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MARCH 2012 I Your Guide to the Best Theatre, Music, Dance and More in the Bay Area!








A New Tour Filled With Many Revelations


March 1-3

March 4 & 5




rETurNS TO ThE rrazz rOOM BY pOpuLar DEMaND!


March 6-11

LuLu’S Back IN TOWN!




4th Annual


GALA CeLebRATion & benefiT foR ST. Jude ChiLdRen’S hoSpiTAL

Starring An ALL-STAR Cast! March 13 & 14




March 22-25


March 15 - 17

Wednesday • March 21




MOTOWN, Jazz, pOp & ME

March 25-27



222 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

March 28-aprIL 1


Grand Piano courtesy of Baldwin

800-380-3095 •


THE STAGES PLAY | Merchants.............................................................................. 5 NIGHTCLUB | Lucie Arnaz & Linda Purl........................................ 7 MUSIC | American Beauty Project.................................................. 9 PLAY | Almost, Maine.....................................................................11 CLASSIC | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof..................................................13 DANCE | Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater............................17 IRISH | Karan Casey & John Doyle...............................................19 DANCE | Chitresh Das Dance Company.......................................21 SHAKESPEARE | Hamlet..............................................................23 COMEDY | The Capitol Steps........................................................25 MUSIC | The Magnetic Fields........................................................27 BACK I Behind the Scenes with


Copyright Š 2010-2012 by Caselli Partners LLC. All rights reserved. Printed in California. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form without written permission is prohibited. BAYSTAGES is published monthly by VIA MEDIA, a division of Caselli Partners LLC. All content not attributed to an author is compiled by BAYSTAGES staff from press releases and other sources. No guarantee is given for the validity of this data. Information is subject to change without notice.

publisher RON WILLIS design VIA MEDIA contributing writers GRIER COOPER ANDREW GILBERT ML HEATH MARGOT MANBURG Will schmid Robert Sokol Elizabeth warnimont Writers may submit resumes and samples to for consideration.

contributing photographer STEVEN UNDERHILL Photographers and publicists may submit images to for consideration.

cover image hope boykin vernard gilmore image: andrew eccles

All other photos are provided by the artists or venues. Photography credits are noted when provided.

advertising sales RON WILLIS 415.552.8040 Press releases and promotional materials may be sent to:

image: helen warner (the caretaker - jonathan pryce)

THE CARETAKER March 28 to April 22 Curran Theatre 445 Geary Street, SF $31 to $100 | 888.746.1799

or mailed to:

BAYSTAGES 780 sutter street sf, ca 94109 p: 415.552.8040 f: 415.869.3700 PDF reprints of individual articles are available upon request. Please call our office if you need additional copies of the current or back issues or would like to become a distribution point for BAYSTAGES.

MARCH 2012 |



Scottish singer-pianist Emeli Sande plays Café Du Nord (3/2)

Ani DiFranco is at The Fillmore in SF (3/27) and Uptown Theatre in Napa (3/29)

19 Broadway Fairfax | 415.459.1091 BIMBO’S 365 CLUB North Beach, SF | 415.474.0365 BISCUITS & BLUES Union Square, SF | 415.292.2583 BLANK CLUB San Jose | 408.292.5265 BLISS BAR Noe Valley, SF | 415.826.6200 Bottom of the Hill Potrero Hill, SF | 415.621.4455 BRICK & Mortar MUSIC HALL Mission, SF | 415.800.8782 Café du Nord Upper Market, SF | 415.861.5016 Café ROYALE Tenderloin, SF | 415.441.4099 club fox Redwood City | 650.369.7770 ELBO ROOM Mission, SF | 415.552.7788 EL RIO Mission, SF | 415.282.3325 FILLMORE Fillmore, SF | 415.346.6000 Freight & Salvage Berkeley | 510.644.2020

George’s NIGHTCLUB San Rafael | 415.226.0262 Great American Music Hall Tenderloin, SF | 888.233.0449 Hemlock Tavern Polk Gulch, SF | No Calls HOTEL UTAH SALOON SOMA, SF | 415.546.6300 Independent Alamo Square, SF | 415.771.1421 jazzschool Berkeley | 510.845.5373 Johnny Foley’s Union Square, SF | 415.954.0777 McNEAR’S MYSTIC THEATRE Petaluma | 707.765.2121 MEZZANINE SOMA, SF | 415.625.8880 napa valley opera house Napa | 707.226.7372 NEW PARISH Oakland | 510.444.7474 Rancho Nicasio Marin | 415.662.2219 Regency Ballroom Civic Center, SF | 800.745.3000 Rickshaw Stop Civic Center, SF | 415.861.2012

ROCKIT ROOM Richmond, SF | 415.387.6343 RRAZZ ROOM Union Square, SF | 415. 394.1189 SAVANNAH JAZZ Mission, SF | 415.624.4549 SHATTUCK DOWN LOW Berkeley | 510.455.4735 SILO’S Napa | 707.251.5833 Slim’s SOMA, SF | No Calls STARRY PLOUGH Berkeley | 510.841.1424 THEE PARKSIDE Potrero Hill, SF | 415.252.1330 UPTOWN THEATRE Napa | 707.259.0123 WARFIELD Downtown, SF | 800.745.3000 YOSHI’S Oakland + Fillmore, SF | 510-238-9200 + 415.655.5600

These venues feature a rapidly changing roster of artists. We advise calling or checking the websites for the latest performance information including minimums and age limits (if any). Please contact with additions or corrections.


| MARCH 2012

images: courtesy photos (roslyn kind, emeli sande, ani difranco)

Roslyn Kind sings at Yoshi’s in San Francisco (3/24)

view from the editor Spring is seed time. The days get a bit longer. The weather gets a bit better. You till, you cultivate, you plant, and then you wait to see what grows. We’ve definitely been planting things here at BAYSTAGES and we are already seeing growth. Our print run, distribution and readership continues to increase. Traffic on our website - particularly the curated event database - is also increasing. Our goal is to continually grow our content in ways that are useful to both the visitor who may not know what to look for, and the resident who may have momentarily forgotten where it was. As an example, the music scene here is so rich and vibrant that we needed to expand our Revolving Stages clubs listing to a full page (look left) and have given Comedy & Improv its own column. We’ve added a new section called Just The Ticket! as a central reference for

the most common online and phone order ticket vendors, and we’ve also inaugurated - with a nod to Larry, Curly and Moe - Who’s on (the) First? for a sampling of the best of the first of next month’s don’t-miss live entertainment offerings. This is all in addition to what we already hope are handy mini-directories of performing arts venues and centers both in San Francisco and around the Bay Area. We’re always looking for ways to add value to the BAYSTAGES experience, so if you have ideas we want to hear them. Happy Spring!


image: drew altizer photography

Meeting Joey, the wonderfully animated star of War Horse, who stables into the Curran Theatre in August. South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company won a special Tony Award in 2011 for designing him.

MARCH 2012




DAILY The following listings are compiled from submissions to the database and are subject to change without notice. Please be sure to verify performance times and dates when making your ticket purchases. Shows with multiple performances are listed below as of their first public performance, with the final performance date noted in the description. CLOSING SHOWS are listed separately in the sidebar columns with the date of the final scheduled performance noted before the title. ONGOING SHOWS offering regularly scheduled performance throughout the month are also listed separately in the sidebar columns. Closing and ongoing shows are not included in the listings that follow.

Randall King in Sam Shepard’s Buried Child at San Jose Stage. 4 | Art

Olinder Theatre | San Jose $20 | 408.288.7820 1998 Tony winner about art, taste and friendship. 4 | Mamma Mia!

Orpheum Theatre | SF $30-$100 | 888.746.1799 The ABBA-licious musical is back for two weeks of love and pop songs. 4 | Alice’s Adventures

Firehouse Arts Center | Pleasanton $18 | 925.931.4848 New musical of the classic tale adapted directly from Carroll’s novel. 10 | Becky Shaw

SF Playhouse | SF $30-$50 | 415.677.9596 What do we owe the people we love and strangers who land on our doorstep? 11 | Body Awareness

Aurora Theatre | Berkeley $34-$55 | 510.843.4822 A tale about a female couple & the mutability of relationships.

11 | Becoming Britney

11 | Buried Child

San Jose Stage Company | SJ $20-$40 | 408.283.7142 Brilliant play probes deep into the disintegration of the American Dream. 11 | Scorched

American Conservatory Theater | SF $10-$85 | 415.749.2228 Twins are given letters with clues about their family’s mysterious past.


| MARCH 2012

1 | Allen Toussaint

1 | Aries Spears

1 | Chadwick Stokes

1 | Princess and the Pauper

Yoshi’s | Oakland $30 | 510.238.9200 Post-Mardi Gras party with NOLA’s native son, with rhythm section. Café Du Nord | SF $17 | 866.468.3399 With The Shants.

1 | George Thorogood

Uptown Theatre | Napa $45-$55 | 800.745.3000 With his band The Destroyers. 1 | Lena Sunday

George’s Nightclub | San Rafael $12-$15 | 800.380.3095 Jazz at George’s. 1 | Peter Rowan Bluegrass

Osher Marin JCC | San Rafael $20-$25 | 415.444.8000 With guests The Pine Needles. 1 | Ricardo Lemvo

Yoshi’s | SF $15-$20 | 415.655.5600 With his band Makina Loca. 1 | Karyn White

Rrazz Room | SF $45.50-$55.50 | 800.380.3095 Pop/R&B singer/songwriter (Ends 3/3) 1 | SF Symphony

Davies Symphony Hall | SF $15-$145 | 415.864.6000 Arabella Steinbacher performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. (Ends 3/3) 1 | University Dance Theater

San Francisco State University | SF $12 | 415.338.2467 Featuring ODC/Dance’s Kimi Okada.

