Pocket full of ticket stubs

Ed and Eddie's list of 82 plays, musicals and operas seen in 2005 organized by month. Spent a week at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

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:
4*, Take Me Out - Richard Greenberg, Best of Broadway
[Talking baseball in the shower.Professional pitcher comes out to the team.]
5*, The Gamester - Freyda Thomas, based on Le Joueur, by Jean-François Regnard, ACT
[Frothy concoction of love, greed, sexual opportunism and compulsive gambling.]
4*, Shakespeare in Hollywood - Ken Ludwig, TheatreWorks
[When filmmaker Max Reinhardt's remake of A Midsummer Night's Dream loses its leading men, Shakespeare's Oberon and Puck show up to play themselves.]
3*, The Sweetest Swing in Baseball - Rebecca Gilman, Magic Theatre
[Hot artist finds herself in a psychiatric ward after her exhibition bombs. She finds inspiration in baseball bad boy Darryl Strawberry.]
New Works Initiative at TheatreWorks, a sneak preview of songs and scenes from new musicals in development. (workshop productions or readings, no rankings):

February:
5*, Caroline, or Change - Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori, Best of Broadway
[Saw in NYC last summer; mostly same cast. Even better a second time.]
4*, Mambo Italiano - Steve Galluccio, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Coming out story full of love & loss, family and guilt.]
5*, Well - Lisa Kron, ACT
[A look at wellness in the individual and community. Bring your Mom.]
4*, A View from the Bridge - Arthur Miller, Actor's Theatre of San Francisco
[Tragic Greek drama set in Brooklyn. Incestuous passion betrays an immigrant kinsmen.]
3*, Rescue and Recovery - Steve Murray, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Story of a man, his ex-wife and the mistakes he makes in gay relationships.]
3*, Crumbs From the Table of Joy - Lynn Nottage, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre
[Memory play of displaced family in Brooklyn coping with integration and big-city ideals with a small-town sensibility.]

March:
3*, Trumbo - Christopher Trumbo, Post Street Theatre (Brian Dennehy)
[Interesting production of Dennehy reading letters written by blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo.]
4*, Vincent in Brixton - Nicholas Wright, TheatreWorks
[Romantic view of van Gogh's world before he painted it. Saw in London 2 years ago.]
4*, Miss Coco Peru is Undaunted - Clinton Leupp, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Cabaret show that is an intelligent, theatrical, musical and witty drag autobiographic monologue.]
5*, The Voysey Inheritance - Harley Granville-Barker, adapted by David Mamet, A.C.T.
[A study of morality and money and the conflict between family and honor.]
4*, Lilies - Michel Marc Bouchard, A.C.T. M.F.A. Program in association with Theatre Rhinoceros
[A lyric and erotic play where inmates re-enact a tale of an impassioned love between two young men.]
4*, Evita - Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice, Best of Broadway
[Yet another tour. Strong Che, weepy Evita.]

April:

4*, Crowns - Regina Taylor, TheatreWorks
[A gospel oral history of "hattitude". Based on the book Crowns : Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats.]
3*, As You Like It - William Shakespeare, Best of Broadway (Peter Hall Company)
[Average ensemble production, nice lights and forest set.]

5*, Living room theatre: actor Gerald Hiken performs excerpts from the writings of Marcel Proust, W.H. Auden and Gertrude Stein in his living room with dessert afterwards.

TheatreWorks New Works Initiative (staged workshop productions or readings, no rankings):
Laughing Without an Accent - Firoozeh Dumas [One woman show from her book Funny in Farsi.]
The Funkentine Rapture - Lee Summers, Ben Blake [Funk musical about love and catfish surprise.]
Piece - Scott Alan, Tara Smith [Memory musical of a woman at four stages in her life .]

May:
3*, Lennon - Don Scardino, John Lennon, Best of Broadway
[Imagine we are all John Lennon. Confusing book, excellent singing. Pre-Broadway run.]
4*, A Moon for the Misbegotten - Eugene O'Neill, A.C.T.
[An evening with a sharp tongue farm woman, her conniving father and alcoholic landlord.]
4*, The Boys from Syracuse - Richard Rogers, Lorenz Hart, 42nd Street Moon
[This can't be love. Musical based on the play The Comedy of Errors.]
4*, I Am My Own Wife - Doug Wright, Best of Broadway (Jefferson Mays)
[German transvestite's survival through Nazi regime & Communist dictatorship.]

