Theater Briefs: closing soon and coming soon

  • by Jim Gladstone
  • Tuesday October 24, 2023
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Joe Ayers and J.A. Valentine in Center Repertory Company's "The Legend of Georgia McBride' (photo: MacKenzie Crane)
Joe Ayers and J.A. Valentine in Center Repertory Company's "The Legend of Georgia McBride' (photo: MacKenzie Crane)

The fall theater season continues at a fast and furious pace, with plenty of openings still to come. Here are a few productions that should be on your radar.

Dom Refuerzo and Rae Yuen in 'Tiny Fires' (photo: Jay Yamada)  

Tiny Fires
Among smaller Bay Area theater companies, The Custom Made Theatre Co. put on some of the most consistently interesting and intellectually challenging shows in the few years leading up to the pandemic. But dwindling audiences and finances have taken their toll and after their current production of "Tiny Fires" which runs through this weekend, they're putting themselves on indefinite pause.

That's all the more reason to savor this last (at least for the foreseeable future) show, a world premiere drama about two impoverished and orphaned young Filipina women, Trixie and Sugarpie, who survive by scavenging in a landfill and thrive on each other's' caring companionship. When a Filipino American man arrives on the scene, the pair's mutual affection turns out to be unequal and their relationship begins to unravel.

Through October 29. $25-$55. CounterPulse, 80 Turk St. (415) 798-2682.

Joshua Gilstein  

Musical Café Showcase
Professionally-directed excerpts from four new musicals being developed by Bay Area creators will be presented to the public for the first time in an incubation showcase that lets audiences get an unusually early look at promising works-in-progress.

Among the shows featured in this tenth installment of the event is gay writer/composer Joshua Gilstein's "Jewish Boys: The Musical," which follows a recent college grad's plunge into big city life and gay dating.

Audiences will also see samples of "The Very Last One and Only Highly Endangered Mountain Lion in Pennsylvania" by Greg Beattie and John Kull; "Legend of the Werewolf" by Ray Christensen; and "Mirabai, the Barefoot Princess" by Leah Sirkin.

October 29 and 30. $22-$58 (For a B.A.R. readers' discount, use code MCShow23 at online checkout). Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley.

Jordan Covington and Tanika Baptiste in San Francisco Playhouse's 'Nollywood Dreams'  

Nollywood Dreams
This vibrant, laugh-out loud joy of a play by Jocelyn Bioh continues its run at the San Francisco Playhouse through November 4. Part rom-com, part sit-com and set in the Nigerian movie-making industry, the broad humor of this script lands perfectly thanks to the magnetic charisma of its four female cast members and Margo Hall's spritely direction.

As a pot-stirring Oprah-esque talk show host, Tanika Batiste gives a performance that manages to surpass her phenomenal comic turn in Magic Theater's recent production of "The N— Lovers."

Special acknowledgement is due to dialect coach Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe: The convincing Nigerian-accented English of the entire cast brings musical bounce to the dialogue.

Through Nov. 4. $15-$100. San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St. (415) 677-9596.

J.A. Valentine, Jed Parsario, Joe Ayers, and Sundiata Ayinde in rehearsals for Center Repertory Company's "The Legend of Georgia McBride.' (photo: MacKenzie Crane)  

The Legend of Georgia McBride
Playwright Matthew Lopéz won Tony and Olivier Awards for his queer history epic "The Inheritance." And his knack for humor was recently showcased in the Amazon streaming smash "Red, White and Royal Blue," for which he served as director and co-writer.

But before either of those ballyhooed successes, he wrote "The Legend of Georgia McBride," which is being staged by the East Bay's Center Repertory Company in November.

This 2014 comedy follows a young Elvis Presley impersonator who loses his gig and is eventually convinced to swallow his macho pride, put on a dress, and retake the stage as a drag queen. Lauded as "stitch-in-your-side funny," it was a New York Times Critics' Pick during its original Off-Broadway run.
Leading the cast are Bay Area stage veterans Joe Ayers as Casey, and J.A. Valentine as his drag mother.

November 4-26. $45-$70. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek. (925) 943-7469.

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