Pocket full of ticket stubs

Ed and Eddie's list of 112 plays, musicals and operas seen in 2014 organized by month. Besides the San Francisco Bay Area, we saw shows in New York City, Ashland, OR and Fort Lauderdale, FL.

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*, The Paris Letter - Jon Robin Baitz, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Wall Street powerhouse Sandy Sonenberg finds his personal and professional life threatened by the unraveling secrets of his past. After burying his true sexual identity, a lethal affair with a young male associate forces Sonenberg to confront a lifetime of unrequited love and betrayal.]
5*, Major Barbara - George Bernard Shaw, A.C.T.
[An Officer of The Salvation Army, Major Barbara Undershaft, becomes disillusioned when her society accepts money from an armaments manufacturer (her father) and a whisky distiller. She eventually decides that bringing a message of salvation to people who have plenty will be more fulfilling and genuine than converting the starving in return for bread.]
4*, Silent Sky - Lauren Gunderson, TheatreWorks
[A drama about Henrietta Leavitt (1868-1921), an amateur astronomer who transcended her post as a Harvard “computer” (data entry clerk) to make significant observations on the universe and influence the work of Edwin Hubble, among others.]
4*, The Pain and the Itch - Bruce Norris, The Custom Made Theatre Co.
[Kelly and Clay—a seemingly happy couple with a 4-year-old daughter must explain to a visitor the events of the previous Thanksgiving. In the course of the gathering—attended by Clay’s mother, who spouts pointless liberal bromides; his brother, a plastic surgeon with a nihilistic streak and a taste for martinis; and his brother's girlfriend, a sexy Balkan immigrant with a love for all things American (racism included)—the recent past is unearthed along with revelations of failed marriages, fraternal hatred, infidelity and venereal disease, in the form of their daughter’s nasty genital infection.]
5*, Giselle - Adolphe Adam, San Francisco Ballet (Helgi Tomasson, choreographer)
[A tragically, romantic story about a peasant girl named Giselle who dies of a broken heart after discovering her lover is betrothed to another. The Wilis, a group of supernatural women who dance men to death, summon Giselle from her grave. They target her lover for death, but Giselle's love frees him from their grasp. Humping dogs in Act 1 stops the show for a minute.]

2*, Rx - Kate Fodor, Dragon Productions Theatre Company
[Meena’s job is making her unhappy. She joins a clinical trial for a new drug targeting workplace depression. The trial gets messy, however, when she falls in love with her doctor, who himself is trying to enroll into a drug trial targeting heartbreak.]
4*, The House That Will Not Stand - Marcus Gardley, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
[A story about free women of color in 1836 New Orleans, where black Creole women entered into common-law marriages with rich white men. But the house that Beartrice built threatens to collapse after her man mysteriously dies and her three unwed daughters realize that his money could cost them the people they love. Long and talky.]
5*, Gidion's Knot - Johnna Adams, Aurora Theatre (Stacy Ross)
[Over the course of a parent/teacher conference, a grieving mother and an emotionally overwhelmed 5th grade school teacher have a fraught conversation about the suicide of the mother's son, Gidion, after his suspension. Gidion may have been bullied severely -- or he may have been an abuser.]
5*, A Midsummer Night's Dream - John Neumeier, Felix Mendelssohn, Gyorgy Ligeti, Hamburg Ballet, San Francisco Ballet
[A stunning ballet interpretation of Shakespeare’s enchanting tale of love, quarrels, and mistaken identity.]
1*, Hir - Taylor Mac, Magic Theatre
[A marine working in Mortuary Affairs, comes home from the war to take care of his father, who has recently suffered a debilitating stroke. But his newly radicalized mother and transgendered sibling don't make it easy for him. Needs script work.]
5*, Jerusalem - Jez Butterworth, San Francisco Playhouse
[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*, Napoli! - Eduardo De Filippo, A.C.T.
[During the chaotic days of World War II, a feisty, Neapolitan mother sets up a lucrative black market business to get her family out from under the boots of fascism and poverty. She prospers, but maybe a bit too much—compelling her husband to ask hard questions about their motives, morality, and the state of their society.]

5*, Cinderella - Sergei Prokofiev, Christopher Wheeldon, Craig Lucas, San Francisco Ballet
[Inspired by the Brothers Grimm and Perrault fairy tales, this is a darker imaginative co-production with Dutch National Ballet. It is a more serious version centered around nature and the spirit of mother.]
4*, Once on This Island - Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, TheatreWorks
[On a lush Antilles island, a naïve peasant girl falls for a handsome young aristocrat. As the gods debate the star-crossed lovers’ fate, the islanders gather to sing and dance of the couple's tragic love.]
4*, Accidental Death of an Anarchist - Dario Fo, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
[A farce based on the real-life events surrounding Italian railroad worker and anarchist who fell - or was thrown - to his death from the fourth floor window of a Milan police station in 1969. He was accused of bombing a bank but was cleared of the charge.]

