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San Francisco Spotlight: March 2010

Keeping Vigil

Marco Barricelli and Olympia Dukakis in Vigil
(© Kevin Berne)
Academy Award-winner Olympia Dukakis stars with Bay Area favorite Marco Barricelli in Vigil at the American Conservatory Theatre, March 25-April 18. Written and directed by Morris Panych, the play looks at the evolving relationship between a self-centered bachelor and his dying aunt.

Broadway San Jose concludes its inaugural season with Legally Blonde: The Musical, based on the film of the same name (March 16-21 at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts). The musical, which played its pre-Broadway run in San Francisco in 2007, follows the antics of UCLA sorority girl Elle Woods as she begins Harvard Law School. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell, the show features music by Laurence O'Keefe, lyrics by Nell Benjamin, and a book by Heather Hach.

Marin Theatre Company hosts the Bay Area premiere of Bill Cain's much-lauded Equivocation (March 25-April 18), which premiered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2009 and is now playing Off-Broadway. When King James enlists Shakespeare to write a play about a failed attempt to assassinate the king, Shakespeare and his company must find a way to write the truth without losing their heads. Meanwhile, the Bard's Othello receives a contemporary production from the African-American Shakespeare Company (Buriel Clay Theatre, March 26-April 18).

SF Playhouse hosts the Bay Area premiere of Den of Thieves by Stephen Adly Guirgis (March 9-April 17), in which two kleptomaniacs wind up in a scheme to crack open a safe that holds $750,000 in drug money. Golden Boy, Clifford Odets' 1937 play about a young immigrant who turns his back on his love of the violin in order to make money as champion boxer, plays the Shelton Theater (March 2-25).

Cutting Ball Theatre premieres ...And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi by Marcus Gardley (March 12-April 11). Inspired by the Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone, the play mixes gospel music and traditional storytelling to tell a tale of redemption at the end of the Civil War. Terrence McNally's1996 Tony Award-winner Master Class, in which opera diva Maria Callas praises and admonishes her students while also reflecting upon her own life and career, plays the New Conservatory Theatre Center, March 26-May 2.

Ray of Light Theatre stages Baby with music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., and a book by Sybille Pearson. Playing the Off-Market Theatre from March 19 to April 18, the musical looks at three very different couples preparing for parenthood. The Jazz Age musical Lady, Be Good! (Eureka Theater, March 31-April 18) plays 42nd Street Moon. Originally written for Fred and Adele Astaire, the show features music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and a book by Guy Bolton and Fred Thompson.

In Berkeley, Shotgun Players stages A Seagull in the Hamptons (March 24-April 25), a play by Emily Mann which imagines Anton Chekhov's play on Long Island as a theatrical family betrays one of its own. Berkeley Playhouse presents the stage version of the beloved film Singin' in the Rain in which a movie star and an aspiring actress fall in love during Hollywood's transition from silent films to talkies. Featuring the songs of Nacio Herb Brown (music) and Arthur Freed (lyrics) and a book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, the show plays March 6-21 at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts.

In the South Bay, Mountain View's Pear Avenue Theatre stages The Illusion (March 19-April 4), adapted by Tony Kushner from Pierre Corneille's French Neoclassical comedy. City Lights Theater Company presents another American adaptation of a French play: Frank Langella's Cyrano, based on Edmond Rostand's play (March 18-April 18). Finally, Theatreworks stages Sunsets and Margaritas (March 10-April 4 at the Lucie Stern Theatre), a comedy by José Cruz González about the patriarch of a Mexican-American family whose assimilated loved ones are too much for him to handle.

Since March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb, it's the perfect time for children to meet the animals in Aesop's Fables. The New Conservatory Theatre Center's Family Matinee Series revives its popular Aesop's Funky Fables, adapted by Dyan McBride (March 13-April 4), featuring zany versions of "The Tortoise and the Hare," "The Fox and the Grapes," and more.


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