Pocket full of ticket stubs

Ed and Eddie's list of 84 plays, musicals and operas seen in 2009 organized by month. Besides the San Francisco Bay Area saw shows in NYC, Palm Springs, Nashville and Chicago

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]

5*, Abraham Lincoln's Big Gay Dance Party - Aaron Loeb, San Francisco Playhouse
[3 acts that look at similar events from different points of view, ordered by the audience: Power, Liberty, A House Divided. A son coming out in a conservative family and a "Star is Born" mentorship between an aging "good ol' boy" Republican and politically raising, conservative black woman.]
4*, Zanna, Don't - Tim Acito, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[High School matchmaker Zanna is determined as ever to make sure everyone in town, guy and guy, gal and gal, guy and gal, is happily paired up in this musical fairy tale.]
4*, Twentieth Century- Ben Hecht, Charles MacArthur, Charles Bruce Milholland, Ken Ludwig, TheatreWorks
[An on-the-outs impresario needs a hit show with a mercurial silver screen starlet in a classic screwball comedy from the 1930s.]
5*, Macbeth - William Shakespeare, Shotgun Players
[Two young, wealthy hipsters with exceedingly sharp tastes in clothing and insatiable appetites for more of everything. Their empty cradle leaves them unable to make a life for themselves, and their ambitions turn toward more material means of self-definition: money, fashion, fame and power!]
1*, Rich and Famous - John Guare, A.C.T.
[Unfunny, dated 70's comedy of an unsuccessful playwright. Full of sexist and racist stereotypes. 1st show we walked out in the middle of with a dozen others audience members.]

5*, T.I.C. Trenchcoat in Common - Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Encore Theatre Company
[A moody and angry teenage girl starts to publish a blog about her new T.I.C. (Tenant-in-Common) apartment building and living with her gay dad. Creepy and funny murder mystery develops.]
4*, Monsters and Prodigies: A History of the Castrati - Jorge Kuri, Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes at YBCA
[A three-century journey chronicling the history of the castrated, children born in poverty who were propelled to the range of stars in the frivolous constellation of the great courts of Europe.]
4*, My Children! My Africa! - Athol Fugard, Marin Theatre Company
[The friendship of two teenagers – one black, one white – in apartheid-torn South Africa play against the backdrop of an education system in crisis. African teacher Mr. M struggles to instill a sense of hope into his students.]
2*, Landscape of the Body - John Guare, San Francisco Playhouse
[Another unfunny comedy about murder, gay-bashing, insanity, and water-sports porn. Includes a cabaret-diva ghost, a police detective disguised in a false nose and glasses, and a cross-dressing travel agent.]
5*, License to Kiss - Teatro ZinZanni (Kevin Kent)
[Evening of European cabaret, cirque, divas and madmen with live music and a gourmet five-course dinner.]
5*, In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) - Sarah Ruhl, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
[Six lonely people seeking relief from a local doctor with an electric new technology. All they really need is intimacy in this tale that takes place at the end of the Victorian age.]
4*, Betrayed - George Packer, Aurora Theatre Company
[Adaptation of Packer’s The Assassin’s Gate: America in Iraq. A riveting study of Muslim translators working for US forces in Iraq.]
5*, Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins - Stephen Temperley, A.C.T.
[The story of real-life Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York socialite and tone-deaf diva who thought she was a great soprano.]
3*, Waitin' 2 End Hell - William a. Parker, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre
[Three couples gather to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Dante and Diane but the seemingly happy couple is on the brink of divorce.]

3*, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf - Ntozake Shange, Backstage-Stanford student group
[A choreopoem performed by 9 women dealing with love, abandonment, rape, and abortion.]
5*, It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues - Charles Bevel, Lita Gaithers, Randal Myler, Ron Taylor, Dan Wheetman, TheatreWorks
[A stirring retrospective of blues classics from African chants and Delta spirituals to the urban electricity of Chicago blues.]
3*, Anansi, the Clever Spider - Claudia Hass, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Children's play based on the African folk fables. Part of NCTC's Family Matinee Series]
4*, High Spirits - Hugh Martin, Timothy Gray, 42nd Street Moon
[A musical based on the play “Blithe Spirit” by Noel Coward. A writer and his second wife are bedeviled by the mischievous spirit of the first wife that is conjured up by a eccentric medium.]
5*, Rabbi Sam - Charlie Varon, The Marsh
[One man show. A new progressive rabbi wrestles with his contentious board members. Funny and touching.]
4*, Tennessee in the Summer - Joe Besecker, Theatre Q & New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Williams, in a drug-induced dream state in a NYC hotel room, reflects back upon the loves of his life: his sister Rose, mother, long-term lover and other young men.]

