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The Business of Show Biz | Auditions & Jobs | News & Trends

september/ october 2013


To Every Show There Is a Season + Topicality in Season Planning + Born on the Fringe + Succession Planning + The Secret Life of a Managing Director



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Editor’s Note 3 Ch-ch-changes

14 Fringe Benefits

By Sam Hurwitt

Executive Director’s Note 4 Let Rooney Rule By Brad Erickson

The Business of Show Biz 5 By Velina Brown

Editors’ Picks 6 Newsfeed 9

By Laura Brueckner

18 We Come to Praise You, Not to Bury You

By Nicole Gluckstern

20 Planning for Relevance By Lisa Drostova

Keep an Eye On 13 Megan Cohen By Lily Janiak

Auditions 42 Job Bank 43 Playwrights’ Opportunities 45

24 2013 Fall Preview


35 The Secret Life of a Managing Director By Lily Janiak

Resources 46 Encore 48

Torange Yeghiazarian Interviewed by Nirmala Nataraj

38 The Persistence of Vision By Jean Schiffman

On the cover: Damara Vita Ganley, Felipe BarruetoCabello and Melecio Estrella in Z Space and Joe Goode Performance Group’s Hush. Photo by RJ Muna. Cover design by Kendra Oberhauser.

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Theatre Bay Area Magazine Staff Editor-in-Chief Sam Hurwitt Associate Editor LAURA BRUECKNER Listings Editor LILY JANIAK Art Direction & Design Peter Tucker Cover Design KENDRA OBERHAUSER Proofreaders Stephanie PASCAL & Shirin Shoai Theatre Bay Area Staff Executive Director Brad Erickson Managing Director DANA HARRISON Director of Field Services Dale Albright Director of Advancement & Communications ARGO THOMPSON Development Manager CINDY IM Awards Program Manager ROBERT SOKOL Grantwriter TONI PRESS-COFFMAN Membership & Granting Associate CARINA SALAZAR Membership & Marketing Associate KENDRA OBERHAUSER Advertising Coordinator ALAN KLINE Business Development Coordinator ALEX LOPEZ Research & Administrative Coordinator PATRICIA MILLER Bookkeeper JENEE GILL TIX Bay Area Staff TIX Sales & Business Development Coordinator ALEX LOPEZ TIX Staff Operations Manager AMANDA HALL How to reach Theatre Bay Area Phone (415) 430-1140 • Fax (415) 430-1145 • Theatre Bay Area Board of Directors President ANDREW SMITH Vice President CARMA ZISMAN Treasurer DAVID GLUCK Secretary BEVERLY BUTLER Board Members CRISTIAN ASHER, GINA BALERIA, EDWARD H. DAVIS, BRAD ERICKSON, MARK JANSEN, T.J. KITCHEN, LISA MALLETTE, JANICE E. SAGER, ANNE W. SMITH, ROBERT SWEIBEL, BRUCE WILLIAMS & MAGGIE ZIOMEK Theatre Bay Area is grateful for support from American Express, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the California Arts Council, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Fleishhacker Foundation, Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, Horizons Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, Koret Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Foundation, Shubert Foundation, United Way Silicon Valley Nonprofit Effectiveness Fund, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation & Zellerbach Family Foundation. © 2013 Theatre Bay Area.™ All rights reserved. The views expressed are those of the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board, staff or members of Theatre Bay Area. Publication of an ad or listing does not imply any endorsement or guarantee on the part of Theatre Bay Area. We reserve the right to refuse any ad or listing. Readers are recommended to make appropriate inquiries and take appropriate advice before sending any money, incurring any expense or entering into a binding commitment to an advertisement. Theatre Bay Area shall not be liable to any person for loss or damage incurred or suffered as a result of his/her accepting an invitation contained in any advertisement or listing published in Theatre Bay Area. Original Copyright 1982 Theatre Bay Area. All rights reserved. Printed by Modern Litho-Print Co., Jefferson City, MO. Vol. 38, No. 5. USPS No. 025-506. Theatre Bay Area (ISSN 1547-4607) is published bimonthly for $35 per year ($70 with membership) by Theatre Bay Area, 1119 Market Street, 2nd floor, San Francisco, CA 94103. Periodical Postage Paid at San Francisco, CA and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Theatre Bay Area, 1119 Market Street, 2nd floor, San Francisco, CA 94103.






t was a time of great upheaval. It was a time of migration and renewal. It was a time of packing boxes. A whole lot happened during the editorial cycle of the September/October issue of Theatre Bay Area magazine. Lily Janiak joined us as our new listings editor, taking over the post when Caroline Anderson headed off to journalism school at Columbia University. Some of you may know Lily as the theatre critic for SF Weekly, and she’s already proving to be a great addition to our staff. Argo Thompson is also coming aboard as Theatre Bay Area’s new director of advancement and communications, starting in August a few days after this issue goes to press. You can read more about Argo’s appointment in Newsfeed. Most dramatically for us, we moved our offices at the end of July. We can now be found directly over the ACT Costume Shop (and Civic Center BART station) at 1119 Market Street, 2nd Floor. This is actually our second move in the six-plus years since I came aboard. It’s strange to think that I’m one of only four people on staff who were here for the last move four years ago, when we relocated from the Flood Building at Powell and Market (on the same floor where Dashiell Hammett had worked as a Pinkerton detective) to our digs at Mission and South Van Ness. It’s crazy how much changes when you’re busy focusing on the day-to-day, week-to-week, issue-to-issue business of putting out a magazine. Another big change: Theatre Bay Area is starting an awards program! Brad Erickson spilled the beans in last issue’s Executive Director’s Note, but more details are forthcoming that you can read about in Newsfeed. In fact, so much is going on that it’s already the fifth paragraph, and I’m just getting around to mentioning that it’s the Fall Preview Issue! Inside the pages of the magazine you’ll find the season listings of member companies all over the Bay Area. Also, Lisa Drostova talks to various companies about season planning—specifically, plays on hot-button topics that they may be planning as much as a few years in advance. The San Francisco Fringe Festival hits the Exit Theatre in September, and associate editor Laura Brueckner looks at several now well-established companies

that started at the Fringe lo these many years ago. In other, less seasonal features, Jean Schiffman asks various artistic directors the delicate question of what plans they’re making for succession when they eventually move on. Lily Janiak takes a look at what managing directors actually do, and San Francisco Bay Guardian critic Nicole Gluckstern explains why the notion that theatre critics are somehow out to get you is just nonsense. This last topic is one I encounter a lot, because I’m a freelance theatre critic myself—for the Marin Independent Journal, KQED Arts and—and it’s amazing how often I encounter people who really think that reviewers go out to shows for the express purpose of panning them. I can understand why people would want to believe, if a show that either they or a loved one of theirs was involved in received a poor review, that it was motivated by personal bias on the part of the critic rather than anything wrong with the show. That’s just human nature, and whatever way of thinking helps people get through the day and keep doing what they do has my support. I’ve given my share of bad reviews, but I have never once gone to a play with the intention of panning it. If I don’t think I’m going to enjoy a show, I don’t want to go to it, and I try to choose the plays I attend to minimize any chances of having a miserable time. Like anyone else, I go to every show I see hoping it’ll be good. And if I’m disappointed in that hope, I say so because that’s my job and because fibbing about it doesn’t do anyone any good. I don’t know any critics who are rooting for failure. We want theatres to do well and to do good work, and our function is to encourage that by celebrating artistic successes and pointing out where we think artists could and should do better. Of course, that assessment is always subjective; others may disagree with it, and I think that conversation is valuable, too. It’s important for art to be challenged to avoid complacency, and by the same token, critics should always be open to criticism. But for goodness’s sake, let it be on the merits of the content, not on armchair psychoanalysis. Even in the most negative reviews, critics don’t attribute artistic missteps to the artists’ perceived personal issues as human beings. The conversation is always going to be more productive when that respect is mutual. Sam Hurwitt Editor-in-Chief

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executive director’s NOTE

Let Rooney Rule

Photo: Kat Wade



en years ago, the National Football League was in big trouble. Potential lawsuits threatened the NFL and its teams. Discrimination was the issue, and complaints pointed to the league’s sorry history of hiring just six head coaches of color in its then 80-year history. To its credit, the NFL took the complaints seriously, formed a diversity committee, and within just a few months crafted what has become known as the “Rooney Rule.” Named after the chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dan Rooney (a former ambassador to Ireland whose father founded the team), the Rooney Rule requires NFL teams to interview (not hire, just interview) at least one candidate of color when recruiting for head coach or general manager positions. Failure to comply means a stiff fine. The results— at least at first—were impressive. In 2003, when the rule was put into place, only 6 percent of head coaching positions in the NFL were held by men (they are all men, by the way) of color. Three years later, that figure jumped to 22 percent. Now there is an effort to persuade American theatres to follow a similar standard, to create a Rooney Rule of our own to shake up the largely male and almost entirely white cohort of nonprofit theatre executives nationwide. I am puzzled to say that effort is being met with far more resistance in the theatre than it was in the NFL. A major voice for change is Joseph Haj, producing artistic director at PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Last summer, Haj was interviewed for HowlRound, the online theatre daily, and there he advocated strongly for the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), the association of the nation’s largest nonprofit theatre companies, to institute the Rooney Rule among its members. LORT’s history of hiring candidates of color, Haj argued, is not very different from the NFL’s in 2003. Of LORT’s 75 members, today just six are led

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by artistic directors who are people of color (including Haj, a Palestinian-American). None of LORT’s managing directors are minorities. And as American Conservatory Theater’s Carey Perloff and Ellen Richard have pointed out, only 20 percent of LORT’s leadership roles are filled by women—the same figure as 20 years ago. We’ve got a problem in the American theatre, just like the NFL had a problem a decade ago. Unlike the NFL, our leading affiliations are balking at imposing a rule that could make a big difference. Critics say the Rooney Rule, or something like it, is merely tokenism, and that after its initial success, the rule has lost its effectiveness (in 2012 no head coaches or GMs of color were hired in the NFL). And the critics are right that when the rule was first implemented, almost no one liked it. Team owners griped and minority candidates did complain of tokenism. But the results proved themselves with 12 minority head coaches hired in only three years—where it had previously taken 80 years to hire just six. In the theatre, we like to think of ourselves as liberal, fair-minded people who champion social justice and equal rights. And we do. Why then, don’t we embrace a step as simple as the Rooney Rule? We say we value diversity and we want to be more inclusive. Here is one concrete step every theatre could take: Create a policy that when recruiting for any senior position, among the candidates interviewed must be at least one person of color—and at least one woman. Managing directors and artistic directors could implement this rule immediately. Boards of directors—the bodies who hire the MDs and ADs—should be acquainted with the rule and then pass a policy requiring that it be followed in the next round of executive hiring. The major search firms for the sector should be instructed that their job is not finished until they have produced a list of candidates including women and people of color. If change can come to the NFL, surely change can come to the American theatre. Let’s follow football’s lead and start applying the rule. BRAD ERICKSON EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

the business


Keeping the Momentum How do I keep my momentum going on my goals? I make my goals, start out feeling optimistic and then just get bogged down in the day-to-day issues of my life and day job. The next thing I know, the year is almost over and I’ve hardly accomplished anything. Friends who’ve moved to L.A. say I need to be somewhere where everyone is 100 percent focused on their careers and on “making it.” They say that will kick my butt into gear. Do you think changing markets will help?


Photo: Lois Tema

irst, I would suggest going back to the goals you’ve been struggling with. Maybe you’re losing focus because they aren’t really your goals in the first place. And please take time to clarify what “making it” truly means to you. For example, I once worked with an artist who thought she wanted to go to grad school because that’s what her friends were all talking about doing. But she couldn’t seem to push herself to research the different programs, sort out how she would finance her return to school, work on the applications or choose and prepare her audition pieces. She was stressing about it without actually doing anything about it and feeling like her problem was a lack of discipline. But as we went through a goal-setting process that started with focusing on her dreams, she suddenly realized she didn’t want to go to grad school. What she really wanted to do was start creating and producing her own work. She actually had become tired of always trying to fit into other people’s concepts and images. Preparing for grad school just felt like more of the same “please choose me” behaviors she’d grown weary of. Once she had

discovered her actual heart’s desire was to “choose herself,” she moved quickly with amazing discipline; she wasn’t slogging through resistance anymore. Within in few short months, she’d written a one-person show, submitted it to festivals and ended up performing it to sold-out crowds at a fringe festival, which launched her down a thrilling new path that is in line with her true interests. She may eventually go to grad school, but it would be because it is her dream, not someone else’s. Which leads to your next question

seeds started to sprout. It seemed like overnight one cool thing after another started coming to him. Some people, including his restaurant buddy, started demanding to know his “secret.” He cracked me up when he exclaimed in hilarious Colman fashion, “There is no secret! I’ve been workin’ my ass off!” Colman moved to the bigger market, dug in and accomplished a lot. His restaurant buddy moved to the same market, got tangled up in restaurant staff politics and after three years hadn’t even done one reading. Moving to the bigger market did not help Restaurant Buddy stay focused on his art. Moving to L.A. alone is not likely to help you stay focused, either. What might help? 1. Make sure your goals are actually in line with your dreams. 2. Break tasks down into what the author of many creativity books, SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy), calls “micro movements.” She explains that one way to overcome resistance is to break things down into tiny enough pieces (not baby steps, amoeba steps) that each one is super easy to do and take no more than 1 to 15 minutes to accomplish. 3. Build in accountability. The odds are you haven’t been telling anyone your goals. Say your goals out loud to someone. We often keep promises to others more readily than we keep them with ourselves. A coach or an accountability buddy can help you stay on task. Appreciate and celebrate each tiny step you take. Get your micro moves on. The year isn’t over yet.

Make sure your goals are actually in line with your dreams.” about whether changing your zip code will change your productivity. Maybe. If it’s your desire to pursue a career in film and television, moving to the film and television industry hub may “kick your butt in to gear.” But if you have a big problem with procrastination, moving to L.A. isn’t likely to solve it. Discipline is not external. It’s an inside job. For example, my buddy Colman Domingo (Passing Strange, Lincoln, Wild with Happy) told me this story about the early years when he’d just moved to NY from the Bay Area. He and a friend moved there at the same time, and both got jobs at the same restaurant. Colman worked hard at his survival job, but whenever he wasn’t at the restaurant he was working on his art: doing readings, stuffing envelopes, helping other people on their projects, getting to know people, writing, planting lots of seeds. After about three years, several

—Velina Brown Send questions to

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editors’picks Carrie Ray of Light Theatre Oct. 4–Nov. 2

Based on the Stephen King horror novel of the same name, the musical Carrie was a legendary flop on Broadway in its day. It was written by Lawrence D. Cohen (who’d also scripted the 1976 movie version) with songs by the aptly named composer Michael Gore and lyricist Dean Pitchford. Its 1988 try-out run in Stratford, England, was plagued by disasters such as stage blood shorting out the microphones and a star nearly being beheaded by the scenery. Costing a then-staggering $8 million, the musical hit Broadway a couple months later and closed three days after its official opening. All this turmoil was almost appropriate for the gruesome tale of a teenage girl with telekinesis who’s tortured both by the mean girls at school and by her fanatically religious mother. That was the last anyone heard of the musical for decades, aside from some unauthorized student productions, but a few years ago the original creative team reunited to radically revise the show, replacing almost half the songs for a successful off-Broadway revival last year. Now San Francisco’s Ray of Light Theatre gives the musical its long-delayed West Coast premiere. Visit —Sam Hurwitt

Cristina Ann Oeschger in Ray of Light Theatre’s Carrie. Photo: Erik Scanlon

SAM’S otheR picks: It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Superman! 42nd Street Moon Oct. 2–20

Speaking of long-neglected musicals, 42nd Street Moon makes a specialty of them, and the company opens its 21st season with the 1966 Broadway tuner about the prototypical superhero, Superman, just in time for the Man of Steel’s 75th anniversary. The group’s done this show once before, in 2001, but it’s more than due for a revival. Since then, in fact, the show’s been revived in 2010 at Dallas Theater Center with a new book by acclaimed playwright and comic book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who was also called in to script-doctor the troubled Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. But it looks like the Moon is sticking with the old book by David Newman and Robert Benton, with songs by composer Charles Strouse and lyricist Lee Adams (the tuneful team of Bye Bye Birdie and Applause) with groovy titles like “It’s Super Nice” and “Pow! Bam! Zonk!” Visit Strangers, Babies Shotgun Players Oct. 15–Nov. 17

The Bay Area’s introduction to the work of Scottish playwright Linda McLean last year was like a punch in the 6

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gut. The US premiere of her play Any Given Day at Magic Theatre was absolutely stunning, featuring two artfully interlinked vignettes with brutal emotional impact. Now director Jon Tracy, who made his Magic debut with that play, reunites with McLean for Shotgun Players. Told in five separate dialogues with different men in the main character’s life, McLean’s 2007 play Strangers, Babies centers on a middle-class wife haunted by a horrific crime committed long ago in her past. Visit The Lieutenant of Inishmore Masquers Playhouse Thru Sep. 28

It’s remarkable enough that the Point Richmond community theatre Masquers Playhouse is doing Martin McDonagh’s bloodiest black comedy—a play that features onstage torture, sawing up bodies, and gallons of gore—but the fact that it’s doing it right before the gentle kiddie classic A Year with Frog and Toad is hilarious. Set in County Galway like most of McDonagh’s plays, The Lieutenant of Inishmore centers upon the family of a psychotic Irish revolutionary trying to figure out how to conceal from him the fact that they may have killed his cat while he was away torturing and killing people in Belfast. Visit

editors’picks Macbeth at Fort Point We Players Sep. 5–Oct. 6

You’d better bundle up if you plan to attend We Players’ remount of their 2008 Macbeth at Fort Point. Key scenes take place outside, in the autumn, at the extreme north end of San Francisco—around and inside the Civil War/ Gold Rush–era military fort that guarded the Golden Gate for seven decades before someone put a bridge there. I’m meh on Macbeth in general but intrigued by what the company’s website calls the production’s “multiple performance trajectories”; how much does this adaptation rely on knowledge of the original? How much of the story does a single “trajectory” expose a spectator to? Can one switch tracks midscene? I like We Players’ trajectory so far; San Francisco is such a varied, strange and picturesque town that the relative lack of site-specific work has always seemed odd. It’s encouraging to see more productions that persuade us to look at parts of it with fresh eyes. Double, double, toil and —Laura Brueckner

Benjamin Stowe as Macduff and Mackenszie Drae as Macbeth in We Players’ Macbeth at Fort Point. Photo: Tracy Martin

LAURA’S otheR picks: Macario Teatro Visión Oct. 10–20

Okay, this looks cool. Not only is it a spectacle-oriented adaptation of a creepy and interesting story (like A Christmas Carol written by Edgar Allan Poe and the Brothers Grimm), but Evelina Fernandez is doing the adapting. Fernandez is an award-winning actor, playwright and screenwriter from East L.A., and a powerful voice in American theatre. The story is a classic in Mexico; the 1960 film version was the first Mexican film nominated for an Academy Award. This Macario will also be Spanish/English bilingual, with original music and choreography. Mira aquí: Sidewinders The Cutting Ball Theater Oct. 18–Nov. 17

I had the pleasure of meeting Sidewinders playwright Basil Kreimendahl at a new play conference in Indiana; softspoken and genuine, Kreimendahl had just graduated with an MFA from the prestigious Iowa Playwrights Workshop, a distinction shared with SF writer Andrew Saito. Not a fan of gender-specific pronouns, Kreimendahl has written a

piece set in a comic Wild West that follows the adventures of Dakota and Bailey, characters occupying ambiguous sex/ gender positions, and the conflicts that arise when a third, incredibly beautiful individual enters their lives. Sidewinders was read as part of CBT’s 2012 Risk Is This festival; contents may have shifted since then. Mosey on over to Litquake Various SF locations Oct. 10–19

This is a fabulous opportunity to go see how the other half live—that is, the Bay Area’s prose, poetry and nonfiction writers. Litquake is partially a spoken word event as well; past years have included poets declaiming in a cathedral, bawdy storytelling and a (literary) celebrity-judged “Death Match” between up-and-coming authors. If you’re new to this kind of creative cross-pollination, consider these shows that began as novels: Cabaret, Alice in Wonderland and Moby-Dick. Whether you’re shopping for collaborators or fresh perspectives, Litquake might just rock your world. Many events are free, including the massive pub crawl, Litcrawl. Crack open a good

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editors’picks The King of Hearts Is Off Again San Francisco International Arts Festival Oct. 2–4

Martina Rampulla and Gianna Benvenuto in The King of Hearts Is Off Again. Photo: Kazik Rolbiecki

During the Holocaust, Poland was the country in which both the most Jews were killed and the most Jews were rescued. That contradiction is explored in depth in Hannah Krall’s 2007 novel Chasing the King of Hearts, which is about a real-life Jewish woman, Izolda Regenberg, who sets out to save her husband from the Warsaw Ghetto by disguising herself and living as an Aryan. Poland’s Studium Teatralne, a 17-year-old avant-garde company now making its Bay Area debut, has adapted the novel for the stage, recreating its literary jumps in time by casting many different performers as Izolda at different stages in her life. Director Piotr Borowski was a student of Jerzy Grotowski’s, and Borowski has modeled his company off that famed artist’s teachings, using dancelike movement that’s sometimes furious, sometimes ritualistic, and so expressive that you often won’t have to read the English supertitles. Visit —Lily Janiak LILY’S otheR picks: Other Desert Cities TheatreWorks Thru Sep. 15

Jon Robin Baitz’s Pulitzer Prize finalist, here in its regional debut in a coproduction with San Diego’s Old Globe, resembles Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance in uncanny ways: an affluent older couple—she controlling, he appeasing— who have lost a son, host a boozy sister and a troubled, recently divorced daughter. It also, like that play, is steeped in fear and polarized politics—it’s 2004, and 9/11 wounds are still raw—forming a volatile brew for an already explosive solute: daughter Brooke (Kate Turnbull) is about to publish a memoir about her Hollywood family’s tabloid-ready past. Visit Buried Child Magic Theatre Sep. 11-Oct. 6