June:
3*, The Mambo Kings - Oscar Hijuelos, Arne Gilmcher, Carlos Franzetti, Best of Broadway
[Musical based on movie/novel. Failed pre-Broadway run. Needs work, weak ballads.]
5*, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? - Edward Albee, A.C.T.
[Subtitled: Notes toward a definition of tragedy. A modern American tragedy in the ancient Greek style.]
5*, Così fan tutte - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Lorenzo Da Ponte , San Francisco Opera
[A tale of fianceé swapping and gambling with love, jealousy, human weakness and forgiveness.]
5*, Of Thee I Sing and Let 'Em Eat Cake - George and Ira Gershwin, George S. Kaufman, Morrie Ryskind, San Francisco Symphony
[Semi-staged concert version of these two 1930's musical satires of US politics.]

July:
3*, Hush Up, Sweet Charlotte - Lorraine Hansberry Theatre
[A drag show parody of the Bette Davis film “Hush . . . Hush, Sweet Charlotte.”]
4*, Dolly West's Kitchen - Frank McGuiness, TheatreWorks
[Beautiful but improbable love story involving two gay soldiers that take place in a small Irish town during WWII.]
3*, Brigadoon - Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe, Foothill Music Theatre
[Almost like being in Scotland.]
4*, Harold & Maude: The Musical - Tom Jones, Joseph Thalken, Colin Higgins, TheatreWorks
[New musical version of 1971 film. Partially developed at TheatreWorks]
5*, Golda's Balcony - William Gibson, at A.C.T. (Tovah Feldshuh)
[One woman show of Golda Meir, Israel’s blunt and impassioned prime minister from 1969 through '74.]

August:
Week at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 7 days - 25 performances (18 theatre, 7 other performances)
5*, Nuts Coconuts - Jordi Milan
[The story of the ‘Gibraltar Follies’ variety theatre company. Don’t be late! Is it a (gay) revue or deconstructionist theatre? Great fun watching the set being struck.]
5*, Parade - Alfred Uhry, Jason Robert Brown, Giudecca Productions
[Musical based on the trail of Leo Frank in 1913, Atlanta wrongly accused for the murder of a child. Best show we saw at the festival. Actors hope the production moves to London.]
5*, Tomfoolery, The Songs of Tom Lehrer - Tom Lehrer, Evergreen Theatrical Productions
[Musical revue with Kit and the Widow, and Dillie Keane. Songs just as relevant today as they were 40 years ago.]
5*, Twelfth Night -The Musical - William Shakespeare, various contemporary songwriters, Rhythm Shakespeare Co.
[Snippets of contemporary songs interspersed. Plus a live mermaid and Shakespeare at the keyboards! Very enjoyable.]
4*, All Wear Bowlers - Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford
[A slapstick comedy by two absurdist clowns who fall off the screen.]
4*, Almost There - Foteini Georganta
[Three person comedy about love, jealousy, death and moments that change your life.]
4*, Apocalypse the Musical - Heather Newton, Ernest Merry, Feed the Ducks Productions
[Wacky and campy musical. A tale of milkman falling in love with a whore set against the backdrop of the end of the world. God and Satan bet the house.]
4*, Beautiful Thing - Jonathan Harvey
[Story of sexual awakening of two lads in Southeast London. Also a 1996 movie. Excellent cast]
4*, Bus! A Jazz Musical - Tim Norton, Ned Bennett
[Musical drama that occurs during the British General Strike of 1925. Similar in scope to ‘Ragtime’.]
4*, Shakespeare for Breakfast - William Shakespeare, Judith Quin
[Classic characters vie to win on a Survivor type reality show. Fun and witty.]
4*, The Fix - John Dempsey, Dana P Rowe, Throwaway
[Political musical about the rise and fall of a polished but dysfunctional politician and his almost First-Family. Good material.]
4*, True West - Sam Shepard, Distillery Theater
[Drama of two brothers, a screenwriter and a drifter/thief, who can’t get along.]
3*, A Swell Party - Cole Porter, John Kane, Outlaw Theatre Company
[Musical revue of Cole Porter's life; very well done.]
3*, Corpus Christi - Terrence McNally, Zuloo Productions
[Passion play told with a gay twist. Good college cast.]
3*, Dark Horse, Indiana - Eric Barry, Punch Theatre
[Gay world where heterosexuality is outlawed. Coming to New Conservatory Theatre this fall.]
3*, The Bicycle Men - Skullduggery Theatre Company
[Funny musical tale of an American trapped in a small French town with a broken bike.]
3*, Mikey the Pikey – Joel Horwood, Ben Rous
[A “chav” musical of the young, urban poor. A modern day British “Grease”. A hot topic at the festival, there were over a dozen productions about chavs.]
2*, Out on the Fringe - Philip Giorgi, Stephen Hancocks, Heather Weir and various contemporary composers, Outlaw Theatre Company
[A musical conversation about gay life and love. Done by the same cast at the Cole Porter show but not as well.]
1*, Songs for a New World - Jason Robert Brown, Royal Holloway Music Theatre
[Tedious selection of songs about choices and new beginnings.]