5*, The Story - Tracey Scott Wilson, San Francisco Playhouse
[An ambitious reporter goes against her editor to investigate a murder and finds the best story. Explores the elusive nature of truth between reality and fiction, morality and ambition become dangerously blurred.]
2*, Act A Lady - Jordan Harrison, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[The men of a small Prohibition-era town decide to put on a play dressed in "fancy-type, women-type clothes," the whole community is affected. Despite the premise, the production was dull and uninspired.]
2*, War Music - Lillian Groag, Christopher Logue, A.C.T.
[Modern interpretation of Homer's Iliad. Mind-numbingly dull and unctuously self-important.]
5*, Distracted - Lisa Loomer, TheatreWorks
[A funny, well balanced, thoughtful look at a family dealing with ADD. Great video set.]
4*, The Floating Light Bulb - Woody Allen, Traveling Jewish Theatre,
[A teenage boy with a passion for magic provides the light for his mother’s otherwise frustrated life. The father is a petty gambler and philanderer and the coming visit of a talent scout to see her son perform provides a promise for
a better future.]

4*, Not A Genuine Black Man - Brian Copeland, The Marsh
[One man show explores how surroundings make us who we are. Copeland and his African-American family moved to San Leandro in 1971 when he was 8 when it was named one of the most racist suburbs in America.]
3*, Wreckage - Caridad Svich, Crowded Fire Theatre Company
[A lyrical, cynical, story cycle of two boys washed up onto shore and used by two levels of society.]
5*, Sultry Summer Magic - Teatro ZinZanni
[Evening of European cabaret, cirque, divas and madmen with live music and a gourmet five-course dinner.]
5*, Boleros for the Disenchanted - José Rivera, A.C.T.
[A heartfelt and powerful play of marriage and commitment as seen at the start and end of the relationship.]
4*, Dead Man's Cell Phone - Sarah Ruhl, San Francisco Playhouse
[A dead man's ringing cell phone causes the woman who answered it to become involved in the man's mysterious business and insanely eccentric family.]
4*, Blowing Whistles - Matthew Todd, Thorny Theatre Palm Springs
[Two men, one 10th anniversary and the internet slutboy they invite over for a one-time party. Lots of gay drama.]

4*, Three on a Party - Gertrude Stein, Tennessee Williams, Armistead Maupin, Theatre Rhinoceros and Word for Word
[Staged productions of short stories: Miss Furr and Miss Skeene, Two On a Party, and Suddenly Home.]
5*, Tosca - Giacomo Puccini, San Francisco Opera
[Set in Napoleonic Rome it involves dramatic elements of a love triangle: seduction, heroism, and murder befall a tempestuous singer named Tosca.]
3*, You, Nero - Amy Freed, Berkeley Repertory Theatre (Danny Scheie)
[A romp about the politics of art. A tale told by a playwright, Scribonius, a leading author of social-consciousness dramas ("Death of a Sailmaker") reduced to writing for pornographic mimes in Nero's bread-and-circuses Rome.]
4*, Lips Together, Teeth Apart - Terrence McNally, Theatre Q
[Two straight couples are confronted with their own homophobia and personal regrets at a Fire Island summer house.]
5*, Porgy and Bess - George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward and Ira Gershwin, San Francisco Opera
[Same set we saw in LA. “Summertime”, “A Woman Is A Sometime Thing”, “I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'”, “Bess, You Is My Woman”, “It Ain't Necessarily So”, “I Loves You, Porgy”, and “There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York.”]
5*, The Golden Girls - two gay episodes from the TV series. Trannyshack
[Mix four well-known drag queens, two scripts of a campy TV show, and you will get some wild and wacky theater to laugh your ass off.]
4*, Some Men - Terrence McNally, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[A modern gay wedding is the framework to examine gay relationships from the '20's to the present day.]
3*, Iolanthe - Gilbert & Sullivan, San Francisco Symphony
[Semi-staged. Satiric love story of shepherds and shepherdesses, bluebloods and fairies.]
4*, At Home at the Zoo - Edward Albee, A.C.T.
[Albee's original The Zoo Story with a freshly penned prequel. Formerly titled Peter and Jerry.]
5*, La Traviata - Giuseppe Verdi, San Francisco Opera
[Reset in 1920's flapper era. Alfredo falls in love with the beautiful courtesan, Violetta. She is dying from consumption. Damn.]