Cobb’s Comedy Club | SF $18.50 | 415.928.4320 A principal cast member on Fox’s sketch comedy show Mad TV. (Ends 3/4) Lesher Center | Walnut Creek $14 | 925.943.7469 Imagine meeting someone who looks just like you. (Ends 3/4) 1 | Merchants

EXIT Stage Left | SF $10-$25 | 800.838.3006 Sisters seeking financial stability and career satisfaction. (Ends 3/24) 2 | Front Street Band

George’s Nightclub | San Rafael $10-$15 | 800.380.3095 Featuring Stu Allen and guest Rapid Glory. 2 | House of Floyd

Yoshi’s | SF $20-$22 | 415.655.5600 Tribute band performing full-scale Pink Floyd albums. 2 | Junie B. Jones

Wells Fargo Center | Santa Rosa $17 | 707.546.3600 High-energy musical about an outspoken, precocious 1st grader. 2 | Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Uptown Theatre | Napa $40-$50 | 800.745.3000 South African a cappella superstars, featured on Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” 2 | Super Diamond

Bimbo’s 365 Club | SF $22 | 877.435.9849 With Mustache Harbor.

image: dave lepori (buried child - randall king)

Retro Dome | San Jose $44 | 408.404.7711 How does a pop sensation wind up bald and trapped in her own musical?

ABBREVIATIONS: MV-Mill Valley, LF-Lafayette, PA-Palo Alto, RC-Redwood City, SF-San Francisco, SJ-San Jose, SR-Santa Rosa, SU-Sunnvale, WC-Walnut Creek.

by margot manburg In an age where job security is on everybody’s mind but nobody’s lips, Susan Sobeloff’s new play Merchants is a candid look at the achievements and uncertainties of today’s middle class. “We don’t often get to talk about something that’s going on across the country while we’re still going through it. This play is about us, about the problems hanging over everybody’s heads that nobody wants to talk about,” shares director Stuart Bousel. A project of Bousel’s No Nude Men Productions, the play depicts the varying reactions people have when facing sadly familiar economic hardships. Yet it is the spirit of relentless optimism and realism these characters maintain while doing whatever it takes to succeed that makes this play so starkly compelling.

The women’s persistence in combating unsavory circumstances gives this play a refreshingly optimistic slant on a thorny situation. “Nobody in this play chooses to lie down and die. They aren’t broken by their poverty. They’re all trying to be the best people they can be. It’s hard and it’s complicated, and this play acknowledges that,” says Bousel. If life truly imitates art more than art imitates life, then Merchants is an important mirror for current times and for modern theatre. merchants March 1 to 24 EXIT Stage Left 156 Eddy Street, SF $15 to $25 | 800.838.3006

image: cody rishell (merchants - maura halloran, ariane owens)

In Merchants, two career-oriented sisters navigate the balance between financial security and personal fulfillment. They contend with business and family ventures, offsetting what they want to do with what needs to be done. One sister copes with pregnancy and unemployment, while the other sister’s side business suddenly provides the only means to pay rent. Such events force the sisters to re-evaluate their career-tied identities and their definitions of

success. As Bousel reveals, “This play deals with the pragmatic and social notions of success, of how and why we define ourselves by our careers and what happens when the economy makes us diverge from the plans and identities we made.”



brokering a new definition of success

MARCH 2012 |



DAILY 2 | Trio Brillante

3 | George Komsky

2 | John Santos Sextet

3 | Jon Nakamatsu

Jeri Lynn Cohen and Patrick Russell in Body Awareness at Aurora Theatre.

Yoshi’s | Oakland $22-$26 | 510.238.9200 Caribe / Brazil with guests Jovino Santos Neto & Anthony Blea. (Ends 3/3)

11 | Tontlawald

2 | this.placed

3 | Ladysmith Black Mambazo

2 | Fiddler on the Roof

3 | Roy Rogers

Old First Church | SF $17 | 415.474.1608 Performing Mozart, Françaix and Brahms on clarinet, viola and piano.

EXIT on Taylor | SF $10-$50 | 800.838.3006 Retelling of an ancient Estonian tale through movement and song. 11 | All Shook Up

Foothill College | Los Altos Hills $10-$28 | 650.949.7360 Features hit songs made famous by Elvis Presley. 17 | Beyond Therapy

Shelton Theater | SF $20-$40 | 800.838.3006 Farce about two New Yorkers seeking stable romantic relations. 17 | References to Dali...

San Francisco State University | SF $5-$12 | 415.338.2467 Jose Rivera’s magical play about love, dreams and the nightmares of war. 17 | Distracted

18 | Geezer

Marsh | SF $25-$50 | 415.282.3055 Geoff Hoyle’s fusion of comedy and physicality about the process of aging. 18 | The Real Americans

Marsh | SF $25-$50 | 415.282.3055 Dan Hoyle’s account of his immersive experience polarized politics.

18 | Mesmeric Revelation...

Berkeley City Club | Berkeley $15-$25 | 800.838.3006 A fiery clash of science and mysticism in world premiereby Aaron Henne.


| MARCH 2012

142 Throckmorton | Mill Valley $18-$30 | 415.383.9600 Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick’s classic Broadway musical. (Ends 3/11) 2 | Legally Blonde

Montgomery Theatre | San Jose $23 | 408.792.4111 Children’s Musical Theatre San Jose’s production of the musical. (Ends 3/11) 2 | Familiar Strangers

Pear Avenue Theatre | Mountain View $20-$30 | 650.254.1148 Play about an Iranian woman and her Americanized daughter. (Ends 3/18) 2 | Cabaret

Larkspur Cafe Theatre | Larkspur $25-$45 | 800.838.3006 Tony-award-winning musical Cabaret at the Larkspur Cafe Theatre. (Ends 4/15) 3 | Bay Comedy Outlaws

142 Throckmorton | Mill Valley $15-$25 | 415.383.9600 Steve Pearl, Michael Meehan, Larry “Bubbles” Brown and Johnny Steele. 3 | Black Brothers

Mildred Owen Hall | Pacifica $20 | 650.355.188 Celtic music by Shay and Michael Black of Ireland’s foremost family of song. 3 | Dave Hollister

Yoshi’s | SF $32-$36 | 415.655.5600 One of the original members of the R&B band Blackstreet.

Napa Valley Opera House | Napa $25-$30 | 707.226.7372 Acclaimed classical pianist.

Palace of Fine Arts Theater | SF $25-$65 | 866.920.5299 South African institution sparks a gentle fire to stir passions and lift spirits. George’s Nightclub | San Rafael $15-$20 | 800.380.3095 With The Delta Rythm Kings. 3 | Shana Morrison

Rancho Nicasio | Nicasio $15 | 415.662.2219 ranchonicasio.commusic.htm With Caledonia. 3 | Sounds from the Bay

Herbst Theatre | SF $29-$49 | 415.392.4400 New Century Chamber presents mandolinists Marshall and Lichtenberg. 3 | Vagabond Lovers Club

Café Du Nord | SF $12 | 866.468.3399 With Slim Jenkins, Beso Negro, and Black Kat Kabaret. 3 | Cinderella

Mountain View Center | MV $10-$20 | 650.903.6000 Rodgers and Hammerstein’s adaptation of the classic tale. (Ends 3/11) 3 | The Drowsy Chaperone

Saratoga Civic Theater | Saratoga $29-$31 | 800.838.3006 West Valley Light Opera presents this musical within a musical. (Ends 3/31) 4 | Contino

Rancho Nicasio | Nicasio FREE | 415.662.2219 ranchonicasio.commusic.htm Rancho debut and CD release party.

imageº: david allen (body awareness - jeri lynn cohen, patrick russell)

Town Hall Theatre | Lafayette $26.50-$29.50 | 925.283.1557 Nine-year-old Jesse is “distracted.” Is it ADD, typical acting out, or ???

ODC Theater | SF $20-$24 | 415.863.9834 Nina Haft & Company + Facing East Dance & Music. (Ends 3/4)

Oshman Family JCC | Palo Alto $35-$40 | 800.838.3006 Bay Area native opera tenor will perform arias by Donizetti, Rossini and more.

such devoted back to back “sister” acts

image: william dow photography (lucie arnaz, linda purl)

by will schmid

The 1954 film (and now stage musical) White Christmas includes the song “Sisters,” Irving Berlin’s comic paean to sororal joys and challenges. Though it’s no longer technically accurate, Lucie Arnaz and Linda Purl would happily sing a couple of choruses of “Sisters...In-Law” if such a thing existed. Though Purl’s marriage to Desi Arnaz Jr. did not last, the women’s friendship has remained. Arnaz grew up on The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy, had a Broadway hit with They’re Playing Our Song and has maintained an acclaimed nightclub and concert career. Most recently she recorded “Latin Roots,” which pays tribute to her father, Desi Arnaz. Purl found television success with Happy Days and Matlock. She recently guested on The Office and is on True Blood this summer. She has an active stage career, including the Broadway musical Tom Sawyer, and is now working on her third CD. Professionally the ladies overlap when they can, so it is a missed opportunity that both will be playing the same venue in the same ten-day window and not even see each other!



Ron Abel. “He’s the whole reason we see as much of each other as we do these days,” says Arnaz. “He’s been Lucie’s musical director forever and I’ve worked with him for many years,” says Purl. “It’s all incredibly incestuous,” laughs Arnaz. “I think it’s one of the fun things about this 21st century,” Purl offers, “That you make your family as you go. You find your village, you find your people and you go forth.” Adds Arnaz, “It’s like swimming in the right current. You’re not surprised that good people are there with you. It’s just: ‘Oh! I’m in the right vibe now.’” LUCIE ARNAZ March 6 to 11 LINDA PURL March 13 to 14 The Rrazz Room 222 Mason Street, SF $35 to $45 | 800.380.3095

Another connection for the two is what they laughingly call “joint custody” of composer-arranger MARCH 2012 |



DAILY 4 | Javier Colon

Uptown Theatre | Napa $25 | 800.745.3000 2011 winner of NBC’s The Voice. 4 | Liz Story

Geoff Hoyle finishes a revival of Geezer at The Marsh in Berkeley. 18 | Dividing the Estate

Douglas Morrisson Theatre | Hayward $10-$28 | 510.881.6777 Horton Foote shows us a darkly comic portrait of a family divided. 18 | Moon Over Buffalo

Chanticleers Theatre | Castro Valley $13-$18 | 510.733.5483 Traveling ensemble actors think Frank Capra is coming to see their show! 24 | Glengarry Glen Ross

Actors Theatre of San Francisco $40 | 800.838.3006 Mamet’s scalding comedy about smalltime, cutthroat real estate salesmen. 24 | The Waiting Period

Marsh | SF $35-$50 | 415.282.3055 Copeland’s solo show about depression and the firearm waiting period. 25 | The Kipling Hotel

Marsh | Berkeley $20-$50 | 415.282.3055 Don Reed’s follow-up to his award winning East 14th.

