedy drama about 4 surviving children of a Jewish businessman who gather for his "yahrzeit".]
5*, The Lion King - Elton John and Tim Rice, Best of Broadway
[Julie Taymor's acclaimed staging of the Disney animated film.]
2*, Starlight Express - Andrew Lloyd Webber, American Musical Theatre
[Roller derby meets "The Little Engine That Could"]

March:
4*, Candide - Leonard Bernstein, Hugh Wheeler, Richard Wilbur, Foothill Music Theatre
[Excellent college production]
3*, All My Sons - Arthur Miller, TheatreWorks
[War time profiteering and greed hits home]
2*, Seduction - Jack Heifner, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[A poor gay interpretation of 'La Ronde' by Arthur Schnitzler.]
4*, A Man of No Importance - Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens, New Conservatory Theatre Center (Terrence McNally post-show discussion)
[Based on Albert Finney movie of a bus driver's love of Oscar Wilder and theatre.]
5*, My Old Lady - Israel Horovitz, Marin Theatre Company
[A bequeathed Paris apartment complete with tenants, actresses Joy and Nancy Carlin]

April:
5*, My Antonia - adapted & directed by Scott Schwartz, incidental music by Stephen Schwartz, TheatreWorks
[Hard life of immigrants on the Nebraskan prairie. Based on Willa Cather's novel.]
3*, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes - Leo Robin, Jule Styne, Joseph Stein & Anita Loos, 42nd Street Moon
[Just "Two Little Girls from Little Rock", on a transatlantic cruise, working their way to Paris.]
2*, Dybbuk - S. Ansky, adapted by Bruce Myers, Traveling Jewish Theatre
[A Jewish folk tale of mystical passion and demonic possession.]
5*, The Time of Your Life - William Saroyan, ACT (Steppenwolf Theatre Company production)
[A sprawling ode to the little people who have an obligation "to live all the time." 1939, Nick's waterfront bar, SF]
4*, Thoroughly Modern Millie - Dick Scanlan, Richard Morris, Jeanine Tesori, American Musical Theatre
[NYC 1922, frisky flappers, dashing leading men and a dragon-lady of a villainess]

TheatreWorks New Works Initiative (workshop productions or readings, no rankings):
Malaya - Chay Yew [Political drama set in Malaysia]
The Water - Georgia Stitt, Jeffrey Hylton, Tim Werenko [A musical Missouri town survives a flood.]
Party Come Here - David Kirshenbaum, Daniel Goldfarb [A time-warping Judeo-Brazilian musical farce set in Rio de Janeiro.]

May:
4*, The Cabaret Girl - Jerome Kern, P.G. Wodehouse, 42nd Street Moon
[A lost musical: The trials and tribulations of an unemployed musical comedy actress looking for work in London.]
5*, Southern Baptist Sissies - Del Shores, New Conservatory Theatre Center (saw twice)
[The different paths four gay boys take and how they do or do not come to terms with their homosexual feelings.]
3*, Dirty Blonde - Claudia Shear, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[A celebration in song and laughter of Mae West's racy life and scintillating career. Not a strong cast.]
5*, Hairspray - Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Thomas Meehan and Mark O'Donnell, Best of Broadway
[Based on John Water’s film about the integration of a teenage afternoon dance program.]
3*, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change - Joe DiPietro, Jimmy Roberts, Marines Memorial Theatre
[Tedious revue about everything you ever thought about dating, romance, marriage, etc. but were afraid to admit.]
4*, Buddy, The Buddy Holly Story - Alan James, Buddy Holly, Post Street Theatre (Pacific Rep Theatre production)
[Features 20 of Buddy Holly's greatest hits. Fun production, excellent lead.]

June:
5*, Big River, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Roger Miller, William Haupton, Mark Twain, Best of Broadway (Deaf West Theatre production)
[Spoken English and American Sign Language (ASL) are interwoven with music, dance, and storytelling techniques.]
2*, Arcadia - Tom Stoppard, TheatreWorks
[Parallel plot lines 180 years apart to solve a mystery no one cares.]
4*, My Fair Lady - Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe, The Mountain Play
[It’s more than a play - it’s a tradition, a party and an all-day family outing.]

