Arts & Culture :: Theater

Robert Townsend, self-made storyteller

Robert Townsend, self-made storyteller

  • by Jim Gladstone
  • Nov 5, 2019

Robert Townsend, who helped pioneer 1980s independent cinema with "Hollywood Shuffle," has a file cabinet's worth of autobiographical anecdotes.

Ganache-ing my teeth: 'The Cake'

Ganache-ing my teeth: 'The Cake'

  • by Jim Gladstone
  • Nov 5, 2019

Della, the cheery proprietor of a small-town North Carolina Bakery, shares her philosophy in the opening moments of "The Cake," now at the New Conservatory Theatre Center.

It's not just a stage

It's not just a stage

  • by Gregg Shapiro
  • Nov 5, 2019

You've got to give Michael Longoria, Broadway performer in "Jersey Boys" and "Hairspray," credit for being ballsy.

Persistence & difference in 'The Daughters'

Persistence & difference in 'The Daughters'

  • by Jim Gladstone
  • Oct 29, 2019

Evelyn, a 20ish ingenue in a cheery floral-print dress, wears a grin of unabashed delight through most of the first act of "The Daughters,"

Shotgun Players: Up with love!

Shotgun Players: Up with love!

  • by Jim Gladstone
  • Oct 29, 2019

"Elevada" is a tonic. This singular whatchamacallit of a show, being presented by the Shotgun Players through November 17, effervesces with an offbeat creativity .

Gay epic play connects

Gay epic play connects

  • by Brian Bromberger
  • Oct 29, 2019

The new play "The Inheritance" by Matthew Lopez, is an epic of current gay life in New York performed in two parts, lasting a total of 7.5 hours.

Theatre Rhino charges ahead in new season

Theatre Rhino charges ahead in new season

  • by Jim Gladstone
  • Oct 22, 2019

"There's a huge community out there looking to see narratives about themselves, to hear stories that represent them as something other than caricatures," says director Ely Orquiza, discussing "Driven."

'Chinese Lady' resists representation

'Chinese Lady' resists representation

  • by Jim Gladstone
  • Oct 22, 2019

Afong Moy was the first Chinese woman to ever set foot in the United States. She arrived as chattel, a 14-year-old girl leased out for a tidy sum by her already well-to-do father.

Lucid dreaming of black & white lives: 'White Noise'

Lucid dreaming of black & white lives: 'White Noise'

  • by Jim Gladstone
  • Oct 15, 2019

During quick breaks between scenes in the thrilling Berkeley Rep production of Suzan-Lori Parks' audacious new drama "White Noise," we hear the play's titular sleep-inducing sound.

Not toeing the line: 'Dance Nation'

Not toeing the line: 'Dance Nation'

  • by Jim Gladstone
  • Oct 8, 2019

You don't expect a show called "Dance Nation" to be about a lack of coordination. But Clare Barron's bold, original play, at the San Francisco Playhouse through Nov. 9, is exactly that.

Would-be king of the wild frontier

Would-be king of the wild frontier

  • by Jim Gladstone
  • Oct 8, 2019

"Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" is a rock musical originally produced in the year of Obama's first election and now onstage at the Custom Made Theatre Co., through Oct. 27.

Top-notch & setting reputation aside

Top-notch & setting reputation aside

  • by Jim Gladstone
  • Oct 1, 2019

Even if you've never seen "Top Girls," you've likely heard something about British playwright Caryl Churchill's celebrated 1982 work.

Southern discomfort

Southern discomfort

  • by Jim Gladstone
  • Oct 1, 2019

"This Side of Crazy," written and directed by Del Shores ("Sordid Lives"), is now making its world premiere at the New Conservatory Theatre Company.

Too much & not enough: 'The Great Wave'

Too much & not enough: 'The Great Wave'

  • by Jim Gladstone
  • Sep 24, 2019

Northern Irish playwright Francis Turnly's "The Great Wave" is now in its American premiere at the Berkeley Rep, directed by Mark Wing-Davey.