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San Francisco Spotlight: March 2009

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Megan Cavanagh, Michael Patrick Gaffney, and
Maureen McVerry star in High Spirits
(© 42nd Street Moon)
Do you believe in ghosts? You might after 42nd Street Moon's presentation of High Spirits (Eureka Theatre, March 19-April 12), a spin on playwright Noel Coward's enduring comedy Blithe Spirit. This reinvented version by Hugh Martin and Timothy Gray still involves a stubborn spirit and an unwitting couple, but it takes place in the much sassier 1960s.

ACT will present writer and director Lillian Groag's War Music (March 26-April 26), based on Christopher Logue's translation of the Iliad. The company will also present Robert Ackerman's Volleygirls (March 12-28), which takes a look at a down-and-out girls high school volleyball team, who hatch a wild plan to turn their team around to face their biggest rival.

San Jose Repertory Theatre presents the world premiere stage adaptation of The Kite Runner, adapted by Matthew Spangler from Khaled Hosseini's international best-selling novel of the same name. The play tells a haunting story of friendship and redemption in modern Afghanistan, from the pre-Russian-invasion glory days through the horrific reign of the Taliban. Do clothes really make the man? It's anyone's guess in Jordan Harrison's Act a Lady at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, March 20-April 26. Directed by Dennis Lickteig, life in a small Prohibition-era town gets wacky when various men stage a show decked out in "fancy-type, women-type clothes." Crazed Ape Productions presents writer/director Dorothy Adams' Lead (EXIT Stage Left, March 12-28), set in a dying world ruled by lesbians. Rather than see her partner enter the official Insemination Lottery, Karla buys Fauna a pet man to satisfy her maternal desires.

Inspired by real-life events, Tracey Scott Wilson's The Story (SF Playhouse, March 18-April 25) focuses on an ambitious newspaper reporter who goes against her editor to investigate a murder. This West Coast premiere is directed by Margo Hall, and co-presented by the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. Octavio Solis' creepy play, Lydia (March 19-April 12), centers around an illegal immigrant's unusually close relationship with a family's disabled daughter. Staged by the Marin Theatre Company and directed by Jasson Minadakis, disturbing family secrets threaten to surface as the relationship continues.

Everyone loves a good story that takes place in a trailer park. In John Byrd's The Hermit Bird, folks get just that when an isolated young woman is witness to many secrets, all from a beat-up couch in her trailer. The world premiere production is directed by Michael Storm and staged by Virago Theatre Company, March 6-28. Sleepwalkers Theatre presents The Short and Happy Life by Ryan Michael Teller, March 5-21. The world premiere follows the story of Manny Singer whose best friend suffers a surreal death. As he copes with the grief, he most also navigate the monstrous world of present-day Los Angeles and those looking to capitalize on his story.

Chances are extremely high that this urgent plea has hit your inbox at one time or another: "Please help me! I am the beneficiary to a fortune of 30 million dollars!!!" Rather than simply go for the delete button, actor Dean Cameron struck up a conversation with the e-mail con man, posing as a lonely millionaire from Florida. In Nigerian Spam Scam Scam (Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, March 19), Cameron retells his interesting e-mail escapade. Approaching the milestone age of 40 is hard enough. But throw in a divorce, an over-bearing brother, and a disapproving dad, and who wouldn't be driven to a mid-life crisis. The Book of Matthew, by Gene Aravaya, enjoys its world premiere this month from the Pacific Alliance Stage Company at the Spreckels Performing Arts Center, March 19-April 12.

Author Shel Silverstein is the best gift you could possibly ever give a kid, and you can do just that with Boxcar Theatre's production of The Giving Tree (March 7-15). Written by Sarah Savage, this adaptation is about a tree's unconditional love for a boy. Also for the younger set, Children's Musical Theatre San Jose is one of the first companies to stage Rent: School Edition (Montgomery Theatre, March 6-15). Based on the blockbuster Broadway hit, the show still deals with the original show's serious themes, with the aim to create a place where these issues can be taught, and help increase tolerance and understanding about homosexuality and AIDS.

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