As Sam Shepard, one of America’s greatest living playwrights, turns 70 this year, many theatres around the country are celebrating by producing his plays. Few are better positioned to kick off the festivities than Magic Theatre, 8

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which premiered much of the playwright’s most influential work in the ’70s and ’80s. In the Pulitzer Prize-winning Buried Child, a rural Illinois clan buckling under the pressure of a horrible secret stands for a broader disintegration of traditional family norms; the play’s structure, which has elements of both Greek tragedy and surrealism, charted a new kind of drama. Visit The Golden Dragon Do It Live! Sep. 12–28

This two-year-old company founded by recent SF State graduates is notable for its range, from Shepard and Churchill to Bay Area premieres, such as this kaleidoscopic play by German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig. Characters all work for or live near a “Thai/Chinese/Vietnamese fast food restaurant,” but language and style practically span the history of theatre. From the kitchen sink naturalism of barked menu orders to Brechtian narration of stage directions to the rhythmic repetition of words and phrases to the fable of the grasshopper and the ant, this work offers a dish for every linguistic taste. Visit

newsFEED Tommy Hits the Stage In August Berkeley Repertory Theatre announced the appointment of Liesl Tommy as the company’s new associate director, effective September 1. Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Tommy serves as the program associate at Sundance Institute Theatre Program focusing on its activities in East Africa and was recently made an artist trustee with the Sundance Institute’s Board of Trustees. An award-winning director who works all over the United States and the world, she is the recipient of the inaugural Susan Stroman Directing Award from the Vineyard Theatre, an NEA/ TCG Directors Grant and a New York Theatre Workshop Casting/Directing Fellowship. Tommy directed Berkeley Rep’s acclaimed 2011 production of Lynn Nottage’s Ruined and California Shakespeare Theater’s 2012 Hamlet. Elsewhere she’s directed plays by Berkeley native Eisa Davis including A History of Light and Angela’s Mixtape. Tommy steps into the post vacated by Les Waters in 2011 when he became artistic director of Actors Theatre of Louisville after eight years at Berkeley Rep. Tommy’s new role will include directing plays for Berkeley Rep’s main-stage season and developing new work in the company’s new play program, the Ground Floor. Foundation CEO Moves On The San Francisco Foundation’s chief executive officer Sandra R. Hernández announced on August 1 that

she will be leaving TSFF after 16 years effective November 1. “[For] a physician committed to ensuring all have access to a high-quality and equitable health care system, this point in time is truly historic,” she wrote in an email. “In two months, many of the most important provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) will go into effect in California. That is why I have decided that, in 2014, I will return to health care full time as President and CEO of the California HealthCare Foundation, whose mission is to ‘fulfill the promise of better health care for all Californians.’” Hernández said that she would be working with the board and staff of the 65-year-old foundation over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition as the board starts a national search for a new CEO. The Importance of Being Worsley California Shakespeare Theater recently announced that veteran actor and teaching artist Clive Worsley has been selected as its new director of artistic learning. Worsley, who has played a key part in developing the company’s successful teaching artist program for over a decade, said, “I look forward to expanding my role within the company to ensure the integration of the arts into schools as a permanent and valued part of the educational process for all students.” As an arts administrator, Worsley has pioneered popular initiatives within Cal Shakes’s artistic learning program, such as its

Student Matinee Program. Taking up the mantle of artistic director of Lafayette’s Town Hall Theatre in 2008, he has led the company to financial solvency, artistic acclaim and an expanded artistic learning program. As an award-winning actor, he has appeared on numerous Bay Area stages, including Cal Shakes, Berkeley Rep, Marin Theatre Company, Shotgun Players and more. Emmy Nom for Stage Left Stage Left, the documentary directed by Austin Forbord that examines 60 years of Bay Area theatre, has been nominated for a Northern California Area Emmy Award in the category of Arts/Entertainment-Program/Special. The film, commissioned by the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, features captivating archival photos of seminal Bay Area artists and interviews with leaders in the theatre community such as Theatre Bay Area executive director Brad Erickson, Impact Theatre artistic director Melissa Hillman, San Francisco Chronicle theatre critic Robert Hurwitt and American Conservatory Theater artistic director Carey Perloff. Founding ED Retires On August 31, Len Alexander, founding executive director of the Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center, retired from his position at the organization. During Alexander’s eight-year tenure, the LVPAC created the Bothwell Arts Center, opened the Bankhead Theater and expanded both its free sum

mer concert series and the offerings of its signature program, LVPAC Presents. The LVPAC board of directors has selected Tom Mitze to serve as interim executive director beginning September 1. Mitze, a consultant for the LVPAC on several projects since 2007, brings to the position 40 years of theatre management experience in New York, Southern California, Wisconsin and Washington, DC. Pac Rep Gets SoDA Allowance This summer, Pacific Repertory Theatre received a $40,000 grant from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation. The funds will be used to support its general operations, including its mainstage season and its School of Dramatic Arts (SoDA). Spreading Shakespeare The National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest, has chosen 40 professional nonprofit theatre companies across the country to participate in its Shakespeare in American Communities program for 2013–2014. Each theatre will receive a grant of $25,000 to assist the grantees in bringing high-caliber productions of Shakespeare to middle and high school students, many in low-income neighborhoods. This will be the eighth consecutive year that California Shakespeare Theater has been selected for this grant, which helps fund the student matinees, teaching artist classroom visits, pre- and postshow talks and

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newsFEED educator professional development workshops that comprise the company’s Student Discovery program. Also selected for 2013–2014 are African-American Shakespeare Company and San Francisco Shakespeare Festival.

Fees Unhidden SF cabaret venue Feinstein’s at the Nikko has announced changes to its pricing policy. Previously, patrons purchasing tickets for a show would find a $30 food and beverage “credit”

charge automatically added to the price of each ticket. In response to patron feedback, the venue has changed its policy; now, there is simply a $20 food and beverage minimum inside the venue. Additionally, Feinstein’s at

Presenting the TBA Awards Theatre Bay Area is pleased to announce that it is launching a new awards program designed to celebrate excellence in professionally oriented theatre productions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. “Some good things are a long time coming,” says Brad Erickson, Theatre Bay Area’s executive director. “Across North America, major theatre centers have established award systems that help raise the profile of the art form in their regions and that significantly contribute to the career advancement of individual theatre-makers and the success of local theatre companies. The most impactful of these programs are widely recognized by the press, the public and philanthropic institutions. The Bay Area, despite being one of the largest and most dynamic theatre centers in the country, lacks such a system.” Following a structure similar to the Ovation Awards in Los Angeles, an extensive group of adjudicators is being gathered from local theatre industry professionals, journalists and other qualified individuals who will evaluate shows submitted for consideration. The annual evaluation cycle will run from September 1 through August 31. (The first cycle may start in October to allow for setup time.) Adjudicators will submit their evaluations via a portal on the Theatre Bay Area website. At the end of the evaluation cycle, scores will be tabulated and nominees announced in a range of categories. Award recipients will be revealed at a ceremony to take place late in 2014 and annually thereafter. In addition to the annual awards, the program will also generate real-time, patron-friendly recommendations, similar to those published by the Jeff Awards in Chicago, for high-scoring aspects of running shows such as specific performances 10

or technical elements. This data will be released to the production soon after opening for immediate marketing purposes. The TBA Awards program is being undertaken after extensive review and analysis by the Theatre Bay Area staff and board and a steering committee comprising professionals representing the diversity of the Bay Area theatre community. Theatre Bay Area director of field services Dale Albright has been conferring with Erickson, members of standing advisory committees and individual artists to ensure that the program is responsive to the expressed desire of the Bay Area theatre community for a credible and equitable system of evaluation. Robert Sokol, editor of BayStages, has joined the steering committee as awards program manager, overseeing initial deployment and serving as the principal contact for program operations throughout the first evaluation cycle. Producing entities will be invited to submit their shows for consideration based on two tiers of production levels. These tiers will be defined using an amalgam of factors including budget, venue size and other elements to ensure that productions are evaluated equitably. Adjudicators are being recruited throughout Theatre Bay Area’s service region, which includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties. Once approved, adjudicators are expected to attend a combination of self-selected and assigned shows during the yearlong evaluation cycle and promptly submit their evaluations. All adjudicators will be trained in use of the online voting system. For more information, please write to awards@

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the Nikko guests can take advantage of a special prixfixe dinner before the show, which comes with a complimentary seating section upgrade and an opportunity to meet the artist, both subject to availability. Angel of Music On June 24, the San Francisco Opera held an event to celebrate the memory of mezzo-soprano Zheng Cao, who lost her battle with cancer in February. Cao was an alumna of the SF Opera’s Merola Opera Program and its Adler Fellowship Program, and appeared with its company and other noted companies across the U.S. and abroad. She sang roles in 16 SF Opera productions, including Idomeneo, Le Nozze de Figaro, Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Madama Butterfly. In her honor, the Merola Opera Program has established the Zheng Cao Opera Fund, which will sponsor one incoming student, either an Asian/Pacific artist or a mezzo-soprano. It’s Rainin Money In June, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation announced grants totaling over $1 million to Bay Area nonprofits, including dance companies, theatre companies and the San Francisco Film Society. Fourteen grants, ranging from $10,000 to 50,000, were awarded to Bay Area performing arts organizations for specific projects through Rainin’s Visibility Awards program. Visibility Awards grantees in dance

newsFEED include American Dance Abroad, Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, Flyaway Productions, Fresh Meat Productions, Margaret Jenkins Dance, Project Bandaloop and Zaccho Dance Theatre. Theatre grantees include 509 Cultural Center, Exit Theatre (for DivaFest), foolsFury (for Factory Parts), Playwrights Foundation (for playwright residencies), Theatre Bay Area (for its new awards program), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (for the YBCAway commissioning program) and Youth Speaks (for Living Word Project). Additionally, the Rainin Impact Grant will provide four nonprofit companies with three-year capacitybuilding grants to support infrastructure development. Impact Grant awardees for dance are CounterPulse and Robert Moses’ Kin; theatre grantees are Crowded Fire Theater and Magic Theatre. Renovation Ovation On August 16, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa reopened the Ruth Finley Person Theater, following a $2.8 million renovation that vastly improved sightlines, added 300 square feet to the stage and 700 square feet backstage, and installed backstage loading doors so that crews would no longer need to load in through the lobby and house. This renovation is the first phase of a four-phase, $10 million project that, when complete, will provide patrons with improved access to the secondlevel balcony and restroom, especially patrons with

mobility limitations; enliven the center’s outdoor areas with a sculpture garden and improved landscaping; and update the building itself with a new HVAC system, roof, and lobby doors and windows.

In Memoriam Charles Ervin (Chuck) Polly died June 11, 2013, at the age of 58. Polly had an enormous impact on the Bay Area theatre community. Over the past two decades, he was playwright,

director, actor, producer and mentor to many. Born in Fleming-Neon, Kentucky, Polly grew up in and around Three Mile Creek, a hollow in the Appalachian Hills. He received a scholarship to Alice Lloyd College, where

Dancing All Over Dance and movement are all over Bay Area stages and screens this upcoming season. The San Francisco Dance Film Festival will present more than 50 dance films September 12–15 at the Roxie Theater. The festival, cosponsored by San Francisco Ballet, is also partnering with Europe’s IMZ-International Media + Music Centre. Founding director Greta Schoenberg and managing director Judy Flannery are taking the festival to new heights, putting San Francisco on the map as a center for dance film. The fourday festival features screenings of feature films, documentaries and short films, as well as panels for film professionals. The San Francisco Opera season features dance in the spectacular Mephistopheles and finishes off with musical theatre favorite Show Boat. Choreographer Lawrence Pech, who oversees the dance at the opera, says, “There’s been a paradigm shift under artistic director David Gockley. Opera singers must be physically fit. We are presenting world premieres like Moby Dick and we are going beyond the traditional idea of opera.

There is more movement for the chorus. With the broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera in movie theatres, opera is less elitist and more accessible.” Across the bay, Cal Performances features local dancers in its annual Fall Free for All, taking place on September 29 on the UC Berkeley campus. This fall, Cal Performances is partnering for the first time with rock music promoter Another Planet Entertainment to present opera superstar Placido Domingo in his first-ever Berkeley appearance at the Greek Theatre. This season at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the edgy Kneehigh Theatre from Cornwall, England, performs Tristan and Yseult, a knockout hybrid of theatre, movement and music. Kneehigh Theatre burst onto the Bay Area scene with the hit show Brief Encounter at American Conservatory Theater and later performed a sold-out run of the fantastically innovative Wild Bride at Berkeley Rep. Its latest offering promises to be yet another theatrical showstopper. —Kathryn Roszak

Kate Duhamel’s Aloft in the San Francisco Dance Film Festival. Photo: Sandy Lee

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newsFEED he toured with the Voices from Appalachia, and then attended Ohio Dominican University, earning a BA in theatre and communications. After working professionally in theatre in Columbus, Ohio, Polly moved to the Bay Area in 1981. Over the next 10 years, Polly acted in

and directed many plays locally. His writings included pieces for New Conservatory’s Sexy Shorts and Theatre Rhinoceros’s Jumping the Broom, as well as The Shoot, Power Lunch, Androgyny and All in One. In 1993 Polly founded Eastenders Repertory Com-

Here’s Argo

pany along with a group of dedicated friends and became its first artistic director and later its playwrightin-residence. With ERC he developed the critically acclaimed The Twyla Trilogy: Twyla’s Boy, Twyla’s Story and June Bug Music. The semi-autobiographical tril-

A resident of Santa Rosa, Thompson was named as one of the Top Five Arts Makers Theatre Bay Area has hired Argo by the Press Democrat (2004) and as Arts Thompson as its new director of Maker of the Year by the North Bay Boheadvancement and communications. mian (2003). He earned a BFA in theatre Thompson replaces Sam Read, who took arts from the North Carolina School of the over from outgoing communications Arts in 1993. director Clayton Lord in “We are delighted to have March but had to return to Argo joining us as our new Seattle unexpectedly shortly director of advancement after joining the Theatre Bay and communications,” says Area staff. Theatre Bay Area executive Thompson comes to director Brad Erickson. “I Theatre Bay Area from a stint have worked with Argo over as director of development at the years in his role as artistic Napa Valley Performing Arts director of the 6th Street Center at Lincoln Theater in Playhouse in Santa Rosa and Yountville. He also recently as executive director of the served as development direcMarin Arts Council, and I tor for Lamplighters Music have always been impressed Argo Thompson. Theatre and Mill Valley’s with his passion for theatre 142 Throckmorton Theatre. Photo: Milton Wooley and the arts and his comFrom 2009 to 2011 he was the executive mitment to the larger community. I look director of the Marin Arts Council, where forward to working closely with Argo in he attracted more than a million people to advancing theatre all around the Bay Area.” events in Marin by creating an online social Thompson officially started work at Thearts network. atre Bay Area August 12, shortly after the For eight years Thompson was artistic organization moved its offices to the ACT director of Santa Rosa’s Actors Theatre, Costume Shop building at 1119 Market awarded Best Theatre Troupe by the North Street on August 1. “I’m thrilled to be working with Brad ErBay Bohemian. When that company merged with Santa Rosa Players to become ickson and the amazing team he’s assembled at Theatre Bay Area,” says Thompson. “Ten 6th Street Playhouse, he became executive years ago, while I was the artistic/executive director of the newly formed theatre, raising $1.3 million and leading the renovation director of 6th Street Playhouse, I served project of a historic warehouse into a state- on the theatre services committee and first met Brad. His dynamic leadership and the of-the-art venue. Before that he was art didedicated team made an impression on me. rector of Market Live, where he converted Since then I have looked for ways to work Fortune 500 magazines into e-commerce websites now generating over $2 million in with TBA in moving the arts sector forward. I’m overjoyed the timing is right.” annual sales. 12

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ogy tells the story of Ervin Tackett and his relationship with his mother, Twyla, her mother, his boyhood in the Appalachian hills and his coming out and of age as a gay man. The first production of Twyla’s Boy was at the Marsh in 1993. Five years of company development went into Twyla’s Story before its premiere at Magic Theatre in 1998; June Bug Music premiered in 2000, also at the Magic. He acted in and directed numerous productions with ERC, and the company also produced several of Polly’s one-act plays, including The Beginning, Hello’s the Word and En Avant! and his full-length play, A Knight’s Escape, which he also directed. With his writers group New Voices, he developed and directed Pride Open, a cross-disciplinary piece exploring sexual identity. A celebration of his life was held August 9 at the Douglas Morrisson Theatre. Well-known theatre community member and pillar of his Native American tribal community, Robert Owens Greygrass died July 8 in a car crash at the age of 58. A poet, actor and storyteller, Greygrass won awards for his portrayals of Black Elk and John Merrick in productions with Actors’ Theatre of Ashland in Oregon and was a regular at Wavy Gravy’s Camp Winnarainbow and a frequent volunteer for Theatre Bay Area. He also performed with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and wrote and performed the one-man shows Walking on Turtle Island and Ghost Land of an Urban Indian.

KEEP AN eye on


Megan Cohen, Playwright

ince she emerged on the Bay Area theatre scene in 2008, playwright Megan Cohen has been an artist of both quality and quantity. The self-described “most frequently produced female playwright in the San Francisco Bay Area” had more than 20 shows and readings in 2012 alone, working with companies like Hot Mess, PianoFight, San Francisco Theater Pub, Performers Under Stress, Playwrights Foundation and Bay One Acts. Her playwriting fecundity doesn’t just come from her “ravenousness to work a lot,” she says; it’s also part of her philosophy of self-education: “The audience is the teacher I trust the most. They’re not necessarily the easiest to understand, but they are going to tell you if what you’re doing is hearable.” Cohen, who’s rejected pursuing an MFA, has long been an autodidact. “There’s a strong culture in my household of giving yourself permission to do big things,” she says. Growing up, she and her family were like “migratory birds,” she says, moving back and forth between the Bay Area and a small town in Long Island every six to nine months. As if that weren’t enough complication to her schooling, she also worked as a professional actor. At age 7, when she was at an elementary school with a touring Act!vated Story Theatre production, an adult asked her, “Do you have a bathroom pass?” to which she responded, “No, I work here.” After being in and out of schools her whole life, as a teenager she dropped out altogether in favor of World Schooling, an alternative approach to homeschooling, because, she says, her school “wouldn’t let me read enough hard books.” As a drama major at Stanford, she more than made up for the lack of hard books, especially in a two-student class with Professor Carl Weber that desanctified the classics, treating them as if they were new plays. “We asked,

‘Is this a good play? Is this still a good play?’” she says. During college, she also got a grant to explore the work of the English group Forced Entertainment, who works by “a rapid generation of ideas, trying things, making mistakes, rethinking and throwing away all but the best, as opposed to crafting this perfect jewel”—a process that deeply influenced Cohen’s own. With Stuart Bousel, she’s created a free monthly workshop in this vein at the Exit Theatre called Saturday Write Fever, which Megan Cohen. Photo: Julia Heitner

consists of a 30-minute “writing sprint” followed by an “instant festival,” with actors cast from the crowd. After a stint in New York after college, Cohen returned to the Bay Area for a dramaturgy internship at American Conservatory Theater. “My intellectual curiosity is what got me back out here,” she said. “Seeing the small theatre here is what kept me here. I realized that you can have the Geary, or you can just have one amazing actor with a light on a stage and have a really rich experience just with language.” Cohen has been a fixture in the smalltheatre scene ever since, but her work has been anything but fixed. Her artistic

concerns span the history of storytelling, from ancient myths to transmedia (which combines different platforms, live and digital, to tell a single story). Megan Cohen’s Totally Epic Odyssey, Cohen’s next project for the SF Olympians Festival, to which she’s a frequent contributor, will fuse these interests. She’s telling the epic poem partly online and partly as a solo show, which will star Cohen herself. The full version will last 12 hours. (The version at SF Olympians, by contrast, will be “a 90-minute highlight reel.”) “No one wants to see a 12-hour play,” says Cohen. “Part of my process in taking ownership of my work is to do something worse than any theatre would let me do. People ask me who’s producing it, and I say, ‘Well, I am, I guess.’” A 12-hour play is huge step for a playwright who often writes works that are just one or 10 minutes long. In the past, Cohen said, “I desired to get in as many rooms with as many writers as possible, and it’s been such a beautiful hamster wheel of churning things out. Now, instead of being reactive to opportunities or obstacles, it’s ‘What would I do if I could do anything?’” The answer: “I’m hungry for bigger projects.” Bigger companies are answering her call. Last spring, she got staged readings of her “neo-noir” play Joe Ryan and her generations-spanning play The Actual Stuff at Impact Theatre and SF Playhouse, respectively; at the latter, she worked with union actors for the first time. But if she’s rising in the theatre world, her aesthetics will remain rooted in the earthy philosophy honed at San Francisco Theater Pub, with its rowdy barroom audiences: “The way to get an audience open and vulnerable is to make them laugh first. But that’s not enough. You have to keep going deeper and deeper into the character and the situation, or you’ll lose them again.” —Lily Janiak

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By Laura Brueckner, Associate Editor



ike many fringe festivals, the San Francisco Fringe Festival is well known for out-there performances and pieces written days before opening. However, this long-running festival has played a bigger role in the “serious” theatre scene than many suspect. Ever since the Fringe’s founding in 1992, its focus has been to “support artists and give them an open-access opportunity that gave them 100% of the box office,” says artistic director Christina Augello. This ongoing emphasis on artists rather than artistic product has resulted in a unique space for enterprising theatremakers. Sure, some participants end up staging half-baked, half-rehearsed oddments in hastily hot-glued spandex. But others take full advantage of the festival’s support to focus more closely on the work—experimenting with form, testing out new models for collaboration, or reaching out to less