25 | A Doctor In Spite of Himself

Berkeley Repertory Theatre | Berkeley $17-$78 | 510.647.2949 Molière’s classic comedy in a clever and contemporary adaptation. New Conservatory Theatre Center | SF $25-$36 | 415.861.8972 US Premiere of play from E.M. Forster’s book about pre-WWI gay love. 31 | Titus Andronicus

La Val’s Subterranean | Berkeley $10-$17 | 510.224.5744 Shakespeare’s bloodiest revenge tragedy dishes up white-hot rage.


| MARCH 2012

4 | Melodiya Ensemble

Old First Church | SF $17 | 415.474.1608 Works by Enesco, Hindemith, VillaLobos, Schumann, Brahms and Liszt. 4 | New Century Chamber Orchestra

Osher Marin JCC | San Rafael $29-$49 | 415.444.8000 Mandolinists Marshall and Lichtenberg.

Café Du Nord | SF $10-$12 | 866.468.3399 With Birdhouse, Lauren Shera and Infantree. 6 | Delta Rae

Café Du Nord | SF $10 | 866.468.3399

6 | In The Mood

Wells Fargo Center | Santa Rosa $34.50-$49.50 | 707.546.3600 1940s Big Band, song and swing dance revue. 6 | Mia Doi Todd

Yoshi’s | SF $16 | 415.655.5600 With Bells.

4 | Parker Quartet

6 | Sorry Fugu

4 | Ricardo Scales

6 | Stew

San Francisco State University | SF FREE | 415.338.2467 Featuring works by Debussy, Dutilleux and Schumann. Yoshi’s | SF $22 | 415.655.5600 Gospel extravaganza with Dorothy Morrison. 4 | Janis Paige

Rrazz Room | SF $35-$45 | 800.380.3095 Film, television, Broadway actress, singer, hollywood legend. (Ends 3/5)

San Francisco State University | SF $10-$15 | 415.338.2467 This Word for Word production looks at restaurants and food critics. Yoshi’s | Oakland $20 | 510.238.9200 With The Negro Problem and Heidi. 6 | Lucie Arnaz

Rrazz Room | SF $45 | 800.380.3095 Broadway, musical theatre, actress, singer, producer, cabaret star. (Ends 3/11) 6 | Romeo & Juliet

4 | Marin Symphony

Marin Center | San Rafael $29-$70 | 415.499.6800 Concert of Bach and Pärt conducted by Alasdair Neale. (Ends 3/6)

War Memorial Opera House | SF $36-$285 | 415.865.2000 Helgi Tomasson’s critically acclaimed ballet of this timeless Shakespearean masterpiece returns. (Ends 3/11)

4 | Yanked from the Harem

7 | NowCircaThen

5 | 3 Piece & a Biscuit

8 | Chloe Jane Scott

Marines’ Memorial Theatre | SF $39 | 415.771.6900 Pocket Opera production of an updated, English language version of Mozart’s opera. (Ends 3/11) Yoshi’s | SF $20-$25 | 415.655.5600 Tribute to the music of Teena Marie.

Lucie Stern Theater | Palo Alto $29-$49 | 650.463.1960 TheatreWorks presents the West Coast premiere of a comedy about mismatched historical re-enactors. (Ends 4/1) Amnesia | SF $5 | 866.920.5299 Scott plays Hubert Laws. Part of SFJAZZ’ Hotplate series.

image: patti meyer (geezer - geoff hoyle)

25 | Maurice

Yoshi’s | Oakland $20 | 510.238.9200 Windham Hill solo piano artist.

5 | Driftwood Singers

catherine russell is grateful for the dead by andrew gilbert

Catherine Russell might hail from jazz royalty, but she was a natural choice as a featured vocalist for the American Beauty Project, an all-star revue recreating the Grateful Dead’s landmark albums “Workingman’s Dead” and “American Beauty” with Jim Lauderdale, Ollabelle, and multi-instrumentalist David Mansfield. Featuring acoustic textures, folky lyrics, and bluegrass cadences, the 1970 sessions departed from the expansive, blues-drenched psychedelia that earned the Dead fame in the 1960s. As a teenager in the early 1970s, Russell rebelled against her parents and the music that sustained them, lighting out for the West and finding herself as a Deadhead on a commune in Northern California. Her father was Luis Russell, the Panamanian-born pianist and bandleader who played a central role in Louis Armstrong’s career in the 1930s and ‘40s. Her mother is the bassist, guitarist and vocalist Carline Ray, a Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music grad, who performed with the International Sweethearts of R hyt hm , Ers k ine Hawkins, and Mercer Ellington (and is still playing in her late 80s).

(she contributes a sensuous version of “Crazy Blues” on the Grammy Award-winning Boardwalk Empire soundtrack album). Still, she’s never cut her ties to the world of rock and pop, touring widely with Steely Dan. Now she’s tapping into her other roots, celebrating the band that first set her free.


american beauty project

american beauty project Yoshi’s Jazz Club March 9 1330 Fillmore Street, SF $28 to $32 | 415.655.5600 March 10 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland $32 | 510.238.9200

image: stefan falke (catherine russell)

Russell aspired to be a rock singer, but ended up acting in B movies and working on Broadway. After a long, circuitous career path including stints with David Bowie, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Levon Helm, and Rosanne Cash, she finally returned to the family fold. In recent years Russell has gained fame with a series of lavishly praised albums featuring her sultry interpretations of double entendre-laden blues, vintage jazz tunes and Tin Pan Alley gems that sound as if they were written just for her

MARCH 2012 |



DAILY 8 | Mike Pace

Firehouse Arts Center | Pleasanton $15 | 925.931.4848 Part of Comedy @ Firehouse Arts series. 8 | Ébène Quartet

Magician Peter Morrison amazes at the Marrakech Magic Theater! Beach BlanKet Babylon

Club Fugazi I SF $25-$130 I 415.421.4222 Long-running revue skewering news and culture with songs and big hats. Big City Improv

Shelton Theater | SF $20 | 866.468.3399 Four years running. Every scene is based upon audience suggestions. PETER MORRISON

Marrakech Magic Theater I SF $38 I 877.624.4264 Morrison demonstrates sleight-of-hand magic and feats of mentalism.  PARTY OF TWO

Shelton Theatre I SF $27-$29 I 800.838.3006 Follow two self-sufficient types from their meeting through their relationship. Secret Improv Society

Shelton Theater I SF $15 I 866.468.3399 Creating characters, stories, and songs on the spot from audience suggestions. SAM SHEPARD IN REPERTORY

Boxcar Studios & Theater I SF $15-$35 I 415.967.2227 True West, Buried Child, Foor For Love and A Lie of the Mind running all month. Shopping! The Musical


Starlight Room | SF $44.95 | 415.395.8595 Drag entertainment abounds in Harry Denton’s newly refurbished boite.

10 |

| MARCH 2012

8 | Erica Sunshine Lee

Café Du Nord | SF $12-$15 | 866.468.3399 With Chi McClean and Windy Hill. 8 | Foreigner

Wells Fargo Center | Santa Rosa $35-$175 | 707.546.3600 Popular rock act brings its hits to the Wells Fargo Center. 8 | International Women’s Day Concert

Yoshi’s | SF $35-$99 | 415.655.5600 Big Brother & The Holding Company, Pamela Parker, Nonstop Bhangra. 8 | Papa’s Garage

George’s Nightclub | San Rafael $10 | 800.380.3095 Where funk and soul meet rock and roll. 8 | Railroad Earth

Uptown Theatre | Napa $37 | 800.745.3000 With The Brothers Comatose.

8 | Patricia Barber

Yoshi’s | Oakland $20-$25 | 510.238.9200 With The Nat King Cole Trio featuring Larry Kohut & Neal Alger. (Ends 3/9) 8 | SF Symphony

Davies Symphony Hall | SF $35-$140 | 415.864.6000 Works of 20th Century American composers. (Ends 3/9) 8 | Life Could Be a Dream

Campbell Theatre | Martinez $22-$32 | 925.798.1300 Willow’s Theatre presents Roger Bean’s doo-wop musical comedy about the travails of a boy-band. (Ends 3/17)

Evert B. Person Theatre | Rohnert Park $9-$16 | 800.838.3006 sonoma.eduperformingarts Loot, by Joe Orton, is an over the top British whodunit that assaults everything sacrosanct! (Ends 3/17) 8 | Steel Magnolias

Diablo Actors’ Ensemble Theatre | WC $10-$25 | 866.811.4111 Robert Harling’s acclaimed classic about gossipy southern ladies & the strength beneath their banter (Ends 3/24) 8 | Crimes of the Heart

Hillbarn Theatre | Foster City $36 | 650.349.6411 Beth Henley’s tragic comedy about a trio of sisters reunited after one shoots her abusive husband. (Ends 3/25) 8 | It’s All The Rage

Marsh | SF $15-$35 | 415.282.3055 Marilyn Pittman’s biting show about about her parents’ murder/suicide. (Ends 4/15) 9 | American Beauty Project

Yoshi’s | SF $28-$32 | 415.655.5600 Grateful Dead tribute featuring Catherine Russell, Ollabelle and Jim Lauderdale. 9 | Billy Gardell

Uptown Theatre | Napa $37-$47 | 800.745.3000 Stand-up artist & star of CBS’s hit comedy series Mike & Molly. 9 | BLVD

George’s Nightclub | San Rafael $15-$20 | 800.380.3095 With guests Thump. 9 | Foreverland

Bimbo’s 365 Club | SF $22 | 877.435.9849 14 piecetribute to Michael Jackson. With Livewire. 9 | Peninsula Symphony

Fox Theatre | Redwood City $39 | 800.745.3000 John O’Conor plays Beethoven’s “Emperor.”

image: courtesy photo (peter morrison)

Shelton Theater I SF $27-$29 I 800.838.3006 An original musical revue about everyone’s favorite pastime.