5*, Venus In Fur - David Ives, A.C.T.
[A writer-director of a new play, an adaptation of the 1870 novel Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, is on the telephone lamenting the inadequacies of all the actresses who showed up that day to audition. Suddenly a new actress bursts in and convinces him to read through his play and shows astonishing insights into the novel and her character. The balance of power shifts as the actress establishes total dominance over the director.]
5*, Bauer - Lauren Gunderson, San Francisco Playhouse
[Why did Rudolf Bauer stop painting? Imprisoned by the Nazis, he sketched on scraps. His fiery love affair with Hilla Rebay (Guggenheim curator) lasted a lifetime. The Guggenheim was built to house his work. In his time, Bauer was considered by Solomon Guggenheim to be an even greater painter than his contemporary, Kandinsky.]

The Coast of Utopia - Tom Stoppard, Shotgun Players
Stoppard's 2002 trilogy of plays: Voyage, Shipwreck, and Salvage, that focuses on the philosophical debates in pre-revolution Russia between 1833 and 1866.

5*, Voyage - Tom Stoppard, Shotgun Players
[Meet the young, passionate, idealistic men and women whose struggle for freedom ignited the Russian Revolution and changed the world: Michael Bakunin and Alexander Herzen - among quite a few other competing intellectuals and several romances - in dangerously autocratic 1830s Russia.]
5*, Shipwreck - Tom Stoppard, Shotgun Players
[The young heroes are now in their 30s. The optimism of their early years has hit the rocks of marital infidelity, social anarchy, and a tsar who has no intention of stepping down. The survivors are living in exile: Paris. We follow Herzen's emergence as the father of Russian socialism through the passionate heights of 1848 revolutionary fervor in Paris and desolation of failure, amid a flowering of free love.]
5*, Salvage - Tom Stoppard, Shotgun Players
[The group of would-be revolutionaries moves to London where, after suffering decades of personal and political losses, they struggle to find hope for their way of life. A rising tide of young revolutionaries, dismissing of the old guard as irrelevant, forms a large, sniping chorus.]
3*, The Hound of the Baskervilles - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Steven Canny, John Nicholson, TheatreWorks 
[In the wacky style of The 39 Steps, this laugh-a-second send-up of Sherlock Holmes stirs an ancient curse, a spectral hound, and a deranged killer into a comic masterpiece alive with mystery, suspense, and uproarious fun.]
4*, Smash - Jeffrey Hatcher, Dragon Productions Theatre Company
[Adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's An Unsocial Socialist. A groom abandons his bride on their wedding day so he can overthrow the British government. He infiltrates a women’s college, where he attempts to sow the seeds of revolution by radicalizing the future consorts of society’s power brokers.]
4*, Painting the Clouds with Sunshine - Greg MacKellan, Mark D. Kaufmann, and 36 composers, 42nd Street Moon
[New work. A jaded newsman and a struggling waitress trying to find romance in glittery Tinseltown is viewed through the prism of the “talking picture musicals of the 1930s." ] 
5*, Tribes - Nina Raine, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
[Billy, a deaf man raised inside the fiercely idiosyncratic and unrepentantly politically incorrect parents' home, forges an identity apart from his family with a first love and new job. He has adapted to his hearing family’s unconventional ways, but they’ve never bothered to return the favor. It’s not until he meets Sylvia, a woman on the brink of deafness, that he finally understands what it means to be understood.]
4*, Wittenberg - David Davalos, Aurora Theatre 
[It’s the beginning of another fall semester at the University of Wittenberg and Prince Hamlet (senior, class of 1518) is returning from a summer spent studying astronomy with Copernicus in Poland. As the Prince bounces between the contrary advice from his teachers Martin Luther (theology) and Doctor Faustus (philosophy), the two intellectuals go head to head in comic combat for the conflicted Dane’s allegiance.]

4*, An Iliad - Lisa Peterson, Denis O'Hare, San Jose Stage Company (Jackson Davis)
[Adaptation from Homer. A preternaturally aged storyteller tells the tale of the two great opposing heroes, Achilles for the invading Greek forces and Hector for the besieged Trojans.]
4*, Lilith the Night Demon in One Lewd Act - Joshua Horowitz, San Francisco Choral Artists & Veretski Pass
[Story of Adam's first wife who refused to lay under him. Lilith flies off to the Red Sea creating then killing 100 demon babies a day, until the three angels sent by God negotiate a deal with her.]
2*, The Suit - Can Themba, Mothobi Mutloatse, Barney Simon Direction, Peter Brook, Marie-Hélène Estienne, Franck Krawczyk, A.C.T. (Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord)
[A husband who doles out an unusual punishment to his cheating wife: He asks that she treat her lover's abandoned suit as a guest of honor in their home. Set in Apartheid-era Johannesburg. ]
3*, Du Barry Was a Lady - Cole Porter, Herbert Fields, B.G. de Sylva, 42nd Street Moon (Bruce Vilanch)
A hapless nightclub washroom attendant wins the Irish Sweepstakes. But a misdirected dose of knock-out drops sends him into a dream world where he imagines himself King Louis XV in pursuit of his lovely, lively, and troublesome mistress, Madame Du Barry.]
5*, The Big Meal - Dan LeFranc, San Jose Repertory Theatre
[In a suburban restaurant, 8 actors present the life-changing moments from 5 generations of an American family. From their most intimate joys to their most public sorrows, this family's history is revealed through a time-bending odyssey of birth, death, divorce, and dinner.]
5*, An Inspector Calls - J.B. Priestley, Stanford University Department of Theater & Performance Studies (Jim Carpenter)
[When Inspector Goole arrives unexpectedly at the home of a wealthy British family, their well-mannered dinner party is shattered by his investigations into the suicide of a young woman. Goole's interrogation uncovers startling relationships between each family member and the tragic suicide.]
5*, The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures - Tony Kushner, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
Retired longshoreman and labor leader, Gus, is feeling confused and defeated by the 21st century. When Gus decides to die, his sister, who has been staying with him for a year, invites Gus' three children (who in turn bring along spouses, ex-spouses, lovers and more) to a most unusual family reunion in their Brooklyn brownstone.]
4*, Best Little Orr House in Guerneville! - Tom Orr, Buck's River Mill Dinner Theater
[A pride review of "dirty little show tunes."]