Gillian Brecker, Frank Torrano, Caroline Ford and Jake Rodriguez in little extremes by Mark Jackson. San Francisco Fringe Festival, 1995. Photo: Mark Jackson


visible audiences they suspect are out there, hungry for stories that speak to them. In fact, a number of now-professional, widely respected companies were born at the SF Fringe: the Cutting Ball Theater, Boxcar Theatre, Golden Thread Productions, Crowded Fire Theater, Killing My Lobster and Mark Jackson’s Art Street Theatre. Banana Bag & Bodice, now working in New York, is another Fringe alumnus. Each was the brainchild of driven individuals who brought big ideas to the festival—and each, happily, survived the transition from idea to producing company. Initially, Fringe acts were mostly local. There were 35 to 50 slots available; prospective performers would simply line up outside the Exit Theatre to sign up for them. “At the time, the way you applied to the Fringe was first come, first served, so you had to be on Eddy Street at five in the morning and stand in line,” says Rebecca Novick, founding artistic director of Crowded Fire and current director of the Triangle Lab. Cutting Ball artistic director Rob Melrose recalls those days well: “There

the festival provides. If putting on a show for about 500 bucks were good things and bad things about that. Of course, they sounds like a bargain, it is; the Fringe handles all advertising, didn’t like the fact that they were making people stay up all ticketing and venue costs, and supplies each act with a handful night on the street, but what was great about it was that if you of rehearsal/tech hours in the space, a lighting/sound tech who camped out, you knew you would be in the Fringe.” runs the board during the show, and even ushers. With so As the festival gained popularity, however, the line began much of the logistical and financial burden lifted, performers forming earlier and earlier, and the number of applicants can test-drive their projects without too much financial anxiety. from outside the Bay Area increased. Augello decided that the selection process needed to change. Again, her commitment to Nick Olivero founded Boxcar Theatre after a successful artists pointed the way; rather than turning the Fringe into a run at the Fringe in 2005. He says, “I found the Fringe to be curated show, where acts would audition for slots, she went in an inexpensive tool to jump-start an idea. They have a loyal the opposite direction: absolute chance. “After the line began following and built-in marketing. When creating a show to form 24 hours in advance, we realized that this was keeping (especially for the first time), there is so much to take on. some folks from applying,” Augello says. “So to be more I remember being overwhelmed trying to buy the website inclusive we went to the lottery [system].” domain, getting postcards designed and printed, finding Lotteries are a common selection method for fringe festivals. rehearsal space. All of that and then you need to convince In the SF Fringe’s current system, both local and out-ofpeople to see the show! The Fringe removes a very large town applicants submit their variable for young companies.” applications and fees ($425-$750 Torange Yeghiazarian likewise this year, depending on size of founded Golden Thread venue and length of show) sixProductions after her play Waves plus months in advance. Some received a positive reaction apply with only the vaguest from Fringe audiences in 1996. idea of what they will perform; “In a way, the Fringe was my the application forms ask for a first exposure to the world of show description, but artists can professional theatre,” she says. buy wiggle room with careful “Before that, my focus had been wording. Would-be Fringe on creating the work; with the Mollena Williams, founding member of Crowded Fire thespians then sit back to bite Fringe I began learning about Theater, with her tattoo based on the company’s logo their nails until lottery night, production, marketing and design. Photo: Courtesy of Mollena Williams where the luck of the draw budget!” determines the content of that year’s festival. Not all Fringe shows succeed with audiences, of course, The resulting lineup can be exciting, intriguing and baffling, but that doesn’t mean the effort is wasted. One beauty of an with polished group and solo performances appearing inexpensive show is that the artists feel less pressure to please alongside outbursts of expression that defy conventional everyone who walks through the door. This “freedom to fail,” expectations of genre and/or quality. But this is one of the as Novick calls it, allows artists to pursue their enthusiasms charms of the SF Fringe. Marc Vogl, former executive director and explore less rigid ways of working together without undue of Killing My Lobster, says, “The Fringe’s ‘all-comers welcome, concern for the bottom line. In the 1997 Fringe, Novick says, show-me-something-I-haven’t-seen-a-thousand-times-before’ “I was very excited to get a slot for a show that I called Greek spirit is San Francisco at its best.” The low average ticket cost Salad, which was excerpts from various Greek tragedies with ($8–$12.99) also takes some of the sting out of sitting through new devised material as choruses between the bits. Hilariously desperately underrehearsed concept romps like Zombie Hamlet to me now, it was also kind of participatory; the audience Burlesque Roller Space, while making the shows that voted on which scenes we would do. It was a pretty bad show.” really work feel like surprise treasures. Whether they leave Greek Salad may not have been a critical sensation, but the a Fringe show thinking “How the hell did they do that?” or group of artists it brought together would form the core of “Why the hell did they do that?” audiences will likely have seen Crowded Fire Theater. Some would stay for years, and one— something they can’t see anywhere else. Mollena Williams, who departed the company just last year— sports a Crowded Fire tattoo. Says Novick of that first Fringe The Fringe’s chief draw for artists is the production support

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wife, Paige Rogers, planning to work as a freelance director. show, “We had no earthly idea what we were doing, [but] we had a great time working together. I think we made something One year later, however, he was still not doing the radical, experimental work that excited him. “And that’s when,” he in that rehearsal room—some kind of egalitarian idea of says, “I decided to start a company.” From the Theatre Bay cocreation that was how we wanted both the play creation Area General Auditions he assembled a group of actors that process and the company to feel. After the Fringe show I met weekly to do Viewpoints and other preparatory work, invited most of that group to a meeting where we decided to and he turned to that group when it was time to launch what start a company together.” would be Cutting Ball’s first show, Richard Foreman’s My The pivotal postfestival “So, are we founding a theatre Head Was a Sledgehammer. company?” meeting is a common landmark among FringeIt was a streamlined team—even more so than Melrose had born companies. In the early days of what would become Art planned. He was the director, but after two different actors cast Street Theatre, starting a troupe was not Mark Jackson’s goal; in the lead found the material too challenging and dropped he used the Fringe to transition gradually into producing his out, he ended up acting in it as well. On top of that was the own work. “I thought that [the Fringe] would be a good way to step into the producing waters,” Jackson says, “to learn from dreaded load-in; he found having such a short window of time “really stressful.” Although he recruited two of his students people (Christina and Richard [Livingston, cofounder of the from the Marin Academy for lighting and stage managing, festival]) who already knew how to do it. What ‘the company’ he says, “Five minutes before the show, it was me, Paige and was, meaning who, was still up for question.” Gabriel [Diamond, the other actor,] running around getting Jackson’s 1995 Fringe show, his play little extremes, sold out everything set up. To this day, Melrose says he relishes the every performance and was number two on the Audience ability “to just rent a space and leave your stuff there.” Favorites list. He recruited several compatriots from that Nick Olivero approached the Fringe quite differently. “The production for his next play, Salome, produced at the 450 Geary Studio Theatre. It was then that the question of forming show was really irrelevant,” Olivero says. “My goal when moving out here was to begin a new theatre company. The a company arose. Fringe was the vehicle.” Olivero submitted a strategically vague “After Salome closed, we had a meeting in someone’s living application (“21 short vignettes surrounding a be room,” Jackson recalls, “after hearing a lot of arguments for a determined later”), and asked his friend Peter Matthews to lot of things, mostly having to do with control over decision be part of the show if it was accepted into the 2005 festival. making, I told everyone honestly that Art Street was basically Matthews agreed. me, my personal bank account, and whoever was working on The partners then a given show. I wasn’t The Killing My Lobster cast of 1999: Daniel Lee, Marc Vogl, Mara Gerstein, hired two other actors, ready to go nonprofit or Abby Paige, Paul Cherney, Bill Donoghue, Brian L. Perkins, Maura Madden and the group devised establish a staff and take and Erin Bradley. Photo: Juliet Gray the play 21/One: Twenty on all that paperwork. One Shows in One Hour; I just wanted to make the vignettes centered work with like minds. on the theme of San This was a decisive Francisco. It was a hit— moment, and the key 21/One was chosen as a players fell organically Best of Fringe show, and into place over time.” newly-christened Boxcar Jackson would continue Theatre was named Best to produce shows at the New Company. Exit Theatre for several Matthews continued more years before putting to work with Boxcar, Art Street on production says Olivero, “until hiatus in 2008. about two years ago, Melrose had a different when he stepped down focus. In 1999, he moved to have a life that to the Bay Area with his 16

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and minimalist; it was at the Fringe and it continues to be included vacationing and income.” Now Olivero is the sole staff member of Boxcar. “I hire people for jobs for projects, but at Golden Thread.” According to Vogl, KML’s comedy fit the festival’s identity and audience well: “At the Fringe a lot the company has shifted to a totalitarian dictatorship with no people...just me making arbitrary decisions on what we should of folks are seeing performers they’ve never heard of, and comedy is an easier sell than darker genres.” The Lobsters do next.” accommodated the tight timing by keeping their shows Some companies gain momentum by embracing audiences portable; each performer was responsible for one box of neglected by other theatres. Yeghiazarian, for example, created costumes and/or props. The troupe’s 1998 Fringe show, Killing work she felt would resonate with the Bay Area’s Iranian My Lobster Gets Some Action, won a community, and decided to bring Best of Fringe award. her work to the Fringe to look for Asked what lessons from the her audience. “My work was not Fringe they’d pass on to those hoping mainstream,” she says. “I couldn’t see to found a company, the artists’ any theatres around me that would be responses differ. Jackson offers, “Keep interested in producing it. The Fringe it simple. Pack light. Make work provided an opportunity to see if there that must be in a theatre and can’t be was actually an audience for the work.” done as well or better on screen. Treat Yeghiazarian’s 1996 Fringe your collaborators respectfully and production, Waves, was her first play honestly—be straight with people produced in English; in it, two Iranian about expectations, use their time women comrades meet again after well, feed them at least once if you many years of being apart. “People can.” responded very well to the play,” Yeghiazarian and Olivero both says Yeghiazarian. “Iranians, nonfocus on the challenges of company Iranians, women, men.” Bay Guardian management. “I wish I had interned critic Dennis Harvey gave the play a at a larger theatre company before favorable review. And word spread. starting my own,” says Golden “We had a small audience at our first Torange Yeghiazarian and Taraneh Hemami in performance,” she says, “but the second Waves by Yeghiazarian. Promotional shot for SF Thread’s artistic director of over Fringe Festival, 1999. Photo: Courtesy of Golden 16 years. “I think gaining actual was almost full and the third was Thread Productions production and management packed. More than anything else, that experience at a larger institution would have helped me avoid production...gave me the courage to start a company.” some early pitfalls.” Olivero agrees. “There is a massive gap It requires discipline and creativity to pull off a good show between education and theatre producing. I wish I could have within the festival’s strict production parameters. The SF moved faster to come to certain conclusions, but it just takes Fringe is famous for enforcing its time limits, for instance; time to build something.” acts get 15 minutes to load in, 60 minutes to perform (after Novick has surprising advice for artists looking to start which the stage manager will shut the lights off, whether the a theatre company: Don’t. Or, more accurately, don’t do it performers are finished or not) and 15 minutes to load out. Obviously, this discourages elaborate productions. And plenty without thinking critically about how you’re doing it, and why. In her essay in the Grantmakers in the Arts’ GIA Reader of artists like it that way. (Spring 2011), “Please, Don’t Start a Theater Company!,” Jackson found the discipline of the Fringe appealing. “The she warns that unexamined assumptions about priorities, Fringe rule dictated minimal scenery and props,” he recalls. “I leadership and success can lead to less-than-satisfactory results. liked the simplicity. The emphasis was entirely on the actors Yeghiazarian echoes this. “Don’t start a new company unless and the play.” Asked if this continued to influence his artistic you are convinced you will bring something new and different aesthetic, he replied, “Absolutely. It’s only in recent years that to the field,” she says. Happily, the San Francisco Fringe I’ve been dealing with props. Always a pain.” Festival remains one place where theatre-makers can put their The Fringe’s spartan accommodations suited Yeghiazarian’s originality—and stamina—to the test. creative vision too. “My theatrical aesthetic is collaborative

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PraiseYou, Not to Bury You. Why Theatre Critics Want You to Succeed


By Nicole Gluckstern

spend a lot of time in the dark. I’m hardly alone, although sometimes it can feel that way, surrounded as I am on all sides mainly by strangers, a sea of anonymous audience members who all have different reasons for giving up a chunk of their leisure time to spend it at the theatre. Perhaps they are themselves theatre-makers, or friends and family there to support. Perhaps they are among the ranks of theatre subscribers and donors who help keep theatre-making a viable, or at least a break-even, proposition. Perhaps they are genuine theatre enthusiasts who come because of their unabashed love of the medium, or dabblers who were enticed by the prospect of seeing a specific show, whether out of a sense of obligation, nostalgia or curiosity. But the one thing we all have in common that might not immediately occur to our collective hive mind is simply this: we all want your show to be success. On the surface, maybe that sounds obvious. It’s hard to conceive of a person who would willingly spend as much time as the average theatre critic does squinting in the dark while crammed into uncomfortable chairs, subsisting on stale Costco cookies, and becoming intimately familiar with the weekend schedule of the Richmond BART line if the expectation at the end was to be disappointed, but curiously a common attitude towards the role of the theatre critic is precisely that: a perverse assumption that the chief joy of critics is to come up with clever ways to eviscerate a given show or struggling theatre company, extinguishing its ability to reach an audience faster than you can say “to be or not to be.” But honestly, if that was how we critics viewed our role, wouldn’t it be simpler for everyone, and far less masochistic, to just not show up at all? To let arts coverage die the death 18

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it’s been threatening to for years, besieged from all sides by shrinking budgets, beats and column inches; overextended editorial staffs; the rise of social media and crowdsourced reviews which provide plenty of fodder and pull quotes for your publicists and PR departments to work their promotional magic with? To throw in the towel and accept that the apparatus of the thoughtful critique is an anachronism that has outlived its usefulness? Clearly those of us theatre critics still hanging on don’t feel that way, though our reasons for sticking with it might vary. But no matter what our personal beliefs about the value of our work are, one inescapable conclusion is easy to draw. We’re in it for the love. We love the theatre as much as you do. We love the theatre because we know no other art form holds as much capacity to surprise, to move and to connect artists immediately with their audiences—which includes us, a silent yet watchful minority, pens aloft, waiting to be transported and transfigured. Hoping for it. And while I can’t speak for the rest of the audience whose elbows I rub against multiple nights (and some matinees) per week, I feel confident asserting that I’m often the person who most wants to be there, and therefore the person who most fervently wants your show to succeed. Not so much in monetary terms, though certainly I hope you don’t lose enough money that you’ll no longer be able to create, but in an artistic sense. I hope that this will be the show I remember years from now as a show that truly tapped into the transformative dynamism that all live theatre has the potential to attain. That through a serendipitous combination of vision, talent and naked courage, your show will go down in the annals of Bay Area theatre history, or at least top a few “best of ”

lists—even if it’s only the list inscribed secretly on my heart of shows I look back fondly on during the intermissions of less electrifying ones, an inevitable pastime. We love you, we do, but sometimes it’s a tough love, the kind of love that forces us to speak truthfully (and publicly) about what we’ve experienced at your show, because we want you to know that we’re paying attention, even when you’d rather we weren’t. Which is why when sometimes I walk into a theatre venue and settle down in my seat, I try not to take it personally when I hear someone from the wings whisper their dismay that the “critic” is here (yes, this actually happens, though fortunately not often). Almost worse might be the overly preferential treatment I also sometimes encounter, which helps to reinforce the notion that the critic is somehow the “other,” not just another part of the artistic process, but somehow outside of it. Some critics won’t even call themselves that, preferring the term “reviewer” or simply “arts writer,” so great is the stigma attached to the very word “critic,” but how did that stigma come about in the first place? If you consider that the job of an arts critic is to provide critical response to a given work for an audience that includes the creators of the work, it helps alleviate the kneejerk cowering reaction that the word “critic” can inspire in even the most feedback-friendly artists. Semantically speaking, what we’re there to do is critique, not merely to criticize, and although to a company that has just received a less-than-glowing review of their latest work the distinction seems negligible, they are miles apart in intention. Just as dramaturgs help to build a piece up from the inside out, researching each nuance and layering them together into a cohesive whole, so do theatre critics spend their time peeling back those same layers to reveal the beating heart of the production for the benefit of our own audiences, including you. We actively serve the theatre community by investigating its origins, exploring its potential, witnessing its evolution, commenting on its impact, and providing documentation and contextualization of a particular work or body of work. All tasks which require more than a passing familiarity with the medium, respect for the creative process, and a sincere appreciation for the almost ecstatic communion shared between theatre artists and their audiences in the context of a live performance. When I go to the theatre, I strive first and foremost to approach each production with as open a mind as possible, unburdened by the weight of expectation. Later on, while wrestling to distill the play’s impact in my allotted word count (often a scant 200 words), I may take into account the

history of the play, the playwright, the theatre company, and the artists involved, but I’m most interested in letting the present work speak for itself. And if I find something in that work to be problematic, I try to make sure that while commenting on that aspect I don’t miss the opportunity to speak favorably about what wasn’t. And while I do have personal preferences when it comes to choice of material or production style, I love to be pleasantly surprised by something outside my usual sphere. Ultimately, with any show, I’m trying to determine what the artists involved wanted to convey, and how successfully they managed to do so. I never consider my opinion to be infallible; no good critic does. But for every theatre-maker who’s ever felt that a critic has missed the point she was trying to communicate, there’s probably a critic who wants you to recognize that given all the time and energy we spend at the theatre, the chances are very good that if we’ve missed the point, other people in the audience probably have as well. Isn’t it better for everyone concerned, including yourself, to have a spokesperson of sorts to impart that to you in a constructive manner? Not because we want to make you feel unworthy, unappreciated or unloved, but rather the opposite. It’s because you are worthy of notice and attention that we have chosen to cultivate this sometimes complicated relationship we have with you, asking only in return that once in a while you recognize how inextricably entwined we are—bound by our mutual passion for that strange and sometimes terrifying compulsion that is the theatre. After all, when all the newspapers and media outlets are gone for good (including, perhaps, this one), and theatre criticism as a written genre has succumbed to the same fate as befell the passenger pigeon, the theatre will still exist in some capacity. There you’ll be, creating even newer ways to speak to our collective consciousness and consciences, and there we’ll be, caught in your gravitational pull, hungry for revelation. Artists may have a solitary need to create, but art itself requires an audience in order for it to fulfill its ultimate function, and there will never be audience members more eager to gather ’round to hear you than those of us who have been following you all along, tracking your trajectory throughout a whole career’s worth of trials and triumphs. Not to curry your favor or attract your attention, but to bring attention to you, and to the art form that we both love so fervently. Now please pass the Costco cookies, dim the lights and let the show begin. We’re rooting for you, I promise. Nicole Gluckstern has been a theatre critic at the San Francisco Bay Guardian since 2006.

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By Lisa Drostova

Planning for

Relev ance Topicality in Season Planning O

bviously, every company wants to present work that is relevant to its audience; otherwise there’s no audience. Certain existing texts are always going to speak to us, whether they’re performed as they were originally or reset in a new time or place or with different casting. And some things are always going to reference current affairs regardless of what you do with them: As Shotgun Players artistic director Patrick Dooley notes, war is an unfortunate perennial. But what if you want to incorporate highly topical work into your season? How do you know what’s going to matter in the near future? How do you make sure that a play meant to be “ripped from the headlines” wouldn’t be better suited, when it finally gets produced, to wrap around a fish? Artistic directors rely on a complex blend of instinct, personal taste, trends in writing, the suggestions of audiences, collaborators and funders, and a heavy reading diet of scripts, news and other media. What makes topical theatre different from trotting out Shakespeare or Neil Simon is forecasting. “In doing topical theatre,” says Michael Gene Sullivan, head writer for the San Francisco Mime Troupe, “we have to project what is going to be interesting to people, what is going to be the headline in July. Some years I start working on a show eight months out, and some years it’s two months out, if things are volatile. It’s all about the research. People say, you predicted this so well, how did you know? Huge amounts of research. Newspapers from around the world. Get up in the morning and read The Guardian from the UK, Al-Jazeera, the Dawn from Egypt,

Roxana Ortega in Shotgun Players’ There Will Be No Trojan War, December 2001. Photo: Courtesy of Shotgun Players


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RT the Russian site, look at all this stuff plus the American papers and see what we’re missing. If you look at The Guardian UK and CNN, they’re reporting totally different stories. There’s a trend here: the foreign press begins to pick up stories before the US press. Certain stories in the foreign press tell us ‘this is going to be an issue.’” That preparation shows once the play is up, too. “Someone will come to me and say, ‘You’ve changed it; you’ve revised it since opening. You’ve updated it to follow the news. Because I saw it before and it was different.’ And I haven’t changed anything, but the news has caught up, it’s bubbled up. The audience has had time to digest the information.” “There is always going to be a field of issues and problems,” he continues. “Which is the one they need to see?” In early 2001, when Enron was creating the California electricity crisis and PG&E was predicting rolling blackouts through the summer, “people said, ‘Do a show on PG&E! The summer’s going to be awful!’” But instead he wrote 1600 Transylvania Avenue about corporate personhood, which worked out well because the blackouts had stopped by the time the show opened, whereas corporate personhood was coming to full obnoxious flower. Likewise, this summer’s Oil & Water, written by Pat Moran and Adolfo Mejia, “was always going to be timely, but it’s getting more important now, how much corporations are using disinformation and controlling the media to give people the sense that we have more time when we don’t. The ship is sinking, and we have to stop the sinking.” American Conservatory Theater artistic director Carey Perloff, who identifies herself as a classicist, says that “the zeitgeist is a hard thing to quantify, but you know it when you feel it. You think about what we’re wrestling with as a culture; you just know what’s in the air. The season we just finished, we did a new play called Dead Metaphor about an American sniper who just returned from Iraq. Obviously the Middle East is on all of our minds; obviously the question of how are we going to reincorporate young people who went out to fight for us and who we are doing very little for is on our minds. So when I read George Walker’s play and decided I wanted to do it, I didn’t think, ‘In a year this won’t be an issue anymore,’ because sadly this is going to be with us for some time. “If it’s something that’s so topical you think it’s going to be past us in a couple of months, then if you’re not the Mime Troupe, you’re out of luck. But most of the bigger things

we’re thinking about or that we think have traction don’t necessarily go away. Sometimes it’s incredibly surprising how a play aligns with a moment in history when you didn’t plan it at all—you just did it and it lines up that way. And sometimes you do it deliberately. I chose Major Barbara in part because this issue of guns and money in our country is extremely troubling, and we rarely talk about the fact that what guns are in this country is big business. It is big business, and the greatest play ever written about guns and money is Major Barbara. When I reread it I was shocked how humiliatingly trenchant it was for all us who are in the theatre and accept money from organizations who don’t necessarily represent the values that we would wish, but because we live in a country with no arts subsidy we need to take funding from them. The moral questions of Major Barbara are immediate and trenchant and will continue to be so.” Sullivan has much to say about the intersection of capital and theatre: “The problem with doing timely theatre is always