Herbst Theatre | SF $38-$60 | 415.392.4400 Performing Mozart, Borodin and Ravel. SF Performances presentation.

8 | Loot

love can be (snow) flakey

by elizabeth warnimont There’s a place at the edge, where things almost happen. In John Cariani’s modern romantic comedy, Almost, Maine, the place is an imaginary town at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, where couples find themselves either falling in love or out of love, all teetering at the edge of something, hesitating before taking their crucial next step. “It’s winter. There’s snow. People are walking around bundled up with, we’ll call it metaphorical armor,” director Danielle Cain offers. “People have to take off their hats and open up their hearts.” Metaphors abound, but while the overt symbolism piles up as the couples’ stories are told, the deliberate triteness wanes. Characters and their situations become more and more real.

Professional actors and teaching staff work side by side with the Napa Valley College students. Department head Jennifer King explains, “We were developing this mentorship program where students were able to have their own performance after understudying with these incredible actors.” King says the effect on the students was remarkable. “I’d worked with them for a couple of years and their work took such an incredible leap, I knew this was a model I wanted us to continue.” almost, maine March 9 to 25 Napa Valley College Performing Arts Center 2277 Napa Vallejo Highway, Napa $15 to $20 | 707.256.7500

image: jeff thomas (almost, maine - jessica romero, phillip ferrero)

“From the outside, there’s a sense of ‘oh, that’s corny,’ but the truthfulness of the characters and their genuine longing for connection makes it all work,” Cain explains. “It has sort of a beautiful, romantic power.” A woman who wants to break up with her boyfriend feels she no longer needs all the love he has given her, so she walks in with bags of love that she brings in from her car. Another character with a broken heart opens up to a man who turns out to be a repairman. “There is sort of a fairytale quality, but the playwright makes each situation believable.”

Cariani wrote the play for four actors, two men and two women. Cain, who teaches drama at Sonoma State University, uses 14. “Because we’re doing it at a college, we have all these young actors learning what it’s like to be in a show. I really wanted everyone to be engaged.”


ALMOST, maine

MARCH 2012 |

| 11


DAILY 9 | Puremovement

10 | Grisha Goryachev

9 | Schumann Concerto

10 | Jayme Stone

9 | Sioux City Kid

10 | Patsy Cline Tribute

9 | West Coast Ramblers

10 | Peninsula Symphony

9 | A Glass of Cabaret

10 | Playing for Change

9 | Smuin Showcase

10 | SFJAZZ Matinee

9 | Deon Cole

10 | T.C. Boyle’s “Sorry Fugu”

9 | Our Town

10 | Rancho Allstars

Wells Fargo Center | Santa Rosa $20-$30 | 707.546.3600 Hip-hop star Rennie Harris’ company performs to Harris’ rap. Danny Bevins cracks wise at Rooster T. Feathers (3/8-10)

12 |

| MARCH 2012

Café Du Nord | SF $10-$12 | 866.468.3399 With Tiny Television, Erin Brazill and The Brazillionaires. Rancho Nicasio | Nicasio FREE | 415.662.2219 ranchonicasio.commusic.htm Western swing band.

Silo’s | Napa $30-$35 | 999.999.9999 Celebrate love and the magical beverage that nourishes romance. (Ends 3/10) ODC Theater | SF $28 | 415.863.9834 An evening of original works by Smuin Ballet artists. (Ends 3/10) Cobb’s Comedy Club | SF $25 | 415.928.4320 With Laurie Kilmartin, both Emmywinning writers for Conan. (Ends 3/11) Burbank Auditorium | Santa Rosa $15 | 707.527.4343 santarosa.edutheatrearts Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning classic. (Ends 3/18) 9 | Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

6th Street Playhouse | Santa Rosa $15-$32 | 707.523.4185 Tennessee Williams’1955 Pulitzer Prize winning drama. (Ends 3/25) 10 | American Beauty Project

Yoshi’s | Oakland $32 | 510.238.9200 A Grateful Dead tribute featuring Catherine Russell, Ollabelle and Jim Lauderdale.

Mildred Owen Hall | Pacifica $20 | 650.355.188 Pacifica Performances presents two-time Juno-winning banjoist Jayme Stone. Willows Theatre | Concord $25 | 925.798.1300 Joni Morris has been playing to sold out crowds with her tribute to Cline.

Flint Center | Cupertino $39 | 800.745.3000 John O’Conor plays Beethoven’s “Emperor.” Napa Valley Opera House | Napa $30-$35 | 707.226.7372 Musicians from different cultures uniting to spread peace. Herbst Theatre | SF $15 | 866.920.5299 The Marcus Shelby Trio leads a one-hour matinee with live performance and Q&A. Dance Palace | Point Reyes Station $16-$33 | 415.663.1075 Word for Word turns great literature into great theater. Rancho Nicasio | Nicasio $12 | 415.662.2219 ranchonicasio.commusic.htm Dance band. 10 | The Red Elvises

Café Du Nord | SF $20 | 866.468.3399 With The Started-Its.

10 | Toots Thielemans

Herbst Theatre | SF $25-$65 | 866.920.5299 Acclaimed jazz harmonica player, with Kenny Werner & Oscar Castro-Neves.

image: courtesy photo (danny bevins)

BATS IMPROV Marina, SF | 415.474.6776 BIG CITY IMPROV Union Square, SF | 415.433.1227 BLUE BLANKET IMPROV Half Moon Bay | 650.726.0770 BUNJO’S COMEDY LOUNGE Dublin | 925.264.4413 COBB’S COMEDY CLUB North Beach, SF | 415.928.4320 COMEDY OFF BROADWAY Oakland | 510.214.2626 COMEDYSportz San Jose DARK ROOM Mission, SF | 415.401.7987 ENDGAMES IMPROV Union Square, SF ENSO Half Moon Bay | 650.726.1409 HARVEY’S FUNNY TUESDAYS Castro, SF | 415.431.4278 IMPROV San Jose | 408.280.7475 MADE UP THEATRE Fremont | 510.573.3633 PUNCHLINE Embarcadero, SF | 415.397.7573 ROOSTER T. FEATHERS Sunnyvale | 408.736.0921 SECRET IMPROV SOCIETY Union Square, SF STONE SOUP IMPROV Oakland | 510.380.6808

Herbst Theatre | SF $25-$95 | 415.392.4400 Cellist Steven Isserlis with The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.

Green Room at War Memorial | SF $34 | 415.242.4500 Classical and flamenco guitarist performs with Jerome Mouffe.

the williams classic as he intended it by robert sokol

Written in the decade after he took Broadway by storm with The Glass Menagerie and A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams delved deeply into greed, sexual repression and mendacity in his 1955 Pulitzer Prize winner, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Set on a Mississippi plantation, the play presents the Pollitts, as dysfunctional a family as any Williams ever created in his dozens of plays.

“I’ve seen snippets, like trailers, but not the whole thing,” says Fontaine. “Once I knew I was directing this production I made a conscious decision to not see it. None of the cast are suggesting things from the film should be included - as far as I know,” he laughs, adding that there’s likely going to be an addition to his Netflix queue once the show closes.

The central characters of Brick, Maggie and Big Daddy were originated by Ben Gazzara, Barbara Bel Geddes and Burl Ives, who reprised his role in the 1958 film that starred Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor. The image of Taylor in a white satin slip, clutching a brass bed frame has become an iconic image for a film classic that director Michael Fontaine admits, with some chagrin, that he has not seen.

The version of the play Fontaine is directing comes from a 1974 Broadway revival. “Some of the things that Elia Kazan, the director, had excised in ‘55 to make the play more palatable to the public were restored,” says Fontaine. “The homosexuality, the difficulties for Brick... scenes were restored...and this was the version that Williams himself approved of.”


cat on a hot tin roof

image: erik chazankin (cat on a hot tin roof - charles siebert, clint campbell, jenifer coté)

Another facet of the Broadway revival that appears in Santa Rosa is actor Charles Siebert. Then he was son Gooper, and he has now “matured into the Big Daddy Role. He was a regular on Trapper John, MD and many other shows. He retired to this area and expressed interest in the show when we were putting our season together, and we thought: What a wonderful match!” cat on a hot tin roof March 9 to 25 G.K. Hardt Theatre at 6th Street Playhouse 52 West 6th Street, Santa Rosa $15 to $32 | 707.523.4185

MARCH 2012 |

| 13

DAILY 10 | Youth Music Festival

11 | Shatner’s World

10 | SF Symphony

11 | Pirates Singalong

10 | Pinkalicious

11 | Sacred Profanities

Firehouse Arts Center | Pleasanton $8 | 925.931.4848 10th Annual celebration of young musicians.

design publications websites

415.552.8040 780 sutter street san francisco, ca 94109 a division of Caselli Partners LLC

Davies Symphony Hall | SF $35-$145 | 415.864.6000 Joan La Barbara, Meredith Monk, and Jessye Norman. (Ends 3/14)

Rancho Nicasio | Nicasio FREE | 415.662.2219 ranchonicasio.commusic.htm Alt-Western band.

10 | Julius Caesar

Montalvo Arts Center | Saratoga $30 | 408.961.5858 Russian ensemble play the domra, bajan and double-bass balalaika.

Buriel Clay Theater | SF $10-$35 | 800.838.3006 Staging brings the Bard’s play about partisanship close to home. (Ends 4/1) YBCA - Forum Theatre | SF $30-$50 | 866.920.5299 Master jazz guitarist and vocalist, presented by SFJAZZ. 11 | John Boyajy

Old First Church | SF $17 | 415.474.1608 Pianist performs works by Schumann, Haydn, Schönberg and Scarlatti. 11 | Jordan Knight

Yoshi’s | SF $35-$40 | 415.655.5600 With an open dance floor.

