Pocket full of ticket stubs

Ed and Eddie's list of plays, musicals and operas seen in 2011 organized by month. Besides the San Francisco Bay Area, we saw shows in New York City; Glasgow, Scotland; the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland; Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland OR, Miami FL and Nashville TN.

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]

4*, Coraline - David Greenspan, Stephin Merritt, San Francisco Playhouse
[Musical based on a children’s fantasy/horror story by Neil Gaiman. A girl finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her frustrating home, but it has sinister "button-eyed" secrets.]
5*, Dirty Little Showtunes! - Tom Orr, F. Allen Sawyer, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[A bawdy Broadway parody revue featuring showtunes galore. "The Leather Man & The Drag Queens Should be Friends"]
4*, Lost in Yonkers - Neil Simon, Jewish Theatre of San Francisco
[In the summer of 1942 two young boys are sent to stay with their stern grandmother Kurnitz and their childlike aunt Bella in Yonkers, New York.]
4*, Compleat Female Stage Beauty - Jeffrey Hatcher, City Lights Theater Company
[Kynaston, the leading portrayer of female roles in 17th century London, is brought to ruin when King Charles II changes the law to allow women to act. The actor embarks on a road of revenge and self-awareness while striving to take his place on the stage once again.]
4*, The 39 Steps - adapted by Patrick Barlow, concept by Simon Corble, Nobby Dimon, novel by John Buchan, TheatreWorks
[Four actors recreate Alfred Hitchcock's classic chase movie on a mostly bare stage with hysterical results.]
3*, Seagull - Anton Chekhov, translation Libby Appel, Allison Horsley, Marin Theatre Company
[A slice-of-life drama set in the Russian countryside at the end of the 19th century. The cast of characters is dissatisfied with their lives and no one ever seems to attain happiness.]

5*, Clybourne Park - Bruce Norris, A.C.T.
[Takes Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun", of a black family moving up to an all white neighborhood, as a jumping off point for a clever refocusing on the politics of race, class, and real estate gentrification.]
4*, Private Eyes - Steven Dietz, Dragon Productions Theatre
[A comedy of suspicion where scenes in which two lovers fail to speak the truth. And, like a lie, the play grows in multiple layers.]
4*, License to Kiss II - Norm Langill, Teatro ZinZanni
[Evening of European cabaret, cirque, divas and madmen with live music and a gourmet five-course dinner.]
5*, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs - Mike Daisey, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
[Monologue whose subject is the moral health of a society hooked on the products of Jobs' company and with the physical health of the labor that produces them.]

4*, Harper Regan - Simon Stephens, San Francisco Playhouse
[At 41, Harper Regan suddenly leaves her family in the suburbs of West London and sets off on a mission to see her father before he dies. Her journey becomes a road trip through the heart of England in this violent and comic exploration of the moralities of sex and death.]
2*, Fabulation or the Re-Education of Undine - Lynn Nottage, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre
[An African-American yuppie, PR-diva spirals down from her swanky Manhattan office to her roots back in Brooklyn. Her tale becomes a cautionary tale about a fall from grace.]
5*, The North Pool - Rajiv Joseph, TheatreWorks
[The truth shifts constantly as a suburban Vice Principal confronts a Syrian student in this riveting cat-and-mouse thriller that takes place in the VP's office on a Friday afternoon after class.]
5*, Ruined -Lynn Nottage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
[A look at the lives of women in a land ruled by whiskey and bayonets. As civil war ravages the Congo, the lucky ones find a home—and a regular meal—in a building that serves as both brothel and refuge.
5*, The Homecoming - Harold Pinter, A.C.T.
[A long-absent son and his attractive wife, Ruth, return to his contentious childhood home in London's East End. Caught in a grueling power struggle, father and sons vie for Ruth's attention and affection with outrageous consequences.]
5*, Wirehead - Matthew Benjamin and Logan Brown, San Francisco Playhouse
[Wires, chips and chargers designed to enhance the mind prove too good for the mind to handle. Short-circuited by resentment and jealousy in the hands of humans, too much intelligence now possessed by the non-human electronic elements has riotous and gruesome results.]

4*, Pearls Over Shanghai - Link Martin, Richard "Scrumbly" Koldewin, Thrillpeddlers Theatre
[Revival of the Cocketts psychedelic musical inspired by sin-soaked Old Shanghai and Busby Berkeley movies. 3rd time seeing it.]
5*, Snow Falling on Cedars - Kevin McKeon, David Guterson, TheatreWorks
[Adaption of Guterson's best-selling novel that revolves around a murder case in which Kabuo Miyamoto, a Japanese American, is accused of killing Carl Heine, a respected fisherman in the close-knit community.]
5*, Legacy of Light - Karen Zacarias, San Jose Repertory Theatre
[Juxtaposes discussions of cosmology and the laws of thermodynamics with the complications of modern-day fertility treatments through the lives of 2 women, 240 years apart.]
5*, Strike Up the Band - George & Ira Gershwin, George S. Kaufman, 42nd Street Moon
[A cheese tycoon tries to maintain his monopoly on the American market by convincing the United States government to declare war on Switzerland.]
5*, The Real Americans - Dan Hoyle, The Marsh
[Fleeing the liberal bubble of SF and hipster friends, Hoyle spent 100 days traveling through small-town America in search of some tough country wisdom and ways to bridge America’s urban/rural divide.]
4*, The Busy World is Hushed - Keith Bunin, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Hannah, a widowed Episcopal minister, is hoping to translate a long-lost gospel when both her scholarly gay assistant and her wayward gay son challenge her.]
4*, Fuddy Meers - David Lindsay-Abaire, Marin Theatre Company
[An amnesiac, Claire, wakes up every morning as a blank slate. Her family must imprint the facts of her life. One day the shenanigans begin with Claire being abducted by a limping man who claims to be her brother trying to save her from her evil husband.]
5*, No Exit - Jean-Paul Sartre, A.C.T. (The Virtual Stage & Electric Company Theatre production)
[A live-cinematic production. A mysterious valet ushers three people into a shabby hotel room, and they soon discover that hell is other people arguing about their lives.]