July:
Week in New York City, 8 days-12 shows
4*, Naked Boys Singing - conceived by Robert Schrock and a dozen musical contributors
[Good, clean, witty, naked fun]
5*, Assassins - Stephen Sondheim, John Weidman (Neil Patrick Harris), Roundabout Theatre Company
[Explores the history of presidential assassination in America, from John Wilkes Booth to John Hinckley, Jr.]
3*, Thor's Day - Edward Crosby Wells, Wings Theater
[A gun, two guys and a blowjob. Who's going down?]
5*, Avenue Q - Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx, Jeff Whitty
[It Sucks to be Me, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist, If You Were Gay, and I Wish I could Go Back to College.]
5*, Caroline, or Change - Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori
[A musical story of forgotten pocket change becomes a story of massive sociological change.]
4*, Jumpers - Tom Stoppard, (National Theatre production)
[A unresolved murder mystery, parodistic philosophical debate and a love triangle]
5*, The Boy from Oz - Peter Allen, Martin Sherman (Hugh Jackman)
[Hugh Jackman, Hugh Jackman, Hugh Jackman]
2*, Sly Fox - Larry Gelbart
[Cast of no-shows. Four leads replaced with understudies.Wast of time.]
4*, Here Lies Jenny - Kurt Weill, Roger Rees, The Zipper Theatre (Bebe Neuwirth)
[Moody Kurt Weill revue presented with a narrative arc.]
5*, Wonderful Town - Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Joseph Fields, Jerome Chodorov (Donna Murphy)
[Two sisters from Ohio arrive in NY and find life in the big city a lot more complicated than they ever imagined.]
5*, Bombay Dreams - A.R. Rahman, Don Black, Meera Syal, Thomas Meehan
[Story of the slum boy who attains his Bollywood stardom dream only to realize that happiness means being true to his roots.]
5*, The Frogs - Stephen Sondheim, Aristophanes, Burt Shevelove, Nathan Lane, Lincoln Center Theatre
["So please, don't fart/There's very little air and this is art."]

3*, The Underpants - Carl Sternheim, adapted by Steve Martin, San Jose Repertory Theatre
[Chaos follows a housewife who becomes an overnight celebrity when she accidentally loses her underpants in public.]
4*, The Fantasticks- Tom Jones, Harvey Schmidt, San Francisco Playhouse
[A chamber-sized variation on Romeo and Juliet]
4*, Movin' Out -Billy Joel, Twyla Tharp, Best of Broadway
[Tharp's dialog-free pop ballet based on Joel's music.]
3*, Is This Seat Taken? A Fairy-Tale - Sylvanus Alexander, Stanford University Theatre Q
[A dark, family comedy that seemed like it would never end.]
4*, Red - Chay Yew, Theatreworks
[When the Cultural Revolution swept through China, the Beijing Opera became a pawn in the game of politics versus traditions.]

August:
A week in Vienna and a week in Prague
4*, Dalibor - Friedrich Smetana, Theater an der Wien (Opera, Vienna)
[Czech political opera in German]
4*, Wonderful Circus - Laterna Magika (film, dance & pantomime show at National Theatre in Prague)
[Birth, life and death of a clown born from an egg.]
5*, Don Giovanni - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, The Estates Theatre Prague (Opera, Prague)
[A Don Juan story. Giovanni attempts to seduce peasant girls and noblewomen alike. But his conquests come to a fiery finale when he blasphemously invites death itself to join him for a gourmet’s feast.]
5*, La Traviata - Giuseppe Verdi, Prague State Opera (Opera, Prague)
[Alfredo falls in love with the beautiful courtesan, Violetta. She is dying from consumption. Damn.]

September:
4*, A Little Princess - Brian Crawley, Andrew Lippa, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Theatreworks
[Musical premier of a motherless girl marooned in a Victorian London boarding school while her father sets off for Timbuktu.]
4*, Breakfast with Scot - Michael Downing, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Two gay men suddenly find themselves raising an 11-year-old boy with Truman Capote tendencies.]
4*, The Persians - Aeschylus, adapted by Ellen McLaughlin, Aurora Theatre Company
[A play that looks at the horrible aftermath of war. The first extant full-length play in the Western canon.]
3*, Dame Edna Back with a Vengeance! - Best of Broadway
[She sings, dances, gives psychic readings to astonished audience members, offers marriage counseling, and even heals.]
5*, La Traviata - Giuseppe Verdi, San Francisco Opera
4*, The Black Rider - Robert Wilson, Tom Waits and William S. Burroughs, A.C.T. ( Marianne Faithfull, Matt McGrath)
[A young clerk must learn to hunt in order to marry his true love. He strikes a deal with the devil for magic bullets.]
4*, The Violet Hour - Richard Greenberg, San Francisco Playhouse
[A tale of a driven young publisher and the mysterious machine that could radically change his future.]

