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San Francisco Spotlight: January 2011

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Emma Hunton and Alice Ripley in Next to Normal
(© Craig Schwartz)
Tony winner and San Leandro native Alice Ripley leads the national tour of Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's Next To Normal, which arrives at the Curran Theatre, January 25-February 20. The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, about a family dealing with a devastating loss, also stars Curt Hansen, Asa Somers, Jeremy Kushnier and Emma Hunton.

Clybourne Park (January 20-February 13) at American Conservatory Theater spans a half-century from 1959, when a family in a predominantly white neighborhood sells their home to a black family, to 2009, where the events rebound. Jonathan Moscone directs a cast that includes Tony nominee Manoel Felciano. If you missed it at ACT last year -- or even if you didn't -- try climbing The 39 Steps (January 19-February 13) in a new production of Patrick Barlow's adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock's film at TheatreWorks in Mountain View.

Grease (January 18-23) is the word at Broadway San Jose when Laverne & Shirley's Eddie Mekka stars as DJ Vince Fontaine. Curtains co-stars Karen Ziemba and Noah Racey reunite for And All That Jazz! - A John Kander Salon Evening (January 27) at the Alcazar Theatre under the auspices of 42nd Street Moon.

Dubbed "the master storyteller" by the New York Times, Mike Daisey pairs his monologues The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs and The Last Cargo Cult (January 11-February 27) at Berkeley Rep. Meanwhile, at Berkeley's Aurora Theatre Company, Hannah is trying desperately to hold the façade of her perfect life together, even as her husband mysteriously calls in sick to work day after day in the world premiere of Allison Moore's Collapse (January 28-March 6).

Chekhov loses his article in Seagull (January 27-February 20), an adaptation of Arkadina and Trigorin's tale by Libby Appel. Tess Malis Kincaid and Craig Marker play the lovers for Marin Theatre Company. Fresh off his turn as a San Francisco Scrooge, James Carpenter plays faithful manservant to Ken Ruta's vainglorious aging Shakespearean actor in The Dresser (January 27-February 20) at San Jose Rep.

Set in a post-apocalyptic future, three teenagers form a makeshift family in a Pacific Northwest cabin after an environmental disaster in Henry Murray's Treefall (January 21-February 27) at New Conservatory Theatre Center. Peter Matthews and Nick A. Olivero at Boxcar Theatre have adapted the screenplay of the flop movie based on the hit game Clue (January 13-February 5) and have added a few red herrings of their own, including seating the audience six feet above a life-size game board.

The myth of Ariadne spans two one-woman shows in Diadem and Bone to Pick (January 14-February 13), both written by Eugenie Chan, starring Paige Rogers and directed by Rob Melrose at Cutting Ball Theatre and EXIT on Taylor. Under the same roof, Roland David Valayre wants to play with your suspension of disbelief in Audition (January 20-February 13).

You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy Neil Simon's Lost in Yonkers (January 6-16) about a Jewish family in the 1940s, which gets a staging by The Jewish Theatre San Francisco's Nancy Carlin at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, but it couldn't hurt! The Lamplighters begin a three-city Bay Area tour of The Yeoman of the Guard beginning at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek (January 28-30) and continuing to the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco (February 4-6) and Bankhead Theatre in Livermore (February 19-20). Sara Felder, invites you see what is Out of Sight (January 13-February 14) at The Marsh; and a woman inexplicably walks away from her home and family in the West Coast premiere of Harper Regan (January 25-March 5) at SF Playhouse.

Hapgood Theatre Company is Side by Side by Sondheim (January 21-February 6) at the Nick Rodriguez Theater in Antioch; Musical Theater Works kicks off their Sunday shoes with Footloose (January 14-16) at the Randall Museum Theatre; Newark's Stage 1 Community Theatre sings Titanic: In Concert (January 14-23); and Pinole Community Players show you The Full Monty (January 21-February 19).

Put your seat-backs and tray tables in their upright and locked position for the comedy Boeing Boeing (January 28-February 26) at Center Rep in Walnut Creek; and the plot thickens faster than the gravy for The Kitchen Witches (January 22-February 27) at Masquers in Point Richmond. Mastering vaudeville is at the heart of The Companion Piece (January 18-February 13) as directed by Mark Jackson at Z Space; spend your weekend afternoons at Little House on the Prairie (January 22-February 13) with Bay Area Children's Theatre at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley.

East Bay stages go classic with The Grapes of Wrath (January 27-February 20) at Oakland's TheatreFirst; Actors Ensemble of Berkeley checks into Heartbreak House (January 21-February 19) at Live Oak Theatre; and Role Players Ensemble Theatre hunts The Lion in Winter (January 21-February 12) in Danville.

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