11 | Los Tigres Del Norte

11 | Trio Voronezh

12 | George Kahumoku Jr.

Yoshi’s | SF $24 | 415.655.5600 With Dennis Kamakahi, and Uncle Richard Ho’opi’i. Hawai’ian music.

13 | Charles Neville

Yoshi’s | SF $22 | 415.655.5600 With Youssoupha Sidibe & The Mystic Rhythms. 13 | Dramaturgy & Shakespeare

Commonwealth Club of California | SF $20 | 415.597.6700 Dr. Phillippa Kelly, resident dramaturg at California Shakespeare Theatre, on Lear.

Wells Fargo Center | Santa Rosa $45.50-$87.50 | 707.546.3600 Pioneers of the norteño genre in a rare intimate venue appearance.

13 | George Brooks

11 | Rhythm Sisters String Quartet

13 | Linda Purl

Holy Innocents Church | SF $20 | 415.648.5236 Quartets by Mozart and Dvorak plus a polka thrown in for good measure. 11 | Seoulsonic Tour

Café Du Nord | SF $12 | 866.468.3399 Korean AltROK: Crying Nut, Yellow Monsters, and 3rd Line Buttterfly .

| MARCH 2012

Presentation Theatre | SF $15-$30 | 800.838.3006 Everyone is encouraged to sing their favorite Penzance parts!

Front Row Theater | San Ramon $12-$20 | 510.296.4433 Loads of laughs as a little girl indulges her love for pink. (Ends 3/18)

11 | James “Blood” Ulmer

14 |

Orpheum Theatre | SF $40-$300 | 888.746.1799 Shatner brings his autobiographical oneman show to SF for one night only.

Yoshi’s | Oakland $16-$20 | 510.238.9200 With Kai Eckhardt.

Rrazz Room | SF $35 | 800.380.3095 Actress-singer Purl is a an accomplished cabaret performer. (Ends 3/14) 14 | Chuck Loeb

Yoshi’s | Oakland $22 | 510.238.9200 With Mitchell Forman and Lionel Cordew.

14 | Cufflinked

15 | Oleta Adams

14 | Lera Auerbach

15 | SF Symphony

142 Throckmorton | Mill Valley $10-$20 | 415.383.9600 Staged reading of a new play by Cary Pepper, part of 142’s Playwrights’ Lab. Herbst Theatre | SF $38-$60 | 415.392.4400 Composer/pianist Auerbach, with Alisa Weilerstein & Lina Tetriani. 14 | Pamela Z

Meridian Gallery | SF $10 | 415.398.7229 New solo voice and electronics work by SF-based composer/performer. 14 | The Knux

Café Du Nord | SF $10-$12 | 866.468.3399 With The Vibrant Sound. 14 | Mingus Dynasty

Yoshi’s | SF $20-$26 | 415.655.5600 Celebration of Charles Mingus’ 90th birthday. (Ends 3/15) 14 | Sam Marlowe

Rrazz Room | SF $49.50 | 800.380.3095 Gospel, soul, jazz, British pop singer/ songwriter/pianist (Ends 3/17) Davies Symphony Hall | SF $35-$145 | 415.864.6000 Bay Area composers Mason Bates & John Adams. Emanuel Ax on piano. (Ends 3/17) 15 | Brian Posehn

Cobb’s Comedy Club | SF $18.50 | 415.928.4320 Comedian/actor/writer Posehn brings his outrages gags to Cobb’s. (Ends 3/18) 15 | ODC/Dance Downtown

YBCA - Novellus Theater | SF $20-$70 | 415.978.2787 Choreographers Brenda Way, KT Nelson and Kimi Okada. (Ends 3/25) 15 | Hamlet

City Lights Theater | San Jose $28 | 408.295.4200 Modern-day Hamlet is a contemporary psychological thriller. (Ends 4/15)

Stage Werx 446 | SF $18 | 800.838.3006 Noir existential play subtitled “and the Mean Streets of SF.” (Ends 4/7)

16 | Barry Melton Band

14 | Voyage

16 | Cypress String Quartet

Ashby Stage | Berkeley $20-$30 | 510.841.6500 Tom Stoppard’s riff on pre-revolutionary Russia, the first in a trilogy. (Ends 4/29) 15 | Robert Schwartzman

Café Du Nord | SF $10 | 866.468.3399 With Relationship and Jamestown Revival. 15 | Nigerian Brothers

Osher Marin JCC | San Rafael $20 | 415.444.8000 Led by Nigerian bandleader Babá Ken Okulolo.

15 | Eiko & Koma: Fragile

YBCA - Forum Theatre | SF $10 | 415.978.2787 Half stage piece, half living installation, with Kronos Quartet. (Ends 3/17)

George’s Nightclub | San Rafael $12-$15 | 800.380.3095 With guest Kathi Mcdonald. Herbst Theatre | SF $35 | 415.392.4400 Call and response program pairs work by Hersant with Haydn and Beethoven. 16 | Greg Adams

Yoshi’s | Oakland $20 | 510.238.9200 With band East Bay Soul.

16 | Jayme Stone

Firehouse Arts Center | Pleasanton $12-$25 | 925.931.4848 Two time Juno Award-winning banjoist. 16 | Jonah Kim & Robert Koenig

Old First Church | SF $17 | 415.474.1608 Cellist and pianist perform Popper, Fauré, Remo Giazotto, Mendelssohn.





APRIL 2 7:00 PM


8:00 PM






| 15


DAILY 16 | Lone Star Retrobates

Rancho Nicasio | Nicasio $10 | 415.662.2219 ranchonicasio.commusic.htm Swing band debuts at the Rancho. 16 | The Fall Risk

Ute Lemper sings chansons and Weill at the Herbst Theatre (3/31)

16 |

| MARCH 2012

Café Du Nord | SF $17-$20 | 866.468.3399 Featuring Lucia Comnes, with The Gasmen and The Jaunting Martyrs.

Café Du Nord | SF $12-$15 | 866.468.3399 With Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys and The Courtney Janes.

17 | St. Patrick’s Day

16 | Double Happiness

17 | Tito Gonzalez

Mountain View Center | MV $46-$53 | 650.903.6000 Performed by Menlowe Ballet. (Ends 3/17) 16 | A Funny Thing...

Spindrift Theatre | Pacifica $25 | 650.359.8002 Stephen Sondheim’s hysterical musical farce inspired by Plautus. (Ends 4/15) 16 | Sunset Blvd

Rancho Nicasio | Nicasio $15 | 415.662.2219 ranchonicasio.commusic.htm The Jerry Hannan Band.

Yoshi’s | Oakland $30 | 510.238.9200 A celebration of the music of Arsenio Rodriguez. With his Son de Cuba band. 17 | Santa Rosa Symphony

Wells Fargo Center | Santa Rosa $15-$65 | 707.546.3600 Presenting Set Six, a classical set of predominately Beethoven. (Ends 3/19)

Lesher Center | Walnut Creek $44-$49 | 925.943.7469 Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterpiece based on Billy Wilder’s film. (Ends 4/15)

18 | Ashu

16 | The Mousetrap

18 | Barbary Coast Burlesque

Altarena Playhouse | Alameda $22 | 510.523.1553 Agatha Christie’s infamous “whodunit” running in London since 1952. (Ends 4/22) 17 | Bobbe Norris & Kenny Washington

Mildred Owen Hall | Pacifica $20 | 650.355.188 With The Larry Dunlap Trio, presented by Pacifica Performances. 17 | Capitol Steps

Napa Valley Opera House | Napa $35-$40 | 707.226.7372 Acclaimed political satire group returns. 17 | Marco Stefani

Firehouse Arts Center | Pleasanton $18-$22 | 925.931.4848 Tenor Stefani is accompanied by pianist Sunny Yoon in this opera recital. 17 | Marshall Tucker Band

Uptown Theatre | Napa $35-$40 | 800.745.3000 With Lansdale Station.

Firehouse Arts Center | Pleasanton $12-$24 | 925.931.4848 Classical saxophonist. Yoshi’s | SF $15-$20 | 415.655.5600 Cabaret show created by Bunny Pistol. 18 | Jonathan Poretz

Rrazz Room | SF $29.50 | 800.380.3095 Crooner Poretz’s Vegas-style club act. 18 | Leo Kottke

Mountain View Center | MV $33-$63 | 650.903.6000 Master accoustic guitarist in concert. 18 | Little Feat

Uptown Theatre | Napa $35-$40 | 800.745.3000 With special guest The Villains. 18 | Solas

Napa Valley Opera House | Napa $20-$25 | 707.226.7372 US-based Celtic band. 18 | Stephen Hough

Herbst Theatre | SF $39-$48 | 415.392.4400 Performing works by Beethoven, Scriabin, Liszt and his own compositions.

image: lucas allen (ute lemper)

alcove theatre Union Square I 415.383.9600 bill graham auditorium Civic Center I No Number Available castro theatre Castro I 415.621.6120 exit theatre Tenderloin I 415.673.3847 FORT MASON CEnTER Marina I 415.345.7500 herbst theatre Civic Center I 415.392.4400 louise m. davies hall Civic Center I 415.864.6000 marines’ memorial Union Square I 415.771.6900 masonic auditorium Nob Hill I 800.745.3000 odc theatre Mission I 415.978.2787 palace of fine arts Marina I 415.567.6642 shelton theatre Union Square I 415.882.9100 stage werx Mission I No Number Available victoria theatre Mission I 415.863.7576 war memorial opera Civic Center I 415.392.4400 yerba buena center SoMa I 415.978.2787

17 | St. Patrick’s Day

getting physical on tour by grier cooper

In March 1958, a 27-year-old dancer named Alvin Ailey collected a group of African American dancers at the 92nd Street Y to perform. 54 years later, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has performed more than 200 works by 70 choreographers on six continents. AAADT’s annual visit to the Bay Area promises new work and new directions under the leadership of Robert Battle, who became the company’s third artistic director in July 2011.