5*, Show Boat - Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, Edna Ferber, San Francisco Opera (Bill Irwin, Patricia Racette)
[Based on Ferber's novel. A tale of life on the Mississippi from the 1880s to the 1920s is both a poignant love story and a powerful reminder of the bitter legacy of racism. Classic songs as "Ol’ Man River," "Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man," "Make Believe" and "You Are Love."]
4*, The Homosexuals - Philip Dawkins, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Explores the lives of a circle of men, connected by friendship, sex, and a young new member to their circle. Starts in 2010 and flows back to 2000.]
5*, Seminar - Theresa Rebeck, San Francisco Playhouse
[Five hundred dollars a week for all the abuse you can take. And maybe sex. That’s what four aspiring novelists pay for a ten-week private writing class with the legendary Leonard. It’s a smorgasbord of vicious, funny wordplay.]
4*, Marry Me A Little - Stephen Sondheim, Craig Lucas, Norman Rene, TheatreWorks 
A revue of songs cut from Sondheim's better-known musicals to a dialogue-free plot about the relationship between two lonely single people, who are in emotional conflict during an evening in their separate one-room apartments. Reset form NYC to SF.]
4*, PEN/MAN/SHIP - Christina Anderson, Magic Theatre
[Widower Boyd, a prominent black entrepreneur has organized sailing a ship with an all-black crew to make the voyage to Liberia. The reason for the voyage is hidden from the crew and when discovered creates a contentious void between Charles and his son Jacob. Accompanying the son is an opinionated young Southern woman who vows to never again set foot in America. Once out on the open sea, an unexpected detour resurrects family secrets and reveals true intentions.]
5*, La Traviata - Giuseppe Verdi, Francesco Maria Piave, San Francisco Opera
[A story of a high-spirited but deceptively delicate Violetta, a woman who has gone astray. She unexpectedly finds, and then selflessly gives up the love of her all-too-short life to save a family's reputation. Adapted from the play and novel by Alexandre Dumas,]
4*, The Orphan of Zhao - James Fenton, A.C.T. (BD Wong)
[A Chinese legend that has its roots back in the fourth century BCE. In the aftermath of a violent coup, an epic story of self-sacrifice and revenge plays out as a young orphan discovers the shattering truth behind his origins.]
4*, The Farnsworth Invention - Aaron Sorkin, Palo Alto Players
[It began in the 1920’s — two men locked in an epic competition to lay claim to the most influential invention of the last century: television. A real-life David and Goliath battle between Philo Farnsworth, a self-taught Idaho farm boy, and David Sarnoff, an enterprising Russian immigrant.]
5*, American Buffalo - David Mamet, Aurora Theatre (Jim Carpenter)
Set in an urban junk shop, three small-time crooks make plans to rob a man of his coin collection, including what they believe to be an extremely valuable “Buffalo nickel.” However, as the night goes on, motivations change, loyalties squirm and shift and paranoia rises to generate heart-pounding drama.]
3*, Failure: A Love Story - Philip Dawkins, Marin Theatre Company
[Set in 1920s Chicago: the three Fail sisters – Nelly, Jenny June and Gerty – have very little time left. But before it’s curtains for each young woman, she strives for love and happiness in this quirky, macabre fantasia that examines the truism: “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”]
5*, Triassic Parq - Marshall Pailet, Bryce Norbitz, Steve Wargo, Ray of Light Theatre
[Dinosaurs, showtunes and sex changes come together in this new musical. When one female T-Rex suddenly turns male, the entire pack must question their identity, gender, and what is possible through the lens of faith and science. The mutation spawns a chain reaction of identity crises, forcing the dinosaurs to question the very facts of life they've held as truth.]

4*, Bonnie & Clyde - Frank Wildhorn, Don Black, Ivan Menchell, San Jose Stage Company
[At the height of the Great Depression, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow went from two small-time nobodies in West Texas to America's most renowned folk heroes and the Texas law enforcement's worst nightmares. The score combines rockabilly, blues, Broadway pop and gospel music.]
4*, Madama Butterfly - Giacomo Puccini, San Francisco Opera (Jun Kaneko pop art design) 7/14
[American naval officer acquires a bride known as Butterfly. She rejects her religion, family and culture for her new husband. He soon abandons her and leaves the country. She waits faithfully for 3 years. He returns only to claim the son she bore him, setting Butterfly on a tragic course.]
5*, Into the Woods - Stephen Sondheim, James Lapine, San Francisco Playhouse
[The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm fairy tales and follows them to explore the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests. The musical is tied together by an original story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family, their interaction with a Witch who has placed a curse on them.]
5*, The Great Pretender - David West Read, TheatreWorks 
The passing of a cherished puppeteer consumes a children’s TV host in this comic tale of friendship, love, and letting go.]
5*, Moby Dick - Rehearsed, Orson Welles, Herman Melville, Stanford Repertory Theater
[A repertory company puts down their rehearsal scripts of Lear and take up those of a new play entitled Moby Dick. The rehearsal platforms become the decks of the ship on which the cast sails through the storms and tribulations of the Pequod hunting for Moby Dick.]