Other type of performances
5*, La Clique Un Spectacle Sensuel - Late night circus cabaret of strange and sultry performers.
5*, Out of the Blue - Oxford male a cappella group. Great harmonies and song selections.
4*, Edinburgh Military Tattoo - The music and marching of the massed Pipes and Drums of the Scottish Regiments and the Massed Military Bands. Bagpipes galore.
4*, Kiki and Herb - Comedy act featuring washed up (drag) chanteuse and her life accompanist.
4*, Rigged - A joint modern dance concert by Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and University of Nevada Las Vegas.
3*, Caesar Twins and Friends - Acrobatics and cabaret show by two hunky brothers. One jumped off the stage and onto my lap!

 

5*, Intimate Apparel - Lynn Nottage, TheatreWorks
[A compelling story of a lonely African American seamstress, who makes corsets for prostitutes and society women alike.]

September:
4*, 10 Naked Men - Ronnie Larsen, Eureka Theatre (Matthew Rush, Falcon porn star)
[Amusing comedy of gay life in the Hollywood entertainment industry.]
5*, The Overcoat - Morris Panych, Wendy Gorling, Nikolai Gogol, Dmitri Shostakovich, ACT (CanStage, Toronto)
[Wordless play adapted from Gogol's story. A cross between a silent movie and modern dance ballet.]
5*, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Part One - Charles Dickens, David Edgar, California Shakespeare Theater
5*, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Part Two - Charles Dickens, David Edgar, California Shakespeare Theater
[Outdoor marathon production, 6.5 hours in one day/evening.Great cast.]
3*, Dangerous - Tom Smith, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Modern gay take on Dangerous Liaisons set in San Francisco.]
2*,The Haunting of Winchester - Mary Bracken Phillips, Craig Bohmler, San Jose Repertory Theatre
[More of a snooze than a nightmare. Boring start; embarrassing ending. Nice set.]

October:
4*, Cirque Éloize Rain - Daniele Finzi Pasca, Best of Broadway
[Another Cirque de Soleil type of show. Fun water ensemble number for finale.]
5*, Baby Taj - Tanya Shaffer, TheatreWorks
[Witty romantic comedy of an American woman visiting India and learning to love.]
5*, The Italian Girl in Algiers - Gioachino Rossini, San Francisco Opera
[Slapstick and farcical opera reset in 1930's. Set is a giant book that opens and closes.]
5*, Red Hot and Blue - Cole Porter, Howard Lindsay, Russel Crouse, 42nd Street Moon (Klea Blackhurst)
[It's DeLovely! The three leads nearly match the orginal of Merman, Durante and Hope.]
3*, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof - Tennessee Williams, A.C.T.
[A major disappointment. The cast had no chemistry together. Good Big Daddy. Pretty Brick.]
2*, Doctor Atomic - John Adams, Peter Sellars, San Francisco Opera
[Three hours of no action or melody. The scientists and generals sing about how bad the weather is. ]
TheatreWorks New Works Initiative (staged workshop production or reading, no ranking):
Vanities - a new musical adapted from the play by Jack Heifner and David Kirshenbaum, TheatreWorks
[Three cheerleaders grow up and grow apart. Excellent musical adaptation.]

