‘Krapp’s Last Tape’ is a light in the darkness of the mind
The expression on Paul Whitworth's face becomes comically distorted as he desperately searches his brain to find the term for the Japanese art of flower arrangement.
A few moments pass in silence, as his café con leche continues to cool on the table. Suddenly, he’s on his feet and wagging his index finger enthusiastically, “maybe this fellow knows.” In the direction of his pointed finger, Whitworth approaches the table of an old friend. The two warmly greet, but unfortunately, no answers are unearthed. He returns a bit disappointed, when a woman sitting at a neighboring table informs Whitworth that the term he is searching for is "Ikebana."
Breathtaking ‘Quidam’ Delves Into Deeper Emotions
When you think about a Cirque du Soleil show, it’s all about that big tent, the stunning acts and the fascinating modern circus-like revelry. Well that, and so much more, but as “Quidam,” one of Cirque’s longest running shows, hits the Bay Area this week, we may be in for a surprise.
And a pleasant one at that.
A slight veer off the track of most Cirque shows, “Quidam” doesn’t take us into an “imaginary realm” of quirky yet fascinating and often larger-than- life characters. It’s more of an examination of our own world. Reality—really? Yes. Here, we experience a land inhabited by people with real-life concerns.
Dreams do come true—“Xanadu,” that curious movie musical/box office blunder of the 1980s, is still worthy of our attention. After morphing into a stage musical several years ago, it surprised everyone by becoming one of Broadway’s rockin’ hits. It broke box office records for the stage at the time and somehow managed to warm hearts in the process.
The original film, which starred Olivia Newton-John as a beautiful mythical Greek muse trying to help an L.A. artist’s dreams come, took itself way too seriously. True, there were hit songs like “Magic,” “Suddenly,” “All Over The World” and, of course, “Xanadu,” but on stage, thanks to crafty creative shenanigans of the show’s creators—Douglas Carter Beans (book) and Jeff Lynne and John Farrar (music and lyrics)—camp is taken to a new level. And on roller skates to boot! Fun.
Jewel Theatre Company takes over the Actors’ Theatre space
Julie James has some big shoes to fill. And we think she’ll do just fine. As the artistic director of Jewel Theatre Company, one of Santa Cruz’s only equity theater companies, James has decided to ratchet things up significantly with her constantly sold-out theater performances by securing Jewel a home base—the old Actors’ Theatre digs. Actors’ Theatre, a long-time Santa Cruz venue for plays created by the resident company at the time (Actors’ Theatre), and many other shows that have passed through its halls, has moved out of the building. The empty space paved the way for James and her company, Jewel, to take over as the resident company.
The big shoes are the memories that Actors’ Theatre leaves in that building on Center Street. There, the annual 8 10s @ 8 has happened (and will continue to as James is already in conversations to keep that event ongoing). In addition, Actors’ Theatre raised up a cadre of directors, producers, and actors in Santa Cruz, and offered classes, workshops, and much more throughout the years.
Cabrillo Stage welcomes ‘Scrooge’
Christmas Carol” may be a tale as old as time, but for 33-year-old award-winning actor Tony Panighetti, Cabrillo Stage’s winter playbill is an opportunity to breathe new life into one of literature’s most reviled villains.
Ebenezer Scrooge is a complex fellow. Stingy to a fault, the rickety old businessman would be the last person to lend you a quarter for the parking meter. He is, however, not impervious to change.
With the help of his deceased business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come—think Jiminy Cricket meets Sleeping Beauty’s Three Good Fairies—he finds the spirit of the holiday.
For Panighetti, therein lies the beauty of the Dickensian anti-hero.
Santa Cruz’s own equity theater company soars
In an era when the arts are still getting hit hard financially, and money is so tight that people are hawking things at pawn shops, occasionally, some good rises out of the ashes. And when that good is in the form of the arts, it’s even more inspiring. That’s exactly what’s been happening lately with Jewel Theatre, a local theater company which continues to garner attention for its plays, and for its professional theater status as the only equity company in town, other than Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Just months ago, the company debuted its play, “Clouds,” set at the Broadway Playhouse, directed by renowned local theater director Susan Myer Silton. This time around, Jewel is putting on a production of the musical, “Company,” directed by its own founder and artistic director, Julie James.
Unconventional methods work for this new play
We all know the drill: the ushers seat the audience, the lights dim, the curtain goes up, and the play begins.
But what happens when all theatrical boundaries are removed, blurring the separation between the on-stage drama and reality, with no clear start or finish? Santa Cruz producer Alan Fox is determined to find out. Last week, Fox debuted his second career production, an original musical called “The Street”—think “Cabaret” meets Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
Lively cast makes the most of Cuba-set comedy 'Clouds'
Four men, one woman, a vintage Cadillac, and miles and miles of hot, dusty roads on the island of Cuba, 10 years after the Revolution. Are they in Paradise or Hell, on the road to destiny or disaster? The answer is all of the above as the opinions of these characters—and the audience—shift like errant trade winds from moment to moment, in Michael Frayn's comedy, “Clouds,” the lively inaugural production of the sixth season of Santa Cruz's own Jewel Theatre Company.
Director Susan Myer Silton returns with a new—and funny—endeavor
She’s back. After a year-long sabbatical, revered local theater director Susan Myer Silton is back in the director’s chair, and this time around, she’s ratcheting everything up several notches. And that’s a hard feat, considering that Myer Silton is the co-founder and artistic director of the popular and edgy Pisces Moon theater company that for years has been turning out stellar dramatic work. But with her new play, “Clouds,” produced by Jewel Theatre of San Jose, Myer Silton is indeed upping the ante. This time around, she’s working with an equity company, and staging a play that’s using some equity actors, and in addition, she’ll play only the role of director this time. No longer does she have to write the grants, hire the lighting guy and so on. Her skills are purely focused on one thing—directing “Clouds,” which opens on Sept. 16 at the Broadway Playhouse in Santa Cruz.