Summer stage attractions
by Richard Dodds
The notion that summer is a time for a mass theatrical hiatus is a carryover from the days before air conditioning came to those theater capitals where it actually gets hot for more than two days in a row. Many of the major local companies in these environs follow the traditional fall-spring calendar, using the break to catch their breath, but summer is hardly a lazy time as far as Bay Area stages are concerned â€” with the season bringing a hefty serving of surprises, novelties, and fruity treats that are exposed below.
Pretty in pink
What fruitier treat can the summer offer than a return visit by Leslie Jordan in a new one-man show? My Trip Down the Pink Carpet will have a single performance on June 30 at the Post Street Theatre, as part of a national tour that coincides with the release of his book by the same name.
Jordan played SF in 2006 in his delightful and boldly revealing autobiographical one-man show Like a Dog on Linoleum. In his new solo show, he offers up wit and wisdom learned on the road to a specialized stardom that blossomed with his role as socialite Beverley Leslie on Will & Grace. He eagerly drops names in the new show, as he describes encounters with such celebrities as Cloris Leachman, Faye Dunaway, Boy George, and George Clooney.
Pink Carpet is directed by David Galligan, well known for his staging of AIDS benefits, including the long-running Help Is on the Way series in San Francisco. Tickets are available at 771-6900 or www.unionsquaretheatres.com.
They loved it in Alameda, and now Oh My Godmother! is coming to the city in which it is set. This gay musical variation on the Cinderella story will run June 26-July 26 at the Zeum Theatre at Yerba Buena Gardens with the original cast from Alameda's Altarena Playhouse.
The musical's journey began early in 2005, when writer-director Ron Lytle produced a staged reading at the Altarena Playhouse. The theater booked it for a successful three-week run that summer, and it was revived in 2007. When retired schoolteacher Barbara Namer saw the 2007 production, she offered to produce the show in San Francisco.
Oh My Godmother! tells the story of a young gay man living in San Francisco with his homophobic stepmother and stepsisters. He meets the man of his dreams (who happens to be named Prince), but, in Cinderella fashion, the two are separated until a fairy godmother steps in to make everything right.
For tickets, call (800) 838-3006 or go to www.ohmygodmother.com.
With the evocative name Darren Romeo (it's his real name), a handsome countenance befitting the surname, and the backing of Siegfried and Roy, the magician with a song up his sleeve will make his SF debut beginning June 3 at the Post Street Theatre.
In Darren Romeo, the Voice of Magic, Romeo combines vocals and illusions in a new show built for San Francisco. The Broadway-inspired magic and musical production features classic and contemporary music ranging from Andrew Lloyd Webber to Billy Joel, as well as Romeo's own compositions. The show is punctuated by illusions including famed magician Harry Blackstone's classic "Floating Light Bulb."
Romeo was named Magician of the Year 2004 by the Academy of Magical Arts Awards, and Entertainer of the Year by the International Magicians Society the same year. His run at the Post Street Theatre will continue through July 13.
Tickets at 771-6900 and www.ticketmaster.com.
The negative potential of positive thinking is the theme of an unusual theatrical experiment titled The Group. Running May 29-June 14 at the Climate Theatre, The Group is designed for audiences of 15 to 20 people who are supposedly attending an hour-long seminar led by an increasingly unsympathetic group leader in a satire of packaged self-improvement programs. Audience members, sitting in a "power circle," wear individual headsets that deliver both the leader's voice and an aural soundscape as the faux seminar creates a manufactured community. The Group is the creation of Robert Quillen Camp, composer Alec Duffy, and the Dodeska Performance Ensemble. Tickets at www.climatetheater.com or 263-0830.
Three classic movie thrillers come to campy life in rep fashion in Attack of the Killer B-Movies at the Exit Theatre. The Birds, The Blob and The Bad Seed will be presented on a rotating schedule June 13-22. These are "streamlined" versions created by Sean Owens, who also takes on the choice role of evil Rhoda Penmark in The Bad Seed.
Owens, who is the Exit's playwright-in-residence, will also be on stage in his farce Her Majesty, running July 11-19. He and co-star Christina Augello play queens of every type in an overload of quick changes and theatrical follies. Tickets at 673-3847 or www.brownpapertickets.com.
Two entertaining solo shows that have completed extended runs at their respective theaters are coming back for encores at different Bay Area venues.
Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking, which opened in February at Berkeley Rep, is now on a national tour that will bring it to San Jose Rep this summer. Running July 23-Aug. 2, Fisher tells her funny-sad-mad saga of growing up the child of tabloid celebrities, her uneasy stardom in the first Star Wars movies, and her battles to stay sane and sober. Tickets: (408) 367-7255 or www.sjrep.org.
James Judd may not have had such a glittery life, but in 7 Sins, he still turns his experiences â€” from office clerk to lousy lawyer to lounge comic â€” into a hilarious one-man show. Seen recently in the Rhino's Studio, it reopens for a three-week run on May 30 at the Exit Theatre. More info at www.sffringe.org.
Wait, there's more
And bear in mind: Pangs Theatre Company is presenting a Lorca Summer Festival July 18-Aug. 2 at Intersection for the Arts (pangstheater.com); the Queer Arts Festival runs at multiple locations beginning June 1 (queerculturalcenter.org); Theatre Q presents Gross Indecencies: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde at the Dragon Theatre in Palo Alto (theatreq.org); Evil Dead: The Musical, based on Sam Raimi's cult horror movies, opens June 13 at the Campbell Theatre in Martinez (willowstheatre.org); and Crowded Fire presents the world premiere of Liz Duffy Adams' futuristic social farce The Listener at A Traveling Jewish Theater on July 12-Aug. 3 and Berkeley's Ashby Stage on Aug. 15-31 (crowdedfire.org).