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Dec 19th
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Theatre

A&E - Theater

Time For ‘Tidings’

Time For ‘Tidings’

Cabrillo Stage aims to hit a high note with its festive new show, ‘Plaid Tidings’
It’s the Christmas season: trees, stockings, gifts, chestnuts … and pepper spray in faces while shopping. Things are both festive and chaotic at this time of year when the weather gets chilly and shoppers forget the reason for the season. A cure to the madness—get in touch with the nostalgic side of the holiday. Gather around a piano and sing a few classic tunes with family and friends. Sip some hot chocolate away from the crowds. Sit by a toasty fire and wrap gifts slowly and mindfully. And for a serious splash of holiday cheer, maintain the nostalgic sense of things by taking in an upbeat musical at Cabrillo Stage. On Dec. 16, the musical theater company launches “Plaid Tidings,” a sequel to the original show, “Forever Plaid,” which played at Cabrillo Stage in 2008. This show is full of glad tidings, slapstick jokes, and lots of old, memorable Christmas songs.

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A&E - Theater

Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer

Delightful SSC 'Frog & Toad' is exuberant fun for all ages

You don't have to know the “Frog and Toad” series of children's books by Arnold Lobel to fall in love with “A Year With Frog and Toad,” the new holiday production from Shakespeare Santa Cruz. In a fleet, satisfying (and very child-friendly) 70 minutes—sans intermission—this lively production keeps kids and adults rapt with jazzy songs, inventive design, good humor, and heart. They might as well tie a giant red ribbon around the UC Santa Cruz Mainstage Theater—this production is such a big, happy holiday gift to the community.

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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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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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