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San Francisco Spotlight: August 2010

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Justin Glaser and Liz Shivener
in Beauty and the Beast
(© Joan Marcus)
The tale is still "as old as time," but the cast is new for the tour of Beauty and the Beast (August 17-29) stopping at the Golden Gate Theatre. Liz Shivener is Belle and Justin Glaser is the Beast in this edition of the Tony-winning musical by Tim Rice, Alan Menken, and the late Howard Ashman.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents the musical romance The Light in the Piazza (Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, August 25-September 19), featuring a lush score by Adam Guettel and a book by Craig Lucas. The company will also celebrate its 2010 New Works Festival (August 8-22) with fifteen days of plays, musicals, cabaret and panel discussions at the Lucie Stern Theater in Palo Alto.

San Francisco's best nightclub, The Rrazz Room at Hotel Nikko, delivers a host of theater-connected options including Henry Mancini's daughter Monica Mancini, in a tribute to her father (August 4-5); Ally McBeal songstress Vonda Shepard (August 6-7); Broadway and television star Marilu Henner (August 6-8); Wicked girl Shoshana Bean (August 9-10); the one-time longest-running-ever Phantom, Franc D'Ambrosio (August 17-22); and Del Shores: A Sordid Affair, in which the playwright hosts several evenings of sordid experiences with guests Rosemary Alexander, Newell Alexander, Jason Dottley and Ann Walker (August 12-15).

Leanne Borghesi sets aside her alter diva (Anita Cocktail) to sample such theatrical divas as Streisand, Merman, Garland and LuPone in -- what else? -- Divalicious! (August 4-22) with G. Scott Lacy at the piano at New Conservatory Theatre Center. Under the same roof, Don't Ask (August 13-September 19) does tell about the complications of an affair between an Army private and his superior officer. Adrian Anchondo and Ryan Hough star in the West Coast premiere of the drama by Bill Quigley.

Should you need information "vegetable, animal or mineral" just ask the Major-General in The Lamplighter's production of The Pirates of Penzance. Directed by Phil Lowery, the Gilbert and Sullivan classic will be touring the Bay Area all month with a stop at the Novellus Theatre at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (August 19-22).

Mario Cossa and Tyler Flanders suggest some Sex Tapes For Seniors (August 5-22) in their world premiere musical at the Victoria Theatre. With music direction by former Cockette Scrumbly Koldewyn, the show is both a romp around senior sexuality and an exploration of relationships, changing roles, and facing mortality.

Boxcar Theatre celebrates Tennessee Williams with Tennessee Williams in Rep, featuring Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie (through August 26) at the Boxcar Playhouse. All three shows run in repertory and share a common cast and design team, with direction by Jeffrey Hoffman, Rebecca Longworth, and Jessica Holt.

On other San Francisco stages, Young People's Teen Musical Theatre considers Once Upon A Broadway: A Fairy Tale Review (August 7-8) at the Randall Museum; Symmetry Theatre Company engages in some Show And Tell (August 6-22) at Thick House, where a disaster at a grade school leaves more questions than answers; and Sleepwalkers Theatre finds that This World Is Good (August 5-28), at the Phoenix Theatre, when a woman comes to grips with her brother's suicide.

August brings music and laughter to the East Bay. Willows Theatre Company shows off some fancy steps in Footloose (August 2-8) at the Alhambra Performing Arts Center in Martinez; Producers Association polishes their 76 trombones for The Music Man (August 5-15) at Woodminster Amphitheatre in Oakland; and "Doh!" is the word for California Shakespeare Theater's MacHomer: The Simpsons Do Macbeth (August 3-7) by Rick Miller at Bruns Memorial Amphitheatre in Orinda.

More traditional Bard offerings come from the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival's staging of Two Gentlemen of Verona (August 14-29) at Memorial Park Amphitheatre in Cupertino; Othello (August 3-29) as directed by Pam McKinnon for Shakespeare Santa Cruz; and Napa Valley College's The Taming of the Shrew (August 20-29) at Veterans' Memorial Park in Fairfield.

Family drama is the core of Humble Boy (August 6-22) by Charlotte Jones, being presented by the Marin Actors' Workshop at the Novato Theatre Company Playhouse. Meanwhile, Aurora Theatre Company presents Alice Childress' Trouble in Mind (August 20 - September 26), set during the early years of the Civil Rights movement, and focusing on a group of black and white actors who are attempting to mount a production of an anti-lynching drama.

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