5*, Hugh Jackman in Performance, Curran Theatre - Best of Broadway
[An evening of song and dance. Big tribute to Peter Allen's Boy From Oz]
5*, The Lily's Revenge - Taylor Mac, Magic Theatre
[A 'communal happening' or the story of a flower that goes on a quest to become a man in order to wed his beloved bride.]
5*, Loveland - Ann Randolph, The Marsh
[Franny Potts faces up to the loss of her mother while flying from LA to Ohio surrounded by strangers. A one woman show.]
5*, Reborning - Zayd Dohrn, San Francisco Playhouse
[A chilling yarn of a young artist who crafts custom-made dolls begins to suspect that a demanding client may be the mother who abandoned her at birth.]
4*, Silk Stockings - Cole Porter, George S. Kaufman, Leueen MacGarth, Abe Burrows, 42nd Street Moon
[Russian envoy Nina is dispatched to rescue 3 commissars from the pleasures of Paris. She is romanced by a theatrical agent and comes to recognize the virtues of capitalist indulgence. Meanwhile Russia's greatest composer is wooed by America's swimming sweetheart, to write the score for her first non-aquatic picture, a musical adaptation of War and Peace.]
3*, The Stops - Eric Lane Barnes, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Musical comedy of three lady (drag) organists from 3 different churches decide to take their act on the road.]
5*, Vice Palace: The Last Cockettes Musical, Thrillpeddlers
[Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” meets a lost Roger Corman film meets Frederico Fellini's “La Dolce Vita” and “Juliet of the Spirits”. Originally written for Divine and Mink Stole.]

4*, Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City - Jeff Whitty, Jake Shears, John Garden, A.C.T.
[Based on Maupin's first two books. On the bustling streets of 1970s San Francisco, a wide-eyed Midwestern girl finds a new home—and creates a new kind of family—with the characters at 28 Barbary Lane.]
4*, The Pride - Alexi Kaye Campbell, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[A complex love triangle, replete with conflicting loyalties and passions, jumps between two love stories in 1958 and 2008 and back in a maelstrom of fantasy, repression and rebellion.]
5*, [Title of Show] - Jeff Browen, Hunter Bell, TheatreWorks
[A musical by a pair of talented writers about a pair of talented writers writing a funny new musical.]

A week of opera, 4 productions, 18 hours: The Ring of the Nibelung - Richard Wagner, San Francisco Opera
5*, Das Rheingold - Richard Wagner, San Francisco Opera
[The lust for power, the lure of gold, the sacred beauty of nature, the destructive impulses of man: These timeless themes dominate both American history and Wagner's Ring. The dwarf Alberich futilely attempts to seduce the maidens who guard the Rhine River’s gold. If forged into a ring, it would give its wearer universal power, as long as he renounces love. Alberich steals the gold and fashions the ring. Meanwhile, Wotan, king of the gods, must find a way to pay the giants Fasolt and Fafner for the construction of Valhalla, the immortals’ opulent new home. Using trickery, he steals Alberich’s ring to settle his debt. The bitter dwarf places a curse on the ring and anyone who possesses it.]
5*, Die Walküre - Richard Wagner, San Francisco Opera
[A epic tale of an emotionally volatile father and his disobedient children (Siegmund & Brünnhilde) done with a distinctly American touch while honoring its mythic roots. Wotan, king of the gods, strives to undo the curse of the ring by fathering a pure-of-heart hero by a mortal woman. But he finds himself torn as events spin out of control and his offspring defy his will.]
5*, Siegfriede - Richard Wagner, San Francisco Opera
[A coming-of-age story in which a fearless young hero discovers his destiny. Wotan's hope for recovery of the ring now rests with his grandson Siegfried, who must reject his adoptive father, forge a magical sword and slay a fearsome dragon to prove himself worthy of its mighty power—and the extraordinary woman who awaits him.]
5*, Götterdämmerunge - Richard Wagner, San Francisco Opera
[Three scheming siblings, one of whom was sired by Alberich to take possession of the ring, threaten the sacred union of Siegfried and Brünnhilde. Driven by greed, their actions inevitably lead to chaos and destruction, until Brünnhilde—wise, pure of heart, heroic—steps forward to return the universe to its natural order in an act of self-sacrifice.]

