Spring is officially here, after a very spring-like winter, and now it's time to bring you a roundup of theater happenings around the Bay Area as our local theater companies wind down their 2012-2013 seasons.
S.F.'s premiere, and best-funded theater company has three plays left in the season, beginning next week with a world premiere of a new musical, Stuck Elevator (April 4 to April 28), based on the true story of a Chinese delivery man who stayed stuck in a Bronx elevator for 81 hours because he feared being deported if he called for help. The music is by Byron Au Yong with a libretto by Aaron Jafferis, and it's directed by Chay Yew. We're excited for this one, if only because ACT doesn't do a ton of world premieres, and this one sounds pretty edgy.
Next will come an import from Scotland: Black Watch (May 9 to June 9). It's another experimental piece, based on interviews with Scottish soldiers in the Iraq War, and it's going to be performed in the enormous Drill Court space at the Kink.com Armory.
And closing out the season at the Geary Street theater is one of our favorite plays of all time, Tom Stoppard's Arcadia (May 16 to June 9), which will be directed by company Artistic Director Carey Perloff. It's a play about love, archivists, English garden design, and the mystery of time.
First up, opening April 17, is Pericles, Prince of Tyre, directed by Mark Wing-Davey who also did the adaptation of this, one of Shakespeare's least performed plays.
Then comes the closing play on the main stage, Dear Elizabeth, based on the letters written by poet Elizabeth Bishop to Robert Lowell. It's a West Coast premiere and it was written by Sarah Ruhl, the MacArthur genius grant-winner who's previously premiered her In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) at Berkeley Rep before taking it to Broadway.
And closing out the season on the Thrust Stage will be George Gershwin Alone, a one-man show starring Hershey Felder who's already done successful runs of the show on Broadway and in London.
S.F.'s scrappiest company, in residence at the Exit Theater on Taylor Street, is just winding up a production of Ionesco's The Chairs, which is extended through the weekend.
And closing out the season is a world premiere by San Francisco playwright Andrew Saito, Krispy Kritters in the Scarlett Night. It sounds like an absurdist-romantic fantasy of sorts about a woman named Scarlett and a morgue worker named Drumhead who are trying to find each other.
The Magic has two plays left in their regular season. The first, The Happy Ones, opened last night (and we'll have a review for you tomorrow). It's by Julie Marie Myatt and directed by Jonathan Moscone and centers on Walter Wells, an appliance store owner in Orange County in 1975 whose world gets turned upside down.
The last will be Terminus by Irish playwright Mark O'Rowe, opening May 22. The play promises to be "a visceral ride from the bustling streets of Dublin to the skies above, then deep into the bowels of the earth, as three people are ripped from their daily lives and thrown into a fantastical world of singing serial killers, avenging angels, and lovesick demons."
Finally, we have a pair of Broadway imports on the way, courtesy of SHN. There's a two-night engagement, April 26-27, for John Leguizamo's new autobiographical one-man show, Ghetto Klown. Leguizamo says the play is full of "all the things I say to my therapist and my manager, but would NEVER want the general public to know."
Then comes the very Disney, big-budget Mary Poppins, which runs just for one week, May 8 to 12.
The summer, of course, is ruled by CalShakes. And this summer season opens with American Night: The Ballad of Juan José (May 29 to June 23) by Richard Montoya, a new work brought in from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and described as "a boisterous, rollicking, surreal journey into American history” that tells a story of the Mexican-American experience using references to pop culture and Shakespeare.