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San Francisco Spotlight: March 2008

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Thomas Jay Ryan stars in Tragedy: a tragedy
(© Kevin Berne)
Don't let the name fool you. Pulitzer-prize nominated playwright Will Eno's Tragedy: a tragedy is a comedy playing at the Berkeley Rep, March 14-April 13. Directed by Les Waters, this American premiere is an apocalyptic satire set amid much panic when the sun has finally set, for good. The cast includes stage favorite Thomas Jay Ryan.

Speaking of pandemonium, Paula Vogel's And Baby Makes Seven (March 13-April 6) takes place in a New York City apartment that houses six roommates. Yikes! Theatre Q of Palo Alto takes on this winning production that centers on a lesbian couple, who, along with their gay friend Peter, are expecting their first child. Then there are the three other roommates who act as their imaginary children. Sound crowded? Well, that's why a plan unfolds to ditch the make-believe kids.

Judy Gold brings her solo show, 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother to the Marines Memorial, March 11-23. The Emmy award-winning performer discusses the results of interviews with a cross section of Jewish women, and shares anecdotes about her parenting of the two children she conceived with her former lesbian partner.

August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning Fences (Lorainne Hansberry Theatre, March 20-30), perhaps the best known of his Pittsburgh Hill cycle of plays, recalls that encouraging time when Hank Aaron led the Milwaukee Braves to victory in the World Series, elevating the status of black baseball players like Troy Maxson, whose post-professional and family life is less than ideal.

Resident Theatre Company Campo Santo presents June in a Box, the world-premiere production written by Octavio Solis, playing at Intersection for the Arts, March 6-31. Featuring new music written by Beth Custer, this stirring new work was inspired by the song "El Corrido de June Robles," which tells a chilling story of the 1930s kidnapping of nine-year-old June Robles, a true-life event that rattled and captivated the country.

Some of the Bay Area's shiniest (and funniest) stars hit the stage of the American Conservatory Theater for its production of Nikolai Gogol's burning political comedy, The Government Inspector (March 20-April 20). Directed by Carey Perloff, the story unfolds in what is essentially a Russian Mayberry, except there's no Andy Griffith keeping law and order and corruption runs rampant. Core company members Gregory Wallace, Anthony Fusco, and Jud Williford are featured, as well as Rod Gnapp, a long-time A.C.T. colleague and accomplished mime.

Small town politics are also the order of the day over at Berkeley Opera, with its production of Gaetano Donizetti's Elisir d'amore (The Elixir of Love). Directed by Robert Wineapple, this is the story of a country bumpkin who falls head over heels for the town's belle of the ball. Can his unsophisticated ways woo the heart of a woman who has only known life's finer things? (March 15-30).Finally, Deborah Gwinn and Jim Cave star in their own play Romeo & Juliet and Other Duets at The Marsh, March 6-29.

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