“Sometimes it’s incredibly surprising how a play aligns with a moment in history when you didn’t plan it at all—you just did it and it lines up that way.” — Carey Perloff going to be funding and getting through the general blather of corporate media to get at the issues that are really touching people’s lives. For years one of our major funders was the NEA. But it’s gotten harder and harder with the NEA, because they need you to say what you’re going to do two years ahead of time. And that has made it ridiculous. I’ve gone back and spoken to the NEA twice about it and said, ‘We’re a theatre of topical news and perspective. Two years, we could say it’s going to be whatever it is, and a war could break out and we’re still stuck doing the show on the money you gave us.’ And we don’t know how much money it’s going to be. “Last year’s show, we had two years earlier told the NEA that we were going to do a show on the election. But then the Occupy movement was in the news, it was important, and even though it was starting to fade we wanted to do a show about how the media portrayed Occupy. Not about the ideals of Occupy, but how it was vilified. But we’ve got this grant from the NEA hanging over our heads about the election. So I’m writing the show and I have to weave in this whole other idea about the election. Right before we do the

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Planning for Relevance show, the NEA says, ‘We’re not going to give you any money because our budget’s been cut.’ No, they did give us some money; they gave us $2,000. They said, ‘We know you asked for $20,000, here’s $2,000.’ And they judge it by asking, how big is your budget in general? If you get a shitload of money from corporations, the NEA will match it. For a company like the Mime Troupe, we don’t get very much money from them at all. People have no idea how little money we get from foundations.” Sullivan continues, “One of the most difficult things about making political theatre in general is boards of directors. More often than not, they’re not workers, they’re not average folk. That whole system is set up so that some rich people can be in charge of a nonprofit, and you have to not offend the AT&T representative on your board. You have to not offend the bank president. You have a class of people who do not see working-class issues the same way. Think about it. We just went through a massive economic tsunami that hit this country. Where are the plays about it? Having a board of directors that is made up of the 1 percent does not give you the space to do shows about the 99 percent. That’s the hardest thing about doing both political theatre and topical theatre. There could be a revolution in the streets and the board won’t approve a show about revolution in the streets.” So if you or your team don’t write your own show, or commission one (a two- to three-year process, with no guarantee that the finished product will still be relevant), maybe you look for something from another writer—and run up against George Hampe and Anthony Fusco in Dead Metaphor at American Conservatory Theater, March 2013. Photo: Kevin Berne


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what Sullivan calls “New Yorkphilia.” “Somebody writes an incredibly timely show, someone who can get something produced on Broadway, and it’s happening on Broadway right now; the Bay Area’s not going to get that show for two and a half, three years,” he says. “It puts us behind. This city used to be an incubator; there were many writers and many more small theatres. This was the place where plays came from, and artists came here to work. So many of these theatres were collectives, they were companies dealing with the brutal issues of the day.” Dooley concurs, explaining, “When a show gets a really good New York Times review, it’s going to take a while to get rights, because the agent is like, this is my payday. They’re waiting for the Berkeley Rep, or the Guthrie. With God’s Ear, I had the script and who I wanted for two or three years, and I just kept knocking, knocking, knocking [because Shorenstein was holding the rights]. A lot of what we do is just planning and then jockeying for the rights, checking in and checking in.” But when I talk to Perloff, thinking her experience will be different because of ACT’s size and status, she confirms, “If there is a tiny chance of success in New York, nobody else is going to get it. And rights are also very challenging for us because we sit right next to a commercial theatre. It’s getting harder.” How do you fight that? Dooley and Perloff stress the importance of making connections. Perloff wanted to stage Arcadia in ’95, soon after it opened in New York, but couldn’t secure the rights, so she befriended Tom Stoppard and he intervened

Planning for Relevance on ACT’s behalf. Meanwhile, Shotgun has started working more closely with agents. According to Dooley, “What’s great is when you have an agent that’s really scouting for you. There are some great plays coming out and you have an agent that sits down with the playwright and says this is really where you should go with this play. This is going to be the best home for this; this place is going to be the best springboard. You want to have an agent who is really advocating for you, because they could go somewhere else. They have their own agenda. If you can somehow factor into their plan, ‘I need a Bay Area foothold, a place where my playwright is going to have good productions, have a good relationship,’ your company could be that for somebody.” Perhaps a show is available and ready, but the directors are waiting for particular actors to free up. Sometimes projects have to be put on hold or released because directors just can’t line up the artists they want to work with, and presumably a show may get scrapped because it’s passed its freshness date. According to Perloff, “Casting is quite complex because we have a small core company and an MFA program. We have those actors who we love and young actors we want to support. I try to keep as many people employed as possible.” While Perloff may have certain shows lined up years in advance, she also likes to “leave a few slots until the end in case something delicious comes up.” Topicality may also reflect what artistic directors are going through in their own life. When Patrick and Kimberly Dooley had their first child, I noticed that Shotgun’s seasons started to feature less war and stage blood and more plays about parenting. Nine years later, Dooley is wondering what kind of world his daughters are growing into, and his company’s work asks questions about the future. “We’re interested in other ways that people can imagine communicating, opening up other layers of communication,” he says. “Social media, Twitter, tech speak are finding their way into our vernacular. What does it mean? We’re going to know in 20 years, but we don’t now. We look for those plays that explore what that kind of communication is doing, what that means for us. What is the hyperavailability of the most bizarre porn going to mean to our kids? What is intimacy is going to mean to them? We are dealing with the larger issues of what does it mean to be a human being. Theatre is going to the soul gym. I don’t want to live a life that doesn’t give me time to be thoughtful and reflective.” Dooley and Perloff describe unexpected synchronicities as though they were just that, but these moments appear to be a case of chance favoring the prepared mind. Perhaps because

Rotimi Agbabiaka, Lisa Hori-Garcia, Pat Moran and Velina Brown in an advance publlicity shot for Oil & Water, summer 2013. The photo does not depict actual characters or plot points in the show, which may not have been worked out by the time it was taken. Photo: David Allen

these artists are particularly sensitive to the world or running certain ideas as background processes, occasionally a moment falls into place that looks like magic. Dooley describes how “in 2001, we were doing Winesburg, Ohio, when 9/11 happened. We were supposed to be doing another play next, and a patron came up with Giradoux’s Tiger at the Gates and he said you gotta do this play, this is what’s happening right now. It’s about what happens when you’re provoked and once you’re provoked do you go to war. We were in rehearsals for that [under the name There Will Be No Trojan War] when we went into Afghanistan. And we did it because we were thinking about how are we going to break this cycle. I remembered reading Brecht talking about writing Mother Courage when the Germans were leaning into going to war. He thought he would produce it in Berlin, and they would go, ‘Oh my gosh, what are we doing? We can’t do this.’ But of course he ended up needing to flee Germany and staging it the first time in Switzerland. Dictators move faster than artists. He couldn’t stop the momentum, and there’s the question, do you even try? But you just have to. We have to do something. There’s the person sitting cross-legged in front of the tank. There’s the little act of civil disobedience. Even if it’s not necessarily going to stop what’s going on, you’re giving your community another lens through which to process their feelings about something that’s happening.” Lisa Drostova acts, directs and writes around town. She is affiliated with the Ragged Wing Ensemble and the Shelton Theater.

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The 2013


San Francisco East Bay North Bay South Bay Beyond the Bay

24 27 30 32 34

San Francisco 42nd Street Moon Eureka Theatre 215 Jackson St. (415) 255-8207 It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Superman!

(Newman, Benton, Strouse & Adams; dir: Dyan McBride) 10/2-20 I Married an Angel

(Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart; dir: Greg MacKellan) 10/30-11/17 Snoopy!!!

(Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates, Grossman & Hackady; dir: Lee Ann Payne) 11/27-12/15 99 Stock Productions Thick House 1695 18th St. Hitcher

(Alex Peri; dir: Peri) Thru 9/8 All Terrain Theater Exit Theatre 156 Eddy St. (415) 931-1094 Babies, the Ultimate Birth Control: Terrifyingly Hilarious Plays About Parenting

(Tracy Held Potter & Rachel Bublitz; dir: Elena Wright) 9/7-17 Altair Productions & The Aluminous Collective Stage Werx 446 Valencia St.


First b

(Evelyn Jean Pine; dir: Michael French) 10/10-11/10 American Conservatory Theater Geary Theater 415 Geary St. (415) 749-2228 1776

Improvised Horror


Halloween Special


2-on-2 Theatresports


Family Drama


(Peter Stone & Sherman Edwards; dir: Frank Galati) 9/11-10/6

A Very Merry Murder Mystery

Underneath the Lintel


(Glen Berger; dir: Carey Perloff) 10/23-11/7 A Christmas Carol


Tarantino X-Mas

New Year’s Eve Special!


(Carey Perloff & Paul Walsh, adptd from Charles Dickens; dir: Domenique Lozano) 12/6-28

Bay One Acts Festival Tides Theater 533 Sutter St.

Major Barbara

Bay One Acts Festival


Campo Santo Intersection for the Arts 925 Mission St., Ste. 109 (415) 626-2787

(George Bernard Shaw; dir: Dennis Garnhum) 1/8-2/2 (Linda Alper & Beatrice Basso, trans from Eduardo De Filippo; dir: Mark Rucker) 2/12-3/19 AWAT Productions Shelton Theater 533 Sutter St. (800) 838-3006 Foodies! The Musical

(Morris Bobrow; dir: Bobrow) Ongoing BATS Improv Bayfront Theater B350 Fort Mason Center (415) 474-6776 Improvised Downton Abbey


Super Scene


T H E AT R E B AY A R E A S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3


Alleluia, The Road b

(Luis Alfaro; dir: Jonathan Moscone) 11/1-17 Crackpot Crones Exit Theater 156 Eddy St. (800) 838-3006 Crones for the Holidays: The Sequel

(Terry Baum & Carolyn Myers) 12/14-29 Crowded Fire Theater Company Thick House 1695 18th St. (415) 746-9238

The Taming b

(Lauren Gunderson; dir: Marissa Wolf ) 10/3-26 Custom Made Theatre Company Gough Street Playhouse 1620 Gough St. (415) 798-2682 Next to Normal

(Brian Yorkey & Tom Kitt; dir: Brian Katz) 9/13-10/13 Peter/Wendy

(Jeremy Bloom, adptd from J.M. Barrie; dir: Bloom) 11/15-12/15 The Pain and the Itch

(Bruce Norris; dir: Dale Albright) 1/10-2/9 Cutting Ball Theater Exit on Taylor 277 Taylor St. (415) 525-1205 Sidewinders b

(Basil Kreimendahl; dir: Graham Smith) 10/18-11/17 The Natural Relations and Other Early Absurdist Experiments

(Andrew Saito, trans from Qorpo Santo; dir: Saito) 11/3 Antigone

(Sophocles; dir: Paige Rogers) 11/10 Ubu Roi

(Rob Melrose, trans from Alfred Jarry; dir: Yury Urnov) 1/24-2/23 Epiphany Productions Market Street Museum 77 Steuart St. (415) 226-1139


(Kim Epifano; dir: Epifano) 10/19-20 Exit Theatre 156 Eddy St. (415) 673-3847 22nd Annual San Francisco Fringe Festival


Hope’s Last Chance

(Rod McFadden; dir: Brady Brophy-Hilton) 10/4-26 The Voice

(David Kleinberg; dir: Mark Kenward) 10/4-26 DIVAs Tell All

(dir: Catherine Debon) 10/5-ongoing Thursday Night Combo

(dir: Mark Romyn) 10/10-ongoing

DIVA or Die Burlesque

(Red Velvet & If-N’-Whendy; dirs: Red Velvet & If-N’-Whendy) 10/12-2/15 TBA

(dir: Ariel Craft) 11/1-9 Footloose Presents The Garage 715 Bryant St. (415) 289-2000 Forbidden Fruit

(Jeff Bedillion; dir: Bedillion) 10/4-28 Landslip

(Renee Rhodes; dir: Rhodes) 11/15-17 Hope Mohr Dance

(Hope Mohr; dir: Mohr) 12/4-5

GenerationTheatre Southside Theatre Fort Mason (415) 644-8676 Bookkeepers

(Roland David Valayre; dir: Valayre) 10/10-27 Golden Thread Productions Z Below 470 Florida St. (866) 811-4111 444 Days b

(Torange Yeghiazarian; dir: Bella Warda) 10/17-11/3 Urge for Going

(Mona Mansour; dir: Evren Odcikin) 11/14-12/8 Killing My Lobster Stage Werx Theatre 446 Valencia St. Z Below 450 Florida St. The Shakespeare Bug b

(Ken Slattery; dir: M. Graham Smith) Stage Werx Theatre 9/7-28 Killing My Lobster Winter Follies b

Z Below 12/12-15

Lamplighters Music Theatre Palace of Fine Arts Theatre 3301 Lyon St. San Francisco Lesher Center for the Arts 1601 Civic Dr. Walnut Creek Bankhead Theater 2400 First St. Livermore Mountain View Center for Performing Arts 500 Castro St. Mountain View Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

700 Howard St. San Francisco (415) 227-4797

The Marsh 1062 Valencia St. (415) 282-3055

Upside-Downton Abbey, or, The Lass That Loved a Chauffeur

Acid Test: The Many Incarnations of Ram Dass

(Jonathan Spencer; dir: Phil Lowery) Palace of Fine Arts Theatre 11/10 Mountain View Center for Performing Arts 11/24 Die Fledermaus

(Johann Strauss; dir: Barbara Heroux) Lesher Center for the Arts 1/24-26 Bankhead Theater 2/8-9 Mountain View Center for Performing Arts 2/15-16 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 2/21-23 Magic Theatre Fort Mason Center Bldg. D, 3rd Fl. (415) 441-8822 Buried Child

(Sam Shepard; dir: Loretta Greco) 9/11-10/6 Arlington b

(Victor Lodato & Polly Pen) 11/13-12/8 Hir b

(Taylor Mac; dir: Niegel Smith) 1/29-2/23 Mark Foehringer Dance Project|SF Southside Theater Fort Mason Center (415) 343-5994 Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets M

(dir: Mark Foehringer) 11/30-12/22

(Lynne Kaufman; dir: Joel Mullennix) 9/6-10/12 The Scion b

(Brian Copeland; dir: David Ford) 9/6-10/26 The Jewelry Box

(Brian Copeland) 11/1-12/28 New Conservatory Theatre Center 25 Van Ness Ave., LL (415) 861-4914 American Dream, el sueno del otro lado b

(Brad Erickson; dir: Dennis Licktieg) Thru 9/15 Band Fags!

(Frank Anthony Polito) 9/13-10/13 Dirty Little Showtunes

(Tom Orr & F. Allen Sawyer; dir: Sawyer) 10/11-11/10 My Beautiful Laundrette

(Andy Graham & Roger Parsley, adptd from Hanif Kureishi; dir: Andrew Nance) 11/8-12/22 Avenue Q

(Whitty, Lopez & Marx; dir: Dennis Licktieg) 12/6-1/12 The Paris Letter

(Jon Robin Baitz) 1/17-2/23 Yellow

(Del Shores) 2/21-3/23

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3 T H E AT R E B AY A R E A 


T h e 2013 F a l l S e a s o n P r e v i e w b WORLD PREMIERE M CHILDREN’S SHOW/COMPANY Ninjaz of Drama Phoenix Theatre 414 Mason St. (415) 509-8656 Romeo and Juliet

(William Shakespeare; dir: Rey Carolino) 12/13-28 ODC ODC Theater 3153 17th St. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 700 Howard St. BodyTraffic

(Marshall, Siegal & Abraham; dirs: Tina Finkelman Berkett & Lillian Barbeito) ODC Theater 9/26-29 Layla Means Night

(Rosanna Gamson; dir: Gamson) ODC Theater 10/30-11/3 The Velveteen Rabbit

(KT Nelson, adptd from Margery Williams; dir: Brenda Way) Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 11/29-12/15

Off Broadway West Theatre Company Phoenix Theatre 414 Mason St., Ste. 601 (510) 835-4205 The Weir

(Conor McPherson; dir: Richard Harder) 11/7-12/7 Performers Under Stress Theatre Bindlestiff Studio 185 Sixth St. The Garage 715 Bryant St. (415) 585-1221 Scamoramaland b

(Eve Edelson; dir: Neil Higgins) Bindlestiff Studio 10/25-11/17 Second Sundays @ 7

The Garage 12/15-ongoing

Playwrights’ Center of San Francisco 24-Hour Play Fest


Fall 2013 Reading Series


Ray of Light Theatre Victoria Theatre 2961 16th St. (415) 690-7658 Carrie: The Musical

(Cohen, Gore & Pitchford; dir: Jason Hoover) 10/3-11/2 San Francisco Magic Parlor Chancellor Hotel Union Square Theatre 433 Powell St. Astonishment! Magical Tales of San Francisco

(Walt Anthony; dirs: Beckwith, Miller & Scott) 10/4-ongoing San Francisco Playhouse 450 Post St. (415) 677-9596 Camelot

(Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe, adptd from T.H. White; dir: Bill English) Thru 9/21 Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

(Rajiv Joseph; dir: Bill English) 10/1-11/16 Storefront Church

(John Patrick Shanley; dir: Joy Carlin) 11/26-1/11 Jerusalem

(Jez Butterworth; dir: Bill English) 1/21-3/8 San Francisco Shakespeare Festival Main Post Parade Ground Lawn The Presidio Jerry Garcia Amphitheater McLaren Park 40 John F. Shelley Dr. San Francisco Public Library – Richmond Branch 351 9th Ave. (415) 558-0888 Emily Jordan as Lady Macbeth in the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival’s production of Macbeth. Photo: John Western


T H E AT R E B AY A R E A S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3


(William Shakespeare; dir:

Kenneth Kelleher) Main Post Parade Ground Lawn Thru 9/15 Jerry Garcia Amphitheater 9/21-22 Julius Caesar

(William Shakespeare; dir: Stephen Muterspaugh) San Francisco Public Library – Richmond Branch 10/19 San Francisco State University, Theatre Arts Department 1600 Holloway Ave. (415) 338-2467 The Unmentionables

(Bruce Norris; dir: William Peters) 10/17-27 The Stage-Mutineers

(dir: Joel Schechter) 11/7-10 A Chorus Line

(Kirkwood, Hamlisch & Kleban; dir: Barbara Damashek) 12/5-15 Fringe Goes Long


Southern Railroad Theatre Company Royce Gallery 2901 Mariposa St. (415) 505-2151 southernrailroadtheatrecompany. Rocket’s Red Glare: The Holiday Story b

(Susan Jackson; dir: Ann Thomas) 12/5-14 Theatre of Yugen NohSpace 2840 Mariposa St. (800) 838-3006 Celebrating 35 Years: Getting to Noh Yugen


Emmett Till: A River b

(Kevin Simmonds & Judy Halebsky; dir: Jubilith Moore) 11/7-17 Theatre Rhinoceros Z Below

T h e 2013 F a l l S e a s o n P r e v i e w b WORLD PREMIERE M CHILDREN’S SHOW/COMPANY 470 Florida St. Eureka Theatre 215 Jackson St. (800) 838-3006 To Sleep and Dream b

(John Fisher; dir: Fisher) Z Below 9/19-10/6 Road Show

(John Weidman & Stephen Sondheim; dir: John Fisher) Eureka Theatre 1/2-19 Thrillpeddlers Hypnodrome 575 10th St. (415) 377-4202 Shocktoberfest 14: Jack the Ripper b

(Rob Keefe & Carl Grose, adptd & trans from André de Lorde & Pierre Chaine; dir: Russell Blackwood) 9/30-11/23 Tides Theatre 533 Sutter St., 2nd Fl. (415) 399-1322 Gruesome Playground Injuries

(Rajiv Joseph; dir: Jennifer Welch) 10/10-11/9 University of San Francisco Performing Arts Department USF Studio Theater 2800 Turk St. (415) 422-5979 Wild Boy

(Oliver Goldstick, adptd from Paul Collins; dir: Ken Sonkin) 10/18-27 Un-Scripted Theater Company 533 Sutter St., 2nd Fl. (415) 322-8738 A Murder Most Un-Scripted

(dir: Trish Tillman) 10/25-11/2

Un-Scripted: The Holiday Musical

(dir: Christian Utzman) 11/14-12/21

Virago Theatre Company Phoenix Theatre 414 Mason St., 6th Fl. San Francisco Elks Ballroom 2255 Santa Clara Ave. Alameda Hillside Club 2286 Cedar St. Berkeley (510) 865-6237 Two One-Acts: Arousal and The Lover b

(George Pfirrmann & Harold Pinter; dir: Chloe Bronzan) Phoenix Theatre 9/6-28 Il Trovotore

(Giuseppe Verdi; dir: Ellen St. Thomas) Elks Ballroom 1/29-2/2 Hillside Club 2/7-9 We Players Fort Point Presidio (415) 547-0189 Macbeth

(William Shakespeare; dir: Ava Roy & John Hadden) Thru 10/6 Wily West Productions Exit Theatre 156 Eddy St. (415) 885-8526 Hope’s Last Chance b

(Rod McFadden; dir: Brady Brophy-Hilton) 10/3-26 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts 701 Mission St. (415) 978-2787 Untitled Feminist Show

Coproduction with Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company (Young Jean Lee; dir: Lee) 1/30-2/2 Z Space 450 Florida St. (866) 811-4111

Janelle Ayon performs in Theatre of Yugen’s 35th Anniversary Getting to Noh Yugen presentation. Photo: Charline Formenty In Friendship

Presented by Word for Word (Zona Gale; dirs: Delia MacDougall & Joel Mullennix) Thru 9/8

(Ryan, Bengson & Bengson; dir: Anne Kauffman) 2/27-4/6

East Bay


Coproduction with Joe Goode Performance Group (Joe Goode; dir: Goode) 9/26-10/5 444 Days b

Coproduction with Golden Thread Productions (Torange Yeghiazarian; dir: Bella Warda) 10/17-11/3 Urge for Going

Coproduction with Golden Thread Productions (Mona Mansour; dir: Evren Odcikin) 11/14-12/8 Be Bop Baby: A Musical Memoir

(Margo Hall; dir: Sheila Balter) 11/19-23

Killing My Lobster’s Winter Follies

Coproduction with Killing My Lobster 12/12-15 Liss Fain Dance

(Liss Fain; dir: Fain) 1/9-12 Hundred Days - An Indie-Rock Opera Featuring the Bengsons

Actors Ensemble of Berkeley Live Oak Theatre 1301 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley (510) 649-5999 Picasso at the Lapin Agile

(Steve Martin; dir: Anna Andersen) 10/4-26 Relatively Speaking: Three OneActs

(Allen, Coen & May) 1/3-25

Aurora Theatre Company 2081 Addison St. Berkeley (510) 843-4822 After the Revolution

(Amy Herzog; dir: Joy Carlin) Thru 9/29 A Bright New Boise

(Samuel D. Hunter; dir: Tom Ross) 11/8-12/8 Gideon’s Knot

(Johnna Adams; dir: Jon Tracy) 1/31-3/2

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3 T H E AT R E B AY A R E A 


T h e 2013 F a l l S e a s o n P r e v i e w b WORLD PREMIERE M CHILDREN’S SHOW/COMPANY Bay Area Children’s Theatre M Freight & Salvage 2020 Addison St. Berkeley Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center 10550 Albion Rd. San Ramon Children’s Creativity Museum 221 4th St. San Francisco Marin Theatre Company 397 Miller Ave. Mill Valley Osher Studio 2055 Center St. Berkeley (510) 296-4433

Lisa Shepard Appleyard) 1/18-26

The Gold Rush Musical b

The Pianist of Willesden Lane

(Austin Zumbro; dir: Nina Meehan) Touring 10/1-12/6 A Year with Frog and Toad

(Robert Reale & Willie Reale; dir: Lynda Bachman) Freight & Salvage Dougherty Valley Performing Arts Center Creativity Theatre Marin Theatre Company 11/17-1/19 Where the Mountain Meets the Moon b

(Min Kahng; dir: Mina Morita) Osher Studio 2/22-3/16 Berkeley Playhouse M Julia Morgan Theater 2640 College Ave. Berkeley (510) 845-8542 x351 A Little Princess

(Brian Crawley & Andrew Lippa; dir: Elizabeth McKoy) 10/30-12/8 Damn Yankees

(Abbot, Wallop, Adler & Ross; dir: Kimberly Dooley) 1/10-12 Tarzan – The Stage Musical Based on the Disney Film

(David Henry Hwang & Phil Collins, adptd from Edgar Rice Burroughs; dirs: Laura Marlin &


The Music Man

(Meredith Willson; dir: Marissa Wolf ) 2/13-3/23 Berkeley Repertory Theatre 2025 Addison St. Berkeley (510) 647-2949 Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

(Christopher Durang; dir: Richard E.T. White) 9/20-10/20 (Hershey Felder, adptd from Mona Golabek & Lee Cohen; dir: Felder) 10/25-12/8 Tristan & Yseult

(Emma Rice, adptd from Carl Grose & Anna Maria Murphy; dir: Rice) 11/22-1/6 The House That Will Not Stand b

(Marcus Gardley; dir: Patricia McGregor) 1/31-3/16 Broadway West Theatre Company 4000 Bay St. Fremont (510) 683-9218 Web of Murder

(Jonathan Troy; dir: Paula Chenoweth) 9/20-10/19

A Winter’s Tale

(William Shakespeare; dir: Patricia McGregor) 9/25-10/20 Center Repertory Company Lesher Center for the Arts 1601 Civic Dr. Walnut Creek (925) 943- 7469 Ella the Musical

(Jeffrey Hatcher; dir: Robert Barry Fleming) 9/6-10/12 Don’t Dress for Dinner

(Marc Camoletti; dir: Michael Butler) 10/25-11/23 A Christmas Carol

(Charles Dickens; dir: Scott Denison) 12/12-22 Clybourne Park

(Bruce Norris; dir: Michael Butler) 1/31-3/1 Central Works Berkeley City Club 2315 Durant Ave. Berkeley (510) 558-1381 Red Virgin, Louise Michel and the Paris Commune of 1871 b

(Gary Graves; dir: John Patrick Moore) 10/17-11/24 TBA b


(Jack Sharkey & Leo W. Sears; dir: Michael Price) 11/15-12/21

Chanticleers Theatre 3683 Quail Ave. Castro Valley (510) 733-5483

Last of the Red Hot Lovers

Jerry’s Girls

Sorry! Wrong Chimney

Oakland (415) 452-9334 The Ghosts of Haddon Hall

(David Parr; dir: Parr) 12/13-22

Contra Costa Civic Theatre 951 Paloma Ave. El Cerrito (510) 524-9132 The Drowsy Chaperone

(Martin, McKellar, Lambert & Morrison; dir: Daren A.C. Carollo) 9/20-10/20 A Child’s Christmas in Wales

(Jeremy Brooks & Adrian Mitchell, adptd from Dylan Thomas; dir: Jack Phillips) 11/22-12/15 Contra Costa Musical Theatre Lesher Center for the Arts 1601 Civic Dr. Walnut Creek (925) 943-7469 Tarzan – The Stage Musical Based on the Disney Film

(David Henry Hwang & Phil Collins; dir: Jasen Jeffrey) 10/11-11/10 Diablo Theatre Company    Lesher Center for the Arts 1601 Civic Dr. Walnut Creek (925) 943-7469 Shrek, The Musical

(David Lindsay-Abaire & Jeanine Tesori; dir: Kikau Alvaro) 9/6-28 A Grand Night for Singing

(Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein; dir: Terry Barto) 11/29-12/7

(Neil Simon) 1/17-2/15

(Jerry Herman; dir: Gary Wright) 10/11-11/10

California Shakespeare Theater Bruns Amphitheater 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way Orinda (510) 548-9666

Five Women Wearing the Same Dress

(Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey; dir: Christopher Youngsman) 2/7-3/1

Christmas Revels Scottish Rite Theater 1547 Lakeside Dr.

Douglas Morrisson Theatre 22311 N. Third St. Hayward (510) 881-6777

T H E AT R E B AY A R E A S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3

(Alan Ball; dir: Patricia Inabnet) 2/21-3/16


T h e 2013 F a l l S e a s o n P r e v i e w b WORLD PREMIERE M CHILDREN’S SHOW/COMPANY The Woman in Black

(Stephen Mallatratt, adptd from Susan Hill; dir: Marilyn Langbehn) 9/5-29 Bare Bones Tuesdays Staged Reading


110 in the Shade

(Nash, Schmidt & Jones; dir: Nancy McCullough Engle) 11/14-12/8 Bare Bones Tuesdays Staged Reading


An Ideal Husband b

(Scott Munson, adptd from Oscar Wilde; dir: Susan E. Evans) 2/6-3/2 East Bay Children’s Theatre M Jack and the Beanstalk b

(Ron Lytle; dir: Sue Ellen Nelsen) Touring 2/20-April

Impact Theatre La Val’s Subterranean 1834 Euclid Ave. Berkeley (510) 224-5744 What Every Girl Should Know

(Monica Byrne; dir: Tracy Ward) 9/5-10/13 Troilus and Cressida

(William Shakespeare; dir: Melissa Hillman) 11/7-12/15 Bread and Circuses

(Aguirre-Sacasa, Gomolvilas, Greene, Gunderson, Holstein, Lee, Maxwell, Yee & Yockey; dir: Desdemona Chiang) 2/27-4/6 Indra’s Net Theater Berkeley City Club 2315 Durant Ave. Berkeley (415) 613-9210


(Peter Parnell; dir: Bruce Coughran) 11/29-12/22 Kaiser Permanente Educational Theatre M (877) 353-2223 The Best Me

(Samantha King; dir Brendan Simon) Thru 6/5 Peace Signs

(dir: Mark Punzal) Thru 6/5 Nightmare on Puberty Street

(Todd Ristau; dir: Keinya Lawrence) 9/10-6/5 Secrets

(Patricia Loughrey; dir: Hannah Cordero) 10/10-6/5 The Marsh Berkeley 2120 Allston Way Berkeley (415) 282-3055 Can You Dig It? The ’60s – Back Down East 14th

(Don Reed) 9/7-12/1

The Lieutenant of Inishmore

(Martin McDonagh; dir: John Maio) Thru 9/28 A Year with Frog and Toad

(Robert Reale & Willie Reale; dir: Marti Baer) 11/1-12/7 The Laramie Project

(Moises Kauffman; dir: Michael Sally) 1/24-2/22 “OMG, I Love That Show!” Productions Lesher Center for the Arts 1601 Civic Dr.

Thrill Me!

(Stephen Dolginoff; dir: Jasen Jeffrey) 10/28 The Great American Trailer Park Musical

(David Nehls & Betsy Kelso) 2/21-3/2

Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre Firehouse Arts Center 4444 Railroad Ave. Pleasanton (925) 931-4848 Little Shop of Horrors

(Howard Ashman & Alan Menken; dir: Kenneth Baggott) 11/8-24 A Chorus Line

(Kirkwood, Dante, Hamlisch & Kleban; dir: Lois Grandi) 1/24-2/9 Pinole Community Players Community Playhouse 601 Tennent Ave. Pinole (510) 724-9844 Songs for a New World

Masquers Playhouse 105 Park Place Point Richmond (510) 232-4031

James Royce Edwards in Contra Costa Musical Theatre’s Tarzan – the Stage Musical Based on the Disney Film. Photo: Scott Marrs

Walnut Creek (925) 943-7469

(Jason Robert Brown; dir: Anjee Norgaard-Gallia) 10/17-19 A Chorus Line

(Kirkwood, Dante, Hamlisch & Kleban; dir: David Clark) 11/1-16 Carrie, the Musical

(Cohen, Gore & Pitchford; dir: Laura Schultze) 1/17-2/8 Ragged Wing Ensemble East Bay Outdoor Parks The Flight Deck 1540 Broadway Oakland (510) 479-0710 Buried in the Body b

(Anthony Clarvoe; dir: Adam Sussman) 10/17-11/2

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3 T H E AT R E B AY A R E A 


T h e 2013 F a l l S e a s o n P r e v i e w b WORLD PREMIERE M CHILDREN’S SHOW/COMPANY Fierce Plays b


Role Players Ensemble Village Theatre 233 Front St. Danville (925) 314-3400 Anna Christie

(Eugene O’Neill; dir: George Maguire) 9/6-21 Lettice and Lovage

(Peter Shaffer; dir: Phoebe Moyer) 10/18-11/9 The Matchmaker

(Thornton Wilder; dir: Eric Fraisher Hayes) 1/17-2/8 Symmetry Theatre Company Live Oak Theater 1301 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley (415) 377-0457 Carnival Round the Central Figure

(Diana Amsterdam; dir: Chloe Bronzan) 11/2-12/1

TheatreFirst Live Oak Theatre 1301 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley (510) 981-8150 Orlando

(Sarah Ruhl; dir: Domenique Lozano) Thru 9/15 Escanaba in da Moonlight

(Jeff Daniels; dir: Michael Storm) 2/6-3/9 Town Hall Theatre Company 3535 School St. Lafayette (925) 283-1557 The Rainmaker

(N. Richard Nash; dir: Clive Worsley) 9/12-10/5 Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)

(Carleton, Fitzgerald & Alvarez; dir: Michael Storm) 12/5-21 God of Carnage

(Yasmina Reza; dir: George Maguire) 2/20-3/15

Stand-ins DC Scarpelli and Ariel Brewer in early publicity shots for Diablo Theatre Company’s Shrek the Musical. (The roles are actually played by Jerry Lee and Brittany Danielle.) Photo: Mark Kitaoka & Tracy Martin

UC Berkeley Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies Durham Studio Theater Zellerbach Playhouse Zellerbach Hall, Room 7 UC Berkeley Campus Berkeley (510) 642-8827 Kid-Simple: A Radio Play in the Flesh

(Jordan Harrison; dir: Caitlin Marshall) Durham Studio Theater 10/15-24

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

(William Shakespeare; dir: Christine Nicholson) Zellerbach Playhouse 10/18-27 Fucking A

(Suzan-Lori Parks; dir: Emma Nicholls) Zellerbach Hall, Room 7 10/31-11/2

The Fellowship b

(Ignacio Zulueta; dir: Hugo E. Carbajal) The River Bride b

(Marisela Treviño Orta) Baba b

(Denmo Ibrahim) Benicia Old Town Theatre Group B.D.E.S. Hall 140 W. J St. Benicia (707) 746-1269 The Sunshine Boys

(Neil Simon) 10/18-11/9

Cinnabar Theater 3333 Petaluma Blvd. N. Petaluma (707) 763-8920

The Dining Room

The Pavilion

(A.R. Gurney; dir: Jackie Black) 10/26-11/24

(Craig Wright) 9/6-22

Shotgun Players Ashby Stage 1901 Ashby Ave. Berkeley (510) 841-6500 x303

La Cage aux Folles

Bonnie & Clyde

(Meehan, Strouse & Charnin) 11/29-12/15

Strangers, Babies

(Linda McLean; dir: Jon Tracy) 10/15-11/24 Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness

(Anthony Neilson; dir: Beth Wilmurt) 12/4-1/26

T H E AT R E B AY A R E A S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3

AlterTheater Ensemble Fourth St. San Rafael (415) 454-2787

San Leandro Players 320 West Estudillo Ave. San Leandro (510) 895-2573

(Adam Peck; dir: Mark Jackson) Thru 9/29


North Bay

(Harvey Fierstein & Jerry Herman, adptd from Jean Poiret; dir: Sheri Lee Miller) 10/18-11/3 Annie M

Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris

(Eric Blau & Mort Shuman, trans from Jacques Brel; dir: Ann Woodhead) 12/31-1/19 Macbeth M (William Shakespeare) 2/21-3/2

T h e 2013 F a l l S e a s o n P r e v i e w b WORLD PREMIERE M CHILDREN’S SHOW/COMPANY College of Marin, Drama Department Sir Francis Drake Blvd. & Laurel Ave. Kentfield (415) 485-9385 A Streetcar Named Desire

(Tennessee Williams; dir: W. Allen Taylor) 10/3-20 The Importance of Being Earnest

(Oscar Wilde; dir: Lisa Morse) 12/5-15

Conservatory Theatre Ensemble at Tamalpais High School Daniel Caldwell Theater 700 Miller Ave. Mill Valley (415) 380-3535 The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing

Marin Theatre Company 397 Miller Ave. Mill Valley (415) 388-5208 Good People

(David Lindsay-Abaire; dir: Tracy Young) Thru 9/15 I and You b

(Lauren Gunderson; dir: Sarah Rasmussen) 10/10-11/3 Rapunzel M (Mike Kenny; dir: Daunielle Rasmussen) 11/2-10 Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol

(Tom Mula; dir: Jon Tracy) 11/21-12/15

A Year with Frog and Toad M

(Julianna Rees, adptd from William Shakespeare; dir: Rees) 10/8-12

(Willie Reale & Robert Reale, adptd from Arnold Lobel; dir: Lynda Bachman) 1/11-19

Flare: A Bright Future b

Lasso of Truth b

(Peterson, King & Van Zandt; dir: Bob Ernst) 11/1-5 Alice: Tales of a Curious Girl

(Karen Hartman, adptd from Lewis Carroll; dir: Susan Brashear) 12/3-8 Winter One-Act Festival


Marin Shakespeare Company Forest Meadows Amphitheatre 890 Belle Ave. San Rafael (415) 499-4488

Carla Pauli and Adam Magill in Marin Shakespeare Company’s All’s Well That Ends Well. Photo: Steve Underwood

(Carson Kreitzer; dir: Jasson Minadakis) 2/20-3/16 Mendocino Theatre Company 45200 Little Lake St. Mendocino (707) 937-4477 In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)

(Sarah Ruhl; dir: Ann Woodhead) Thru 9/29 Time Stands Still

A Christmas Carol

(Preston Lane & Jonathan Moscone, adptd from Charles Dickens; dir: Jennifer King) 12/6-15



In assoc w/ Sonoma State University (Melanie Marnich; dir: Jennifer King) 2/21-3/2 Novato Theater Company 5420 Nave Dr., Ste. C Novato (415) 883-4498

(Donald Margulies; dir: Betty Abramson) 10/10-11/10

The Lion in Winter

(Lesley Currier & Robert Currier, adptd from William Shakespeare; dirs: Currier & Currier) Thru 9/29

All’s Well That Ends Well


All’s Well That Ends Well

Napa Valley Conservatory Theater Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center 2277 Napa Vallejo Highway Napa (707) 256-7500

A Comedy of Errors

(William Shakespeare; dir: Robert Currier) Thru 9/28

(William Shakespeare; dir: Dan Kozloff) 12/5-15

Porchlight Theatre Ross (415) 251-1027

(James Goldman; dir: Kris Neely) Thru 9/22 (Laurents, Styne & Sondheim; dir: Blanca Florido) 10/18-11/10 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

(Barbara Robinson; dir: Janelle Ponte) 11/29-12/15 The Crucible

(Arthur Miller dir: Mark Shepard) 2/14-3/9

(Steven Dietz; dir: Shannon Veon Kase) 10/10-11/2 Ross Valley Players Barn Theater 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Ross (415) 456-9555 x1 Chapter Two

(Neil Simon; dir: James Nelson) 9/13-10/13 Harvey

(Mary Chase; dir: Robert Wilson) 11/15-12/15 Journey’s End

(R.C. Sherriff; dir: James Dunn) 1/17-2/16 Santa Rosa Junior College Theatre Arts Department Burbank Auditorium 1501 Mendocino Ave. Santa Rosa (707) 527-4343

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T h e 2013 F a l l S e a s o n P r e v i e w b WORLD PREMIERE M CHILDREN’S SHOW/COMPANY Distracted

(Lisa Loomer; dir: John Shillington) 10/4-13 Les Misérables

(Kretzmer, Fenton & Schönberg, trans from Alain Boublil and JeanMarc Natel, adptd from Victor Hugo; dir: Laura Downing-Lee) 11/22-12/8 Silver Moon Theatre Andrews Hall, Sonoma Community Center 276 E. Napa St. Sonoma (707) 938-4626 x1 No Sex Please, We’re British

(Anthony Marriott & Alistair Foot; dir: Nellie Cravens) 10/3-20 Sonoma Stage Works Andrews Hall, Rotary Stage 276 E. Napa St. Sonoma (707) 938-4626 x1 Troublesome Creek b

(Todd Evans; dir: Joey Hoeber) 9/5-15 PlayFest 2013


Sonoma State University Department of Theatre Arts & Dance 1801 E. Cotati Ave. Rohnert Park (707) 664-2353 Blur

(Melanie Marnich; dir: Jennifer King) 10/17-26 Ghost Sonata

(August Strindberg; dir: Judy Navas) 10/31-11/9 Super Mega Molten Hot Lava New Play Festival

(various; dir: Scott Horstein) 11/14-16 Fall Dance Concert

(dir: Kristen Daley) 11/21-12/6


Stapleton Theatre Company Drake Little Theatre 1327 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. San Anselmo (415) 454-5759 A Christmas Carol

(Ahrens, Ockrent & Menken, adptd from Charles Dickens; dir: Bruce Vieira) 12/19-22 Throckmorton Youth Performers M Throckmorton Theatre 142 Throckmorton Ave. Mill Valley (415) 383-9600 The Wizard of Oz

(Baum, Arlen & Harburg; dir: Amy Marie Haven) 11/8-17

South Bay Broadway by the Bay Fox Theatre 2215 Broadway St. Redwood City (650) 369-7770 Cabaret

(John Kander & Fred Ebb; dir: Brandon Jackson) 9/13-29 Guys & Dolls

(Swerling, Burrows & Loesser; dir: Molly Bell) 11/8-17 It’s a Wonderful Life, A Live Radio Play

The Pirates of Penzance


City Lights Theater Company 529 S. Second St. San Jose (408) 295-4200 Animals Out of Paper

(Rajiv Joseph; dir: Karen Altree Piemme) 9/19-10/20 Coney Island Christmas

(Donald Margulies; dir: Kit Wilder) 11/21-12/22 The Smell of the Kill

(Michele Lowe; dir: Virginia Drake) 1/23-2/23 Dragon Productions Theatre Company Dragon Theatre 2120 Broadway St. Redwood City (650) 493-2006 x2

(Eric Idle & John Du Prez; dir: Dan Demers) Thru 9/22 Lettice and Lovage

(Peter Shaffer; dir: Greg Fritsch) 10/17-11/3 Mame

(Lawrence, Lee & Herman, adptd from Patrick Dennis; dir: Bill Starr) 12/5-22 The Grapes of Wrath

(Frank Galati, adptd from John Steinbeck; dir: Greg Fritsch) 1/22-2/9

The Fantasticks


The Sunshine Boys

(John Guare; dir: Meredith Hagedorn) 10/10-11/3 (David Mamet; dir: Troy Johnson) 11/21-12/15 Rx

Foothill College Theatre Arts Department Lohman Theatre 12345 El Monte Rd. Los Altos Hills (650) 949-7360

Wizard of Oz

Ring Around the Moon

T H E AT R E B AY A R E A S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3

Monty Python’s Spamalot

Rich and Famous

Children’s Musical Theater San Jose M Montgomery Theater 271 S. Market St. San Jose (408) 288-5437 x336


Hillbarn Theatre 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd. Foster City (650) 349-6411

(Paul Zindel; dir: Shareen Merriam) Thru 9/22

And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little

(Kate Fodor; dir: Laura Jane Bailey) 1/16-2/9

White Christmas

(Howard Ashman & Alan Menken; dir: Milissa Carey) 2/20-3/9

Los Altos Stage Company Bus Barn Theater 97 Hillview Ave. Los Altos (650) 941-0551

(Joe Landry; dir: Milissa Carey) 12/26-29


Little Shop of Horrors

(Christopher Fry, adptd from Jean Anouilh; dir: Janis Bergmann) 11/8-24

(Tom Jones & Harvey Schmidt; dir: Gary Landis) 9/5-29 (Neil Simon; dir: Karen Altree Piemme) 11/21-12/14 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

(Tennessee Williams; dir: Dawn Monique Williams) 1/23-2/15 Naatak Cubberley Theater 4000 Middlefield Rd. Palo Alto God of Carnage

(Christopher Hampton, trans from Yasmina Reza; dir: Mukund Marathe) 10/27-11/3

T h e 2013 F a l l S e a s o n P r e v i e w b WORLD PREMIERE M CHILDREN’S SHOW/COMPANY Northside Theatre Company 848 E. William St. San Jose (408) 288-7820 True West

(Sam Shepard; dir: Richard T. Orlando) 10/10-11/3 A Christmas Carol

(Richard T. Orlando, adptd from Charles Dickens) 12/5-29 Educating Rita

(Willy Russell) 2/13-3/9

Pacifica Spindrift Players 1050 Crespi Dr. Pacifica (650) 359-8002 Noises Off

(Michael Frayn; dir: Debi Durst) Thru 9/22 Social Security

(Andrew Bergman; dir: John Tranchitella) 11/1-24 Auntie Mame

(Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee) 1/24-2/16 Palo Alto Players Lucie Stern Theater 1305 Middlefield Rd. Palo Alto (650) 329-0891 In the Heights

(Quiara Alegría Hudes & LinManuel Miranda; dir: Alex Perez) 9/13-29 God of Carnage

(Yasmina Reza; dir: Jeanie K. Smith) 11/1-17 The Heiress

(Ruth Goetz & Augustus Goetz; dir: Dennis Licketeig) 1/17-2/2 Peninsula Youth Theatre M Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts

500 Castro St. Mountain View (650) 903-6000 Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and Takes the Cake b

(Dexter Fidler, adptd from Adam Rex) 10/11-12 Turk & Runt

(Dexter Fidler, adptd from Lisa Wheeler) 11/8-9

McKinley Middle School Auditorium 400 Duane St. Redwood City (650) 594-2730 The Tale of Snow White

(Barbara Lennon; dir: Melody Cole) Central Middle School 11/8-17 Disney’s Aladdin Dual Language Edition

(Leigh, Comden, Green, Charlap & Styne, adptd from James M. Barrie; dir: Michael Champlin) 11/9-17

(Bryan Louiselle, adptd from Luigs, González, Menken, Ashman & Rice; dir: Eron Block) McKinley Middle School Auditorium 12/13-15

Merry Christmas, Strega Nona

Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.