5*, Tigers Be Still - Kim Rosenstock, San Francisco Playhouse
[The spectacular misadventures of Sherry, an art teacher who, in the midst of mentoring a troubled teen and dealing with a tiger on the loose, faces her biggest challenges at home … getting her sister to sober up and her mother to come out of the bedroom. ]

Week in New York City, 9 days-14 shows
5*, Sister Act - Alan Menken, Glenn Slater, Cheri Steinkellner, Bill Steinkeller, Douglas Carter Beane, The Broadway Theatre
[Based on the movie. When disco singer Deloris Van Cartier is placed in protective custody in a dying convent, her unique brand of funk comes face-to-face with the traditions of the church. Someone's habits are about to change.]
5*, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo - Rajiv Joseph, Richard Rogers Theatre, (Robin Williams)
[A tiger held captive in the Baghdad Zoo narrates this darkly comic tale. The play follows the intertwined lives of two American marines and one Iraqi gardener as they search through the rubble of war for friendship, redemption and a toilet seat made of gold.]
5*, Unnatural Acts - Tony Speciale and members of Plastic Theatre, Classic Stage Company
[Inspired by events at Harvard University in 1920, when a student's suicide sparked a campus-wide investigation by a secret court of administrators who convened to investigate, expose and ultimately expel a group of homosexual students.]
5*, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - Stephan Elliott, Allan Scott, Palace Theatre (Nick Adams)
[Based on the movie, the musical follows the adventures of a trio of drag queens who journey across the Australian Outback. The real star of this show is the bus itself as it changes complexion and functions all through the production. Great costumes. Jukebox musical.]
2*, Sleep No More - Felix Barrett, Maxine Doyle, and The Company of Punchdrunk, The McKittrick Hotel
[An immersive dance and mime production inspired by Macbeth, told through the lens of a Hitchcock thriller. The audience, wearing white bird masks, randomly roams through 6 floors/100 rooms with no guidance and experiences a sensory journey.]
5*, Catch Me If You Can - Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman, Terrence McNally, Neil Simon Theatre (Norbert Leo Butz)
[Frank Abagnale, Jr., a world-class con artist, creates an array of identities - airline pilot, doctor, lawyer - with no qualifications. He's got the straight-arrow FBI agent Carl Hanratty on his trail. Based on the Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks movie]
5*, Anything Goes - Cole Porter, Timothy Crouse, John Weidman, Howard Lindsay, Russel Crouse, Guy Bolton, P.G.Wodehouse, Stephen Sondheim Theatre (Sutton Foster, Joel Grey)
[The passengers on this luxury cruise include an evangelist turned nightclub singer, a gangster disguised as a minister, hopeless romantics and stowaways. The Cole Porter score include "I Get a Kick" "You're the Top," "Friendship" and "Easy to Love."]
5*, War Horse - Michael Morpurgo, Nick Stafford, Handspring Puppet Company, Lincoln Center
[A tale of a horse conscripted into WWI and the young man who attempts to find him. Utilizing life-size animal puppetry, music and movement, the epic story tells of a friendship put through the toughest tests on the Western Front.]
5*, The Book of Mormon - Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Robert Lopez, Eugene O'Neill Theatre
[From creators of South Park and Avenue Q. Two young Mormons embark on a mission to spread the gospel in Uganda.]
4*, Death Takes a Holiday - Maury Yeston, Thomas Meehan, Peter Stone, Roundabout Theatre Company
[A musical is based on the Alberto Casella play. It's just after WWI and the loneliest of souls, Death, arrives at an Italian villa disguised as a handsome young Prince, and for the first time experiences the joys and heartbreaks of life. But when he unexpectedly falls in love with a newly engaged young woman, the mysterious stranger discovers that love may in fact be stronger than death.]
5*, Jerusalem - Jez Butterworth, The Music Box (Mark Rylance)
[The Royal Court Theatre's production is a modern mythic tale of the death of a god. In the woods of southwest England, Johnny "Rooster" Byron, former daredevil and modern-day Pied Piper, is a wanted man. The council officials want to serve him an eviction notice, his son wants to be taken to the country fair, a stepfather wants to give him a serious kicking and a motley crew of friends wants his ample supply of drugs and alcohol.]
4*, The Motherf**ker with the Hat - Stehpen Adly Guirgis, Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (Bobby Cannavale, Chris Rock)
[A high-octane, verbal cage match about love, fidelity and misplaced haberdashery. Jackie is on parole, clean and sober under the guidance of his sponsor, Ralph, while loving his volatile soulmate Veronica, who is far from sober.]
5*, How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying - Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock, Willie Gilbert, Al Hirschfeld Theatre (Daniel Radcliffe, John Larroquette)
[A musical parody of 1960's corporate America. An ambitious window washer/mailroom clerk J. Pierrepont Finch, who rockets to the top of Worldwide Wickets through a combination of brown-nosing, dumb luck and advice from how-to book. Includes the songs "I Believe in You," "Brotherhood of Man"].
5*, The Normal Heart - Larry Kramer, Golden Theatre (Joe Mantello, Ellen Barkin)
[The story of a city in denial unfolds like a real-life political thriller — as a tight-knit group of friends refuses to let doctors, politicians and the press bury the truth of an unspoken epidemic behind a wall of silence. Ahead of its time on many of the core issues it addresses — gay marriage, the healthcare system and, of course, AIDS.]

5*, Fly By Night - Will Connolly, Michael Mitnick, Kim Rosenstock, TheatreWorks
[A musical about a hapless sandwich maker, torn between his feelings for his wife and her sister, who discovers romance during the 1965 NYC blackout.]

Four days in Glasgow, Scotland
5*, The Pitman Painters – Lee Hall, National Theatre
[In 1934, a group of miners hired a professor to teach an art appreciation evening class. Abandoning theory in favor of practice, the pitmen began to paint – prolifically. Within a few years avant-garde artists became their friends and prestigious collectors acquired their work; but every day they continued to work, as before, down the mine.]
4*, The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart – David Greig, National Theatre of Scotland
[Sir Walter Scott’s collection of the Border Ballads is the jumping off point for this modern folk tale of an earnest academic, Prudencia Hart, setting out in search of enlightenment at a literary conference in Kelso.]

