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Jul 30th
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Theatre

A&E - Theater

Xanadu: Roll With It, Baby, And You’ll Have a Ball

Xanadu: Roll With It, Baby, And You’ll Have a Ball

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.

Why?

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.

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A&E - Theater

A New Jewel

A New Jewel

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.

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A&E - Theater

Sweet Dreams?

Sweet Dreams?

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.

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A&E - Theater

Discovering a Jewel

Discovering a Jewel

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.

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A&E - Theater

‘Street’ Jam

‘Street’ Jam

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.

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A&E - Theater

Tropical Punch

Tropical Punch

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.

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A&E - Theater

Comedic ‘Clouds’

Comedic ‘Clouds’

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.

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A&E - Theater

Busy Signals

Busy Signals

Our obsessions with cell phones becomes evident in new play
Gerry Gerringer, artistic director of Actors’ Theatre, is kicking off the company’s 26th season with a play you’ve probably never heard of. “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” may not have the theatrical history of a Shakespeare comedy, but it’s the perfect example of what’s hot right now in contemporary playwriting.

Sarah Ruhl, who was nominated for a 2010 Tony award for her play “In the Next Room,” wrote this new dark comedy, which revolves around Jean (Julia Cunningham), a woman who answers a stranger’s phone when it won’t stop ringing, only to find out that the man is dead. Rather than seek medical assistance for him, Jean gets herself entangled in his dysfunctional relationships with his alienated widow, his commanding mother and his mysterious mistress, and even falls in love with his lonely brother.

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A&E - Theater

Here and Now and There

Here and Now and ThereTandy Beal’s representation of the afterlife looks downright inviting
“HereAfterHere: A Self-guided Tour of Eternity” is a new musical produced by Tandy Beal that deals with a topic intimately connected to each and every one of us—death and the afterlife. Logically, we know this point in our lives is inevitable, yet no one seems to want to face the macabre topic head on. “HereAfterHere” will force you to confront your destiny in an honest and at-times humorous way and will leave you pondering the possibility of the afterlife like you never have before. 
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A&E - Theater

Challenging Times

Challenging Times

Actors’ Theatre faces financial troubles
The recession has lambasted everything from mom-and-pop businesses to large corporations, but perhaps the most battered and bruised entity is the arts. We all remember the financial debacle that nearly canceled Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s 2009 summer season, but now the tides have turned on one of Downtown Santa Cruz’s own.

Tucked into the back corner of an unassuming Center Street building, sits Actors’ Theatre, an 88-seat black box where locals have come to see classical, contemporary and new plays, as well as improv, for the last 25 years.

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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Time Capsule

Actors age in real time in audacious, mesmerizing ‘Boyhood’
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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

 

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