Week in New York City, 9 days-14 shows
4*, Accent on Youth - Samson Raphaelson, Manhattan Theatre Club (David Hyde Pierce)
[1934 comedy. A lazy, middle aged playwright is spurred to write by his new young secretary.]
3*, The Philanthropist - Christopher Hampton, Roundabout Theatre Co. (Matthew Broderick, Steven Weber)
[A reversal of Moliere's The Misanthrope. Written in 1970. Story of an out-of-touch college professor.]
5*, Rock of Ages - Chris D'Arienzo and over 30 rock songs from the 1980's, Brooks Atkinson Theatre
[Jukebox musical similar to Xanadu and Mama Mia, featuring the music of Journey, Night Ranger, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Poison, Asia, Whitesnake and others.]
4*, 9 to 5: The Musical - Dolly Parton, Patricia Resnick, Marquis Theatre
[Based on the 1980 movie. Three working women live out their fantasy of getting even with their evil boss.]
2*, West Side Story - Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins, Palace Theatre (Matt Cavenaugh)
[Disappointing revival. Miscast, bad direction (by Laurents), ugly sets, and an awkward use Spanish.]
5*, Shrek The Musical - David Lindsay-Abaire, Jeanine Tesori, Broadway Theatre (Brian d'Arcy James)
[Based on 1990 children's story by William Steig and 2001 animated film. A green ogre learns to love.]
3*, Mary Stuart - Friedrich Schiller, Peter Oswald, Broadhurst Theatre
[Based on the life of Mary I of Scotland.]
5*, Next to Normal - Tom Kitt, Brian Yorkey, Booth Theatre (Alice Ripley)
[Musical about a family coping with a wife/mother with bi-polar disorder.]
5*, Billy Elliot The Musical - Elton John, Lee Hall, Imperial Theatre
[Based on 2000 film. A motherless boy trades his boxing gloves for ballet shoes during the UK miners strike '84/85.]
4*, Hair - Gerome Ragni, James Rado, Galt MacDermot, Al Hirschfeld Theatre
[Revival of the 1968 tribal love-rock musical.]
5*, Blithe Spirit - Noel Coward, Sam S. Shubert Theatre (Angela Lansbury, Rubert Everett, Christine Ebersole)
[A novelist and his second wife are hunted by the ghost of the first wife after a séance.]
5*, God of Carnage - Yasmina Reza, Christopher Hampton, Jacobs Theatre (Jeff Daniels, James Gandolfini, Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden)
[Two sets of parents meet to discuss their child's fight but they become increasingly childish resulting in chaos.]
5*, Waiting for Godot - Samuel Beckett, Roundabout Theatre Company Studio 54, (Nathan Lane, Bill Irwin, John Goodman, John Glover)
[Vladimir and Estragon wait for someone named Godot.]
5*, Our Town - Thornton Wilder, Barrow Street Theatre, (David Cromer)
[Wonderfully preconceived off-Broadway revival of the 1938 American classic.]

4*, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Dale Wasserman, San Francisco Playhouse
[Based on Ken Kesey's book of a mental hospital and its inhabitants.]
4*, Rent Boy Ave.: A Fairy's Tale - Nick A. Olivero, Michael Mohammed, Boxcar Theatre
[Skid row musical of street characters in an ensemble type "Rent" production.]
4*, Tinyard Hill - Tommy Newman, Mark Allen, TheatreWorks
[Musical drama of a father/son blacksmith in Georgia during the run up of the Vietnam war. Life is turned upside down when a draft notice and a Northern beauty comes to town.]

4*, The Producers, the Musical - Mel Brooks, Thomas Meehan, Foothill Music Theatre
[A musical version of the 1968 film.]
3*, A Midsummer Night's Dream -William Shakespeare, Los Gatos Shakespeare Festival
[Shakespeare's tale of love, fairy magic, and comic interludes]

TheatreWorks New Works Festival Readings (staged workshop productions or readings, no rankings):
The Sparrow and the Birdman - Raquel Bitton, Chris Smith [Play with music about the friendship of Edith Piaf and Jean Cocteau.]
Makeover - Darrah Cloud, Kim D. Sherman [Musical about a "Mary Kay/Helena Rubinstein/Elizabeth Arden" type that creates a beauty empire.]
Young Playwrights Showcase - a dozen high school one acts from the last 8 years performed with professional actors and director.