Week at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 8 days - 40 performances (36 theatre, 4 other performances)
5*, From the Fire - Elizabeth Swados, Cecilia Rubino, Paula Finn
[A haunting dramatization/oratorio of the uprising of 20,000 young women in New York City and the infamous Triangle Factory Fire of 1911, which galvanized social change.]
5*, Anton's Uncles - Richard Alger, Tina Kronis, Theatre Movement Bazaar
[An adaptation of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. A clever deconstruction of the original where only the men remain. The text is a distillation of the original with new material added. The movement score emphasizes the unspoken, unseen, and unexpressed for a fresh, physical, and funny impression of Chekhov's classic.]
5*, A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess, Action To The Word
[An uncannily prescient on orgiastic teenage violence and sexuality, this all male production tells the story of little Alex and his Droogs, their battle against the tedium of adolescence and subsequent liberation from impending adulthood.]
5*, Llwyth [Tribe] - Dafydd James, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru
[A gay fantasia on Welsh themes set during a rugby international night in Cardiff. Wales has lost, but four gay friends are determined to have a night to remember, whatever the cost.]
5*, The Boy James – Alexander Wright, Belt Up Theatre
[Inspired by Peter Pan and its author J.M. Barrie, it shows a battle of the imagination between James' older and younger selves; a mental tug-of-war between the inevitable onset of adulthood and the eternal appeal of Neverland.]
5*, Ovid’s Metamorphosis – Peter Bramley, Lucy Egger, Pants on Fire
[Transposes the epic Roman poem to a musical set in 940s wartime England, a time when heroes were a real-life concept and movie stars were like gods and goddesses.]
5*, Shylock – Gareth Armstrong
[A dazzling dissection of Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. Guy Masterson gives a comedic, deeply moving performance, celebrating the richness of Shakespeare's language and conjuring a host of characters from Portia to Pontius Pilate and confounding the stereotypes.]
5*, Eunuchs in My Wardrobe – Silas Carson
[A lyrical journey from Calcutta to Eastbourne, England interweaves a sensuous coming of age story set in 1970s Britain with the extraordinary history of India's Hijras. An interesting piece especially for the gay world whom often ridicule those who claim to be 'bi.']
5*, Beowulf, A Thousand Years of Baggage – Jason Craig, Dave Malloy, Banana Bags & Bodice
[A SongPlay adaptation of the Old English epic poem harkens back to the raw and rowdy storytelling of the Scandinavian mead halls. The show features a 7-piece band including dueling trombones, accordion and saw, combining Weillian cabaret, 40's jazz harmony, indie rock, and Romantic Lieder into a cacophonous swirl.]
5*, Devotion – Indalecio Corugedo, Enebro Teatro
[A story of love and friendship played out against a backdrop of a bullfighting arena. Shows the obsession and the commitment needed to become a bullfighter. The best parts are the wordless rituals, accompanied by the delicate classical guitar playing of Fernando Alonso.]
5*, Little Shop of HomosLondon Gay Men’s Chorus
[A paper-thin plot concerns ludicrously named gay department store Hardy Dicks, whose sales are dwindling thanks to the rise in competing stores for metrosexual men. The arrival of retail consultant Muscle Mary Queen of Shops instantly lifts proceedings into the realm of the hilarity.]
5*, My Big, Gay, Italian Wedding – Anthony J. Wilkinson, David Boyd
[An audience participating comedy that satirizes same-sex marriage and gay and Italian stereotypes. Anthony, a gay Italian-American from a large chaotic family, wishes to marry his boyfriend Andrew. Anthony's overbearing mother won't give her blessing unless Andrew's estranged mother also gives her blessing and a priest performs the ceremony.]
4*, Scene of the Titans – Tim Foley
[New musical based on true story of Northern Ireland's first gay-friendly rugby team. Their clubhouse: a gay bar. Their manager: a drag queen. Bar regular Terry proposes setting up a rugby team to impress a guy, he doesn’t realize what he’s getting into – and how much he has to prove.]
4*, Star Child – Oscar Wilde, Tell Tale Theatre Company
[Based on a fairy tale written by Oscar Wilde. It is the story of a foundling who grows to be beautiful and selfish, and then has to find a way back to love and kindness before he can be fully human. The search for the mother he had snubbed leads him on a journey of discovery where he befriends a hare that helps him along the way, but ultimately his fate is down to his own actions.]
4*, A Sentimental Journey: The Story of Doris Day - Adam Rolston, Mill at Sonning Dinner Theatre
[Tells the story of Doris Day’s life from her childhood in Cincinnati, OH, when she was known as Doris Kappelhoff, to Carmel, CA, where she lives now. The story shows that the Hollywood image hid a hard life of single motherhood, wife beating debts, a series of failed marriages and other tragedies.]
4*, Moll Flanders – Claire Luckham, Daniel Defoe, Edinburgh Theatre Arts
[Based on the 1722 novel. The full title: The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders, etc. Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.]
4*, The Ballad of the Unbeatable Hearts – Richard Fry
[A one man show of a father of a gay son that tells us two stories, one of a triumphant fulfilled life of his son and one a tragic short one. He makes essential points about what still needs to be achieved for gays and lesbians, not just in law but also in minds and hearts. As he says, “450 species practice homosexuality, and only one practices homophobia. So who’s the freak of nature now?”]