October:
4*, The Opposite of Sex - Douglas J Cohen, Robert Jess Roth, Don Roos, Magic Theatre
[A musical version of the 1998 film.]
4*, Living Out - Lisa Loomer, Theatreworks
[A story about mothers and the nannies they hire to take care of their babies.]
4*, Pageant - Bill Russell, Frank Kelley, Albert Evans, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Six no-holds-barred drag queens play finalists in a over the top beauty pageant revue.]
5*, Billy Budd - Benjamin Britten, Herman Melville, San Francisco Opera
[A tale pitting the goodness of a young seaman against evil, represented by the master-at-arms on a British war ship in 1797.]
5*, The Producers - Mel Brooks, Thomas Meehan, Best of Broadway
[A musical version of the 1968 film.]
4*, Can-Can - Cole Porter, Abe Burrows, 42nd Street Moon
[In turn-of-the-century Paris a dance hall owner spars with a self-righteous judge determined to close them. Eventually they fall in love.]

November:
3*, Le Grand Macabre - Gyorgy Ligeti, San Francisco Opera
[A operatic apocalypse in a comic-book Armageddon.]
4*, Grace - Craig Wright, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (Washington DC)
[A modern tragicomedy about a very unpleasant chain of events which deconstruct the marriage of a born-again couple.]
5*, Anna in the Tropics - Nilo Cruz, Arena Stage (Washington DC)
[The loves and lives of a family of cigar makers are played out when a "lector" arrives to read installments of Anna Karenina.]
2*, Forbidden Christmas or The Doctor and The Patient - Rezo Babriadze, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington DC, Mikhail Baryshnikov)
[Part absurdist drama, part fantasy-allegory, totally boring. Baryshnikov drives around town in a car that is visible only to him.]
5*, Company - Stephen Sondheim, George Furth, SpeakEasy Stage Company (Boston, MA)
[The first non-linear, "concept," musical. Excellent production.]
4*, A Little Shop of Horrors - Howard Ashman, Alan Menken, Best of Broadway
[A musical version of Roger Corman's 1960 film.]
5*, Irving Berlin's White Christmas - Irving Berlin, David Ives, Paul Blake, Best of Broadway
[A stage version of the 1954 film musical. Great fun.]

December:
The Highlands English Dept. Does "Macbeth" - Marc Vincenti, (Stage reading, no ranking)
5*, Striking 12 - GrooveLily, TheatreWorks
[A wacky rewiring of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl told by a folk/rock group]
4*, Eugene Onegin - Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, Alexander Pushkin, San Francisco Opera
[She loves; he rebuffs. Years later he yearns; she is married. Who's crying now?]
4*, Our Town - Thornton Wilder, San Francisco Playhouse
[The lives and deaths of ordinary people in Grover's Corners.]
5* Once Upon a Mattress - Mary Rodgers, Marshall Barer, Jay Thompson & Dean Fuller, 42nd Street Moon (Lea DeLaria)
[A musical send up of Hans Christian Andersen's The Princess and the Pea.]

Other cultural events:
JAN: San Francisco Symphony - Franck Psyché, Honneger Symphony No. 2, Fauré Requiem
MAR: Silicon Valley Gay Men's Chorus - "CABARET" ~ a concert of theatre, song & dance
MAR: David Benoit at Community School of Music and Arts gala
APR: Kinsey Sicks at Billy DeFrank Center's Anniversary Dinner
APR: Carol Channing at 7th inning stretch of Giants home opener (B.B. hits 660)
MAY: San Francisco Legion of Honor (Art Deco 1910-1939 and Photographs of Adi Nes exhibitions)
MAY: "Chronicles, A Jewish Life at the Classical Piano" - Rabbi Moshe Cotel
JUNE: "Ticket to the Tonys" benefit for New Conservatory Theatre Center with Terrence McNally
JULY: Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Jewish Museum (Modigliani: Beyond the Myth exhibition); National Academy of Design Museum; American Folk Art Museum in NYC; Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island tour; walking tour of Jewish Lower East Side.
AUG: The Albertina Collection, the Secession, Kunsthistorisches Museum, KunstHaus Wien (Hundertwasser exhibition), State Opera House, the Belvedere Palaces, Jewish Museum, MuseumsQuartier in Vienna
AUG: REI cycling trip from Vienna to Prauge (explore medieval towns of southern Moravia/Bohemia and UNESCO cities of Telc, Cesky Krumlov and Holasovice); Czechomor (Čechomor) and Czech Philharmonics Collegium - International Music Festival Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
AUG: Museum of Communism, Jewish Museum, Prague Castle, Trade Fair Palace of Modern and Contemporary Art, National Technical Museum in Prague
AUG: Three concerts featuring the works of Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Purcell, and Handel in Prague
SEP: Sandra Reaves-Phillips at Empire Plush Room, York Hotel, SF
NOV: National Museum of the American Indian, National Museum of American History, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, The Phillips Collection (Calder Miró exhibition), Corcoran Gallery of Art, Library of Congress (From Haven to Home: 350 Years of Jewish Life in America exhibition), Memorials: World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, Roosevelt in Washington DC.
DEC: Monterey Bay Aquarium

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