UPDATE: West Coast Theatre News -- 5/7

News   UPDATE: West Coast Theatre News -- 5/7
 
Please Note: Los Angeles has separate column. MARIN SHAKESPEARE CO. (MSC): The North Bay's only professional Shakespeare theatre, is producing their first non-Shakespeare play this season; MSC's Artistic Director Robert Currier's adaptation of Peter Pan, playing Aug. 22-Sept. 22.

Please Note: Los Angeles has separate column. MARIN SHAKESPEARE CO. (MSC): The North Bay's only professional Shakespeare theatre, is producing their first non-Shakespeare play this season; MSC's Artistic Director Robert Currier's adaptation of Peter Pan, playing Aug. 22-Sept. 22.

The new adaptation of J.M. Barrie's classic tale will feature actress Diane Wanak, who also stars as Puck in the season opening production A Midsummer Night's Dream, July 18-Aug. 11.

Wanak, also known as the clown Pino, of Pino and Razz of the New Pickle Circus, was born to play Peter Pan, said Currier, who wrote the play to showcase her talents, which include athletic agility.

MSC's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream won the Bay Area Critics Circle Award in 1994 , and is back with its original music score and choreography.

A Midsummer Night's Dream and Peter Pan play in the sylvan Forest Meadows Amphitheatre in San Rafael, Thu 7 PM; Fri & Sat 8 PM; and Sun 4 PM. The public is invited to come early to all shows, and bring a picnic and cushions. Seating is general admission with bench seats in the back. Tickets range $10-16, and can be purchased by calling (415) 499 1108. SPEAKING OF PICKLES. . . :The New Pickle Circus will perform two matinee performances of Pickle Slices to benefit the California Shakespeare Festival and the Orinda Chamber of Commerce, on May 18 at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheatre in Orinda at 1 and 4 PM.

In Pickle Slices the multi-talented circus players combine dance, acrobatics, comedy, clowning, juggling, and acts of skill and precision, all accompanied by an their own jazz band.

The California Shakespeare Festival season opens with The Merry Wives of Windsor June 15, and tickets to the season and/or the circus can be purchased by calling (510) 548-9666.

A BEGINNING AND AN END: San Jose Repertory Theatre recently announced they will close their 95-96 Season with the West Coast professional premiere of the Off-Broadway success Sylvia by A.R. Gurney (July 7-Aug. 4). They will also kick off 1997 with the West Coast premiere of Wallflowering by Australian playwright Peta Murray (Jan. 5-Feb. 3).

Sylvia is about a man whose life and marriage are transformed by his dog, Sylvia, (recently portrayed in the New York production by Sarah Jessica Parker).

Wallflowering chronicles the journey of a very ordinary couple whose hobby is entering ballroom dance contests. The charming comedy reveals a unique love story through the metaphor of partner dancing.

Coming soon to SJRT is the new Emily Mann adaptation of August Strindberg's Miss Julie, about two star-crossed lovers from different strata of society. The production will be directed by SJRT's artistic director, Timothy Near.

Miss Julie runs at the San Jose Repertory Theatre May 19-June 16, Tue-Fri 8 PM; Sat 5 & 9 PM; Sun 2 & 7 PM. Tickets are $16.50-28.50. Tickets and information are available by calling (408) 291-2255.

ACT ANNOUNCES NEW SEASON: The highlights of the American Conservatory Theatre's 1996-7 Season include a world premiere by Leslie Ayvazian starring Olympia Dukakis, and two West Coast premieres based on works by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Graham Greene.

Singer's Boy, by Leslie Ayvazian, is a comic fable in which an older woman cooped up in her home with her 90-year-old parents, experiences a new desire to live, inspired by the mysterious, sensual Singer who is having an affair with her 19-year-old pupil. It is scheduled to open at the Geary Theatre in San Francisco May 14, 1997.

Two West Coast premieres include Shlemiel the First by Robert Brustein, adapted from the play by Isaac Bashevis Singer (opening the season Sept. 14), and Travels With My Aunt written and directed by Giles Havergil, from the novel by Graham Greene (opens Jan. 8, 1997).

The rest of the season includes The Rose Tatoo by Tennessee Williams, with Kathleen Widdoes (opens Oct. 30); The Royal Family by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber (opens March 26); and a TBA (opening Feb. 12).

Currently wrapping up the 1995-96 ACT season is Thorton Wilder's The Matchmaker, in repertory with Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, through June 9. Season subscriptions for the ACT 1996-97 Season at San Francisco's Geary Theatre are now on sale; single tickets go on sale Sept. 3. Call the Geary Theatre Box office at (415) 749-2228.

ALMOST-FOREVER TANGO: After a record-breaking run of 92 weeks, entertaining more than 300,000 audience members, and adding 10 extensions, the international tour of Forever Tango is finally facing its fickle nature.

The "sizzling evening of dance." which follows seven couples as they tango to an 11 piece orchestra, will have it's final performance at San Francisco's Theatre on the Square on May 26 at 7:30 PM.

Tickets range from $25-35 and are available by phone (415) 433-9500 or (510) 762-BASS.

BRAVA! MORAGA: Brava! for Women in the Arts presents the world premiere of Cherrie Moraga's play Watsonville with original musical accompaniment by John Santos, May 22-June 30.

The show, about recent events occurring in the coastal town of Watsonville, will be staged in a site-specific manner in Brava!'s new space, before the theatre undergoes renovation.

As Watsonville is characterized by its large Mexican population, Moraga speaks of the show as "a play about Mexican women . . .Mexican workers . . . Mexican believers and survivors . . .". The three recent events in Watsonville history that affect the characters are the 80's strike against Green Giant by women cannery workers; the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake; and the appearance of La Virgen de Guadalupe on the bark of a country park tree.

Watsonville is the first performance at the Brava Theatre Center at 2789 24th Street in San Francisco. Tickets are $14-16 and are available by calling (415) 487-5401.

SEEING RED FOR FREE: It's experimental, it's outdoors, and it's free.

SOON 3 Theatre presents the US premiere of Seeing Red (Silly Bunny and the Toxic Folly), by Alan Finnerman, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM in Washington Square Park on Columbus and Union Street in North Beach, San Francisco.

The performance displays three actors in rabbit suits, running about a 'Stage Cage': a red-cubed, two-story structure garnered with little cubby holes, cages, and TV screens. As danger arises, the piece attempts to ask the question of whether or not as man tries to 'cage' his fears, he is only really caging himself.

SOON 3 is a visual theatre company that explores philosophical and social issues through contemporary visual and technological language. They recently performed Seeing Red in the Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre, with a performance in the Plaza of the Cairo Opera House.

SOON 3's pieces have recently been dubbed Performance Architecture, because of the large sculptural sets used to mark the conceptual and physical framework for the performance. For more information on SOON 3's work and performances, call (415) 558-8575.

CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA:

THEATRE THREE PRODUCES TWO: Theatre Three Repertory Company in Fresno recently announced that their two-play summer season will include the West Coast premiere of A.R. Gurney's Sylvia and the Valley premiere of Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor.

Both are very contemporary comedies written by prolific American playwrights. Sylvia runs May 31-June 29, and Laughter on the 23rd Floor runs July 12-August 10.

The productions are performed Friday and Saturday nights at 8 PM. Subscriptions are available to both plays at $16. Watch for Hamlet in the fall. For tickets and more information, call (209) 486-3333.

SAN DIEGO REP:

JEWISH ARTS FESTIVAL: The San Diego Repertory Theatre presents the Third Annual Jewish Arts Festival, occurring May 28 through June 6. Jewish artists from around the world will participate in this festival that includes five world premieres.

Some of the highlights include: the world premiere of the Jewish comedy La Visita a Spanish play about a Jewish Mother who comes back from the dead, developed by Teatro Punto y Coma; The San Diego Opera Ensemble performing The Conquistador by Myron Fink, about a Mexican hero who was a Jew forced into Christianity; Tribes a collaboration between filmmaker/musician /composer Yale Strom and choreographer John Malashock; and Gathering the Sparks, Reuvane Russell's provocative one-man show of a young man's journey through the political, moral, and philosophical ideas of our times.

Invited speakers for the festivals opening ceremonies include Mayor Susan Golding, Rep. Bob Filner and the Israeli Consul. For a complete schedule of all cultural events, call (619) 235-8025. Tickets for each program range from $10-15.

EXPIRING MINDS WON'T EXPIRE YET: The San Diego Rep's production of the hit musical revue Six Women With Brain Death, or Expiring Minds Want to Know, is having it's third extension, now playing thru May 19.

The show is a revival for San Diego Rep, whose original run lasted two years in 1987-89, earning the record for the city's longest running musical.

OH BOY-A, LA JOLLA! The 1996 La Jolla Playhouse season begins with the West Coast premiere of Athol Fugard's, Valley Song, which received rave reviews at the Manhattan Theatre Club earlier this season.

Valley Song, running May 14 thru June 15, is a coming of age story of a young girl who seeks the courage to embrace her future, while her grandfather struggles to let go of the past.

Following Valley Song is the world premiere of Boy, June 11 11-July 14, a comedy by Diana Son, directed by La Jolla's award-winning artistic director Michael Greif (director of Rent on Broadway). Then comes the West Coast premiere of Theatre for a New Audience's production of The Green Bird a young people's comedy by Carlo Gozzi, directed and co-designed by Julie Taymor, July 23-Aug. 25.

Samuel Beckett's Happy Days plays Aug. 6-Sept. 8; and the West Coast Premiere of Theatre de la Jeune Lune's production of Honeymoon China by George Feydeau runs Sept. 20 thru Oct. 20. The season ends with 2.5 Minute Ride, a world premiere written and performed by Lisa Kron, Sept. 24-Oct 27.

Flash performances for the season include Bill Maher, "Mump and Smoot," and Anna Deavere Smith in Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992.

All single tickets range from $19-36. For tickets and more information, on the La Jolla Playhouse Season. call (619) 550-1010.

SCR HONORS BIG HUNK: South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa honors Prince Gomolvilas, the 2nd prize winner of the 7th annual California Playwrights Competition, by giving his winning comedy Big Hunk O' Burnin' Love, a staged reading. The play is about a young Thai American who must get married before his 30th birthday to avoid a bizarre family curse; May 13 at 7 PM; $7.

Rehearsals are currently underway for George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man starring Harry Groener and Sally Kemp, running May 24-June 30. Tickets are $17-28, and are available by calling (714) 957-4033.

-- By Blair Glaser

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