4*, Mojo – Jez Butterworth, Acorn Productions
[Set in a Soho nightclub in 1958, to the backdrop of the emergence of Rock ‘n’ Roll, it follows six men who are faced with the murder of their boss. What follows is a brutal power struggle between them as they try to decide what to do.]
4*, Fresher – Sally Torode, Mark Aspinall, Paulden Productions
[The story of five students exploring the first days of their new university lives – awkward conversations, dire drinking games, embarrassing fancy dress, and a web of secrets and lies.  It is a slick, fast-paced comedy with fun songs and a lively cast.]
4*, Cock and Bull Story - Richard Crowe, Richard Zajdlic
[Travis is a boxer whose career is on the verge of earning him a move to London, while Jacko is the "ned" best friend whose fiery temper is easily ignited. Jacko is wildly homophobic, openly delighting in calling his friend's sexuality into question.]
4*, Alphonse – Wajdi Mouawad
[One man, 27 characters performed by Alon Nashman. The story follows a young boy after he wanders away from home, causing panic and consternation. Nashman portrays family and friends, who together build up a portrait of a young dreamer. They interact with his sympathetic pursuer, a Columbo-like cop called Victor in a search for the wanderer. In the end, Alphonse and his imaginary friend/alter ego Jean Paul René enter a foodie fantasy world that might owe something to Roald Dahl.]
4*, Ten Plagues - Mark Ravenhill, Conor Mitchell, Traverse Theatre (Marc Almond)
[A song cycle on death that is ostensibly about a man alone during the London plague of 1665, but could be about AIDS or any disease that frightens the uninfected.]
3*, Laundry Boy – Philip Stokes, Horizon Arts
[Set in a Leeds launderette where Terry has worked since leaving school, a teenage crush from school days comes back and sets in motion a series of events that challenges him to try to reconnect to a past history that he has distorted so much in his memory. His only saving grace seems to lie in his mind and creativity which led to him creating his alter-ego Laundry Boy as a way to escape the pain he has been put through.]
3*, The Presentment – D. Paul Thomas, Hollywood Hills Production
[Rev. Samuel Jennings is the prosecutor of a heresy trial against a parish priest. In his passion to 'save the church' he ignores the diverse relationships in his own family. When he and his wife arrive in NYC for the trial, they visit their son and daughter-in-law who share their apartment with a friend. He is Samuel’s former organist. With old wounds aroused, the family is forced to face the truth of their past.]
3*, Shopping and F***ing – Mark Ravenhill, About Turn Theatre Company
[Lulu wants Robbie who wants Mark who wants Gary and everything's for sale. Aspects of consumerism and sexuality rampant in popular culture recur throughout the play: drugs, shoplifting, phone sex, prostitution, anal sex, and oral sex in the London department store Harvey Nichols.]
3*, Tuesday at Tescos – Emmanuel Darley (Simon Callow)
[Darley’s French play started life as Le Mardi à Monoprix and has now been relocated to a London suburb. The play centers on Pauline, formerly Paul, a transvestite who spends every Tuesday looking after her ungrateful and disapproving widowed father.]
3*, Hit Comet – Joe Sherwin, Ed Sheridan, Will Green, Handcannon
[The inner-workings of a major record label are amusingly explored in this comic play (with musical elements) which takes the struggle between commercial viability and creative integrity to a brilliantly preposterous level. The premise is simple: the label’s newly-formed songwriting unit have just 40 minutes to produce a sure-fire top 10 hit.]
3*, Oedipus, a Love Story – Sophocles, Dumbshow Theatre
[Playful retelling of the Greek tragedy narrated by a flock of Welsh sheep. The Oracle is a befuddled old DJ and King Laius is a south London gangster.]
2*, I, the Dictator – Romuald Wicza-Pokojski, Teatr Wiczy
[A bizarre, pretentious one-man show of politics and art. What if Chaplin was approached to run the Nazi film industry?]
2*, Kafka and Son – Mark Cassidy
[One-man performance by Alon Nashman. At 36, author Franz Kafka, still living at home, a petty bureaucrat, a failed artist and a timid-Jewish-son, wrote a 45-page letter to his overbearing father.]
2*, Toulouse-Lautrec, The Musical – Jun Sawaki
[An intriguing at times, one-man show, but adds little to an already well-known life story. Sawaki is the former star of the Japanese version of The Phantom of the Opera.]
2*, Debbie Does My Dad – Bobby Gordon
[Performance artist shares his experiences growing up as the son of a former adult film star. Gordon's father won Playgirl Man of the Year in 1979 and appeared in over 100 pornographic titles. Self-indulgent journey of coming to grips with his father's former career.]
2*, Bouncers – John Godber
[Popular show in UK. Comedic action takes place during a tumultuous night at a dreadful dance club. Four surly bouncers guide us through the tale of four eager partying guys, four desperate women and a host of other “denizens of the night.” We found it very dull.]
2*, Sweet Charity - Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields, Neil Simon, Northern Theatre Company
[Working with the original storyline, they spin the plot on its head by changing the main characters from female to male and set it in the seedy world of New York's gay scene. Bad camp.]
1*, Sodom – John Milcot, Movement Theatre Company
[Earl of Rochester’s deliberately obscene 1684 drama is a weird mix of shocking, bawdy and pantomime farce with a motif about English Labour politicians and tabloid journalists. Poorly conceived.]
1*, Evil, the Musical - IMPS
[Six villains, each possessing a ball of power, commit slightly unpleasant acts entirely at random, fight the hero Superguy and . . . that's it. Hackneyed and unfunny.]