Peter Pan

(Thomas W. Olson, adptd from Tomie de Paola; dir Roberta Inscho-Cox) 12/6-7

Gooney Bird Green and Her True Life Adventures

(Kent R. Brown, adptd from Lois Lowry) 1/17-18

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach b

(Carol Doup Muller, adptd from Carmen Agra Deedy) 2/14-15

(Wright, Menken, Ashman & Slater, adptd from John Musker & Ron Clements, adptd from Hans Christian Andersen; dir: Eron Block) Central Middle School 1/22-26 Disney’s Aladdin Jr.

Rice; dir: Eron Block) McKinley Middle School Auditorium 2/7-9 San Jose Repertory Theatre 101 Paseo de San Antonio San Jose (408) 367-7255 One Night with Janis Joplin

(Randy Johnson; dir: Johnson) 9/5-29 Next Fall

(Geoffrey Nauffts; dir: Kirsten Brandt) 10/17-11/10 The Snow Queen b

(Kirsten Brandt & Rick Lombardo, adptd from Hans Christian Andersen; dir: Lombardo) 11/27-12/22 R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe

(D.W. Jacobs, adptd from R. Buckminster Fuller; dir: Jacobs) 1/30-2/23

(Jim Luigs & Bryan Louiselle, adptd from Menken, Ashman & James Arroyo in Peninsula Youth Theatre’s Peter Pan. Photo: Lyn Healy

Renegade Theatre Experiment Historic Hoover Theatre 1635 Park Ave. San Jose (408) 493-0783 The Drunken City

(Adam Bock; dir: Jeffrey Lo) 9/6-28 She Kills Monsters

(Qui Nguyen; dirs: Sean Murphy & Susannah Greenwood) 11/15-12/7 The Whipping Man

(Mathew Lopez; dir: Jacquelyn Montellato) 2/1-22 San Carlos Children’s Theater M Central Middle School 828 Chestnut St. San Carlos

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T h e 2013 F a l l S e a s o n P r e v i e w b WORLD PREMIERE M CHILDREN’S SHOW/COMPANY Santa Clara Players Hall Pavilion, Triton Museum 1505 Warburton Ave. Santa Clara (408) 248-7993

Making God Laugh

Four Weddings and an Elvis

(Kambeitz, Paulson, Creer, & Cassetta; dir: Cathy Spielberger Cassetta) 11/8-23

(Nancy Frick; dir: Robert Casillas) 10/18-11/9 The Christmas Mouse M

(Michael Antonucci; dir: Antonucci) 12/6-15

SCU Presents Louis B. Mayer Theatre, Santa Clara University 500 El Camino Real Santa Clara (408) 554-4015

The Duke, the Count and Me – Dixie to Swing, When Jazz Was King b

The Elves and the Shoemaker b

(Jennifer Packard & Jeremy Harris; dir: Packard) 11/29-12/15 The Duke Ellington Nutcracker Suite

(dir: Gus Kambeitz) 12/5-15

Silent Sky

(Lauren Gunderson; dir: Meredith McDonough) Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts 1/15-2/9

Beyond the Bay PacRep Theatre Forest Theater Mountain View & Santa Rita Circle Theatre 4 SW Eighth Ave. at Casanova Golden Bough Theatre 4 SW Eighth Ave. at Monte Verde Carmel-by-the-Sea (831) 622-0100 Peter Pan

Fall One-Act Festival


(Peter Stone & Sherman Edwards; dir: Diane Milo) 1/24-2/16

(adptd from J.M. Barrie; dir: Walt deFaria) Forest Theater Thru 9/29

Pride and Prejudice

Farewell, Fitzgerald

The Imaginary Invalid

(Joseph Hareddy & J.R. Sullivan, adptd from Jane Austen; dir: Father Fred Tollini) 11/8-16 Winter One-Act Festival


First Person Shooter

(Aaron Loeb; dirs: Aldo Billingslea & Camille Hayes) 2/28-3/8 South Bay Musical Theatre Saratoga Civic Theater 13777 Fruitvale Ave. Saratoga (408) 266-4734 Les Misérables

(Kretzmer, Schönberg & Boublil, adptd from Victor Hugo; dir: Jay Manley) 9/28-10/19 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

(Fields, Loos, Styne & Robin; dir: C. Michael Traw) 2/1-22 Tabard Theatre Company Theatre on San Pedro Square 29 N. San Pedro St. San Jose (800) 838-3006


(Sean Grennan; dir: Doug Baird) 9/20-10/13


(Kurt Gravenhorst & Jeremy Harris; dir: Gravenhorst) 2/28-3/23 TheatreWorks Lucie Stern Theatre 1305 Middlefield Rd. Palo Alto Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts 500 Castro St. Mountain View (650) 465-1960 Other Desert Cities

Coproduction with the Old Globe, San Diego (Jon Robin Baitz; dir: Richard Seer) Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts Thru 9/15 Warrior Class

(Kenneth Lin; dir: Leslie Martinson) Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts 10/9-11/3 Little Women

(Knee, Howland & Dickstein, adptd from Louisa May Alcott; dir: Robert Kelley) Lucie Stern Theatre 12/4-29

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(Constance Congdon, adptd from Molière; dir: Kenneth Kelleher) Circle Theatre 9/5-29 A Midsummer Night’s Dream

(William Shakespeare; dir: Stephen Moorer) Forest Theater 10/3-20 Monty Python’s Spamalot

(Eric Idle & John du Prez; dir: Stephen Moorer) Golden Bough Theatre 11/21-12/22 Sierra Repertory Theatre East Sonora Theatre 13891 Mono Way Sonora Fallon House Theatre Columbia State Historic Park 11175 Washington St. Columbia (209) 532-3120 x103 Don’t Dress for Dinner

(Marc Camoletti; dir: Peter DeBono) Fallon House Theatre 9/6-29

The Spitfire Grill

(James Valcq & Fred Alley; dir: Scott Viets) East Sonora Theatre 10/4-27 Harvey

(Mary Chase; dir: Dennis Jones) Fallon House Theatre 10/25-11/24 It’s a Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play

(Joe Landry; dir: Scott Viets) East Sonora Theatre 11/15-12/22 UC Davis Department of Theatre & Dance Main Theatre, Wright Hall Hutchinson Dr., UC Davis Davis (530) 754-2787 Spring Awakening

(Steven Sater & Duncan Sheik; dir: Stafford Arima) 11/21-12/7 Western Stage 411 Central Ave. Salinas (831) 755-6816 Zoot Suit

(Luis Valdez; dirs: Lorenzo Aragon & Jon Selover) 9/7-28 The Importance of Being Earnest

(Oscar Wilde; dir: William J. Wolak) 9/13-10/6 A Song for My Father

(David Budbill; dir: Lorenzo Aragon) 11/2-24 Crazy for You

(Ken Ludwig; dir: Jeff McGrath) 11/16-12/14


Managing Director The Secret Life of a


managing director, says Lisle. “One day it might entail readhe most humbling thing Cutting Ball Theater’s ing the new Lauren Gunderson script,” she says. “The next it managing director Suzanne Appel has ever had to do for the company was right after she joined, might be budgeting; the next it might be driving the freakin’ light board across town.” This leads to some confusion about in 2011. “My first show at Cutting Ball was Pelleas and what managing directors actually do. Most people in the Melisande,” she says, “and we hadn’t been able to have our theatre world have a vague understanding that there are two cleaning person come in. It was right after the Fringe Festikinds of leadership in a theatre company, artistic leadership val, so let’s just say there was a lot of grime in the bathroom. and business leadership, which means that many (though Our neighborhood [San Francisco’s Tenderloin district] has not all) companies have a team of two leaders. The work of challenges, and the audience’s experience when they come artistic directors tends to be easier to grasp: they set the artisin is something I really care about. At the end of the day, if something isn’t done and I care about it, I do it. So I person- tic vision for the company and have final say over the kind of work the company produces. But the work of managing ally cleaned both the men’s and women’s bathrooms.” All four managing directors I interviewed for this article— directors is less well understood, not least because there are so many different titles for the job. Michael Barker at Marin Theatre Marin Theatre Company managing director Managing directors and executive Company, Liz Lisle at Shotgun Michael Barker. Photo: Carolyn Potz directors differ in name only; they Players, Cheshire Isaacs at Impact both make all business decisions for Theatre and Appel—have vivid stoa theatre company. Producing direcries of having to do what no one else tors are similar, but tend to have a at their company wanted to do, be it much larger artistic role. Barker’s making a dreaded phone call to the predecessor at MTC, Ryan Rilette, landlord, chiseling rock-hard gum was a producing director, and he ofoff seats or unclogging their buildten directed shows for the company. ing’s bowels. If none of these duties General managers, which exist only are explicitly written in a managing at larger theatres, are a level below director’s job description, they are all managing directors. They handle a part of how Barker defines the poHR, contracts and some of the sition: “It all revolves around making day-to-day operations of a building, sure the door stays open,” he says. “I freeing managing directors to focus create the space in which people can on the bigger picture and on being take risks.” a public face for the company. Even This, obviously, includes a lot. within the managing director profesThere’s no typical day in the life of a

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Managing Director say, ‘If you really want this, here are sion, job descriptions vary depending some options for trade-offs.’” Still, on the needs and sizes of the theatre occasionally being the naysayer can companies and the skills, talents and be “lonely,” she says: “I try to remind desires of their employees. myself that that frustration is about Some duties, however, are comthere having to be someone who mon across the profession. All says no”—in other words, that it’s managing directors oversee their not personal. When Lisle has to say company’s finances, which entails evno to a project, which is rare, she erything from accounting to marketsays, “There’s a certain institutional ing, selling tickets, fundraising and knowledge I can wield. It’s like, working with the board of directors. ‘We’ve been down this road before But managing directors are just as and it didn’t go very well for us. Reinvolved in their company’s overall member when that happened?’” strategy as they are in the nitty-gritty If managing directors must at details of the ledger. Strategic questimes be the Debbie Downers of tions might include what kind of art their companies, they also have a a company wants to make and how Shotgun Players managing director Liz Lisle. Photo: Paala Secor deep sense of ownership of and big the company should be to best create that art; who a company’s audience is, how it can serve pride in their art, even though they’re not principally them and how to develop their loyalty and engage them more thought of as artists. In some companies, the line between deeply; how a company relates to the rest of the field and the artistic director and managing director is so blurry that the world at large; how it can strengthen its finances and market- managing director actually makes a good deal of the artistic ing to better meet all these goals. Appel says that Cutting Ball decisions. This is particularly true for Lisle. The structure of artistic director Rob Melrose and she “partner on strategy. It’s Shotgun, she says, “is not traditional, where everybody has his or her own department. We still operate on the idea that not my job to say, ‘This is what you want for a show.’ I say, the more everyone knows what everyone else is doing, the ‘If this is the goal, how do we set ourselves up to get there?’” better. So we’re all going through Isaacs uses similar terms to describe rehearsals, all reading scripts, all givthe way he and Impact artistic direcing feedback.” Most managing ditor Melissa Hillman plan a strategy: rectors are not so involved in mak“I work very closely with Melissa ing art. “When I go to the TCG on our vision for the company,” he conference and I go to the managsays. “We identify one big thing each ing directors’ room, I feel really season that’ll be really difficult to weird,” she says. Appel also gives achieve and try to achieve it.” artistic notes during the rehearsal The flip side of this duty is that process, and that aspect of her job managing directors have to check description is part of what attracted artists when they want to pursue her to work for Cutting Ball, but projects that aren’t in line with the her commenting is limited. She company’s long-term goals or that sees herself “as an advocate for the the company can’t afford. This puts audience. I can give feedback as managing directors in the awkward an experienced theatregoer. If it’s position of being the person who says helpful, take it; if not, don’t. It’s not “no.” That’s one of the chief struggles a core responsibility of my job, but of the position, which different MDs it’s something I really value about cope with in different ways. Appel my relationship with Rob [Melrose, says, “The way I walk in, it’s not Impact Theatre managing director Cheshire Isaacs. Photo: Mary Kay Hickox Cutting Ball’s artistic director].” about, ‘No, you can’t have this.’ I 36

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Managing Director skills like accounting and grant writEven Isaacs, who’s less present in the ing and puts students in prestigious rehearsal room, takes pride in the fellowships, but for Appel it also fact that “there have been a number provided her with some valuable imof shows that I’ve turned [Hillman] peratives in her job: to find as many onto” by virtue of being on Impact’s funding options as possible (“not reading committee. putting all my eggs in one basket,” as Being a managing director, says she says), to “differentiate what we do Barker, “is not a calling. It’s a noble from what everyone else does,” and profession, but it’s not like acting or “to make decisions based on numdirecting, when you wake up one bers, not on my gut.” At the same day when you’re 14 and are like, ‘I time, she says, “You don’t have to wanna do that.’” Like many theatre go to grad school to be good at this. people, these four managing direcThe way I learned accounting in grad tors started out as artists—Barker school, with an Excel spreadsheet, is was once a performer; Appel was very different from doing it in a coma performer and director; Isaacs pany.” Lisle was educated in just that. was and still is a graphic designer; She calls her training “the Shotgun Lisle was and still is a playwright. Players graduate program,” or the “six But they shifted career paths for years of crisis management” after the similar batches of reasons: the life company was first created when she of an artist was unappealing, other Cutting Ball Theater managing director learned “how to do everything,” even, opportunities arose, new talents Suzanne Appel. Photo: Maggie Elliott eventually, accounting. Isaacs is simiand skills surfaced. Appel says that larly self-educated, and as managing through a work-study job in college, director of the smallest company of “I discovered that I was weirdly kind the four, he has the broadest array of of good at raising money.” Isaacs, by responsibilities, including press relacontrast, became a managing directions and his initial specialty, graphic tor by being in the right place at design. “To be honest,” he says, “I the right time. “I started volunteerstill feel, seven years into the role, like ing with Impact in 2001,” he says, I’m playing dress-up.” doing just graphic design at first. “At different points we’d established As for aspiring managing directhat we needed a managing director. tors, the most important piece of When I started working for Berkeley advice my interviewees gave was to Rep in 2005, I was better posifind a company you like first before tioned for it. Just having proximity setting out to be a managing directo La Val’s [where Impact’s theatre tor. All said they wouldn’t be managis located] and our PO box and a ing directors for just any company; bank branch made certain things for Lisle, working at Shotgun allows a lot easier. It was little things like her to “make sure I do enough of the that. My thought was, ‘Well, I can try this and see if the things I really love about the theatre,” which for her includes challenge speaks to me.’ I didn’t set out to do this, but I was new-play development. Appel adds that “finding a company well positioned.” that’s willing to give you real responsibility is more important than the name of the company.” And for a salutary dose of reAppel and Barker were in different years in the same gradualism, Barker says, “If I ever work for a small company again, ate program at Yale, which combines an MBA from the Yale one of the things I’d do first is find the janitor’s closet”—just School of Management and an MFA in theatre management to know where stuff is. from the Yale School of Drama. The program teaches basic

“You don’t have to go to grad school to be good at this. The way I learned accounting in grad school, with an Excel spreadsheet, is very different from doing it in a company.”

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By Jean Schiffman

The Persistence of Vision:

Succession Planning in Theatre


n 2007, Rebecca Novick surprised the local theatre com- limp along? Economic environment, strength and commitmunity by leaving Crowded Fire Theater, the small but ment of the board, organizational planning and just plain important company she’d founded 10 years earlier; she luck all contribute. So too do the personalities of the foundjokes that she felt like an alcoholic who’d gotten sober while ers themselves. her founder/artistic director colleagues who’d also started Novick left because she couldn’t see a way for the company small theatres in the 1990s were still drinking. to grow and still remain true to its mission of presenting Those colleagues—Ben Yalom (FoolsFURY), Rob Melrose challenging new works. She’d just had a baby, she was in (Cutting Ball Theater), and Patrick Dooley (Shotgun Playher mid-30s, and she wanted to explore different kinds of ers)—stayed the course. Yalom reformulated FoolsFURY as work and different scales of production. She wondered if a bicoastal company; it now produces only intermittently in she should attempt to change the company to accommodate San Francisco. Melrose, who’d founded Cutting Ball with her needs, but she ultimately decided, “The theatre doesn’t his wife, Paige Rogers, secured a home base, continued the belong to me to that degree.” mission (new work and reenvisioned classics), and grew the Like with so many smaller theatres, Novick and her board company several notches. Dooley led Shotgun into the mid- hadn’t done much succession planning. But the company size category and established a home Shotgun Players artistic director Patrick Dooley. had always been keen on cultivatPhoto: Pak Han at Ashby Stage. ing younger artists, and one of At the time, it would have been them, Marissa Wolf, who is 10 years hard to predict the individual younger than Novick, was part of the trajectories of these four theatres. ongoing ensemble. When Novick Similarly, as Melrose points out, left, Wolf eventually applied for the anyone who was around just after job and (after a period of uncertainty the Eureka Theatre premiered Angels for the theatre) was hired. She has in America would have assumed the carried forward Novick’s goal of stagEureka would continue to flourish. ing challenging, artful productions— And when Novick left Crowded Fire, and the theatre has remained the many assumed the company would same size and scale as when Novick not survive. Neither assumption left. Hesitant at the time, Novick proved true. now knows she made the right deciSo why do some theatres, when sion, for her and for the company. their founding artistic director leaves, Melrose, who says, “I want Cutmake a successful transition and ting Ball to live on after me,” foresees thrive while others close down or leaving in about six years, when his 38

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person. (Recently Kelley promoted son will have graduated from high longtime casting director/associate school. To that end, he is working to artist Leslie Martinson to associcommunicate the vision of the theate artistic director.) “My idea here atre so it’s not just about “the taste is that eventually I’ll start making of Rob Melrose”; he’s been hiring plans to change my role into someoutside directors so that others can thing more supporting that allows share the vision. He is also increasfor a new leader to come along,” ing the board. “Five years ago, when Kelley says. “But at the moment I’m Paige and I were running the thehale and hearty and full of joy and atre, if we left town it would have excitement.” been hard to imagine Cutting Ball Patrick Dooley, too, is feeling the continuing,” he says. Now they’ve joy. He says he hopes to stay on the hired other key staff people so that job at Shotgun—where he works Cutting Ball would be a good place closely with associates Liz Lisle and for an incoming mid-career artistic Joanie McBrien—for another 20 director. years. But there’s always the posHe has also been consulting with The Cutting Ball Theater artistic director sibility he’ll get hit by a truck, so mentors about his, and the theatre’s, he and the board have talked about future. “I’m in a wonderful position Rob Melrose. Photo: Deborah Blin succession and looked into getting an insurance policy that now,” he says. “Cutting Ball can support the kind of work I would provide funds for rehiring if he were suddenly unable want to do [plays like Pelleas and Melisande, or Krispy Kritto work. He’d like the board to hire from within the comters in the Scarlett Night], which bigger theatres would never pany, which comprises about 20 artistic members who meet do. At the same time I have opportunities to direct at other monthly to discuss all artistic matters. theatres.” He’s also looking at Bay Area theatre history: He knows One mentor, Heather Kitchen, tells him it’s time to think of his next big success. She also challenges him: “What’s best that at a few major theatres, founding artistic directors were for Cutting Ball? You’ve got to be able to take yourself out of booted out. “I wanted to make sure that we’re having regular artistic director evaluations by the board so we don’t get into the equation and ask yourself that.” Another mentor, Oskar a situation where the board and artistic team are at cross Eustis, told him, “You’ve got to decide if you want to be a purposes,” he says. “I need to be accountable. It’s easy [to go great director or a great artistic director.” If the former, he off course] if you’ve been doing it for a long time and there’s should stay at Cutting Ball. If the latter, he should move on nobody looking over your shoulder. ... A lot of checks and to see what it’s like to run a big theatre—but he won’t have time to focus on his directing career. “I’m leaning toward my balances exist, so the possibility for megalomania doesn’t.” A founding artistic director who echoes Kelley’s and first love being directing,” says Melrose. He still has that sixyear plan loosely formed in his mind—but, he admits, “Like Dooley’s happy sentiments is Christina Augello, who, along with managing director Richard Livingston, founded Exit Robert Kelley, I could decide to keep running the theatre.” Theatre in 1983. At the time, the two of them formulated a For Kelley, who founded TheatreWorks on the Peninsula 40-year plan. They started with one 49-seat theatre and now in 1970, at age 22, leaving is not a current issue; he sees no have an empire of sorts: five performance spaces, a play-pubreason to move on. He’s grown the company from a suburlishing branch, the Fringe Festival and DivaFest. There’s also ban community theatre to a major player on the national a leadership-building “tribe” headed by production manager scene, world-premiering important new musicals among Amanda Ortmayer, who’s worked there for nine years and other triumphs. who Augello considers an heir. Still, TheatreWorks does have a plan for emergency sucStill, says Augello, she and Livingston are in their mid-60s cession, which is revised on an ongoing basis, so that if now, without pensions, and she still works on Sunday afteranything happens, the theatre is prepared for a transition. noons as a bartender in North Beach, so the issue of succesThe plan includes detailed descriptions of all positions and sion is “on the table.” what the recruiting process would be for a permanent new

