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Sep 22nd
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Theatre

A&E - Theater

Green Piece

Green Piece

Embrace all things amphibian in Shakespeare Santa Cruz’ and the UCSC Theater Arts Department’s new offering

Move over Kermit, there’s another famous frog in town for the holidays. But instead of a motley muppet, this one is based on a character from the beloved children’s tales, “Frog and Toad.” Though officially the winter production of Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the local theatrical powerhouse has teamed up with the UC Santa Cruz Theater Arts Department to produce a Broadway-endorsed musical treat.

Based on a series of children’s books written in the 1970s by Arnold Lobel, the “Frog and Toad” stories outline the adventures and misadventures of a friendly frog and a cantankerous toad as they negotiate the ups and downs of living a woodland life. A loveable assortment of forest creatures join them on occasion to create a panoply of engaging characters that entertain as well as teach various life lessons. The effect is that the story creates the perfect opportunity for adorable little animals to sing Disney-esque show tunes. But it wasn’t until 2002 that Lobel’s daughter Adrianne, saw the characters’ musical potential, that she commissioned the production. Thus, “A Year With Frog and Toad” was born. The peppy, G-rated musical quickly became a hit, finding its way to Broadway and becoming nominated for not one, but three Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 2003. Since then, the production has remained a family-centric favorite in regional theater circuits across the country.

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A&E - Theater

The Reason to Be

The Reason to BeLocal Jewish Theatre company connects people with the Jewish experience

Every time they stage a new play, she’s remembered. Liliana Moraru, in many ways, was at the forefront of getting Santa Cruz’s Jewish Theatre launched, along with renowned local director/teacher Wilma Marcus Chandler and Claire Cameron. In 2009, Chandler gathered a group of actors and crewmembers, many connected with Temple Beth El in Aptos, and asked if they would be associated with putting together large-scale productions at the temple. However, the temple’s schedule wasn’t able to accommodate mounting major theater productions.

The next year, in 2010, the fledgling group morphed into a legitimate company with its first major production, “Crossing Delancey.” Moraru was supposed to be a part of the project, but sadly, she passed away before seeing the play. The company, now on its feet, knew its official name—The Liliana Moraru Santa Cruz Jewish Theatre. From there, the community theater group has been performing and producing steadily, with work that is either written by a Jewish person or has at the heart of the play a topic important to Jewish life.

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A&E - Theater

The World Accordion to Al

The World Accordion to Al

He’s lampooned hernias, morbid obesity and surgical catastrophies. Now Weird Al shows us the lighter side of the apocalypse.

It’s tempting to read between the lines of “Skipper Dan,” a Weezer-esque pop-rocker off “Weird Al” Yankovic’s latest album, Alpocalypse. Here, the veteran musical satirist sings from the perspective of an actor who starred in every high school play and graduated first in his class at Juilliard, only to end up as the tour guide on the Jungle Cruise ride at a Disney Park: “Now I’m laughing at my own jokes, but I’m crying inside … I should’ve listened when my grandfather said, ‘Why don’t you major in business instead?’” In light of Yankovic’s own academic creds (after scoring straight As throughout high school and graduating as valedictorian at age 16, he earned a degree in architecture at California Polytechnic State University), could this song be a veiled confession that he’s fed up with playing “My Balogna” and “Eat It” night after night?

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A&E - Theater

Big Issues, Bold Work

Big Issues, Bold Work

‘The Letters’ explores life beneath state control in Soviet Russia

While some will stop at nothing to hide the truth, others will let nothing stop them from revealing it. Either way, there is a price to pay.

John W. Lowell’s play, “The Letters,” takes viewers back to Soviet Russia, circa 1931. When love letters surface between a famous Russian composer and his various homosexual paramours, the government embarks on a campaign to hide the evidence so as not to bring disrepute to the State. Anna, a ministry employee, is mysteriously called into the director’s office, where she is at first offered a promotion—but the exchange subtly morphs into a deadly cat-and-mouse game.

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A&E - Theater

Tangled Up in 'Blue'

Tangled Up in 'Blue'

Outstanding performance highlights Jewel Theatre's 'House of Blue Leaves'

There's a lot going on in the new Jewel Theatre production of John Guare's "The House of Blue Leaves." A visiting Pope, surprise appearances by a Hollywood filmmaker and a famous movie star, a gaggle of comic nuns, spontaneous piano duets, and a bomb-wielding malcontent all figure into the plot that director Susan Myer Silton has tumbling in and out of the play's single set with farcical speed. Not to mention the thematic cacophony of mid-life disappointment and shattering dreams.

