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May 27th
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Theatre

A&E - Theater

Fab, Frothy and Fun

Fab, Frothy and Fun

Cabrillo Stage’s summer season opens with flashy, yet heartfelt ‘La Cage Aux Folles’

La Cage Aux Folles” debuted as a French play in 1973, was made into a film in 1978, and was adapted into a musical in the U.S. in 1983. In 1997, it was reproduced as a comedy film—sans the music—titled The Birdcage, starring Robin Williams, Nathan Lane and Gene Hackman. And on July 12, local audiences will have an opportunity to see the play re-imagined once again, this time by Cabrillo Stage.

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A&E - Theater

Far from Heaven

Far from Heaven

Veteran solo performer revisits childhood trauma in ambitious one-man show

When an 8-year-old Mark Kenward and his family moved from Normal, Il., to Nantucket, Mass., they did so with quintessentially great expectations. “My parents moved us to an island with all the dreams you would expect of people moving to an island,” remembers the now-adult Kenward over three decades later. “Dreams of spending summer afternoons on the beach, and just having this life that’s away from the chaos of the mainland.”

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A&E - Theater

In the Moment

In the Moment

Area theater troupes gear up for annual Santa Cruz Improv Fest

There’s one story that I must tell you, and I always quote this,” says Gerry Orton, who begins telling a story about Keith Johnstone, a pioneer of improvisational theater. “He was in San Francisco, and I was taking a workshop from him—this was several years ago—and on the evening of a performance while he was there, he was interviewed on stage by a teacher of improv. The teacher said, ‘Keith, why do you still do it after all these years? Why do you still travel the world and teach?’ And his answer was, ‘Because I still don’t understand it.’” Orton lets out a knowing laugh. “And that’s so true.”

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A&E - Theater

A Pinteresque Pairing

A Pinteresque Pairing

Two local theater companies collaborate to produce two one-act plays by the late playwright Harold Pinter

If what isn’t said speaks louder than what is said, then Harold Pinter’s work shouts volumes. And to explore the voluminous meaning between the late playwright’s lines, two local theater companies have banded together this season.

Jewel Theatre Company, in collaboration with Shakespeare Santa Cruz, presents two one-act plays by Pinter: “One for the Road” and “The Lover.” The show opens on Friday, April 26 at Center Stage in Santa Cruz. There will be one discount preview showing on Thursday, April 25.

Marco Barricelli, artistic director of Shakespeare Santa Cruz, is directing “One for the Road” and Julie James, artistic director of Jewel Theatre Company, is directing “The Lover”—marking the first time that the two companies have come together to collaborate on a production. Featured performers include James, Mike Ryan and Paul Whitworth.

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A&E - Theater

"Beach Blanket Babylon' (Still) Sizzles

Iconic San Francisco revue continues to improve with age

There are very few theatrical productions that make it to middle-age. Thankfully, “Beach Blanket Babylon,” which turns 39 this summer, is one of them. In fact, the revered San Francisco spectacle is the country’s longest-running revues.

That’s a terrific testament to the legacy that the late- Steve Silver left behind. Silver launched “BBB” back in the ’70s and the show immediately turned heads with its show-stopping musical parodies and clever plot—a whiny Snow White desperately searching for a Prince Charming. That may have been enough to lure audiences in initially, but Silver and his creative team went a step beyond, always updating the show by infusing it with a delicious gluttony of current events.

This is evident in the revue's latest incarnation—a nonstop powerhouse of sheer brilliance that majestically surfs the peculiar waves of pop culture, scoops up as many headline-grabbers as it can and feasts on their absurdities.

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A&E - Theater

Channeling Casals

Channeling Casals

Israeli musician Amit Peled brings famous cello to Aptos

Amit Peled has many blessings in his life. He’s an accomplished cellist and conductor, and has performed in top venues throughout the world. At 28, he became the youngest professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he and his wife are raising three children. And twice in his life, once when he was a boy and again as a man, his life’s path was altered by a man he never met: the preeminent cellist of the 20th century, the late Pablo Casals.

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A&E - Theater

Good Bet

Good Bet

Performances highlight JTC’s revival of ‘Horse Dreamer’

Now in its eighth season, Jewel Theatre Company continues to produce quality professional theatre right in the heart of Downtown Santa Cruz. Spearheaded by Artistic Director Julie James, and making use of an ever-expanding gene pool of directors, performers and stage technicians, the company keeps local audiences intrigued with its lineup of often challenging, unexpected material. Case in point is the new JTC production of “Geography of a Horse Dreamer,” a lesser-know drama by the iconic Sam Shepard that considers the plight of the artist in a world of commerce, the vagaries of luck, and (as usual, for Shepard) the spectacle of men behaving badly.

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A&E - Theater

Terrific Tens

Terrific Tens

18th annual 8 Tens @ Eight one of the best ever

The philosophy behind Santa Cruz Actors' Theatre's annual short play festival, 8 Tens @ Eight, has always been what I call the Bus Theory: if one play doesn't get you where you want to go, there'll be another one along in 10 minutes. What's great about this year's festival is the quality of the plays overall is so high. Not one of this year's eight 10-minute plays ever runs completely out of gas; all are well-written, well-acted, and cleverly staged, and most have a story arc that delivers the viewer to a valid destination.

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A&E - Theater

Embracing Strength

Embracing Strength

New performance piece at Motion at the Mill explores how limitations can create opportunity

The first thing you should know about “Your Body is Not a Shark” is that it is not about triumphing against impossible odds. “This isn’t a piece about Joan [Jeanrenaud] and Denise [Leto] and their conditions, nor is it a piece about heroically overcoming these things,” says choreographer Cid Pearlman, referring to her collaborators on the performance piece, who grapple with multiple sclerosis and laryngeal dystonia, respectively. “It’s a piece that’s about the possibilities for generating creativity within limitation—we want to be careful not to create a false heroic narrative.”

“Your Body is Not a Shark” encompasses dance, live music, and sound collage, and runs Jan. 17-20 at Motion at the Mill. Examining the creative process through the prism of physical limitation and difference, the production is choreographed by Pearlman, with an original score composed by Joan Jeanrenaud, text by poet Denise Leto, and musical direction by Maya Barsacq.

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A&E - Theater

O Unholy Night

O Unholy Night

Cabrillo Stage shakes up the season with a Marx Brothers-inspired holiday hootenanny

Breaking with traditional Christmas sentimentality, the musical farce “A Night at the Nutcracker,” takes its inspiration from classic Marx Brothers’ comedies, and imagines what might happen if, behind the scenes of “The Nutcracker Ballet,” a villainous thief plotted to make off with the money for the show, and the Marx Brothers—Groucho, Chico and Harpo—arrived to save the day. 

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The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.
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