4*, Sense and Sensibility - Roger Parsley, Andy Graham, Jane Austen, TheatreWorks
[Fortune lost to fate, romance lost to folly, two charming sisters sail the unpredictable seas of courtship in this adaptation of Austen’s novel. Sensible, reserved Elinor and passionate, impulsive Marianne find the course of true love beset with scandalous secrets, shocking betrayals, dashing suitors, and devious rivals.]

Three days at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon
4*, The Imaginary Invalid - Molière, Oded Gross, Tracy Young, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
[A 1960s French pop culture is overlaid on this 17th-centary play. The wealthy Argan is a housebound hypochondriac with every disease in the book. Lurking around are quacks only too happy to (mis)treat him. Family troubles, including a money-grubbing wife and two headstrong daughters, add to Argan’s miseries.]
5*, The Pirates of Penzance - Arthur Sullivan, W.S. Gilbert, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
[A day at the beach for the daughters of a modern Major General provides Frederic and his pirate mates with a chance encounter and a first-rate opportunity to marry with impunity. Punchy musical references to modern pop-music styles (doo-wop, gospel, Broadway show tunes) are woven into many numbers.]
5*, Measure for Measure - William Shakespeare, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
[Who legislates morality? The Duke's deputy is hell-bent on stamping out moral decay. He reactivates outdated Draconian laws and aims his arrogant crosshairs at a young man whose fiancée is pregnant, sentencing him to death. The deputy is sternly incorruptible—until he meets Isabela, a beautiful religious novice whose desirability arouses him. A modern production flavored with live music by the mariachi band Las Colibri.]
4*, Ghost Light - Tony Taccone, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
[Jonathan Moscone (based on his own experiences), a gay stage director, is forced to come to terms with a loss that shattered his youth: the assassination (1978) of his real-life father, Mayor George Moscone. As he prepares to direct Hamlet, the parallels between Shakespeare's drama and his own experience overwhelm him. In dreams, and anxious talks with his close friend Louise, he gradually unknots the trauma, and the later guilt and bitterness.]
4*, The African Company Presents Richard III - Carlyle Brown, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
[In 1820s Manhattan, a homegrown company of free black actors, passionate about creating art out of their own experience, draws packed houses of blacks—and whites. But when they dare to open at the same time as New York’s premiere theatre opens its own Richard III, there is no room for competition. Based on a real incident.]
3*, Henry IV, Part Two - William Shakespeare, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
[If comedy is tragedy that ends too soon, then this play doesn't end soon enough for Falstaff. The fat knight is the focus of the comedy in this dark history play. Falstaff's old drinking crony Prince Hal, newly crowned King Henry V, deals Falstaff the unkind cut that will snuff out his almost superhuman incandescence. A hybrid-modern dress production.]

4*, Exit, Pursued By A Bear - Lauren Gunderson, Crowded Fire Theater Company
[Based on a violent stage direction (Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale). The heroine will sacrifice it all to get out in this hilariously brutal marriage revenge comedy. Part "I Love Lucy", part Jacobean revenge tragedy, and part feminist power ballad set in the North Georgia mountains.]
4*, Turandot - Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Adami, Renato Simoni, San Francisco Opera
[The icy restraint of Princess Turandot is finally melted by the passionate love of her suitor, Calaf. He correctly answers her three questions and keeps his name secret for a night to win her and keep his head. The opera score includes Nessun Dorma, one of the world's favorite tenor arias.]
4*, City of Angels - Cy Coleman, David Zippel, Larry Gelbart, Hillbarn Theatre
[This jazz musical weaves together two plots, the "real" world of a writer trying to turn his book into a screenplay, and the "reel" world of the fictional 1940's Hollywood alter-ego detective who sidles through a netherworld of vicious thugs and femmes fatales.]
5*, Heart of a Soldier - Christopher Theofanidis, Donna Di Novelli, San Francisco Opera
[Based on the book by James B. Stewart on the life of Rick Rescorla, a Brit-turned-Yank who left a military career to become head of security for a company with offices in the World Trade Center. On Sept. 11, 2001, he safely evacuated the company's 2,700 employees from the south tower and returned for a final sweep. The tower collapsed shortly thereafter.]
5*, Phaedra - Adam Bock, Shotgun Players
[A contemporary reimagining of Racine's take on the Greek tragedy. The story of Phaedra and her taboo love for her stepson and the tragic consequences.]