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3 T H E AT R E B AY A R E A 


Succession Planning for a national search. Ultimately, But she has never considered her Ross got the job. position at Exit as a stepping stone As the new artistic director, Ross to anything else; she says she’s lucky announced, “This is an evolution, to spend her life in theatre, as a not a revolution.” He wanted to performer, a producer and a colcontinue to do classics, the Aulaborator. (Her heroines are Judith rora’s mainstay, but also created the Malina, who cofounded New York’s Global Age Project for new work. Living Theatre with Julian Beck Ross says he and Oliver respected in 1947 and still runs it, and Ellen each other, although the transition Stewart, who cofounded La MaMa itself created some awkward moETC in 1961 and ran it almost until ments as both Ross and Oliver had her death at age 91. to adjust to their new relationship, Augello once asked Aurora with Oliver as one director among Theatre founding artistic director others associated with company (a Barbara Oliver how she would know difficulty Novick avoided by makwhen it was time to leave, and Oliing a “clean break” with Crowded ver told her, “You’ll just know.” TheatreWorks artistic director Robert Kelley. Fire). That time has not come. “Where Ross acknowledges that the deciwould I go?” Augello wonders. “I’m Photo: Terry Gannon engaged, inspired and excited here. I hope at 75 my role is as sions founding artistic directors make can be fraught. He was working at the Public Theater when Joe Papp, who had a leader with Richard, contributing to indie theatre.” cancer, divided up his job in King Lear fashion, handing secThe late, beloved founder of Berkeley’s Aurora Theatre, tions to several people. “I knew that was a disaster waiting to Oliver was in her mid-60s (old in founding-artistic-director happen,” says Ross, who left for the Bay Area. years) in 1990 when she started the company (along with “Without me,” concedes Ross, “things might have gone several other theatre artists). She resigned in 2004 but stayed actively involved as a director. Tom Ross, who’d been the first differently here. I knew the theatre intimately. Barbara and I had decided that we were in it for the long haul and that the official person to be hired (as managing director), moved theatre was bigger than us and had to survive us.” into her position. “Barbara and I wanted Aurora At New Conservatory Theatre to be an institution, not a playpen Center, founded in 1981, Ed Decker for us, so we always thought about sees himself continuing for at least the future,” says Ross. “Sometimes another decade. One of the things founding artistic directors see thethat’s made his tenure so artistiatres as vanity projects. We didn’t cally fulfilling is that he’s been able want that.” to evolve the theatre’s identity over They especially had to discuss the time, starting as a progressive arts theatre’s future when they were tryeducation organization, then gaining ing to raise money to move to their an LGBT focus as well. “Missions current home on Addison Street. and visions do evolve,” he declares. “People would ask us, ‘What is the “And they should.” Musing on what future of Aurora?’ Barbara was in her makes for a successful transition of 70s at the time. ‘Why should I give leadership, he says, “For someone you money?’” coming in, it’s important to be conThe two of them had talked about nected in some passionate way to Ross, who is 25 years younger, sucthe mission and identity that exist. ceeding Oliver, but when the time The key is to grow, but don’t throw Exit Theatre artistic director Christina Augello. Photo: Laurie Gallant came, the board hired a consultant out the baby with the bathwater.” 40

T H E AT R E B AY A R E A S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3

Succession Planning “Which isn’t to say,” she amends, “that I’m planning to do Now in year one of a four-year strategic plan, New this to my last dying breath.” She is co-artistic director with Conservatory is beginning to look at itself structurally and formulate a succession plan. Decker recently hired an execu- playwright Gary Graves. The company created a strategic plan five years ago, but Zvaifler expects she’ll always have tive director to establish the dual leadership model. “And some connection with the company. I’m doing a lot of mentoring of younger staff members, and bringing new people in,” he adds. “We have founder’s zeal,” corroborates Robert Currier at Torange Yeghiazarian of Golden Thread Productions, Marin Shakespeare Company, which he founded, with his which she founded in 1996 specifically for Middle Eastwife, Lesley Currier, in 1990. And he is still involved with ern–themed work, is looking at an earlier turnover. She Ukiah Players, which he founded in 1977. It is largely foundhas been nurturing artists within the company “with an ers who are willing to work long hours for little money; leadeye to someone taking over in a few years,” because she ers who follow are less willing to do so. Thus some companies does not foresee staying in artistic leadership for the rest fold, or flounder, after the founding artistic director leaves. of her life. “I hate to put it crassly, but it comes down to money,” he Similarly, Greg MacKellan, who says. Like Kelley, Currier expects to founded 42nd Street Moon with continue until he physically cannot. Stephanie Rhoads in 1993, thinks “Hopefully when that time comes, he’ll move on at some point, and we’ll have generated enough money has some ideas about people he’ll to make an attractive offer to some speak to when the time comes. brilliant person.” “Right now I think it’s best for the But, all things being equal, there company that I’m here, but eventuare other, more elusive reasons ally it will be the time for someone why a theatre might fold when the new for the health of the company. founder leaves. As JoAnne Winter, It’s absolutely brewing in my head, cofounder/artistic director (with and sooner rather than later.” Yet Susan Harloe) of Word for Word, every time he thinks he might be says, “The person who takes over ready, something reinvigorates [has to have] the ability to translate him—for example, new performthe vision into their own thing.” ers, or cowriting a new show. “Every As Harloe notes, when the “triply person you work with, they set off visionary talents of Tony Taccone, Aurora Theatre Company artistic director Tom Ross. something in you, and you learn Richard Seyd and Oskar Eustis” Photo: Lisa Keating something new,” he says. left the Eureka Theatre Company Bill English, at the very popular San Francisco Playhouse, (which was originally founded in 1972 by another group of envisions another five to 10 years at the helm of the 10-year- theatre artists), the organization could not survive that loss old company. He and his wife and cofounder, Susi Damiof strong leadership and is now a rental house. lano, are equal partners in the artistic and business end of Finally, some theatres have simply reached the end of their the theatre. “Succession planning is an important part of natural lifespan, as Harloe points out, although it may not building an organization,” he says. “But having created this feel that way to the founders (or their audiences) at the time. magnificent playing field where I can express all my varied Says Novick, “There is something kind of beautiful about artistic interests, what would make me want to leave except a theatre that lasts and has a graceful ending. I don’t think feeling tired?” He adds, about succession planning, “You every theatre ought to have to outlive its founder.” When know you’ve been a good parent when you’ve made yourself she decided to leave Crowded Fire, she and the board and obsolete.” ensemble laid out a variety of options, one of which was to At Berkeley’s Central Works, Jan Zvaifler, who cofounded simply close down. Luckily, that was not the option ultithe ensemble-driven company in 1990, says she has no other mately chosen. plans—a director and performer, she’s been able to satisfy her artistic needs at the company, which creates new plays. Jean Schiffman is an arts writer based in San Francisco.

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3 T H E AT R E B AY A R E A 


auditions Audition listings are free of charge for company members of Theatre Bay Area. Individual members, organizational members & students w/current registration pay $10 per listing per month. All others pay $20 per listing per month. Please indicate whether actors are paid & the union status of the production. The deadline is the first working day of the month preceding. The deadline for the November/December issue is 10AM on October 1. Listings submitted after the deadline are not guaranteed to be included in the magazine. All notices are accepted at the editor’s discretion & may be edited for space. Unless otherwise indicated, ages & other characteristics in parentheses refer to the role, not the actual actor. Productions w/a possible union contract of one type or another are indicated by a . It is the policy of Theatre Bay Area to print audition listings for the current month & the following month. For future auditions, please visit the members-only section at BERKELEY PLAYHOUSE: The 25th Annual

Putnam County Spelling Bee (Sheinkin, Finn, Feldman & Reiss; dir: Kimberly Dooley). 5M; 4F. Cold read. Stipend. Auds 9/1 & 9/9 5:3010PM. Rehs begin 3/8. Perfs 4/5-5/4. Julia Morgan Theater, 2640 College Ave., Berkeley. HS/ resume/appt: SHOTGUN PLAYERS: General auds for

2014 season. Seeks actors based in Bay Area or who can provide own housing. Prep 2 contrasting monologues, 3 min max. No singing or musical instruments. Auds 9/3, 9/5 & 9/6. Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley. HS (JPG/PDF)/resume(DOC/PDF): casting@ Include contact number & availability during auds in body of email.

MARIN ONSTAGE: A Doll House (Hen-

rik Ibsen; dir: Ron Nash). 3M (30-40), 2M (6-12); 1F (70), 1F (35), 1F (30), 1F (4-6). Cold read. Non-AEA. Stipend. Auds 9/4-5 7-9PM. Callbacks 9/7. Presbyterian Church of Novato, 710 Wilson Ave., Novato. Perfs 11/1-17. Info: (707) 545-6755; ronnash@;


Musical (Morris Bobrow; dir: Bobrow). 1M; 1F. Prep comedic song & ballad & contemp comedic monologue. Pay. Non-AEA. Auds 9/5. Perfs ongoing. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter St., SF. Info/appt: (415) 713-6486.


Lace (Joseph Kesselring; dir: Gloria Weinstock). 11M (20-65+); 3F (20-65+). Read from script. Auds 9/5 5-7PM; 9/6 4-7PM. Perfs Nov. Diego Rivera Theatre. No appt. Info: (415) 452-5303. CONTRA COSTA CIVIC THEATRE: A

Child’s Christmas in Wales (Jeremy Brooks & Adrian Mitchell, adptd from Dylan Thomas; dir: Jack Phillips). 4M & 5F (30-50), 1M (10-30); 3 boys & 2 girls (10-12), 1 boy (8-9, soprano). Prep 90-sec song; bring sheet music in key; accomp prov. Non-AEA. Travel stipend. Auds 9/7 10AM-2PM (youth); 9/9 7-10PM (adult). Callbacks 9/11. Perfs 11/22-12/15. Contra Costa Civic Theatre, 951 Pomona Ave., El Cerrito. Appt: Info:



auds for 2014 season: Auntie Mame, Pirates of Penzance, Sugar Bean Sisters, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Importance of Being Earnest & Blithe Spirit. Prep either 2 contrasting monologues or 1 monologue and 16-32 bars of a song; bring sheet music in key; accomp prov. Auds 9/7 10AM4PM; 9/8 6-10PM. Pacifica Spindrift Players, 1050 Crespi Dr., Pacifica. Info/appt: Include top 3 time slots. SF BAY AREA ENSEMBLE CONSORTIUM: General auds for multiple Bay Area

ensemble theatres. Prep 30 secs of monologue, song, dance or acrobatics. Auds 9/7 10AM12PM, 12:30-2:30PM. NohSpace, 2840 Mariposa St., SF. Auds 9/10 5:30-7:30PM, 8-10PM. 1515 Webster St. 2nd Fl., Oakland. HS/resume/appt: bayareaensembles@yahoo. com. Put “BAEC Audition” in email subject field & rank from 1-4 your aud session prefs. PACIFIC COAST REPERTORY THEATRE: Little Shop of Horrors (Howard

Ashman & Alan Menken; dir: Ken Baggott). Prep 32 bars of show tune & come ready to move. AEA (2 guest artist contracts) & non-AEA. Auds 9/11. Rehs begin 10/14 for non-AEA & 10/28 for AEA. Perfs 11/8-24. Firehouse Arts Center, 4444 Railroad Ave., Pleasanton. Appt: ROSS VALLEY PLAYERS: Harvey (Mary

Chase; dir: Robert Wilson). Elwood precast. 2M (50s-60s), 1M (40s-50s), 2M (25-35); 3F (50-60), 2F (20-30). Cold read. Non-AEA. Stipend. Auds 9/14 1-5PM; 9/15 7-10PM. Callbacks 9/17. Barn Theatre, Marin Art & Garden Center, Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross. Appt: (415) 595-0581.


Little Match Girl (adptd from Hans Christian Andersen). 1M (30-60, baritone/bass); 1F (40-60, alto), 2F (20-50, mezzo/soprano), 1F (10-16, soprano); 2 any gender (10-16, soprano). Non-AEA. Stipend. Auds 9/23-30. Rehs begin Oct. Perfs late Nov-early Dec in SF & East Bay. Ltr of interest, resume & singing sample: No headshots. THEATRE RHINOCEROS: General auds

for 2013-14 season: Walk Like a Man, Road Show & The Habit of Art. Prep 2 contemp 90-sec monologues in contrasting styles & optional

T H E AT R E B AY A R E A S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3

90-sec a cappella song. AEA & Non-AEA. Pay. Auds 10/5 11AM-1PM (AEA), 1:30-4PM (non-AEA). Z Below Theatre, 470 Florida St., SF. Appt: (415) 552-4100. Give pref’d 5-min slot. Info: Performers of all ages, ethnicities & sexualities encour. PINOLE COMMUNITY PLAYERS: Car-

rie, The Musical (Cohen, Gore & Pitchford; dir: Laura Schultze). 8M & 8F (18-65). Prep 32 bars of song; accomp prov. Non-AEA. No pay. Auds 10/13 6-10PM; 10/14 7:30-10PM. Callbacks 10/16. Community Playhouse, 601 Tennent Ave., Pinole. Rehs begin 11/4. Perfs 1/17-2/8. Appt: amy.pinoleplayhouse@ List 2 pref’d 5-min slots.


The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged) (revised) (Long, Singer & Winfield; dir: Marilyn Langbehn). 3F (25-60). Prep 2 comic monologues, 1 from Shakespeare, 3 min total. Actors who auditioned at CCCT June Generals do not need to re-audition. Non-AEA. Travel stipend. Auds 10/27 1-4PM; 10/30 7-10PM. Callbacks 11/2. Perfs 1/31-2/23. Contra Costa Civic Theatre, 951 Pomona Ave., El Cerrito. Appt: Info: PALO ALTO PLAYERS: The Heiress (Ruth Goetz & Augustus Goetz; dir: Dennis Lickteig). 3M; 6F. Prep 2-min dramatic monologue. Stipend. Non-AEA. Auds 11/2 10AM-4PM. Callbacks 11/9. Rehs begin 12/2. Perfs 1/17-2/2. Lucie Stern Theater, 1305 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto. Appt: or (650) 329-0891. NOVATO THEATER COMPANY: The

Crucible (Arthur Miller; dir: Mark Shepard). 11M (20s-70s); 10F (teens-70s). Cold read; monologue optional. Non-AEA. No pay. Auds 12/1 4PM; 12/2 7PM. Callbacks 12/5. First Church of Christ Scientist, 1017 Third St., Novato. Rehs start 1/6. Perfs 2/14-3/9. Info:;

MARIN ONSTAGE: An Evening of Short

Plays (dir: Ron Nash). Three short plays: Miss Julie (August Strindberg), The Jewish Wife (Bertolt Brecht) & Trifles (Susan Glaspell). 5M (30-60); 6F (20-60). Cold read. Non-AEA. Stipend. Auds 12/4-5 7-9PM. Callbacks 12/7. Presbyterian Church of Novato, 710 Wilson Ave., Novato. Perfs 2/14-3/2. Little Theatre at St. Vincent’s. Info: (707) 545-6755;; HAMLET3.2.1 PRODUCTIONS: Seeking vocalists to record works of classic American poets for poetry website. No pay. Info: (510) 527-0297;



DESIGNERS: AlterTheater Ensemble.

Job bank listings are free of charge for company members of Theatre Bay Area. Individual members, organizational members & students w/current registration pay $10 per listing per month. All others pay $20 per listing per month. The deadline for the November/December issue is 10AM on October 1. Listings submitted after the deadline are not guaranteed to be included in the magazine. All notices are accepted at the editor’s discretion & may be edited for space. ADMIN ASSOC: Dragon Productions Theatre

Company. Duties: Rental & staff coordination; admin assistance. Req’d: Computer skills & good email communication. Ideal candidate is a personable, organized & motivated go-getter. 5-10 hrs/wk at $10/hr; most work can be done from home. Great growth potential. Cvr ltr: Meredith Hagedorn, ARTISTIC DIR: Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center. Duties: Programming & prod. Ideal candidate is an effective relationship builder, w/existing ties to a broad & diverse range of communities, & an entrepreneurial, flexible & resourceful problem solver w/3-5 yrs related exp. PT. Salary DOE. Cvr ltr/resume: info@ Put “Artistic Director Search Committee” in subject line. EOE. BOX OFFICE STAFF: Dragon Productions Theatre Company. Work begins 1 hr before perfs start & ends at closing. $35/show. Apply:


Playhouse. Duties: Grant research, PR, editing & database mngmnt. Req’d: BA in English or 1 yr exp in related field. $32,000-$35,360 + benefits. Apply:


maintain & improve company’s communication functions, including press releases & social media. Req’d: Attention to detail, excellent communication skills, expertise w/Microsoft Office, WordPress & HTML. Pref’d: Exp w/graphic design & social media. 5 hrs/wk, $20/hr. Cvr ltr/resume:


Shakespeare. For Shakespeare Night at the Blackfriars (George Crowe; dir: Robert Currier). Rehs 9/3-10/17. Berkeley Unitarian Fellowship, 1924 Cedar St., Berkeley. Perfs 10/18-11/17. Phoenix Theatre Annex, 414 Mason St., SF. Stipend. Info: Geoffrey Pond, (510) 2763871. Apply:

For 2013-14 season. Must be interested in working in nontrad spaces. Stipend. Resume/portfolio: casting@altertheater. org. Put “Designer” in subject line.

DESIGNERS (COSTUME, LIGHTS & SOUND): Northside Theatre Company.

For 2013-14 season. Flexible hrs. Info: (408) 288-7820. Apply: kingmeredith@ Info:

DIR: City of Walnut Creek. For Mini Kids

& Kids Theatre of Youth Theatre Company. To direct at least 4 musicals during the school year & 1 summer camp program. 3:30-6PM Mon-Fri + some additional hrs. Req’d: 3-5 yrs exp as dir/teacher; 4-yr degree in theatre; exp working w/children; excellent organizational & communication skills. Cvr ltr/resume:

DIR OF DVLPMNT: San Jose Repertory

Theatre. To create & execute fundraising strategies to meet the financial goals of the organization. Responsible for managing all dvlpment budgets, staff & campaigns. Ideal candidate has 5+ years dvlpmnt/arts exp. Resume/inquiries:


Palo Alto Players. To build & maintain


Explore 23 Areas of Art & Design Including Acting • Motion Pictures & Television | 800.544.2787 (u.S. Only) or 415.274.2200 79 nEw montgomEry st, sAn frAncIsco, cA 94105 Accredited member WASC, NASAD, CIDA (BFA-IAD, MFA-IAD), NAAB (B.ARCH*, M.ARCH) *B.Arch is currently in candidacy status.

Visit to learn about total costs, median student loan debt, potential occupations and other information.

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3 T H E AT R E B AY A R E A 


job BANK strategic fundraising program & marketing plan, grow social media outlets, cultivate prospects/donors & oversee gift stewardship & dvlpmnt. FT w/benefits. Cvr ltr/resume: Info: DIRS: AlterTheater Ensemble. Must be

interested in minimalist storytelling in unusual venues; eager to hire first from w/in ensemble & multiculturally; SF Bay Area local. Stipend. Cvr ltr/resume/portfolio: casting@ Put “Director” in subject line. DIRS, CHOREOGRAPHERS & VOCAL DIRS: Children’s Musical

Theater of San Jose. For 2013-14 season. Cvr ltr/resume: EDUCATION ASSOC: Actors Fund. For

Front-of-house & Vendini exp a+. Hrs vary, typically Thurs-Sat 6:30-11PM & Sun 12:304:30PM. Cvr ltr/resume: Info: Anne Younan, (408) 295-4200.

students; exp w/English language learners, atrisk youth & special education populations. $30-40/hr. Teaching artists of color strongly encour. Cvr ltr/resume/refs:

INTERN: StageWrite. Seeks theatre-ineducation intern to learn about nonprofit arts education admin & help w/general ops for 4-8 hrs/wk for the 2013-14 school yr. Duties: Grant writing, publicity, brainstorming curricula, assisting at teaching artist training sessions & prof dvlpmnt wkshops, photo & video documenting. Req’d: Interest in drama in education, excellent communication skills, exp w/MS office, BA completed or in progress in related field. No pay; school credit upon request. Cvr ltr/resume/refs:

PROD MNGR: AlterTheater Ensemble.

INTERNSHIPS: City Lights Theater Company of San Jose. Seeks interns in box office, admin, dvlpmnt & other fields. Desired qualifications: Telephone communication & people skills; trustworthiness; ability to think on feet. Familiarity w/Microsoft Office & Outlook a +. Hrs vary, typically Tues-Fri 1-5PM, min 2 days/wk. Info: (408) 295-4200. Cvr ltr/ resume: EOE.