November:
4*, Norma - Vincenzo Bellini, San Francisco Opera
[Druid priestess shacks up with enemy general. Has two kids by him. But now the general is shagging her assistant and Norma is pissed. Great singing by Norma.]
3*, Crucifixion - Terrence McNally, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Gay murder mystery involving Catholic priest. Naked actors make for an enjoyable performance.]
4*, The Force of Destiny - Giuseppe Verdi, San Francisco Opera
[Boyfriend accidentally kills his girlfriend’s father when gun drops on the floor. Fate requires one to sit there for almost 4 hours for the tragic story to conclude.]
3*, Miss Liberty - Irving Berlin, 42nd Street Moon
[Finding the woman who modeled for the Statute of Liberty and making a celebrity of her. Problem is she is the wrong woman.]
3*, The Butter and Egg Man - George S. Kaufman, A.C.T. Young Conservatory
[A hick from the sticks becomes a Broadway producer.]
5*, Fidelio, Ludwig van Beethoven, San Francisco Opera
[The wife of a falsely accused political prisoner adopts the disguise of a young man, Fidelio, and infiltrates the prison. She risks all for love and liberty.]

December:
3*, Simply Sondheim A 75th Birthday Salute - Stephen Sondheim, JCCSF
[Benefit for Mary Mason Memorial Lemonade Fund. Performance by 12 yr girl steals show.]
5*, Into the Woods - Stephen Sondheim, James Lapine, TheatreWorks
[Saw twice. Strong cast. Fairytales characters mature and take responsibility.]
4*, Oedipus Rex and The Nightingale - Igor Stravinsky, San Francisco Symphony
[Beautiful semi staged contrasting oratorios; "Oedipus" neoclassical, "Nightingale" lush and lyrical]
3*, Roar of the Greasepaint - Smell of the Crowd - Anthony Newley, Leslie Bricusse, 42nd Street Moon
[Great songs, disappointing production. Commentary on British class system]
4*, After Dark - Steve Kluger, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Hilarious romantic comedy about what it takes for 2 people to stay together. Set in a seedy LA diner.]
4*, Bent - Martin Sherman, Theatre Rhinoceros
[Shocking and moving testaments to the power of the individual in the face of overwhelming oppression. Set in Berlin and a concentration camp.]
5*, 700 Sundays - Billy Crystal, Best of Broadway
[Outrageously funny and touching three hours of theatre. A tribute to his family.]


Other cultural events and activities:
JAN: One Night Only, 35 years of New Works at TheatreWorks (with Wendy Wasserstein, Stephen Schwartz, Andrew Lippa).
JAN: Choosing to Participate: Facing History and Ourselves at the San Francisco Public Library
FEB: Roy Lichtenstein: All About Art, Robert Bechtle: A Retrospective exhibitions at SF Museum of Modern Art
FEB: San Jose Gay Pride Oscar Night Fundraiser
MAR: Jewish Family and Children's Services Gala Dinner
MAR: Año Nuevo State Reserve guided walk to see elephant seals.
APR:
Outlet "Out to Eat" fundraising dinner
APR: Opening day Giants baseball season
MAY: Palo Alto Art Walk with BayLands FrontRunners
MAY: Benefit concert with Peter Yarrow & Bethany Yarrow
MAY: Facing History and Ourselves Benefit Dinner
MAY: George Washington University commencement with Andy Rooney
JUN: Congregation Beth Am 50th Anniversary Celebration
JUN: New Conservatory Theatre Center: Ticket to the Tonys party
JUN: Stanford University commencement with Steve Jobs
JUN: Ed and Eddie's Wedding on Father's Day
JUN: March in San Francisco Gay Pride Parade - almost kicked out of the parade.
JUL: Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals, 1933-1945; Out at the Library, Celebrating the James C. Hormel Gay & Lesbian Center at the San Francisco Public Library
JUL: Bike4Breath 50-mile bike ride
JUL: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
JUL: San Francisco Zoo
AUG: Coast to Coast walk across England - 200 miles, 14 days; Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, North Yorkshire
AUG: Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh Castle
SEP: Facing History & Ourselves Community Conversations: Paul Rusesabagina, courage and rescue during the Rwandan genocide
SEP: Family night at San Francisco Zoo
OCT: Horizon Foundation 25th Anniversary Gala
OCT: Baseball As America at the Oakland Museum of California
OCT: The Stage is Burning, a presentation of the history and evolution of Isreali theatre by director Sinai Peter
NOV: SHOW BUSINESS! Irving Berlin’s Broadway at San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum
DEC: Palo Alto Art Center Family Day
DEC: San Jose Sharks hockey game

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