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San Francisco Spotlight: April 2008

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Andrea Marcovicci in Coco
(© David Allen)
Cabaret darling Andrea Marcovicci plays the title character in 42nd Moon's production of Coco, Alan Jay Lerner and Andre Previn's musical dedicated to the beloved fashionista Coco Chanel. In its first staging since the 1970s, audiences will drool over this eye-catching production directed by Mark D. Kaufmann with musical direction from Michael Horsley. (April 24-May 11) Highly recommended for those mourning the season ending of Project Runway!

For more musicals, check out TheatreWorks' Caroline, or Change at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, April 2-27. The Tony Kushner-Jeanine Tesori tuner tells the story of a black maid, and the son of the Jewish family for whom she works. And the national tour of the popular Disney's High School Musical sets down at the Orpheum Theatre, April 15-27.

Berkeley Rep hosts the return of Theatre de la Jeune Lune as it presents Figaro (April 25-June 8), which marries music from Mozart's magnificent opera with famous characters from the plays of Beaumarchais.

The Magic Theatre presents Kevin Fisher's new dramedy Monkey Room (April 5-May 4), about a researcher's need to solve the mystery of how four monkeys in an HIV-research lab are seemingly immune to the virus. The world premiere is written from an insider's perspective, as Fisher is a researcher and one of the presenters at the 16th annual International AIDS Conference.

Should everyone get a second chance? That's the question TheatreFirst is asking its audience to consider with the U.S. premiere of Stephen Brown's powerful and chilling play Future Me (Berkeley City Club Theater, April 3-May 4). The production comes to the Bay Area nine months after its London opening, and focuses on a successful, intelligent, and sensitive young man who commits a heinous act. Directed by Dylan Russell, the cast includes Dana Jepsen, Allison Studdiford, and Dana Kelly.

The Performers Under Stress (PUS) theater company presents the West Coast premiere of Samuel Beckett's Son of Sam I Am (April 24-May 3), an eclectic collection of the playwright's short works that includes Catastrophe, Rockabye, and Krapp's Last Tape, as well as short pieces of fiction that the audience will blindly pick from a clothesline for performance.

The Calvary Theater Group takes on Neil Simon's time-honored comedy The Good Doctor, based on Anton Chekhov's short stories (April 18-26). Meanwhile, Guerrilla Rep takes on Terrence Beswick's world premiere and gritty drama hotshot, that takes a hard look at three men obsessed with sex, love, and crystal meth (April 3-26).

Travel writer Jeff Greenwald's Strange Travel Suggestions is an improvised monologue where audiences are invited on stage to spin a gigantic "wheel of fortune." Wherever it stops, Greenwald's story will begin. The production plays at The Marsh, April 3-26.

The Contra Costa Civic Theatre stages Susan Cooper and Hume Cronyn's lively Foxfire (April 11-May 11), about a widow on an Appalachian mountain farm, who must deal with the stubborn ghost of her late husband, while a real estate developer is set on turning her farmland into a resort.

For the kids, East Bay Children's Theatre Company presents The Emperor's New Clothes. How come it appears that the Emperor's latest couture isn' at all? This world-premiere musical by Ron Lytle is a treat for the whole family and plays one-day only; April 5 at the Town Hall Theatre of Lafayette. And for another take on The Emperor's New Clothes, the Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty tuner is presented by Active Arts Theatre for Young Audiences at the Julia Morgan Theater in Berkeley, April 12-27. In it, 14-year-old Marcus is about to become the next emperor when the Swindler arrives, arguing that clothes make the man -- and he has just the outfit.

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