3*, Once in a Lifetime - Moss Hart, George S. Kaufman, A.C.T.
[As silent films evolve into "talkies" in the 1920s, a trio of vaudevillians sets out to con the Hollywood elite by posing as vocal coaches—vowing to give movie stars beautiful voices to match their glamorous mugs. Great production values, dated script.]
5*, Honey Brown Eyes - Stefanie Zadravec, San Francisco Playhouse
[Inspired by actual events, the play contrasts the everydayness of domestic settings with the ravages of the Bosnian War. Set in two kitchens, it follows two soldiers that were once in a band together caught on opposite sides of the war - one who has to face the consequences of his own brutality, and another who comes to terms with his own cowardice.]
5*, Lucrezia Borgia - Gaetano Donizetti, Felice Romani, San Francisco Opera (Renée Fleming)
[A femme fatale renowned for her ruthless pursuit of power reveals poignant vulnerability when she comes face to face with her handsome, adult son she had abandoned. He has pledged an oath of life and death to his best mate, a sworn enemy of Mother. Does not end well.]
4*, Clementine in the Lower 9 - Dan Dietz, TheatreWorks
[Bluesy, post-Katrina riff on Aeschylus' Agamemnon. A musician and his wife struggle to reconnect the electricity, the plumbing, and the relationships devastated by the flood of a lifetime.]
5*, Nymph Errant - Cole Porter, Rommey Brent, 42nd Street Moon
[A young Englishwoman sets off to experiment with life, and travels the Continent in search of adventure, romance and sex! While her escapades are zany, bizarre and outrageous, a torrid affair eludes her.]
5*, A Delicate Balance - Edward Albee, Aurora Theatre
[A posh suburban couple, teetering on the brink of chaos (alcoholic sister, 4-time divorced daughter), find life is upended when their best friends, seized by a nameless terror, decide they've come to live with them.]
5*, How to Write a New Book for the Bible - Bill Cain, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
[Every family creates a sacred story out of love. The writer moves in with his mother when she becomes too sick to care for herself. Their reunion heals old wounds, opening a heartfelt and humorous new chapter in their relationship.]
5*, Don Giovanni - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, San Francisco Opera
[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. Set of hanging mirrors.]
3*, Sister Cities - Colleted Freedman, Dragon Productions Theatre
[Four sisters from different fathers and different perspectives must reunite after their mother’s assisted suicide during late-stage ALS. What unfolds is a comic but heartfelt look at their lives, secrets and relationships.]
4*, Desdemona: A Play About a Handkerchief - Paula Vogel, Boxcar Theatre
[A behind the scenes look at Shakespeare’s Othello. A bored and promiscuous Desdemona pines for a better life, all the while egging on her pious maid, Emilia. When Bianca, the town whore, shows up and reveals a secret or two, things start to fall apart as the story careens towards the dramatic finale.]
4*, The Rover, or The Banish'd Cavaliers - Aphra Behn, A.C.T. M.F.A. Program in Acting
[The bawdy adventures of a group of men-and the women they woo-in Naples during the raucous Carnival season. Play written by English language's first professional female writer in 1677.]
5*, The American Clock: A Vaudeville - Arthur Miller, A.C.T. M.F.A. Program in Acting
[A story based on Miller's own family during the Great Depression. He connects his history to the struggles of the rest of the nation by integrating material from Stud Terkel's Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression.]

3*, Race - David Mamet, A.C.T.
[Three attorneys, two black and one white, are offered a chance to defend a white man charged with a crime against a black woman.]
3*, Oh, Kay! - George & Ira Gershwin, Guy Bolton & P.G. Wodehouse, 42nd Street Moon
[A trio of English bootleggers land smack in the middle of romantic intrigue at a Long Island estate in 1926.]
5*, Xerxes - George Frideric Handel, San Francisco Opera
[In this production, the world of the Persian potentate is transferred to 18th century London - specifically the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, where crowds of bourgeoisie gather to gawp at large stone eggs and archaeological topiary. An intricate roundelay of requited and unrequited love with plenty of broad cross-dressing shenanigans.]
3*, Making Porn - Ronnie Larsen, Boxcar Theatre, (Matthew Rush)
[A sex comedy that explores the lives of 6 people involved in the gay pornography industry.]
3*, Sex/Rev: The José Sarria Experience - John Fisher, Theatre Rhino
[Explores a pioneer of early SF gay life in a musical celebration of an early '50s drag performer who went on to run for supervisor and become Empress of San Francisco.]
5*, Memphis, the Musical - Joe DiPietro, David Bryan, Tennessee Performing Arts Center
[Sex and race and rock ’n’ roll: a white radio DJ whose love of good music and a talented songtress transcends race lines and airwaves in the turbulent south in the 1950s.]
3*, The Trip to Bountiful - Horton Foote, Mendocino Theatre Company
[Carrie Watts dreams of returning to her childhood home in the small town of Bountiful, Tx, which she left three decades ago. She sets out to fulfill her dream, with results that are both heartbreaking and life-affirming.]
5*, Carmen - Georges Bizet, San Francisco Opera
[Corporal Don José deserts his fiancée and his regiment to run off with the bewitching Gypsy, Carmen. But when she shifts her affections to the dashing toreador Escamillo, Carmen meets her fate in the form of Don José’s knife blade.]
3*, Three Sisters - Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, 42nd Street Moon
[Musical tale of a traveling carnival photographer and his spirited daugthers. A roving busker woos the youngest daughter, but the wandering performer's life lures him back on the road. Shades of Carnival to come.]

5*, Period of Adjustment - Tennessee Williams, San Francisco Playhouse
[Christmas Eve in High Point,TN 1958. George takes his new bride to meet friend and fellow soldier, Ralph, for the holiday celebrations. As snow settles outside, the idyllic scene begins to dissolve. While past hopes and dreams are recounted, the bittersweet reality of their marital relationships surface with comical and poignant results.]
5*, Totem - Cirque du Soleil
[Inspired by many founding myths, TOTEM traces, through a visual and acrobatic language, the journey of the human species. Between science and legend, the show looks at the ties between Man and other species, his dreams and his infinite potential.]
5*, The Glass Menagerie - Tennessee Williams, Marin Theatre Company
[Aspiring poet Tom reluctantly works in a warehouse to support his overbearing mother and debilitatingly shy sister, Laura. Pushed by his mother, he finds Laura a gentleman caller to try to coax her from her fragile private world.]
5*, Beach Blanket Babylon Holiday Show - Club Fugazi Beach Blanket Babylon
[Snow White travels the world in search of her true love.]
5*, The Temperamentals - Jon Marans, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[The story of two men - the communist Harry Hay and the Viennese refugee Rudy Gernreich - as they fall in love and build the first gay rights organization in the pre-Stonewall United States.]
5*, On The Air - Norm Langill, Teatro ZinZanni (Geoff Hoyle)
[Evening of European cabaret, cirque, divas and madmen with live music and a gourmet five-course dinner.]
4*, The Secret Garden - Lucy Simon, Marsha Norman, TheatreWorks
[Musical based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The quest of an orphaned English girl to revive a once glorious Victorian garden. In the process, she rekindles lost hopes and weary spirits, dispelling the ghosts of a troubled past.]
3*, The Santaland Diaries - David Sedaris, Theatre Up Close at Adrienne Arsht Center (Michael McKeever)
[One man’s hysterical and insightful look at the humilities, frustrations and joys of working as an elf at Macy’s Santaland.] {133}