Weekend at Oregon Shakespeare Festival
5*, The Tempest - William Shakespeare, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
[On a remote island, Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, plots to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful place using illusion and skillful manipulation. He conjures up a storm to lure his usurping brother Antonio and the complicit King Alonso of Naples to the island. There, his machinations bring about the revelation of Antonio's lowly nature, the redemption of the King, and the marriage of Miranda to Alonso's son, Ferdinand. Our favorite.]
5*, The Comedy of Errors - William Shakespeare, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
[Antipholus and his servant, Dromio, go looking for family they lost years ago. Traveling from the rural South, they journey to the big city and find themselves in the heart of the Harlem Renaissance. And surprise there are two identical Antipholi and two identical Dromios, which has everybody in town (including significant others) seeing double.]
4*, Family Album - Stew, Heidi Rodewald, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
[Singer/songwriter Heimvey and his band have been on the road for years, living their middle-aged version of the rock 'n' roll dream. But when they stop to visit old friends -- a former bandmate, along with an ex-girlfriend who has created a new kind of life that blends art and family -- they all begin to question the choices they made. ]
5*, The Cocoanuts - Irving Berlin, George S. Kaufman, Mark Bedard, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
[The service stinks but the gags are four-star in this Marx Brothers romp. Groucho owns a bum hotel in Florida. He’s after a rich society dame, who’s after an eligible match for her daughter, who’s in love with the hotel’s head clerk. Trouble rolls in with the tide when the other Marxes arrive and mama’s eligible match turns out to be anything but.]
2*, A Wrinkle in Time - Tracy Young, Madeleine L'Engle, Oregon Shakespeare Festival
[Meg Murry is the quintessential square peg: a middle-school math whiz with glasses and a short temper. But when she and her strangely gifted little brother set off to find their missing father, they’re catapulted across time and space to a world where being different isn’t just an annoyance—it can cost you your life.]

New Works Festival at TheatreWorks; play readings, no ranking
The Disappearing Man - Jahn Sood, TheatreWorks 
A ramshackle circus wows the hinterlands in 1936, but backstage its bright-light attractions prove dark and depleted especially the headlining magician. Should he stay or go?]
tokyo fish story - Kimber Lee, TheatreWorks 
Generations, gender, and tradition collide as a Sushi Master struggles to preserve ancient artistry in a society obsessed with change. In pursuit of perfection, a brilliant protégé, eager apprentices, and the master himself have much to learn to save the restaurant.]
Norman Rockwell's America - Lynne Kaufman, Alex Mandel, TheatreWorks 
From belittled illustrator to ballyhooed artist, from whimsical magazine covers to unforgettable images of the Civil Rights Movement, Norman Rockwell captured America’s heart by discovering its soul.]
An Entomologist's Love Story - Melissa Ross, TheatreWorks 
The love lives of bugs fascinate two 30-something researchers at New York’s Museum of Natural History, but their own conflicted love affairs are under the microscope.]
Describe the Night - Rajiv Joseph, TheatreWorks 
A drama probes the mysterious 2010 crash of a Polish airplane, uncovering 90 years of lies, infidelity, war, secrets, and love. Left at intermission.]
4*, One Woman Show - Shakina Nayfack, TheatreWorks 
Darkly funny and powerful musical chronicles the misadventures of a transgender artist now on the brink of reassignment surgery. Told with a cabaret edge, it is a story of surviving the 90s with determination and pride.]

5*, The War of the Worlds - Howard E. Koch, Orson Welles, Stanford Repertory Theater
[Theatrical re-creation of H. G. Welles’ famous 1938 radio broadcast. A group of actors in a radio studio create the illusion of an invasion from Mars, in the spirit of Halloween fun.]
5*, Buyer & Cellar - Jonathan Tolins, SHN (Michael Urie)
[An underemployed Los Angeles actor goes to work in Barbra Streisand’s Malibu basement.]
5*, The Habit of Art - Alan Bennett, Theatre Rhinoceros
[A play within a play. Actors are rehearsing the play "Caliban's Day" about a fictitious meeting in 1973 in W.H. Auden's rooms at Oxford, between Auden in his latter years and Benjamin Britten. Auden has hired a rent boy, and when Humphrey Carpenter - who will write biographies of both Auden and Britten after their deaths - arrives to interview him, Auden mistakes him for Stuart.]
4*, From Red to Black - Rhett Rossi, San Francisco Playhouse
[A man falls to his death on a New York subway track. Two detectives, one battle wearied, the other brimming with education, question a young black man who was arrested in the vicinity. Did he push the victim? Was he provoked? As they dig further into the story, identity and truth become more and more elusive.]
3*, Water by the Spoonful - Quiara Alegría Hudes, TheatreWorks 
Strangers share secrets in a chat room for recovering meth addicts. A sensitive webmaster moderates this community, but in real life her relationships crumble. As living and virtual worlds weave together, the true meaning of family becomes apparent.]