alvin ailey american dance theater

“He’s implementing new things into the repertory that will expand the dancers. The choreography that he’s bringing in is pushing the dancers in ways that we haven’t been pushed in a while,” says dancer Glen Allen Sims, who has been with AAADT since 1997. “We have always been known to be very physical athletes and now we have a repertoire that really lends itself to that.” Three programs, comprised of eight separate works, include Bay Area premieres of Paul Taylor’s Arden Court, a playful piece full of motion, dips and swirls set to a Baroque score and Home, by hiphop choreographer Rennie Harris. “Mr. Battle was very wise in choosing Mr. Harris to be the vehicle to speak to the new generation about HIV. With statistics rising, younger people contracting the virus more, I think it’s important they see it in dance, with something that is street vernacular like hip-hop that is transcending many boundaries today,” says Sims.

image: andrew eccles (urban folk dance - glenn allen sims, vernard gilmore)

“This is the first season that the company is performing Robert Battle’s Takademe, a piece that is near and dear to him. It’s one of the first pieces he choreographed.” There’s also the chance to get pulled onstage during Ohad Naharin’s high-energy audienceparticipation piece Minus 16, set to an eclectic mix of mambo, techno, traditional Israeli music and Dean Martin. Sims says AAADT has much to offer its dancers. “You never feel as if you are stale as an artist. There’s so much for you to sink your teeth into, both technical aspects and theatrical aspects. That is what appeals to me. We’re bringing back Mr. Ailey’s Streams, which pays homage to the Graham technique. In any performance you’ll get a full-course meal. You’re going to get your appetizer, your entree, your dessert, plus more. We’re bringing it to the Bay Area this year without a doubt.” alvin ailey american dance theatre March 13 to 16 Zellerbach Hall UC Berkeley $30 to $80 | 510.642.9988

MARCH 2012 |

| 17


DAILY 18 | The Pirates of Penzance Singalong

Lesher Center | Walnut Creek $20-$35 | 925.943.7469 Brush up your Gilbert & Sullivan. 18 | Tiny Television

Rancho Nicasio | Nicasio FREE | 415.662.2219 ranchonicasio.commusic.htm Led by Jeremy D’Antonio. Peter Frampton Comes Alive! at the Marin Center (3/17)

18 |

| MARCH 2012

SF Conservatory of Music | SF $20-$35 | 866.920.5299 Keyboard wizard performs with John Hébert & Ben Perowsky. 18 | Villa Chamber Orchestra

Old First Church | SF $17 | 415.474.1608 Performing Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 12 and more. 19 | Arnold McCuller

Yoshi’s | SF $22 | 415.655.5600 Long time vocalist for James Taylor, Phil Collins, Lyle Lovett and more. 19 | Earplay

Herbst Theatre | SF $20 | 415.392.4400 Chamber ensemble presents their show “everything is open to interpretation.” 19 | Stuff Happens

San Pedro Marketplace | SJ $10 | 800.838.3006 Reenactment of the Bush Administration decision to go to war in Iraq 19 | Fabulous BUD E. LUV

Rrazz Room | SF $30 | 800.380.3095 Las Vegas comedy lounge act is back with his loyal band mates.

20 | Enchantingly Wicked

Herbst Theatre | SF $15-$75 | 415.392.4400 SF Gay Men’s Chorus with legendary Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz. 21 | 4th Annual RRAZZiversary Gala

Rrazz Room | SF $75-$175 | 800.380.3095 A special evening in celebration of the premier nightclub of the West Coast.

Yoshi’s | Oakland $20 | 510.238.9200 Dezron Douglas & Marvin “Smitty” Smith. 21 | Perfume Genius

Café Du Nord | SF $12 | 866.468.3399 21 | High

Curran Theatre | SF $30-$200 | 888.746.1799 Kathleen Turner as a nun who sponsors a young drug user. (Ends 3/25) 21 | SF Ballet Program 5

War Memorial Opera House | SF $20-$285 | 415.865.2000 Featuring Tomasson’s “The Fifth Season,” Robbins’ Glass Pieces. (Ends 4/1) 22 | Jackie Greene

Bimbo’s 365 Club | SF $75-$150 | 877.435.9849 Benefit for Blue Bear School of Music. 22 | Larry Carlton

Firehouse Arts Center | Pleasanton $35-$45 | 925.931.4848 Four-time Grammy winning guitar legend. 22 | Left Coast ChamBer

142 Throckmorton Theatre | Mill Valley $25 | 415.383.9600 String quartet on “The Shoulders of Giants.” 22 | Noa in Concert

Oshman Family JCC | Palo Alto $65-$75 | 800.838.3006 Israeli recording artist, with Mira Awad. 22 | Owana Salazar

Yoshi’s | SF $22 | 415.655.5600 Slack key artist with Nathan Aweau performing Hawaiian Harmonies. 22 | Zorro

Wells Fargo Center | Santa Rosa $17 | 707.546.3600 A flurry of a cape, the glint of a sword and a flash of a mask... great family fun. 22 | Chris Botti

Napa Valley Opera House | Napa $75-$85 | 707.226.7372 Botti is the largest-selling American jazz instrumental artist. (Ends 3/23)

image: gregg roth (peter frampton)

142 Throckmorton Mill Valley I 415.383.9600 CAL PERFORMANCES Berkeley I 510.642.9988 EL CAMPANIL THEATRE Antioch I 408.864.8816 FIREHOUSE arts center Pleasanton I 925.931.4848 flint CENTER Cupertino I 408.864.8816 FOX THEATRE Redwood City I 650-369-7770 JULIA MORGAN CENTER Berkeley I 408.864.8816 LESHER CENTER Walnut Creek I 925.943.7469 marin CENTER San Rafael I 415.473.6800 mountain view CENTER Mountain View I 650.903.6000 PARAMOUNT THEATRE Oakland I 800.745.3000 SAN JOSE CENTER San Jose I 408.792.4111 SPRECKELS ARTS CENTER Rohnert Park I 707.588.3400 STANFORD LIVELY ARTS Palo Alto I 650.725.2787 wells fargo center Santa Rosa I 707.546.3600

18 | Uri Caine Trio

21 | Helen Sung Trio

musical collaboration coming full circle

image: courtesy photo (karan casey, john doyle)

by andrew gilbert


karan casey & JOHN DOYLE

Vocalist Karan Casey and guitarist John Doyle were practically kids when they started performing together in early 1995 as founding members of the popular Irish American roots band Solas. Within a few years, they were both pursuing solo careers, and they had traveled long creative roads before intersecting again with the acclaimed 2010 collaboration “Exiles Return” (Compass Records). In the intervening years the Waterford-born Casey emerged as one of Irish music’s most creative singers. Drawn to New York City by her love of jazz, she found her musical identity in traditional Irish music, a treasure trove of songs to which she’s contributed her sharply drawn originals. Hailed by the Wall Street Journal as “One of the true glories of Irish music today,” the Grammy Award-winning Casey has been twice voted “Best Female Folk/ Traditional Singer” by Irish Music Magazine. In recent years she’s found an ideal foil in Doyle, an expressive singer, skilled songwriter and fierce left-handed guitarist with an orchestral style that combines irresistibly propulsive strumming with dexterous bass lines and harmonically supple chords. Raised in an extended family knit together by their love of traditional Irish music, Doyle started

working professionally at the age of 16 in The Chanting House, a group he formed with vocalist Susan McKeown. By 19, he and McKeown had settled in New York City, where they teamed up with future fiddle star Eileen Ivers. Since leaving Solas, Doyle has become the most sought after guitarist in Irish music, best known for his potent partnership with fiddle powerhouse Liz Carroll. Lately he’s toured widely with Joan Baez as her guitarist and musical director, but he’s also established himself as a superb vocalist and songwriter in his own right. The collaboration with Casey showcases both sides of Doyle’s art, featuring his superlative work as an accompanist and his ease stepping forward as a frontman. Karan Casey & John Doyle March 15 | 9:00 pm Brick and Mortar 1710 Mission Street, SF $15 to 20 | 415.800.8782

MARCH 2012 |

| 19


DAILY 22 | Eiko & Koma: Regeneration

YBCA - Forum Theatre | SF $25 | 415.978.2787 Focal point of their multi-year Retrospective Project. (Ends 3/24) 22 | Lynda Carter

Beauty and the Beast is available from SJTIX for Broadway San Jose (3/6-11) ONLINE/PHONE SALES Brown Paper Tickets I 800.838.3006 City Box Office I 415.392.4400 EventBrite I 888.541.9753 InTicketing I 866.558.4253 SJTix I 408.792.4111 StubHub I 415.222.8400 TicketFly I 877.435.9849 TicketMaster I 800.745.3000 TicketWeb I 866.468.3399

Rrazz Room | SF $45-$55 | 800.380.3095 Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter is an accomplished singer, as well. (Ends 3/25) 22 | God of Carnage

San Jose Repertory Theatre | San Jose $44-$74 | 408.367.7255 Yasmina Reza’s sharp-edged comedy about parents reacting to their children’s acting out. (Ends 4/15) 23 | Jeb Brady’s Band

Rancho Nicasio | Nicasio FREE | 415.662.2219 R&B and blues band.

23 | Lady Antebellum

HP Pavilion | SJ $36.50-$56.50 | 800.745.3000 With Darius Rucker & Thompson Square. 23 | Lizz Wright

Herbst Theatre | SF $25-$50 | 866.920.5299 Sharing the stage with Meklit Hadero.


23 | Terry Riley

TixBayArea.COM Online and walk-up same-day, halfprice tickets for theatre, music, dance and more. Full-price advance tickets also available.

23 | Dana Gould

FISHERMAN’S WHARF 2800 Leavenworth Street Thursday to Saturday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Goldstar.COM Free and discounted performance and event tickets. Registration required.

.............................................. The vendors listed are legitimate, licensed ticket sellers. Please exercise caution when purchasing tickets form second-hand vendors.