Covered California Project, to present health care reform education activities to the arts & entertainment communities in Northern California. Local & regional travel; some eves & wknds. PT. Job lasts Sep 2013 thru Dec 2014. Must be artist looking for side income. Req’d: BA, exp teaching seminars, excellent verbal communication skills, driver’s license & vehicle. Pref’d: Public speaking exp, bilingual Spanish/English. Apply:


Seeks Master Teaching Artists for 12-wk elementary drama residencies at multiple school sites during 2013-14 school yr, Aug thru May. Req’d: 5+ yrs exp as teaching artist w/elementary

HOUSE MNGR: City Lights Theater Company

of San Jose. Req’d: People & money mngmnt skills; trustworthiness; ability to think on feet.


• Performance • Rehearsal • Class • Special Event • Audition

A few of our current spaces:

Cowell Theater at Fort Mason Center

Campbell Heritage Theatre

Bay Area Performing Arts Spaces


T H E AT R E B AY A R E A S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3

California. For 2 faculty-directed, professionally designed main-stage shows, 1 each semester. Responsibilities include facilitating prod processes & managing prod budget. 8-month commitment, flexible hrs. Pay DOE. Cvr ltr/ resume: Rebecca Engle, Theatre Program Director, Saint Mary’s College of California, Moraga, CA 94575. Info:

SMS: AlterTheater Ensemble. Seeks non-

Equity SMs for 2013-14 season. Familiarity w/Equity rules a+, but willing to train. 8-9wk contract. 20 hrs/wk during rehs. 4 perfs/ wk. $186/wk. Resume: casting@altertheater. org. Put “Stage Manager” in subject line.


Theatre Company. For the rest of the 2013 & 2014 seasons. Poss on-the-job training. Stipend. Cvr ltr/resume:


TECH DIR: Hillbarn Theatre. Half time.

Req’d exp: Working knowledge of construction, set cost estimation, rigging, masking, scenic artistry, lighting design & sound engineering. Minimum 3-5 yrs exp in academic or prof setting. PT. Salary DOE; benefits. Cvr ltr/ resume: No calls.


Company. For current season. Eves & wknds. Info: (408) 288-7820. Apply: kingmeredith@

Search by location, availability, size, cost, equipment and more


PROD MNGR: Saint Mary’s College of

Children’s Musical Theater of San Jose. For 2013-14 season. Cvr ltr/resume:


Find the right space for your next:

To work PT during 2013-14 season. Must understand electricity, be flexible, be willing to work in nontrad perf spaces, know fire code & have commitment to safety. Responsible for load-in, tech wk & strike. Cvr ltr/resume: Put “Production Mngr” in subject line.

First Voice Studio

VARIOUS: Los Altos Stage Company. Seeks to expand pool of creative teams & prod staff members for 2013-14 season & beyond. Seeks choreographers, musical dirs, SMs, designers (set, costume, lighting, sound & props). 201314 season: The Fantasticks, perfs 9/5-29; The Sunshine Boys, perfs 11/21-12/15; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, perfs 1/23-2/16; Harold and Maude, perfs 4/10-5/4; Company, perfs 5/296/28. Stipends vary depending on job & are competitive w/similarly sized companies. Cvr ltr/ resume: No calls.



For complete submission guidelines, contact the contest or theatre company. Opportunities that require a submission fee or other fee are marked by a

PLAYWRIGHTS FOUNDATION: Seeks full-length, previously unprod plays for 2013-14 season, including Bay Area Playwrights Festival. No translations; adaptations OK. Must be 60120 pages. $20 submission fee. Deadline 9/8. Info: JENTEL: Seeks writers & artists for month-

long residencies on Wyoming cattle ranch. Must be 25+. Deadline 9/15 for residencies in winter/ spring. $20 app fee. Info: SUSAN SMITH BLACKBURN PRIZE:

Seeks full-length plays by female playwrights. Both prod & unprod plays eligible, but premiere prods must have occurred in preceding calendar yr. 10 finalists chosen. Winner receives $20,000; Special Commendation receives $5,000; other finalists receive $1,000. Award ceremonies held in Feb-Mar in London, NY & Houston. Deadline 9/15. Info: RAGDALE: Seeks writers working on projects designed to bring awareness to a contemp issue having to do w/peace, social justice or the environment for Alice Hayes Writing Fellowship. Fellows receive $500 stipend & 4-wk residency in Lake Forest, IL. Deadline 9/15. Notification in Dec. Info: JOHN SIMON GUGGENHEIM MEMORIAL FOUNDATION: Seeks writers, composers

& artists for fellowships; winners receive grants of varied amounts to be spent however winner chooses. Deadline 9/19. Info: CUTTING BALL THEATER: Seeks new experimental plays for 2014-15 Risk Is This Festival. Must not have received previous prod w/ AEA actors. $25 submission fee. Deadline 9/30. Notification spring 2014. Info: LONG BEACH PLAYHOUSE: Seeks unprod, full-length, nonmusical plays for New Works Festival. Four winners receive staged readings, $100 honorarium, written critiques from professional drama critics & DVD of staged reading. Deadline 9/30. $10 reading fee. Info: SAN FRANCISCO OLYMPIANS FESTIVAL: Seeks proposals for 2014 festival of staged

readings of both short and full-length plays; perfs in Nov 2014 at the Exit Theatre. Deadline 9/30. Notification 11/1. Info: THEATRE THREE: Seeks unprod one-acts (40 min max) for the 17th Annual Festival of One-

Act Plays. No adaptations or children’s plays. Cast size 8 max. Winners receive prod as part of festival in Mar 2014 & small stipend. Deadline 9/30. Info: UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON SCHOOL OF THEATRE & DANCE: Seeks previously

unprod 10-min plays for festival in spring 2014. Deadline 10/15. Info: WAGNER COLLEGE THEATRE: Seeks unprod, unpublished full-length play, musical or series of thematically related one-acts for Stanley Drama Award. $2,000 award. $30 submission fee. Deadline 10/31. Info: stanley-drama. BEVERLY HILLS THEATRE GUILD:

Seeks original, unpublished, unprod fulllength plays for Julie Harris Playwright Award Competition. No musicals, groups of one-acts, children’s plays or translations. 1st prize: $3,500; 2nd prize: $2,500; 3rd prize: $1,500. $15 submission fee. Deadline 11/1. Info: RICHARD RODGERS AWARDS: Subsi-

dizes full prods, studio prods & staged readings by nonprofit theatres in New York City of musical theatre works by composers & writers who are not already established in the field. Deadline 11/1. Notification in Mar. Info:

PLAYWRIGHTS CENTER OF SAN FRANCISCO: Seeks non-musical submissions

for spring season. Can be one-act, full-length or a group of one-acts around a central theme. 130 pages max. $60 membership fee. Deadline 11/30. Info:

GOLDEN THREAD: Accepts full-length plays

on ongoing basis & 10- to 30-minute plays for 2014 ReOrient Festival. Festival deadline 3/1. Eligibility: Plays by Middle Eastern writers on any topic; plays about the Middle East written by anyone. Areas of interest: Comedies, especially satire; translations of contemporary Middle Eastern plays; adaptations of classical texts; exploration of Middle Eastern perf traditions & experiments w/nonrealistic forms. Info:

THE ACTOR’S PROJECT NYC: Seeks submissions of one-act or full-length plays for potential Actor’s Project prod. $35 entry fee. Info:


THE ACTOR’S PROJECT NYC: Seeks 1-5-min scenes & monologues for showcase writing contest. $20 submission fee covers up to 5 submissions per writer (extra $20 for 6-10 submissions). Info: CENTRAL WORKS: Seeks proposals on an

ongoing basis for plays to be developed via the Central Works Method. Info:

HORIZON THEATRE: Accepts unsolicited resumes, treatments, samples & summaries of plays by writers w/roots in the American South whose work is concerned w/that region. No unsolicited full-length scripts. Response time 12 months. Women & African American writers especially encour. Info: KILLING MY LOBSTER: Seeks comedy

writing submissions on an ongoing basis. Info: PLAY CAFE: Seeks playwrights to participate in monthly scene-reading night in Downtown Berkeley. Playwrights may have up to 10 pages of a scene-in-progress read by a combination of professional actors & fellow participants. $10 fee to participate. Meetings are 2nd Thurs of month, 7-10PM. Info:

PORTLAND STAGE: Seeks full-length plays

for Little Festival of the Unexpected. 3-5 winning playwrights get residencies in Portland, ME, during duration of festival & prod of show. Plays must not have had professional prod or workshop w/AEA actors. Scripts submitted in 2012 eligible for 2013 festival. Scripts accepted on ongoing basis. Info:


sions including 10-min plays, solo shows, one-acts, full-lengths or musicals for Hot Box Sessions on ongoing basis. Chosen works produced at Repurposed Theatre, SF. Info:

SATURDAY WRITE FEVER: Seeks playwrights to participate in monthly pop-up theater festival at the Exit Theatre Café. Playwrights write monologues from prompts; actors are cast from the crowd. Meetings are 3rd Saturday of month, 8:30-11PM. Info: WILY WEST PRODUCTIONS: Seeks Bay

Area playwrights interested in long-term relationships. Scripts of less than 15 pages encour; 85 pages max. Must be previously unprod. Info:

S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3 T H E AT R E B AY A R E A 


r e s o u r c e s

acting VERNA WINTERS STUDIO. One on one with acclaimed teacher/ coach Verna Winters. ACTING (Stage/Camera), AUDITIONING, VOICE, SPEECH, SINGING, MUSICAL THEATRE, MOVEMENT. Serious, supportive. Beginners, advanced, professionals. (510) 524-1601. Berkeley. NANCY CARLIN (ACT, BRT, Cal Shakes, UCSC) offering private audition/acting/voice coaching. (510) 290-8552 or yellowdoor@ AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER—STUDIO A.C.T. & YOUNG CONSERVATORY. Dynamic, rewarding classes for all levels—all taught by the finest theater artists in the industry. Studio A.C.T. is designed for adults; the YC serves students ages 8-19. Sessions are available throughout the year. Visit conservatory or call (415) 439-2350. PRIVATE COACHING WITH LYNNE SOFFER. Take your audition and/or dialect work to the next professional level. Expand and improve physical choices, use of language, depth of connection in both contemporary and classical work. Find new ease and command of audition experience. I’ve taught or coached for ACT, Cal Shakes,

Stanford, PCPA, Denver Center, Seattle Rep and most Bay Area theatres. (415) 771-6423. PRIVATE COACHING WITH LINDA AYRES-FREDERICK Artistic Director, Phoenix Theatre SF. Available for preparing auditions, monologues, sides, scenework and for editing (scripts and grantwriting). Reasonable rates. (415) 336-1020 or AUDITION AND LIFE COACHING WITH MERYL SHAW. Identify your strengths and find the best material to showcase them. Improve auditions by learning tools to sharpen skills and increase confidence. Define goals and create action plans to achieve them. Former A.C.T. Casting Director and life coach offers private coaching. KEVIN SIMMERS – PRIVATE COACHING FOR THE ACTOR. Monologue, audition prep and scene study work. With 30 years experience as a performer and teacher (New York-Europe-SF Bay Area). Current and former students working in Theater, Film & Television. Graduate of the Drama Studio London, MA in Direction, SF State University, teaches drama/ acting Skyline College. Beginner to seasoned professional. 75 minute session. Very reasonable rate. TBA discount. (415) 474-1066.

AMY POTOZKIN-AUDITION COACHING: Berkeley Repertory Theatre Casting Director available for private audition coaching. (510) 484-4280. MONOLOGUE MAKEOVERS. Private audition prep and coaching with customized, handpicked fresh selections that casting directors haven’t heard 10 times in a row. Stand out and stand up with first-rate showcase material and audition techniques for success. Complimentary evaluation from stage/TV/film actress Cynthia Roberts. Contact: (415) 994-4678 or

voice VERNA WINTERS STUDIOSINGING, SPEECH, STANDARD AMERICAN, PHONETICS, MUSICAL THEATRE, AUDITIONS Technique/performance for singers/actors/speakers. Superb, supportive teacher/coach. (510) 524-1601. Berkeley. LEE STRAWN VOICE STUDIO. Vocal technique and performance preparation for the singing actor. Active performer with 25 years teaching experience: breathing; posture; smoothing register breaks; extending range; freedom from tension. My students perform in national tours and regional theatres. (415) 378-8556.

CYNTHIA BASSHAM, MASTER TEACHER OF FITZMAURICE VOICEWORK®, is offering ongoing classes (group and private). Free your speaking voice of habitual tensions while gaining power and variety. Contact for Group Intro dates. (510) 303-2701. SCARLETT HEPWORTH VOCAL MUSIC STUDIO, EL CERRITO. Work with veteran actor/singer/ accompanist to learn songs uniquely suited to your voice/character type. Learn classic techniques for getting your highest notes and best sound. Scores of Bay Area actors use my 12-minute warm-up. One-hour lessons $60; last-minute audition prep, $75. Great Yelp reviews. Easy commute by car, BART, bus. (510) 705-1095, scarletthepworth@gmail. com,

services RESUME CONSULTANT. CSA & ATA approved format. SF location. SCRIPT & SCREENPLAY TYPING; easy revision. MARILYN PRINCE. (415) 794-3386. DOUGLAS MORRISSON THEATRE COSTUME, PROP, AND FURNITURE RENTALS Discounts to schools and nonprofit theatres. Hundreds of costumes available (Into the Woods, Music Man, Little Women, A Chorus Line, The King

$1.10/word; $1.50/word for nonmembers and individual members. 15-word minimum. Ads must be submitted and paid for by the deadline, which is the first business day of the month prior to publication.


Please indicate which section you’d like your ad to appear in. Contact Alan Kline,, or (415) 430-1140 x15. See for more info. H Advertisers who give discounts to Theatre Bay Area members.


T H E AT R E B AY A R E A S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3


and I, Camelot). View inventory online at Costume appointments: John Lewis (510) 881-6760. Props, furniture: Larry Jeane (510) 888-0160. SELLING YOURSELF: SNAGGING THE DAY JOB TO PAY THE BILLS Contact Mauri @ Career Insiders to find out how. Mauri@CareerInsiders. com (415) 391-1794

space OAKLAND REHEARSAL SPACE. 40’X50’X17’ ceiling, light and sound avail; phone; parking; secure building; loading dock; cheap. (510) 834-4102. EXIT THEATRE. 156 Eddy, downtown SF. Four intimate, equipped theatres, from

25-80 seats. Call Christina Augello, (415) 931-1094. STUDIO 210 Available for Rehearsals, Classes, Performance. Centrally located, clean, mirrors, wood floors, reasonable rates. (415) 267-7687. Seating, sound, and lights for shows. SF REHEARSAL SPACE AVAILABLE: In Civic Center. 250 Van Ness @ Grove. Great space for theater/dance rehearsal or classes. $25-35 per hour (20 hr min.) + Key deposit. 35 x 70-foot room with 22 x 50 dance floor & mirror. Safe, clean, public trans., wi-fi, security buzzer, piano. (415) 255-8205 or SPACE AVAILABLE Downtown SF for performances, classes, workshops, auditions, and rehearsals at the PHOENIX THEATRE and

PHOENIX ANNEX at 414 Mason (at Geary). Seats 49-70. Reasonable rates. Contact Linda at (415) 3361020 or to see by appointment only. BERKELEY CITY CLUB THEATER: intimate 60-seat performance space in beautiful landmark building. AVAILABLE FOR RENT, $800/WEEK, $3000/MO. FULLY EQUIPPED LIGHTING AND SOUND. Contact STAGE WERX 70+ seat theatre with 20x23 stage. Rehearsal studio. Great location on Valencia St. 1.5 blocks from 16th St. BART

PERFORMANCE AND REHEARSAL SPACES AT A.C.T. The Costume Shop theater, a 49-seat black-box theater located at 1117 Market Street. Hastings Studio Theater, up to 99-seat black-box theater, and 10 rehearsal studios at 30 Grant Avenue, Union Square. Contact: PERFORMANCE VENUE FOR RENT Live Oak Theatre, Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley: a 140 seat venue available for theatre performance, rehearsals, classes, award ceremonies, presentations, etc. Please phone (510) 9818150 for more information.

THE ALCOVE THEATER Lovely 60 seat space, SF Theater District, fully equipped, corporate@TheAlcoveTheater. com (415) 992-8168.

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Interviewed by Nirmala Nataraj

ing a male housekeeper in an Armenian farce titled The Lady Is Sleeping. How has the Bay Area theatre scene changed since you moved here?

Torange Yeghiazarian Artistic Director


or close to two decades, Torange Yeghiazarian—playwright and founding artistic director of Golden Thread Productions— has been weaving an intricate tapestry that has encompassed everything from luminous multimedia fables to annual festivals featuring the work of international Middle Eastern artists (ReOrient, which has been going strong for 13 years). Known for her deft exploration of historically rich material wedded to an inimitably contemporary sensibility, Yeghiazarian’s impetus for founding Golden Thread was “the near absence of Middle Eastern American perspectives in Bay Area theatre.” These days, Golden Thread is widely lauded as a formidable artistic juggernaut.


Do you remember your start in theatre?


I enjoyed being on stage from an early age. I used to sing, dance, act, direct and choreograph in school. At home, I was surrounded by artists and musicians, which helped create a deep appreciation for high-quality arts of all forms. In the U.S., I acted in Iranian and Armenian plays and some small projects during high school and undergrad. My fondest memory of that period is play-

I moved to the Bay Area in 1991. Yes, the theatre scene has changed a lot. We are more connected and more empowered, it seems to me. Much of this can be credited to the leadership of TBA, first by Sabrina Klein, followed by Brad Erickson. In the late ’90s, when we started Golden Thread, a number of other theatre companies were founded: foolsFury, Crowded Fire and Cutting Ball. I feel like we all grew up together. Were there ever times when you doubted your path or thought you’d pursue something else, or was theatre always a primary passion of yours?

My career goal as a child was to become a heart surgeon. I followed the path to medical school via an undergraduate degree in clinical sciences while taking theatre classes and performing in Iranian and Armenian plays. By the time I completed my undergrad, I had five years of experience working in a hospital laboratory and was pretty disillusioned by the way medicine is practiced. This is when I decided to pursue theatre as a career. I left my job, ended my relationship, packed up my bags, and moved to the Bay Area to audition for the MFA program at SFSU. Two weeks before my audition date, the program was cancelled. At that moment, I thought I had made a mistake. I found a full-time job in the biotech industry and decided to move on. But theatre is something you can’t give up. Within months I was taking night classes at ACT and finding performance opportunities. What has been the proudest artistic moment of your career?

T H E AT R E B AY A R E A S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3

Wow, that’s a tough question, as there have been many. Ecstasy: a waterfable and Night over Erzinga are probably the two productions I’m most proud of, because they were difficult projects that resulted in breathtaking performances that changed the lives of the people involved in profound ways. I’m very proud of the ReOrient festival. The fact that Golden Thread was credited as the fountainhead of Middle Eastern American theatre in Salaam. Peace: An Anthology of Middle Eastern-American Drama, the first of its kind, made me enormously proud. In contrast, what stands out as your most memorable disaster?

And there have been many of those! But none stand out as a disaster, per se. There are productions that could have been stronger, or marketed more effectively. Some of my less proud moments are when I dropped a short play from a ReOrient lineup after final dress. Or when I canceled a tour two weeks before opening. I guess I feel less proud when I fail to come through for a production. Has the initial vision you had for Golden Thread changed substantially over the years?

Not really. Initially, I was going for a multidisciplinary outfit, but over time, we’ve definitely become very focused on theatre. What do you consider your greatest strengths when it comes to theatre? Your weaknesses?

I play well with a lot of different kinds of people and I’m genuinely interested in helping people do their best work. My weakness is that I’m not a good spokesperson for our work. Not because I don’t value it; rather, because its value is so obvious to me that it baffles me that others don’t see it.

In association with Playground presents

A world premiere play from award-winning writer KEN SLATTERY and award-winning director M. GRAHAM SMITH

Stage Werx Theatre

September 6 – 29, 2013, 8 PM (Thursdays-Sundays) 446 Valencia Street (@ 16th) San Francisco, CA 94110

P h oto : J o h n Ko Ko S K A

For Tickets & Show Details:

art by James C Trujillo @

MFA UniqUe 2-Year interdisciplinarY program

Study with diverse faculty of award-winning directors, choreographers, actors, designers and scholars Work with 2 world-renowned guest artists each year Recent guest artists include

Stafford Arima Juliette Carrillo Guillermo Gómez-Peña Qudus Onikeku Dominique Serrand 6 performance spaces including Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts Admission application due December 15 for fall 2014 theatredance.Ucdavis.edU 530.752.8710

theatre bay area periodical

1119 market st., 2nd floor san francisco, ca 94103


The Young Actors’ Theatre Camp WINTER Camp S PEN Registration O 0am! 11:0 August 16th at

Discover and Develop the Artist Within! Learn from the Stars! Ages 8 - 18, All Levels Encouraged.

Call (925) 858-3548 or (855) Go-2-YATC to Register! 4 Time Gold Medal Winner — Bay Area Parent Magazine

Visit ou r www.Ca web-site mpYATC .c

theatre joy!


2013/2014 Schedule

WEEKEND CASTING DIRECTOR WORKSHOPS September 28 & 29, 2013 and November 9 & 10, 2013


Hollywood Actors Across America Fall Actors Symposium San Francisco • October 12 & 13, 2013 Casting Directors (Lisa Beach, April Webster, David Rappaport & Janet Hirshenson) Hollywood Talent Agent (Cindy Osbrink) & Talent Managers (Michael Forman & Marc Pritcher) along with Local Talent Agents.

WINTER Overnight Camp Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains at Camp Mt. Cross December 28, 2013 - January 3, 2014

*Participation in Classes does not Guarantee Future work.

Our Mission ... Through our series of Overnight Camps, Day Camps, and Weekend Workshops, YATC provides a safe and supportive environment for students of all ages and experience levels to cultivate and explore a life in the Performing Arts.

Preview Issue: Theatre Bay Area Magazine Sep/Oct 2013  

Theatre Bay Area Magazine is one of many benefits of becoming a TBA member - check it out!

Preview Issue: Theatre Bay Area Magazine Sep/Oct 2013  

Theatre Bay Area Magazine is one of many benefits of becoming a TBA member - check it out!