5*, 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.]
5*, Susannah - Carlisle Floyd, San Francisco Opera
[In the backwoods of Tennessee, a beautiful young woman is accused of indecent behavior after she is discovered bathing naked in a stream. The charismatic traveling preacher sets his sights on her soul for salvation, but it will be their downfall.]
5*, Bad Jews - Joshua Harmon, Magic Theatre
[Cousins Daphna, Jonah, and Liam are Jewish. But when religious Daphna squares off with secular Liam and his shiksa girlfriend over a family heirloom, they battle it out Old Testament style.]
5*, Rapture, Blister, Burn - Gina Gionfriddo, Aurora Theatre
[Three generations of women look at family, career, romance, and the decisions that define a life. Rock star academic Catherine envies her friend Gwen who finds her domestic responsibilities less than satisfying. Meanwhile the witty and wry student Avery wonders whether she has more in common with Catherine's aging mother than any of today's modern feminists.]
4*, An Audience with Meow Meow - Meow Meow, Berkeley Repertory Theatre
[An Australian singer with a flexible, full voice and a wide-eyed elfin-vamp persona, She specializes in cabaret teetering on the brink of comically self-inflicted disaster.]
5*, Motown, The Musical - Berry Gordy, Motown music catalog, SHN
[Story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more.]
5*, House - Alan Ayckbourn, Pear Avenue Theatre
5*, Garden - Alan Ayckbourn, Pear Avenue Theatre
[Two interlocking comedies seen on consecutive nights that take place simultaneously, with one cast performing both shows in two different theatres at the same time. Teddy and Trish Platt are hosting the annual May Fête for the village. Friends, family, house staff, lovers, politicians, a French movie star and, will it rain?]

5*, Old Hats - Bill Irwin, David Shiner, Shaina Taub, A.C.T.-Signature Theatre
[Combines the magic, slapstick, and hilarity of master clowns Irwin and Shiner, with technology, original music, and their unique style of movement. Show picks up where "Fool Moon" left off, and is a wildly imaginative journey about the anxieties of living in the modern world and an exquisite and hilarious meditation on life, lunacy, and the passage of time.]

Nine days in New York City, 16 shows
5*, Cabaret -Joe Masteroff, Fred Ebb, John Kander, Studio 54-Roundabout Theatre Company (Alan Cumming, Michelle Williams)
[Seedy nightlife at the Kit Kat Klub and doomed romances set in 1929/30 Berlin on the eve of the Nazis' rise to power.]
5*, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill – Lanie Robertson, Circle in the Square (Audra McDonald)
[A play with music recounting some events in the life of Billie Holiday. Set in South Philadelphia in March 1959, Holiday is performing in a run-down bar, during one of her last performances before her death in July 1959.]
5*, Country House – Donald Margulies, Manhattan Theatre Club (Blythe Danner)
[The matriarch of a brood of famous and longing-to-be-famous actors and creative artists gather at their Berkshires summerhouse during the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Secrets, old hurts, new bondings, unresolved issues, and fond remembrances all mingle into a delicious 2.5 hours.]
4*, If/Then
- Tom Kitt, Brian Yorkey, Richard Rodgers Theatre (Idina Menzel, Anthony Rapp, LaChanze)
[Plot follows two distinct and simultaneous storylines in the life of Elizabeth, a city planner who moves back to New York to restart her life in this city of infinite possibilities. When her carefully designed plans collide with the whims of fate, Elizabeth’s life splits into two parallel paths.]
5*, I Am Harvey Milk
- Andrew Lippa, Lincoln Center (Andrew Lippa, Kristin Chenoweth)
[Part choral work, part theater piece, the show is an emotional celebration of an American icon. It weaves the story of Milk’s life – from boyhood to his rise as the first openly gay man to hold public office to his assassination.]
3*, Aladdin
- Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, Chad Beguelin, Tim Rice, New Amsterdam Theatre (James Monroe Iglehart)
[With just one rub of a genie’s magic lamp, The show sweeps you into an exotic world full of daring adventure, comedy and romance. The magic carpet is a character unto itself.]
5*, Have You Heard – Miss Coco Peru, Birdland
[Reprising bits of her past, all-scripted shows from the past 24 years, Peru's show is full of what she does best: telling stories.]
5*, On the Town
- Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Jerome Robbins, Lyric Theatre
[Tells the story of three wide-eyed sailors on a whirlwind musical tour of the city that never sleeps. With just 24 hours of shore leave, they’re eager to experience all that New York City has to offer… including a chance to discover love with the girl of their dreams.]
5*, It's Only a Play
- Terrence McNally, Schoenfeld Theatre (Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, Megan Mullally)
[Set on the opening night, the playwright anxiously awaits to see if his show is a hit. With his career on the line, he shares the evening with his best friend, a television star, his fledgling producer, his erratic leading lady, his wunderkind director, an infamous drama critic, and a wide-eyed coat check attendant on his first night in Manhattan. There's no business like show business.]
4*, A Gentleman's Guide to Murder
- Robert L. Freedman, Steven Lutvak, Walter Kerr Theatre (Jefferson Mays)
[Based on Roy Horniman’s novel “Israel Rank, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” finds Monty Navarro, a British commoner, discovering that he’s ninth in line to inherit the Earldom of Highhurst and electing to murder the members of the odious D’Ysquith family standing in his way. In the process Monty keeps a mistress, Sibella Hallward, and courts the comely young Phoebe D’Ysquith.]
4*, The Last Ship
- Sting, John Logan, Brian Yorkey, Neil Simon Theatre
[Inspired by Sting’s own childhood, the show is set in an English seafaring town that operates around the local shipyard and follows Gideon Fletcher, a man who left home to see the world and returns fourteen years later to find that the future of the shipyard is in danger. The shipyard’s workers decide to take their fate into their own hands and build a towering representation of the shared dream that has defined their existence.]
5*, Bauer – Lauren Gunderson, 59E59 Theaters, (Susi Damilano, Stacy Ross, Sherman Howard)
[German émigré and visionary painter Rudolf Bauer was tricked by the fellow German artist and love of his life, Hilla von Rebay, into signing a contract that gave Solomon R. Guggenheim the legal rights to all of his paintings and any future works he created. Real-life family drama intervened, and his art in toto was condemned by Guggenheim's heirs to the museum's basement (some of which was finally sold to others over the decades to follow, some of which still remains in the basement).]
5*, Here Lies Love
- David Byrne, Fatboy Slim, Tom Gandey, J Pardo, The Public Theater
[Within a throbbing dance club atmosphere we follow the astonishing journey of Filipina First Lady Imelda Marcos and her meteoric rise and subsequent descent into infamy. The show is an immersive theatrical experience with a narrative, the life of a charismatic president’s wife, reminiscent of “Evita.”]
5*, Disgraced
- Ayad Akhtar, Lyceum Theatre
[A Muslim-American lawyer is rapidly moving up the corporate ladder while distancing himself from his cultural roots. When he and his wife, a white artist influenced by Islamic paintings, host a dinner party, with another couple, a male Jewish art dealer and his African-American lawyer wife, what starts out as a friendly conversation escalates into something far more damaging.]
5*, You Can't Take It with You
- Moss Hart, George S. Kaufman, Longacre Theatre (James Earl Jones)
[This comedy introduces the freethinking Sycamore family and the mayhem that ensues when their daughter's fiancé brings his conservative, straight-laced parents to dinner on the wrong night.]
5*, This Is Our Youth – Kenneth Lonergan, Cort Theatre-Steppenwolf (Michael Cera)
[Set in NYC in 1982, it follows 48 hours in the lives of three very lost young souls: Warren, a dejected nineteen year old who has just stolen $15,000 from his abusive, tycoon father; Dennis, his charismatic drug-dealing friend who helps Warren put the stolen money to good use; and, Jessica, the anxiously insightful young woman who Warren yearns for.]

