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San Francisco Spotlight: July 2010

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Ed Asner
Emmy-winning actor Ed Asner takes on FDR (July 14-18) at San Jose Rep. Based on Dore Schary's Tony-winning play Sunrise at Campobello, FDR follows the iconic president as he reflects on his years in office, from inauguration to the trials of World War II.

Bay Area stages are showing lots of classic love and just a touch of light-hearted animus. The light breaks through yon window once more for Romeo & Juliet (July 16-25) at the free Shakespeare on the Green performance in Windsor, while the damn spots are out again in Macbeth (July 7-25) at Sonoma County Repertory Theatre in Sebastopol.

Woman's Will, the Bay Area's all-female Shakespeare company begins an eight-week run of Much Ado About Nothing at various outdoor locations beginning with John Hinkel Park in Berkeley (July 10-11). On the flip side, Bay Area Stage backhands the Bard with Paul Rudnick's I Hate Hamlet (July 8-25) at the Fetterly Playhouse in Vallejo.

At Hotel Nikko's elegant Rrazz Room, July offers Confessions of A Prairie Bitch, Alison Arngrim's comic recollections of playing the bad seed Nellie Oleson on television's Little House On The Prairie (July 9-10); Obie-winning performance artist John Kelly as Joni Mitchell in Paved Paradise (July 19-21); and dragapella artistes The Kinsey Sicks (July 6-18).

The Tony-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe opens its 51st season with POSIBILIDAD, or Death of the Worker, beginning its run July 3-5 in the Mission's Dolores Park. Directed by Wilma Bonet, the plot moves the workers of a small U.S. factory through losing their jobs. Then, on the final day of work, a pregnant employee, suddenly overtaken with labor pains, sits down on the job and the Workers have accidentally taken siege of the factory! Performances continue into September at locations throughout the Bay Area.

Musical moments can be found as Novato Theater Company turns its umbrella upside-down to catch Andrew Kelin and Eve Muson's Pennies From Heaven (July 9-11). You'll then have to say "Maria" several times as Jets and the Sharks rumble once more in PCPA Theaterfest's production of West Side Story (July 9-25) at the Marian Theatre in Santa Maria; and Oakland's Producer's Associates won't even try to stop the beat of Hairspray at the Woodminster Amphitheatre (July 9-18). Donald Pippin's long-running Pocket Opera serves up Verdi's La Traviata in English at San Francisco's Legion of Honor (July 10, 11 & 17) and again at the Napa Valley Opera House (July 18).

Going once...going twice? The bids come fast and furious as a family of professional auctioneers puts its heart, its heritage, and even its darkest secrets on the block in Auctioning the Ainsleys (July 14-August 8), by Laura Schellhardt at TheatreWorks at the the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto. The 2010 Bay Area Playwrights Festival (July 23-August 1), hosted by Playwrights Foundation features six new works and two short plays by various authors including Yussef El Guindi, Jeanne Drennan, and Steven Salzman at Thick House in Potrero Hill.

You can hear the (little) people sing when San Carlos Children's Theater storms the barricades of Les Misérables (July 16-25). Training programs for young actors are also offered at Stage One's summer workshop at The Masquers Playhouse in Point Richmond, which is also presenting one weekend of Alan Ayckbourn's This Is Where We Came In (July 16-18).

More youthful performances can be seen in the world-premiere of the musical drama The Mothers of Ludlow (July 16-25). Written by Paul and Martha Boesing, directed by Jennifer Boesing and presented by Youth Musical Theater Company, the show is set against the massacre of miners and their families during the Colorado Coal Strike of 1914.

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