The first public performances of the world premiere of Tales of the City (May 18-July 10) begin at American Conservatory Theatre. Armistead Maupin's beloved and quintessentially San Francisco characters have moved from newsprint to novels to miniseries. Now they sing the songs of John Garden and Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters, with a book by Avenue Q's Jeff Whitty. Judy Kaye plays Anna Madrigal and leads a stellar cast including Mary Birdsong, Manoel Felciano, Andrew Samonsky, Pamela Myers and Betsy Wolfe as Mary Ann Singleton.
Anna Deavere Smith asks you to Let Me Down Easy (May 28-June 26) with her one-woman show about the body and the body politic, featuring her usual cast of thousands at Berkeley Rep. The challenges of Love in American Times (May 12-June 5) are explored in Philip Kan Gotanda's new comedy at San Jose Rep.
New Conservatory Theatre Center pulls out all The Stops (May 20-June 25) when three church lady organists discover their favorite director is gay. Then NCTC presents the West Coast premiere of The Pride (May 27-July 3), Alexi Kaye Campbell's Olivier Award-winning drama about a romantic triangle between two men and a woman.
Betty Buckley sings For the Love of Broadway (May 3-8) at the Rrazz Room, which also hosts Wesla Whitfield & The Mike Greensill Trio's Whistling Away the Dark (May 10-29), a brief run of Del Shores' A Sordid Affair (May 13-15), and Carly Ozard's Somebody to Love; My Musicial Tribute To Freddie Mercury (May 20-22).
The festival seasons kick-off in earnest this month. Cutting Ball theatre launches another round of Risk Is This... (May 13-June 25), their free experimental play series. Also at the EXIT, Christina Augello curates DIVA fest (May 5-28). The San Francisco International Arts Festival (May 18-June 5) runs at eight venues around the City and the extensive Yerba Buena Gardens Festival (May 7-October 11) provides a plethora of free entertainment in its outdoor spaces in SoMa.
As for musicals, Dyan McBride and Lee Ann Payne lead the cast of 42nd Street Moon's Silk Stockings (May 4-22). Boxcar Theater promises to put the Skid Row back in Little Shop of Horrors (May 20-June 26). Willows Theatre Company shows some class with Chicago (May 12-June 4) at the Campbell Theatre in Martinez. Douglas Morrison Theatre has Rodgers & Hart: A Celebration (May 20-June12) in Hayward. The Mountain Players can't stop the beat in Hairspray (May 22-June 19) in Mill Valley. Hillbarn Theatre is a show off with The Drowsy Chaperone (May 5-29) in Foster City. South Bay Musical Theatre taps its troubles away with Mack & Mabel (May 14-June 4) in Saratoga.
Intersection for the Arts and Campo Santo adapt Denis Johnson's newest book into a play with Nobody Move (May 19-June 12). SF Playhouse presents the world premier of Zayd Dohrn's dark comedy Reborning (May 3-June 11). Shotgun Players tend to the Care of Trees (May 18-June 19) in Berkeley. Cinnabar Theater Takes a Greek vacation with Shirley Valentine (May 27-June 12) in Petaluma. Ross Valley Players fall down the Rabbit Hole (May 13-June 12). Bus Barn Stage gazes at the Moon Over Buffalo (May 19-June 18) in Los Altos. City Lights Theater Company seems Distracted (May 19-June 19) in San Jose. Foothill College serves up George M. Cohan's The Tavern (May 20-June 5) in Los Altos Hills.
As for the kids, Children's Musical Theatre San Jose tends The Secret Garden (May 6-15). Palo Alto Children's Theatre is abuzz with Lord of the Flies (May 19-26). Musical Theatre Works does whatever Lola wants in Damn Yankees (Randall Museum, May 26-29). Town Hall Kids Players visit The Wizard of Oz (May 12-15) in Lafayette.