Other cultural events and activities:
JAN: Audition and accepted in San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus - Eddie
JAN: TheatreWorks -The (Song)writers Showcase: Kara Lee Corthron and Justin Levine (Madam CJ Walker); David Clement and Kate Moira Ryan (Weatherman); Jason Grote and Marisa Michelson (Scherazade); Mike Pettry and Lila Rose Kaplan (The Light Princess)
JAN: Stanford vs OSU men's basketball game
FEB: Stanford Hillel: Israeli Photographer Adi Nes on Bible Stories, Soldiers and Homoerotic Art
FEB: Eddie's birthday dinner with adult kids at Fondue Cowboy restaurant in SF
FEB: RSVP 25th Anniversary Caribbean Cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam; Ports: Ft. Lauderdale, Costa Maya, Puerto Cortes, Roatan, Cozumel; Entertainment: Debbie Gibson, Amy Armstrong and Freddy Allen, Pamala Stanley, comic Sabrina Matthews, Michael Holland & Karen Mack (Gashole).
MAR: San Francisco Symphony: Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony No. 4 & A Midsummer Night’s Dream
MAR: Masterworks Chorale: The British Invasion, music from England, Scotland and Ireland.
MAR: San Francisco Symphony: Bach's Mass in B minor
APR: Opening Day Giants baseball
APR: San Francisco Symphony: Henri Dutilleux’s Tout un monde lointain; Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique
APR: Eddie's debut with San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus: Words
APR: Hosted gay seder for 19
APR: San Francisco Symphony: Rouse's The Infernal Machine; Beethoven's Piano Concerto #5 - Emperor; Brahms'Symphony #3
APR: Napa weekend at Elsbergs, Master Photographers at Turnbull Wine Cellars
MAY: Facing History and Ourselves Benefit Dinner: speaker Dave Egggers. Hosted gay table.
MAY: San Francisco Symphony: Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony #2
MAY: Outlet's "Out to Eat" fundraising dinner.
MAY: Weekend at Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay for PayCycle reunion weekend
MAY: Weekend in SF at Belvedere House BnB; Contemporary Jewish Museum: Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories; Charlotte Salomon: Life? or Theatre?; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde; GLBT History Museum; Underworld Party
JUN: San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus: Hootenanny!
JUN: 42nd Street Moon fundraiser: Scandals, Follies, and a Bowl of Cherries
JUN: SF Opera "Ring" Symposium; Museum of Performance & Design: Designing Wagner's Ring; Pride Festival
JUL: Week in NYC; Big Onion Walks: Chelsea & the High Line, Gramercy Park & Union Square; stroll the High Line Park extension and visit many Chelsea Art Galleries; Broadway Barks with Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters. Drinks with producer Randy Adams.
AUG: 4 days in Glasgow, Scotland: Riverside Museum of Transportation and Travel, The Burrell Collection, Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, the Gallery of Modern Art, and the Botanic Gardens.
AUG: Two weeks of Scottish hiking: Sherpa Expeditions coast-to-coast Great Glen Way (along Loch Ness and the Caledonian Canal), REI Adventures Scotland Highlands & Islands Hiking, climb Ben Nevis mountain, Urquhart Castle, Isle of Skye, Eilean Donan Castle, Clan Donald Skye & The Museum of the Isles
AUG: 8 days at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland; non-theatre shows: Out & Proud (Edinburgh LGBT Chorus), Briefs (Australian boylesque), Moscow State Circus, Blues Brothers Revival performance.
SEP: San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour
SEP: Long weekend trip to Ashland Oregon: First Friday Art Walk; dinner with Houghtons & Rilettes; bar band (Jeff Pevar) at Wild Goose Cafe & Bar
SEP: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris; Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection; The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy
OCT: Horizons Foundation's Gala Dinner and Casino Party (George Takei, SFGMC)
OCT: San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus' fundraising gala: Crescendo
OCT: SFGMC retreat weekend - Eddie / BLFR Anniversary dinner - Ed
OCT: Contemporary Jewish Museum: Houdini: Art and Magic
OCT: Hike in Arastradero Preserve/Foothill Park with Kevin and Paul
NOV: Stanford Hillel: Assi Azar, gay Israeli TV personality, documentary "Mom and Dad: I Have Something to Tell You"
NOV: Trip to Tennessee: Nashville, Paris. and antiquing in Hazel, KY
NOV: Thanksgiving weekend in Mendocino at Glendeven Inn, hike Van Damme State Park & Pygmy Forest (10mi); hike Spring Ranch coast
DEC: San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus: Joyous, Jolly Jingles holiday concerts in Santa Rosa, San Francisco and Lafayette.
DEC: Visit from Carlo in San Francisco. Encounter SantaCon in North Beach
DEC: Two week vacation Fort Lauderdale, FL: Cabanas Guesthouse & Spa, Pineapple Point Guesthouse & Resort. A Benefit for Pet Project with Signal 2 and Ray Boltz. Lounge acts: Michael L. Walters as Dame Edna; Tony & Gloria. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
DEC: Eddie travels to Dad's service in Paris, TN with Eli.

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