Warren Leight's 1999 Tony Award-winning play, Side Man, opens its Bay Area premiere at San Jose Repertory Theatre Sept. 15. Michael Butler (the Rep's Desire Under the Elms) directs the drama, running through Oct. 8. Performances began Sept. 9. A traditional memory play, Side Man is about the rise and fall of jazz musicians, as seen through the eyes of one such player's son, Clifford. Now an adult, the struggling artist recounts the lives of his parents -- Gene, a distant, gifted trumpet player and Theresa, a high-strung Italian Catholic nicknamed "Crazy Terry." Leight is also the author of The Loop, Stray Cats and Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine.
Ebon Moss-Bachrach (Off-Broadway's When They Speak of Rita) stars as Clifford with James Carpenter (Dean Goodman Choice Award winner for The Matchmaker) as Gene and Deborah Offner (The Job) as Terry. Also in the cast are Steven Anthony Jones (Al), Howard Swain (Jonesy), John Flangan (Ziggy) and Sheila O'Neill Ellis (Patsy).
The designers include Dipu Gupta (sets), B. Modern (costumes), Derek Duarte (lighting) and Jeff Mockus (sound).
Tickets are $37-$17. The San Jose Repertory Theatre performs in the Sobrato Auditorium at 101 Paseo de San Antonio. For reservations, call (408) 367-7255. The San Jose Repertory is on the web at http://www.sjrep.com.
-- By Christine Ehren