20 |

| MARCH 2012

Cobb’s Comedy Club | SF $22.50 | 415.928.4320 Writer/producer on The Simpsons, with David Koechner. (Ends 3/25)

Lesher Center | Walnut Creek $14 | 925.943.7469 Center Stage Theatre of Diablo Valley, a youth performing company. (Ends 4/1) 23 | Tennessee Menagerie

6th Street Playhouse | Santa Rosa $10-$25 | 707.523.4185 A visit with the female characters of writer Tennessee Williams. (Ends 4/7) 23 | Don Giovanni

Cinnabar Theater | Petaluma $25-$35 | 707.763.8920 Mozart’s masterpiece about a handsome but reprehensible nobleman who gets burned by his own defiance (Ends 4/15) 23 | Twentieth Century

Ross Valley Players | Ross $17-$25 | 415.456.9555 Rapid-fire screwball comedy dazzles with dialogue and romantic plot twists. (Ends 4/22)

23 | The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later

New Conservatory Theatre Center | SF $25-$45 | 415.861.8972 Tectonic Theatre Project’s return to Laramie, 10 years after Matthew Shephard’s brutal death. (Ends 4/29) 24 | Diablo Ballet

Napa Valley College | Napa $25-$30 | 707.226.7372 Presenting Dancing Miles: a sizzling dance piece set to the music of jazz legend Miles Davis. 24 | Kevin James & Ray Romano

Flint Center | Cupertino $69.50-$79.50 | 800.745.3000 TV comedians on stage together.

23 | James Cotton’s Superharp

24 | Lily Tomlin

Yoshi’s | Oakland $28 | 510.238.9200 Featuring Elvin Bishop. (Ends 3/25)

Wells Fargo Center | Santa Rosa $45-$85 | 707.546.3600 One of American’s foremost comedians brings her wit to the Wells Fargo Center.

23 | The Little Match Girl Passion

24 | Revolver

ODC Theater | SF $35-$50 | 415.863.9834 David Lang’s piece based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story. (Ends 3/25)

Rancho Nicasio | Nicasio $12 | 415.662.2219 ranchonicasio.commusic.htm Playing pieces from The Beatles “Revolver.”

image: joan marcus (beauty and the beast - justin glaser)

UNION SQUARE 350 Powell Street Tuesday to Saturday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Old First Church | SF $25 | 415.474.1608 A benefit for Old First Concerts.

23 | Babes in Arms

revisiting the splendor of the maharajas by grier cooper

image: margo moritz (darbar - labonee mohanta, rina mehta, antara bhardwaj)

The splendor and magnificence of Northern India’s royal courts during the 1700s comes alive in the world premiere of Darbar, a traditional kathak dance drama presented by Chitresh Das Dance Company in partnership with the Asian Art Museum’s special exhibition Maharaja: the Splendor of India’s Royal Courts. Loosely based on the history of king Wajid Ali Shah, a ruler known for his overt decadence and revival of kathak dance, Darbar, meaning “the court,” portrays the king’s interest in the rich artistic renaissance of the time as well as his ultimate loss of power to the British. “With Darbar I am able to talk about power, about politics and about art through the tradition of kathak,” says world-renowned kathak master Pandit Chitresh Das, who choreographed and composed the work. “In kathak lies the art of my message, of finding what happened in India in the 1700s and 1800s that is relevant to modern audiences, whether they be in San Francisco or Mumbai.” Darbar features dancers of the Chitresh Das Dance Company with music by world-class musicians, including vocalist Debashis Sarkar, Jayanta Banerjee (sitar), Ben Kunin (sarod), and Ramesh Misra on sarangi, a rare bowing instrument that mimics the human voice.

Mahraja is on exhibit at the museum through April 8. Organized by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, it is the first exhibition to explore the era of the maharajas (a Sanskrit word meaning “great kings”) of India, a unique time of artistic patronage and lavish culture. The exhibition features paintings, jewelry, ornate weaponry and royal costumes. Highlights include the Patiala necklace - part of Cartier’s largest single commission in history - as well as photographs by Man Ray and Cecil Beaton.


chitresh das dance company

“Just as the Maharaja exhibit explores the power and dynamics of the maharajas, so this art [Darbar] reflects that history and brings it alive for the modern day,” says Das. chitresh das dance company March 15 to 18 Asian Art Museum, Samsung Hall 200 Larkin Street, SF $35 to $55 | 800.838.3006

MARCH 2012 |

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DAILY 24 | Roslyn Kind

25 | Marcus Foster

24 | Legend of Hercules

25 | Vicente Amigo

Yoshi’s | SF $25-$40 | 415.655.5600 In concert at Yoshi’s.

7th Avenue Presbyterian Church | SF $25 | 800.838.3006 San Francisco Renaissance Voices features works by Josquin des Prez, Caccini, Vivaldi and Handel. 2 | farewell, fitzgerald

Café Du Nord | SF $10-$12 | 866.468.3399 With Y La Bamba.

24 | Pirates Singalong

Dance Palace Community Center Point Reyes Station $17-$34 | 415.663.1075 Everyone is encouraged to sing any or all their favorite Penzance parts! 24 | Thibault Cauvin

Green Room at SF War Memorial | SF $34 | 415.242.4500 25 year old Parisian guitarist brings his talent to San Francisco. 24 | Top Shelf‘s Disco Fever 10 | JULIUS CAESAR

Buriel Clay Theatre | SF $10-$35 | 800.838.3006 Directed by actor and playwright Michael Gene Sullivan. (Ends 4/01)

Firehouse Arts Center | Pleasanton $15-$25 | 925.931.4848 Celebrating the pop music of the 1970s. 25 | Alas del Tiempo

Brava Theatre | SF $25-$38 | 800.380.3095 Carolina Lugo & Carolé Acuña’s ballet flamenco show “Wings of Time.” 25 | Dore Coller

Rancho Nicasio | Nicasio FREE | 415.662.2219 With Bermuda Grass. 25 | Eroica Trio

Mt. Tamalpais UMC | Mill Valley $15-$30 | 800.838.3006 Multiple Grammy-nominated and critically acclaimed Eroica Trio performs Ravel and Cassado.

21 | High

Curran Theatre | SF $30-$100 | 888.746.1799 Kathleen Turner as a nun who counsels a teen about drug use. (Ends 3/25)

22 |

| MARCH 2012

25 | Musical Mélange

Mildred Owen Concert Hall | Pacifica $25 | 650.355.188 Pacifica Performances presents The Curios, Golden Bough and Jeremy Cohen.

Herbst Theatre | SF $25-$65 | 866.920.5299 Spanish flamenco guitarist. 25 | What If?

Oshman Family JCC | Palo Alto $10-$15 | 650.223.8618 A children’s musical directed and written by Ofra Daniel, with Daniel, Vicki Plaks and Lior Ben-Hur. 25 | Faith Prince & Jason Graae

Rrazz Room | SF $40 | 800.380.3095 A delightful evening with two of Broadway’s finest (and funniest) singing their most-requested songs. (Ends 3/27) 26 | Rhino Extravaganza

Eureka Theatre | SF $25 | 800.838.3006 Benefit for Theatre Rhinoceros with lots of queer talent. Hosted by Tom Orr. 26 | Anything Goes

Willows Theatre | Concord $26-$36 | 925.798.1300 Revival comes to the Willows with Cole Porter’s music and a new book. (Ends 4/28) 27 | Midi Matilda

Café Du Nord | SF $17-$20 | 866.468.3399 With Peck The Town Crier.

27 | Pierre-Laurent Aimard

Herbst Theatre | SF $38-$68 | 415.392.4400 Pianist performs Kurtág, Schumann, Liszt and Debussy. 27 | Quincy Troupe

Yoshi’s | SF $18 | 415.655.5600 With The Broun Fellinis. 28 | Aziatix

Café Du Nord | SF $17-$20 | 866.468.3399 With Russell W.

images: courtesy photo (kurt gravenhorst), l. peter callendar (julius caesar - david moore, tristan cunninghan), courtesy photo (high - kathleen turner)

Theatre on San Pedro Square | SJ $29-$35 | 800.838.3006 Kurt Gravenhorst stars in a solo show about F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Ends 3/4)

24 | The Lumineers

Café Du Nord | SF $12 | 866.468.3399 With Sam Bradley.

by robert sokol One man’s melancholy may well be another man’s justifiable frustration with a world that is confounding and obstructing him at every turn. So says Kit Wilder, Associate Artistic Director at City Lights Theater, who is taking what he feels is a fresh approach to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. “We haven’t done a Shakespeare play in over a decade,” says Wilder, “and I didn’t want to sneak back in with one of the comedies, which I actually think are impossible for modern audiences because it’s sort of like we’re not in on the joke. They are so contemporaneous, so much of his time, and we’re not party to the political ins and outs that he’s commenting on in a comedy.” Instead, he chose Hamlet, partly because “I have in my corps of actors a young actor who I think is more ready to tackle his first Hamlet than anyone I’ve ever met.” Actor Thomas Gorrebeeck needed little convincing to take on the role.

“Hamlet is first and foremost a political drama. It is also an extremely intimate, extremely detailed portrait of a family. I think something that City Lights really has going for it is the ability to present work in a really intimate fashion. Yes, Hamlet is about a prince and a queen and a usurping king. Hamlet is also the story of a young man not much removed from boyhood who wants to chart his own course and turn his back on the ancestral shoulds that are predetermining his life. hamlet March 15 to April 15 City Lights Theater Company 529 South Second Street, San Jose $25 to $35 | 408.295.4200

image: kit wilder (hamlet - thomas gorrebeeck, tom gough)

Wilder usually delves into a work as if it’s never been done before. “With Shakespeare,” he says, “and certainly with Hamlet, that’s almost impossible.”

His goal then is to present the play “in a way that let’s audience members see it with a clarity that they have not enjoyed or have not been afforded before. I don’t want this to be ‘The Hamlet Show.’ I want the play to be the star of the show. It’s an almost anti-concept, pro-text point of view that allows me and the cast to really illuminate things.”



bringing the text to the forefront

MARCH 2012 |

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DAILY 28 | Russell Thompkins Jr

Rrazz Room | SF $42.50-$47.50 | 800.380.3095 And The New Stylistics. (Ends 4/1) 28 | The Caretaker

April kicks off with Head for the Hills at Hotel Utah Saloon, among others. Borromeo String Quartet

Kohn Mansion | Burlingame $15-$45 | 650.762.1130 Borromeo has made the perception of chamber music its principal mission. Fortunate Daughter

StageWerx | SF $20 | 415.517.3581 Thao Nguyen’s story of a woman torn between her birth and chosen families. Dan Zemelman

Le Colonial | SF FREE | 415.931.3600 Piano music in an elegant restaurant lounge setting just off Union Square. Head for the Hills

Hotel Utah Saloon | SF $8 | 415.546.6300 This acclaimed Colorado quartet has a refreshing take on acoustic music. Cosi Fan Tutti

Cowell Theater | SF $15-$20 | 415.345.7575 San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s opera with Giuseppe Finzi, guest conductor. American Philharmonic

Wells Fargo Center | Santa Rosa $20-$30 | 707.546.3600 Brahms, Strauss, Vaughn Williams conducted with violinist Solenn Segullion. Zellerbach Hall | Berkeley $35-$250 | 123.456.7890 An evening celebrating the release of his newest solo piano CD, Rio. Dawn Upshaw

Herbst Theatre | SF $25-$68 | 415.392.4400 Famed soprano sings Purcell, Haydn, Bartók, Debussy, Rodgers and Dennehy.

24 |

| MARCH 2012

Herbst Theatre | SF FREE “La Bella Musica” celebrates the music of Rossini, featuring Avi Avital on mandolin.

Curran Theatre | SF $25-$175 | 888.746.1799 Jonathan Pryce leads the cast in a revival of Pinter’s classic. (Ends 4/22)

30 | The Dunwells Firehouse Arts Center | Pleasanton

29 | Ani Difranco

30 | The Kingston Trio

29 | Branford Marsalis

30 | Robert Moses’ Kin

29 | Strunz and Farah

30 | Artichoke

Uptown Theatre | Napa $47.50 | 800.745.3000 With special guest Seth Glier. Napa Valley Opera House | Napa $60-$65 | 707.226.7372 Renowned saxophonist and composer.

Yoshi’s | Oakland $16-$24 | 510.238.9200 Acoustic guitar from Costa Rica and Iran. 29 | Brandon T. Jackson

Cobb’s Comedy Club | SF $20 | 415.928.4320 With actress Tiffany Haddish. (Ends 4/1) 29 | Othello

Marin Theatre Company | Mill Valley $34-$55 | 415.383.9600 Shakespeare’s, tragic tale of love, deceit, jealousy and murder. (Ends 4/22) 30 | Atlanta Rhythm Section

Yoshi’s | SF $22-$25 | 415.655.5600 Classic Southern Rock.

30 | Chano Domínguez

$12-$18 | 925.931.4848 Pop rock band from Leeds, England.

142 Throckmorton Theatre | Mill Valley $49-$68 | 415.383.9600 With special guest Bob Shane. YBCA - Novellus Theater | SF $25-$45 | 415.978.2787 17th Annual Home Season. (Ends 4/1)

Mel Mello Center | Half Moon Bay $20-$30 | 650.569.3266 Engaging dramatic comedy about family, connection & forgiveness. (Ends 4/21) 30 | Tin Pan Alley Rag

Theatre on San Pedro Square | SJ $29-$35 | 800.838.3006 Musical based upon the music of Scott Joplin & Irving Berlin. (Ends 4/22) 30 | Rumors

Lesher Center | Walnut Creek $38-$43 | 925.943.7469 Neil Simon’s hilarious play. (Ends 4/28) 31 | Antonio Calogero

Mildred Owen Hall | Pacifica $20 | 650.355.188 With Harvey Wainapel in concert.

YBCA - Forum Theatre | SF $30-$50 | 866.920.5299 Cadiz-born pianist Domínguez celebrates the fusion of jazz and flamenco.

31 | Bill Harley

30 | Janet Packer

31 | The Kingston Trio

Old First Church | SF $17 | 415.474.1608 Violinist shares the stage with Geoffrey Burleson on piano. 30 | Linda Imperial Band

Rancho Nicasio | Nicasio $12 | 415.662.2219 ranchonicasio.commusic.htm With special guest David Freiberg.

Firehouse Arts Center | Pleasanton $6-$24 | 925.931.4848 Guitarist and master storyteller. Uptown Theatre | Napa $50 | 800.745.3000 With special appearance by Bob Shane. 31 | Ute Lemper

Herbst Theatre | SF $45-$70 | 415.392.4400 Cabaret superstar performs music of 1920s Europe with the Vogler Quartet.

image: tobin vogesser (head for the hills)

Keith Jarrett

30 | SF Chamber Orchestra

putting the mock in democracy by elizabeth warnimont

Elaina Newport never imagined that the sketch she and her fellow Capitol Hill staffers put together for an office party one year would develop into a full time career. “We thought we would do the show just once.” This year The Capitol Steps, the group Newport cofounded and continues to write material for, celebrates its 30th anniversary of political satire. The group will perform songs-to-thetune-of from their newest CD, “Desperate Housemembers,” but the show is more than just a promotional tour.


the capitol steps

“It’s so much fun to get out there when something has just happened and you’re able to get something the audience connects with,” Newport explains. “Whenever there’s a politician messing up, we’ve got something to write about.” Often the performers have only a short time to learn new material. “We will hurl something together pretty fast, maybe an hour before a show.” Napa audiences will, for example, witness Joe Biden singing a rock song, Obama singing a show tune “and - you cannot see this on the album - Newt Gingrich doing classical ballet!” Over the years, The Capitol Steps has added some professionals to the troupe, but most of the group’s experience comes from years of working in politics. “It’s a wide variety. Some had just sung in the shower and that was it,” Newport confesses, whereas others, like the current pianist, have professional music degrees. According to Newport, since turnover is practically nonexistent, casting auditions are rare, but they are fun. “People from Washington area theatre will come and sing a beautiful song, then I’ll say ‘Okay, now can you sing that like you were Osama bin Laden?’ You find out pretty quickly if someone has no embarrassment threshold whatsoever, or who is willing to put on a dress and sing with an accent.”

image: lawrence luk (elaina newport)

In this election year, Newport’s aim is certainly not to help audiences pick their candidate. Instead, she offers: “Come to the show and figure out who the funniest one is.” the capitol steps March 17 Napa Valley Opera House, 1030 Main Street, Napa $35 to $40 | 707.226.7372 | March 18 Jewish Community Center, 3200 California Street, SF $46 to $55 | 415.292.1233 | MARCH 2012 |

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by ml heath Stephin Merritt is nothing if not ambitious. In his twenty years presiding over The Magnetic Fields, Merritt has exhibited a pop awareness that draws on numerous reference points: from ‘20s café society tunesmiths like Cole Porter to ‘80s synth-pop, his is a sensibility informed as much by Broadway as the Brill Building. While displaying a public persona that’s doleful and deadpan (as seen in the 2010 documentary Strange Powers), on albums like 1999’s classic “69 Love Songs” Merritt has proven himself capable of penning some of the wittiest lyrics to be found in the sometimes fatally earnest world of indie pop.

The Magnetic Fields will be making a rare appearance at Oakland’s Fox Theater, in support of their upcoming new disc, “Love at the Bottom of the Sea,” on Merge Records. It’s the band’s first release since 2010 and songs like the single “Andrew In Drag” mark a return to the synth-based sound of early MagFields albums, after experiments like 2008’s The Jesus And Mary Chain noise-pop tribute “Distortion,” and the acoustic, Judy Collins-inspired folk stylings of their previous disc, “Realism.” the magnetic fields March 24 | 8:00 pm The Fox Theater 1807 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland $35 | 510.548.3010

image: marcelo krasilcic (the magnetic fields)

A restless and prolific musical conceptualist, Merritt’s handiwork has extended beyond the ‘MagFields’ into other group projects, including The 6ths, Future Bible Heroes and The Gothic Archies. He has collaborated with Daniel Handler on songs inspired by his Lemony Snicket series of children’s books. His music has graced the soundtracks of such films as the festival favorite Eban And Charley and future Thanksgiving classic Pieces of April. Merritt has even tried his estimable hand at musical theater to no small success, including three productions with Chinese opera director Chen Shi-

Zheng. Most notably, Merritt also contributed songs to 2009’s off-Broadway adaptation of fantasy writer Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline” (which also enjoyed a brief run at the SF Playhouse).


the magnetic fields

fishing for “love at the bottom of the sea”

MARCH 2012 |

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BACK The directors and cast of The Light in the Piazza with Concord Mayor Ron Leone at Willows Theatre Company

Khris Lewin, Meredith McDonough and Kevin Rolston at Marin Theatre Company

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The cast of Virago Theatre Company’s A Taste of Honey at Thick House

David Strathairn at A.C.T. headquarters

Geoff Fiorito, Diane Tasca, Michelle Ianiro and Melinda Marks at Bus Barn Stage

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Bailey Hanks is Legally Blonde at the Lesher Center

Jeri Lynn Cohen, Patrick Russell, Amy Resnick and Howard Swain at the Aurora

Our publisher, Ron Willis, receives the GGBA President’s Award

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image: steven underhill

Della Reese at the Rrazz Room

Joan Mankin, Joan Holden and Candacy Taylor at Counter Attack at the Ashby Stage

Ali McGraw talking about Love Story at the Castro

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image: steven underhill




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780 sutter street, san francisco, ca 94109

SAM SHEPARD IN REPERTORY Through A April pril 2012

True West Buried B i d Child Fool For Love

Through April 7 A collaboratively directed and performed project Through April 7 Directed by Rebecca Longworth Through April 14 Directed by Nick A. Olivero

A Lie of the Mind

Opens March 14 Directed by Susannah Martin Single $25 | Four Show Rep Pass $85 | Previews $15 | Opening Nights $35

BAYSTAGES | 2012.03 - March  

Your Guide to the Best Theatre, Music, Dance and More in the San Francisco Bay Area!

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