5*, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - Stephen Sondheim, Hugh Wheeler, Christopher Bond, TheatreWorks
[Tells the tale of a barber seeking justice for the corrupt London judge who exiled him. Partnered with a delicious pie shop proprietress, Sweeney exacts a fearsome revenge as she concocts an alarming new recipe. Staging changed from Victorian era to 1940s London during the Blitz.]
3*, Kiss Me, Kate - Cole Porter, Bella and Samuel Spewack, South Bay Musical Theatre
[A backstage story that involves the production of a musical version of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" and the conflict on and off-stage between Fred Graham, the show's director, producer, and star, and his leading lady, his ex-wife Lilli Vanessi. A secondary romance concerns Lois Lane, the actress playing Bianca, and her gambler boyfriend, Bill, who runs afoul of some gangsters.]
4*, Do I hear a Waltz? - Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, 42nd Street Moon
[Based on Laurents' play "The Time of the Cuckoo". A lonely American spinster touring Italy finds bittersweet romance with a married shopkeeper in Venice]
5*, The Whale - Samuel D. Hunter, Marin Theatre Company
[On the outskirts of Mormon Country, Idaho, a 600 pound recluse hides away in his apartment eating himself to death. Desperate to reconnect with his long-estranged daughter, he reaches out to her, only to find a viciously sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen.]
5*, Partenope - George Frideric Handel, San Francisco Opera
Staging reset to a sureal/dadaist 1920's Paris. Disguises, cross-dressing and gender confusion leads to romantic complications in this comic opera about Queen Partenope and her three royal suitors.]
4*, A Masked Ball - Giuseppe Verdi, Antoio Somma, San Francisco Opera
The Swedish king, Gustav III, loves his trusted friend's wife. The friend, Anckarström, becomes the King’s bitter enemy and the ringleader of the conspiracy. Consumed by jealousy, Anckarström stalks his prey during the opera’s climactic scene at the King's masked ball.]
4*, Yeast Nation - Mark Hollmann, Greg Kotis, Ray of Light Theatre
In the year 3,000,458,000 B.C., the salt-eating yeasts are the only living creatures on earth, and they’re up against a food shortage, a strange new emotion called “love” and the oppression of a tyrannical king. What follows is a story of youthful love and rebellion involving gooey muck, a coup attempt and … evolution.]

