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Aug 31st
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Theatre

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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A&E - Theater

Hairspray—Extra Firm Hold

Hairspray—Extra Firm Hold

Cabrillo Stage turns up the volume

Santa Cruz, we have a problem. The capacity of Cabrillo’s Crocker Theater is 523, and there are 13 performances of Cabrillo Stage’s smash hit production of “Hairspray” left on the calendar. You do the math—and then get yourself a ticket, stat.

Last weekend’s opening of the Tony Award- winning musical played to a full house, one that squealed with bobby sox enthusiasm, laughed at every gag, whether over the top or nuanced, and rose to their feet en masse—for a standing ovation, and to dance along with the talented cast during curtain call.

“Hairspray” is a coming-of-age story. In this cleverly written show, the story is set in 1962 and the setting is segregated Baltimore and its local televised teen sock hop, The Corny Collins Show. This show within a show (one of my favorite devices) features The Nicest Kids in Town, and once a month —Negro Day. This subtle hint in the second song of the show alerts us to the savvy subterfuge ahead.

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A&E - Theater

Hot For ‘Hairspray’

Hot For ‘Hairspray’

Cabrillo stage unveils its biggest musical yetz
Hairspray” finally hits Cabrillo Stage this week and along with it comes veteran director Janie Scott, actor Tony Panighetti and newcomer Monica Turner.

The Broadway hit—which was inspired by the original John Waters movie—revolves around freedom and civil rights. At its core is Tracy Turnblad (Turner), who wants only one thing in the world: to dance on The Corny Collins Show on TV. She also wants to overcome the prejudices that come with living in Baltimore in the early 1960s.

Fellow actor Panighetti expresses how the themes of the musical are extremely prevalent in today's culture: "American Idol is the big thing. It's about watching the underdog take over and inspire America. Glee is all about misfits. This has become a musical generation; [one] where everyone is rooting for the underdog."

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A&E - Theater

Turning Comedy out of Errors

Turning Comedy out of Errors

Stripped down Shakespeare tickles SC’s funny bone
This is Danny Scheie's seventh time directing “The Comedy of Errors,” but his second for Shakespeare Santa Cruz, which debuts on July 9 and runs until Aug. 28 at the Mainstage Theater.

Scheie has carried out nationally-renowned work as an actor, but directing “The Comedy of Errors” holds a special place for him. “For me, I love this play and part of the reason I love it is because I know it too well and it's sort of a true thing about Shakespeare that … we're always told he's infinite,” he says. “You can study him your whole life and learn something every time you see [a Shakespeare play], and I actually think that's true.”

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The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

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Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual