September started with a bang! I saw 8 shows last month all over the Bay Area ranging from San Francisco to Berkeley, down to San Jose and everywhere in between. Berkeley Rep’s Compulsion starring Mandy Patinkin was by far the best show of the month. It was a riveting new drama that shouldn’t be missed. It plays until October 31st; make sure you see it. You can read the full review here. Broadway San Jose’s sizzling hot dance show Burn the Floor was also a highlight this past month. I’m glad I didn’t miss it.
October is gearing up to be another exciting month of theatre. I have seven shows lined up in the Bay Area. I’m also taking a 6-day trip to New York City and packing in 9 shows! I’ll be reviewing them all, so make sure you come back to check the reviews out. I’m seeing three brand new shows – Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and The Scottsboro Boys. It’s going to be an epic trip.
If you can’t make it to New York, don’t worry, there are some great shows playing in the Bay Area – direct from NYC – that you won’t want to miss. Plus, The Broadway Critic is going to be giving away tickets to several shows over the next few weeks! Keep up-to-date on Facebook and Twitter!
Here is my schedule and what I recommend seeing:
Sweeney Todd at Sunnyvale Community Players: I mentioned Sweeney Todd last month, since technically it opened on September 17th. I was so busy seeing everything else, I almost forgot about it! I’m finally going to be able to check out this production on October 1st. I can’t think of a better way to start my October with the gruesome demon barber of Fleet Street.
The only time I’ve seen Sweeney Todd was at ACT, a few years back, when the John Doyle version (the actors playing instruments) was performed. I walked out of the theatre not knowing what had happened. I was confused and frankly I hated it. After seeing the movie, I finally understood what the story was and who the characters were. I’m now intrigued to see a non-instrument-toting production, so I’m hoping Sunnyvale Community Players will change my mind on this Sondheim classic.
Reasons to be Pretty at San Jose Stage Company: First off, make sure you check back soon for a ticket giveaway to Reasons to be Pretty – should be happening in the next couple of days! A 2009 Tony Award nominee for Best Play, Neil LaBute’s bristling new comedy puts a ferocious cap on a trilogy of plays that began with The Shape of Things and Fat Pig. America’s obsession with physical beauty is confronted headlong in this brutal and exhilarating work, in which a slip of the tongue has a tsunami effect on man’s relationships, romantic and otherwise. Simultaneously sentimental and uncompromising, Reasons To Be Pretty is a gorgeous play.
It features Halsey Varady, Robert Brewer, Allison F. Rich and Will Springhorn Jr. – I can’t wait to see this! It runs till October 24th.
THIS HAS NOW BEEN CANCELLED!
According to a few sources on Twitter it’s because the ticket sales were so poor in Toronto that they decided to cancel this particular show indefinitely.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at 42nd Street Moon: I won’t be able to make it to opening night, so I’m seeing this a little later in its run, but I wouldn’t miss seeing Meg Cavenaugh as Pseudolous and Mike Rhone as Hysterium. It looks like a stellar cast. The fast-paced, witty and irreverent musical hit is a departure for Moon (42nd Street Moon usually produces unknown or forgotten musicals) but they decided it was a must to celebrate Sondheim’s 80th birthday. I happen to agree!
It’s truly one of the funniest shows ever written. The role of Pseudolus has been played by some amazing performers– Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg, and now, Megan Cavanagh is added to the list.
It opens October 6th and runs only three weeks till October 24th. I have a feeling that this one might sell out fast, so grab your tickets soon!
Rain at Broadway San Jose: The second show that Broadway San Jose is bringing to the Bay Area is called Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles. Bay Area audiences will have the unique opportunity to experience this multi-media Beatles tribute just as Broadway audiences are getting their first look (a production opens at the Neil Simon Theatre the week previous). The Denver Post calls it “the next best thing to seeing the Beatles,” Rain boasts a repertoire of nearly 200 Beatlemaniac favorites, ranging from such beloved songs as “Yesterday” and “Hey Jude” to classic hits including “Revolution” and “Come Together.”
Since I’ve never had the opportunity to hear the Beatles perform, I’m really looking forward to seeing this show! As always, the Broadway San Jose productions are only in town for one week, so you have to plan your week around it. It opens October 25th and they are out of here on Halloween.
The Broadway Critic is going to give away tickets to this show as well!
West Side Story at Orpheum Theatre (San Francisco): I have to say that I didn’t really like the revival of West Side Story on Broadway. I thought it was cast all wrong (except for the unbelievable Karen Olivo) and because I couldn’t understand half of the show (they sung a lot of it in Spanish) I didn’t care about anyone dying in the end. Apparently, they have changed a lot of the Spanish back to English and obviously, this is a different cast than who I saw on Broadway, so I have my hopes up again. The revival in New York City is closing January 2nd.
It’s going to be at the Orpheum Theatre from October 27 till November 28th. If you’ve never seen this classic Broadway show, then definitely buy tickets. The show is a must-see so let’s hope, that this cast lives up to West Side Story’s grandeur.
Becoming Britney at Center Rep: How does a Pop sensation wind up bald and trapped in her own musical? Becoming Britney is a caustic (but loving) PG-13 fable that chronicles the rise…the dip…and the salvation of a foolhardy celebrity phenom. The hit of the New York Fringe Festival – “It’s a production that oozes sass!” – raved NYTheatre.com – the Bay Area’s own sensation, Molly Bell, brings Britney home for it’s West Coast premiere. It’s a new Musical, y’all!
Join me for opening night on October 30th. I can’t wait to see Adam Barry in this!
It runs October 28 – November 14, 2010
On my Radar (but don’t have a date to see it yet):
- 1st Day of School at City Lights Theatre Company : As the children head off for the first day of school, their parents decide to try a “first” of their own behind closed doors. A new ritual is added to the typical ‘first day of school’ routine, one that will bring laughter and self-discovery to the adult participants. I heard it was hysterical! Website
- Stompin’ at the Savoy at Tabard Theatre Company: A world premiere musical produced in collaboration with San Jose Jazz that celebrates the music of the Big Band era and evokes the floor shows of the era, including opportunity for the audience to dance. I’ll be hosting a ticket giveaway to this show! Website
- Glory Days at Royal Underground Theatre Company: Four high school friends reunite one year after graduation to discover how dramatically their lives have grown apart. While they attempt to reconnect and understand each other’s differences, nothing can compare to the glory days of high school when life was simpler and all appeared right with the world. If you want to see one of Broadway’s biggest bombs, then check it out. I’m totally intrigued. Website
Anything I missed?