3*, Kimberly Akimbo - David Lindsay-Abaire, Pear Avenue Theatre
[Set in the wilds of suburban New Jersey, the play is a dramedy about a teenager with a rare condition causing her body to age faster than it should. When she and her family flee Secaucus under dubious circumstances, Kimberly is forced to reevaluate her life while contending with a hypochondriac mother, a rarely sober father, a scam-artist aunt, her own mortality and, most terrifying of all, the possibility of first love with a dorky, anagram obsessed classmate.]
4*, Party People - UNIVERSES (Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp, and William Ruiz, aka Ninja), Berkeley Repertory Theatre
[Imagines the Black Panthers and Young Lords reuniting today at an art opening curated by a couple of young counterculturists, where old wounds open and generations collide.]
2*, Testament - Colm Tóibin, A.C.T. (Seana McKenna)
[Lame one-woman show about Mary, mother of Jesus. Guess what? She was a pagan at heart.]
4*, The Boy Friend - Sandy Wilson, 42nd Street Moon
[A lighter-than-air spoof of 1920s musical comedies. English "perfect young ladies" frolic on the French Riviera.]
5*, Cinderella (La Cenerentola) - Gioachino Rossini, Jacopo Ferretti, San Francisco Opera
[Thanks to her open heart and determination, Cinderella triumphs over her mean-spirited relatives.This version has evil step-father, a wise tutor instead of fairy-godmother and matching bracelets in place of glass slippers.]
5*, I Love Lucy Live on Stage - Jess Oppenheimer, Maelyn Pugh, Bob Carroll Jr., Kim Flagg, Rick Sparks, SHN
[It’s 1952 and you are a member of the studio audience awaiting the filming of two hilarious episodes: “The Benefit”and “Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined”.]
5*, 77% - Rinne Groff, San Francisco Playhouse
[Scenes from a marriage: A high-powered businesswoman, her stay-at-home husband and her socialite mother wrestle with the decision to have another child, while her father braves a squall with his schooner.]
1*, Candide - Leonard Bernstein, Hugh Wheeler, Richard Wilbur, Stephen Sondheim, John Latouche, Douglas Morrisson Theatre
[Based on Voltaire's satirical story a young man, Candide, who is determined to follow his instructor's creed of mindless optimism. Even after being banished from his homeland, captured by Bulgarians, beaten and left for dead by the Spanish Inquisition, robbed of everything he owns, and torn repeatedly from the woman he loves, Candide still clings to the philosophy that everything is for the best in this, "the best of all possible worlds." Community production over its head. Left at intermission.]
5*, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities - Cirque du Soleil
[Step into the curio cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent everything around him. Suddenly, the visible becomes invisible, perspectives are transformed, and the world is literally turned upside down in a place that’s as beautiful as it is mysterious.]
5*, La Bohème - Giacomo Puccini, Luigi Illica, Giuseppe Giacosa, San Francisco Opera
[A series of character sketches of Parisian Bohemian life wrapped around the love story between Rodolfo and Mimì, ending with her death.]

3*, Something for the Boys - Cole Porter, Herbert and Dorothy Fields, 42nd Street Moon
[Three cousins inherit a Texas ranch that is next to a military base. Blossom is a worker in the war department, Chiquita is a night club dancer/singer, and Harry is a carnival pitchman. Although none of the cousins know each other, they join together to convert the ranch into a boarding house for soldiers' wives. Left at intermission because of illness.]
4*, Shakespeare's R & J - Joe Calarco, New Conservatory Theatre Center
[Four young men in modern-day Egypt secretly reenact the dangerous and provocative tale. Interesting deconstruction of Romeo and Juiliet.]
5*, Peter and the Starcatcher - Rick Elice, Wayne Barker, TheatreWorks
[This prequel to Peter Pan is based on the 2006 young-adult novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.]
5* The Nutcracker - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, San Francisco Ballet
[Based on the story The Nutcracker and the King of Mice by E.T.A. Hoffman. On Christmas Eve, young girl dreams of a Nutcracker Prince and a fierce battle against a Mouse King. Then visits the land of snow and sweets.]
4*, Stars of David: Story to Song - conceived by Aaron Harnick, Broward Center for the Performing Arts
[Based on the book by Abigail Pogrebin that compiled interviews with dozens of well-known Jewish personalities, this 4-person musical review features original songs by Marvin Hamlisch, Steven Sater, Tom Kitt, Jeanine Tesori and a dozen others.]