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A&E - Theater

Full House

Full House

Jewel Theatre debuts “The House of Blue Leaves”
The Pope is coming to town. OK, not the real Pope, and not this town, but that’s the premise of a play debuting at Center Stage and produced by Jewel Theatre. “The House of Blue Leaves,” written by John Guare and directed by Susan Myer Silton, tells a compelling story about celebrity worship, not listening to other people, family and even humiliation.

The story unfolds in Queens, New York, on Oct. 4, 1965, when the Pope is coming to America. Our cast is a wild bunch of characters: There’s Artie, a zookeeper, who hopes to strike it rich as a songwriter. He’s married to a woman named Bananas. And yes, she really is fruity. She’s a homemaker whose son, Ronnie, just joined the Army. Meanwhile, Artie is having an affair with his neighbor, Bunny, who’s trying to push Artie to make contact with an old Hollywood friend. And on top of all that, Ronnie is planning to blow up the Pope.

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A&E - Theater

Dance of Life

Dance of Life

Tandy Beal & Company invites you on a journey to the other side of death

Let’s say you’re walking along the path near Seacliff Beach. You look fantastic. It’s a brilliantly sunny day, and you happily observe that the bounce in your step is in perfect synch with that song in your heart.

No. Scratch that. You’re walking down Pacific Avenue, and you’ve just stepped in gum. You’re being panhandled, and a creditor is ringing your cell phone.

Whatever.

In any event, that’s when it happens. A runaway bus. That heart attack you’ve been dreading. A wad of genetically modified yam gets lodged in your throat.

However it transpires, you’ve just managed to achieve the inevitable—you’re dead.

Now what?

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A&E - Theater

Henry IV visits Santa Cruz

Henry IV visits Santa Cruz

The theater season ends with a spectacular version of ‘Henry IV, Part 1’
In an instant everything changes: the dusky convivial sounds of an expectant audience give way to the blare of trumpets and the martial din of running boots as a troop of young men pours onto the stage to circle it, stamping their wooden staffs with a shout. Enter the king.

Thus Shakespeare Santa Cruz and its audience join an unbroken line of four centuries to perform and hear the tale of a crown taken in rebellion, nearly lost in pride, then won in just battle; of a wastrel who becomes worthy of his noble heritage, and of a dazzling hothead who burns too bright.  Shakespeare’s most popular play during his lifetime, the story behind “Henry IV, Part 1” was as familiar to Elizabethans as the Kennedy story is to modern Americans.  But for today’s theatergoers, Shakespeare’s “History Plays” are burdened with obscure references whose significance eludes us.  As written, the opening scene of “Henry IV,” wherein the king and his confidants converse at length about incidents and characters we haven’t met and do not yet understand, threatens theatrical death upon arrival in the 21st century.

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A&E - Theater

The History of Henry

The History of Henry

Shakespeare Santa Cruz closes its summer season with a production of ‘Henry IV, Part I’
Shakespeare Santa Cruz Artistic Director Marco Barricelli and dramaturg Michael Warren can be found in a darkly lit office on the UC Santa Cruz campus conversing about Shakespeare. Both men are more than knowledgeable on the subject; most importantly, however, are their respective skills in transferring this knowledge to the milieu of the stage.

The conversation quickly turns to “Henry IV, Part I,” the final show in this summer’s Shakespeare Santa Cruz season. It’s a play Warren believes to be the most popular play of Shakespeare’s time. When asked why, he points to the fact that Shakespeare’s first folio alludes to the popularity of “Henry IV.”

Barricelli chimes in about the character of Falstaff in “Henry IV.” He explains that the play acquires its popularity from that character.

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A&E - Theater

Double Your Fun

Double Your Fun

SSC scores with Scheie's 'Comedy of Errors' reboot


Longtime local theatergoers may remember Danny Scheie's original staging of “The Comedy of Errors” as possibly the single funniest production ever mounted at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Premiered in the 1988 season and encored in 1993, it made full use of the outdoor Festival Glen, including a bicycle-built-for-four that came roaring down the hillside, and a massive upstage wall with Laugh-In style open-and-shut windows that turned Shakespeare's frolicsome early comedy about two sets of twins, mistaken identities, and male-female relations into a literal slamming-door farce.

In celebration of SSC's 30th Anniversary season, Scheie returns with a lively reboot of “The Comedy of Errors.” Although scaled back for the indoor Mainstage with John Iacovelli's single, functional wall and a couple of chairs for a set, and eight intrepid performers handling some 20 speaking parts, this “Comedy” retains all of the laughs.

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Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
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Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

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Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.