5*, Il Trittico - Giacomo Puccini , San Francisco Opera
[Three one-act operas: the tragic "Il Tabarro", the mystical"Suor Argelica" and the comic "Gianni Schicchi".]
5*, Yellow Face - David Henry Hwang, TheatreWorks
[A backstage comedy that chronicles Hwang’s struggle to define racial identity in the mixed-up melting pot of contemporary America. Part fact, part fiction.]
4*, Il Trovatore - Giuseppe Verdi, San Francisco Opera
[Two men vie for the love of a woman not knowing they are brothers. The younger was kidnapped by a mad gypsy woman as a child.]
5*, My Name is Asher Lev - Aaron Posner, Marin Theatre Company
[Adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok. A young Jewish man must make a heartbreaking choice between art and faith.]
5*, Brief Encounter - Noël Coward, Emma Rice, A.C.T. (Kneehigh Theatre of England)
[Multimedia mix of film and stage styles based on the Coward and David Lean's 1945 romantic film of two married people that fall in love with each other.]
4*, The Abduction From the Seraglio - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, San Francisco Opera
[A nobleman and his servant rescue their loves from a Turkish Pasha.]
5*, Call Me Madam - Irving Berlin, Howard Lindsay, Russel Crouse, 42nd Street Moon
[Comic hit of '50's. The "hostess with the mostes" in Washington become the new ambassador to the duchy of Lichtenburg. A spoof based on Perle Mesta's ambassadorship to Luxembourg.]


4*, Daughter of the Regiment - Gaetano Donzetti, J.H.Vernoy de Saint-Georges, F. Bayard, San Francisco Opera
[A rambunctious tomboy raised by a group of soldiers is forced to assume the airs of an aristocrat.]
4*, The Chosen - Aaron Posner, Chaim Potok, TheatreWorks
[The unlikely friendship of two Jewish teenagers from very different worlds who grow to manhood in the post-war turbulence of 1940’s Brooklyn. ]
4*, Salome - Richard Strauss, San Francisco Opera
[Based on Oscar Wilde's play; a tangled Biblical triangle: the persecuted John the Baptist, a lecherous King Herod and the monarch's pathologically seductive stepdaughter, Salome.]
5*, First Day of School - Billy Aronson, San Francisco Playhouse
[What exactly are the parents up to when their kids go off to school? An outrageous comedy about sex and marriage for the original author of Rent.]

Week and a half in Nashville and Chicago
4*, Little House on the Prairie, The Musical - Rachel Portman, Rachel Sheinkin, Donna di Novelli, Tennessee Performing Arts Center (Melissa Gilbert)
[Musical based on the Laura Ingalls Wilder books.]
5*, High Holidays - Alan Gross, Goodman Theatre
[A dark comic look at growing up in the Chicago suburbs during the early 60s while preparing for an anxiety-riddled Bar Mitzvah.]
4*, Ernani - Giuseppe Verdi, Lyric Opera of Chicago
[A vindictive king and an outlaw nobleman, Ernani, are mortal enemies but they are in love with the same woman! Will anyone live?]
3*, The Second City
[The leading improv-based sketch comedy.]
5*, Fedra: Queen of Haiti - J Nicole Brooks, Lookingglass Theatre
[Euripides' Phaedra set in a re-imagined Haiti. The king is dead. The son is lost. The queen is mad. Desire threatens the kingdom, and survival hangs in the balance.]
1*, Fake - Eric Simonson, Steppenwolf Theatre
[Boring investigation how “Piltdown Man” hoax rattled assumptions about evolution, faith and science.]
5*, The Glorious Ones - Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, Boho Theatre
[A musical about a 16th-century bawdy troupe of commedia dell'arte street actors.]
2*, November - David Mamet, A.C.T.
[A lame-duck, buffoon president, his lesbian speechwriter and a representative of the National Turkey Association yuck it up.]

5*, Beach Blanket Babylon Holiday Show - Beach Blanket Babylon
[Will Snow White find her true love?]
5*, A Civil War Christmas - Paula Vogel, TheatreWorks
[Play with old-time music. Christmas Eve with Lincoln, Walt Whitman, John Wilkes Booth, etc.]