Other cultural events and notable activities:
JAN: Fort Lauderdale: Las Olas Art Fair
JAN: Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa
JAN: Sonoma State Green Music Center: Audra McDonald in concert
JAN: Salon Concert Benefit for Rainbow Scholarship at San Francisco Conservatory of Music
JAN: Weekend in Santa Rosa and San Francisco; lung biopsy
FEB: Fundraiser for SFGMC: Fairy Gaysian Lunar New Year Banquet
FEB: SF Ballet Program 2: Tears - Val Caniparoli/Steve Reich; From Foreign Lands - Alexei Ratmansky/Moritz Moszkowski; Borderlands - Wayne McGregor/Joel Cadbury, Paul Stoney
FEB: Facing History & Ourselves: Irvin Ungar, Curator, The Arthur Szyk Society, discusses the work of Arthur Szyk, a 20th century activist-artist who championed religious tolerance and racial equality for minorities, especially for Jews and African Americans in the 1930s and 40s.
FEB: SF Ballet Program 3: The Kingdom of the Shades from La Bayadere, Act II - John Lanchbery/Ludwig Minkus; Ghosts - Christopher Wheeldon/C.F.Kip Winger; Firebird - Yuri Possokhov/Igor Stravinsky
FEB/MAR: Begin 6 month chemotherapy treatments (Ed)
MAR: Peterson & Eric visit from Switzerland, stay a week: Stanford University/Cantor Museum; Monterey Bay Aquarium; Eli's classroom (Eddie).
MAR: de Young Museum: Modern Nature: Georgia O'Keeffe and Lake George
MAR: San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus: Luster: Great American Songbook & Tyler's Suite at Davies Symphony Hall
APR: Facing History and Ourselves Benefit Dinner with the Honorable Albie Sachs.
APR: Author meets Critics at Stanford: Professor David Halperin How to Be Gay (Ed)
APR: SF Ballet Program 5: Shostakovich Trilogy - Alexei Ratmansky/Dmitri Shostakovich
APR: SF Ballet Program 6: Maelstrom - Mark Morris/Ludwig van Beethoven; Caprice - Helgi Tomasson/Camille Saint-Saëns; The Rite of Spring - Yuri Possokhov/Igor Stravinsky
APR: Hosted gay seder for 20
APR: Contemporary Jewish Museum exhibit opening: Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism, Arthur Szyk and The Art of the Haggadah
APR: SF Ballet Program 7: The Fifth Season - Helgi Tomasson/Karl Jenkins; Suite en Blanc - Serge Lifar/Édouard Lalo; Hummingbird - Liam Scarlett/Philip Glass (Tirol Concerto for Piano and Orchestra)
MAY: Out to Meet benefit for Outlet/ACS
MAY: SF Ballet Program 8: Agon - George Balachine/Igor Stravinsky; Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet - George Balachine/Johannes Brahms; Glass Pieces - Jerome Robbins/Phillip Glass
MAY: ACS Spring Sounds - A Masquerade benefit at Carolands Chateau, Hillsborough
MAY: Smuin Ballet XXCENTRIC program: Tutto Eccetto il Lavandino - Val Caniparoli/Antonio Vivaldi; But now I must rest - Amy Seiwert/Cesária Évora; Dancin' With Gershwin - Michael Smuin/George and Ira Gershwin
JUN: Weekend in Guerneville for Sonoma County Pride Parade and festival. Drag show Tora Hymen and her Backwoods Barbies, and Pandora Boxx at Buck's Dinner Theater; pool party at R3 Hotel, MCC pancake breakfast.
JUN: Shabbat service guest speaker Marc Tannen on his documentary “Broken Chains” about the lives of gay Orthodox Jews.
JUN: Long Pride weekend in SF: 3 performances of San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus: Dazzle, Broadway...Our Way! with Laura Benanti; de Young Museum: Modernism from the National Gallery of Art: The Meyerhoff Collection; Anthony Friedkin: The Gay Essay; Lines on the Horizon: Native American Art from the Weisel Family Collection; Legion of Honor: Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art; Matisse from SFMOMA; Asian Art Museum: Gorgeous. March in SF Pride Parade.
JUL: ManDance Company: Midsummer Night's Dream "Puck's" POV - Bryon Heinrich/Felix Mendelssohn; NutcrackOr sneak peek - Bryon Heinrich/Peter Tchaikovsky; Firebird (Tribute to Matthew Shepard) - Bryon Heinrich/Igor Stravinky
JUL: Staycation at Four Seasons in East Palo Alto; Palo Alto Glass and Clay Festival
JUL: Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles 35th anniversary concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall: I Am Harvey Milk (Eddie)
JUL: SF Symphony and Cheyenne Jackson: Music from the Movies
JUL: Sit down dinner at Catered Too for 24
AUG: Weekend trip to Ashland, OR to OSF; visit Danny Nicoletta in Grants Pass, OR
AUG: Institute for the Future kickoff for My2024.us event
AUG: Palo Alto Festival of the Arts
AUG: SFGMC's Volley Awards. Eddie recieves John B. McLeod Award for Exceptional Volunteer Leadership
AUG: Weekend trip to Guerneville. Stay at The Woods.
SEP: Weekend in San Francisco & Berkeley; private cabaret in Mill Valley with Michael Sudheer; hike in César Chávez Park in Berkeley.
SEP: Horizons Foundation Annual Gala Dinner & Casino Party honoring Donna Sachet
SEP: San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus' fundraising gala: Crescendo honoring Stephen Schwartz and Leslie Ann Jones; Contemporary Jewish Museum Project Mah Jongg
OCT: Nine day trip to NYC; Museum of Modern Art: The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters; Guggenheim Museum: ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s–60s; Kandinsky Before Abstraction, 1901–1911; Whitney Museum: Jeff Koons: A Retrospective; Edward Hopper and Photography / Collecting Calder
OCT: Weekend in SF for 3 World Series games, Giants vs Royals; GLBT History Museum
OCT: Ed surgery: anal fistulutomy
NOV: Beth Am: Havdalah with performance by 4 female IDF Soldiers/Ensemble.
DEC: SF Symphony: Bobby McFerrin performs Gershwin
DEC: Overnight in Santa Rosa, SFGMC holiday concert
DEC: San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus: Dancers, Prancers & Vixens! holiday concerts Featuring: Well-Strung, the Singing String Quartet
DEC: Two week vacation in Fort Lauderdale at Pineapple Point Guesthouse & Resort

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