Other cultural events and activities:
JAN: California Academy of Sciences: Morrison Planetarium, Steinhart Aquarium; de Young Museum: Yves Saint Laurent
FEB: Napa and Sonoma wine tour with Extranomical Tours
FEB: Sally Kellerman at the Rrazz Room in San Francisco
MAR: Google dinner for 10 with chef Olivia Wu
MAR: Ecumenical Hunger Program CrabFest 2009
MAR: Facing History and Ourselves in Conversation with Mark Hanis, founder of Genocide Intervention Network
MAR: Cantor Arts Center: Pop to Present - Passion for Collecting
APR: Hosted gay seder
APR: Opening day Giants baseball
APR: Overnight in SF: Contemporary Jewish Museum: New Works/Old Story: 80 Artists at the Passover Table, Jews on Vinyl; Dolores Park Easter celebration w/The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
APR: San Francisco Symphony: Orff Carmina burana and 4 other choral pieces
APR: San Francisco Symphony: Bizet Music from L’Arlésienne, Poulenc Concerto in G minor for Organ, String Orchestra, and Timpani, Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending, Symphony No. 4 in F minor
APR: Facing History and Ourselves Benefit Dinner: speaker Stanford Professor Linda Darling-Hammond
MAY: Weekend in SF at Arthur's: Deco Lounge, the Columbarium, Legion of Honor: Artistic Luxury: Fabergé, Tiffany, Lalique, SF Giants
MAY: Outlet's "Out to Eat" fundraising dinner. Emcee LaDoris Cordell.
MAY: Weekend in Aptos: beach picnic, little league game, dinner at Shadowbrook
MAY: San Francisco Jazz: Michael Feinstein: The Sinatra Project
MAY: San Francisco Symphony: A Handel Celebration
MAY: Commencement weekend UC Hastings College of the Law: Congresswoman Jackie Speier speaker
MAY: SF Opera's Cocktails & Laughter party
MAY: BethAm rabbi anniversary dinner
MAY: Palm Springs weekend at CCBC
MAY: NCLR's Anniversary Dinner
JUNE: San Francisco Symphony: Berg Concerto for Violin & Orchestra, Schubert Mass No. 6
JUNE: 42nd Street Moon fundraiser: We're in the Money, Hollywood Sings Away the Depression Blues
JULY: Week in NYC; two Big Onion Walking Tours: The History of the Financial District and The History of Harlem; pride parade and the official party "Love Ball"; Don't Tell Mama piano bar.
JULY: HRC San Francisco Gala: Eric Alva, Audra McDonald, comedienne Dana Goldberg, NY Congressman Jerry Nadler
JULY: SF Museum of Modern Art: Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams - Natural Affinities; Richard Avedon Photographs 1946-2004
JULY: Up Your Alley - 2009 Dore Alley fair.
JULY: TheatreWorks - 40th Anniversary "Coffee Talk" with AD Robert Kelley and SF Chronicle critic Rob Hurwitt
AUG: Asian Art museum: Lords of the Samurai
AUG: Nine day visit to Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, The Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Historisch Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Museum Willet- Holthuysen, Museum Het Rembrandthuis, The Verzetsmuseum:, Joods Historisch Museum, Portugues-Israelitische Synagogue, Hollandsche Schouwburg, Heineken Experience, Homomonument, Mike's Bikes city tour and Red Light District tour, The Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem.
AUG: Hiking trip on GR5 from Megève, FR (near Geneva) to Menton (two coastal cities from Nice).
SEP: Three days in Nice, FR. Matisse Museum, National Biblical Message Marc Chagall Museum, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Robert Longo exhibit).
SEP: The Levins (Ira and Julia) in a coffee shop concert.
SEP: BAYMEC 25th Annual Dinner with Lt. Dan Choi
OCT: Baylands Frontrunners Yosemite trip
OCT: Beth Am Emigre Anniversary Celebration; BayLands FrontRunners anniversary dinner
OCT: Aaron H's Bar Mitzvah
NOV: Trip to Nashville: Grand Ole Opry, Parthenon in Centennial Park, Frist Center for the Visual Arts: "Georgia O'Keefe and her Times", Country Music Hall of Fame; Paris, TN: Paris Winery & Vineyards; Hazel, KY: antiques
NOV: Trip to Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, Millenium Park, Architecture Boat Tour, Boystown, SOFA Chicago, Facing History and Ourselves national board meeting
NOV & DEC: Colon cancer surgery and recovery

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