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San Francisco Spotlight: May 2010

Reaching the Heights logo
Elise Santora and Kyle Beltran
in In the Heights
(© Joan Marcus)
Every Broadway baby dreams of igniting "a spark to pierce the dark from Battery Park way up to Washington Heights" and sparks will fly when the national tour of Lin Manuel-Miranda's Tony- and Grammy-winning musical In the Heights lands for a month at the Curran Theatre, starring Kyle Beltran, Elisa Santora, and Arielle Jacobs.

Another musical highlight is A.C.T. Young Conservatory's world premiere of Beautiful Child: The Music of Rufus Wainwright (Zeum Theater, May 14-29), which uses the acclaimed singer/songwriter's melodies and lyrics to tell an original tale. Meanwhile, cross-over diva Julia Migenes offers Broadway To Brecht at The Rrazz Room (May 4-9). Making more music, crooner Russ Lorenson invokes a pop and jazz icon in Benedetto/Blessed: Celebrating the Life and Music of Tony Bennett at the Eureka Theatre (May 27-June 27).

Blending shadow theatre, poetry, movement and music, ShadowLight Productions adapts the Ming Dynasty folk love song cycle The Good-for-Nothing Lover at the Cowell Theatre in Fort Mason Center as part of the SF International Arts Festival (May 28-29). The festival itself runs May 19-30, offering music, dance and more in 60 performances at venues throughout the City. Culling the highlights of their season, the 14th Annual Best of PlayGround Festival (Thick House, May 6-30) showcases six 10-minute plays and one 10-minute musical by emerging professional playwrights. Certain evenings include panel discussions with the authors.

Created and performed by an ensemble of four, Rhino invites its audience to fully immerse themselves in the imaginative world of Ionesco's absurdist masterpiece Rhinoceros at the Boxcar Theatre (May 6-29). Evren Odcikin directs the piece, which features El Beh, Allison Combs, Erin Gilley, and Ross Pasquale.

Marga Gomez is Proud & Bothered (May 13-June 26), directed by F. Allen Sawyer, provides some LGBT-themed laughs, while Andrew Nance directs a musical retort to the age-old excuse that Boys Will Be Boys (May 21-June 26). Both shows are at New Conservatory Theatre Center. Not necessarily gay, the BDSM diva Mollena Williams tells 69 Stories: One Pervert's Tale for Crowded Fire Theatre Company at the Phoenix Annex (May 21-23).

Head north, south or east for two servings of Sondheim and a swinging jazz baby. Hillbarn Theatre in Foster City offers a strip of Gypsy with Annmarie Martin taking "Rose's Turn" as directed by Bill Starr (May 7-30). Curtain Call Performing Arts at Mills College goes Into the Woods for two weekends at the Lisser Theatre (May 14-22). Simultaneously, Solano College Theatre kicks up its Charleston heels with Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Campus Theatre (May 13-20).

In other regional productions, Diane Tasca is Amanda Wingfield for Pear Avenue Theatre's production of the Tennessee Williams classic The Glass Menagerie in Mountain View (May 7-30). Meanwhile, alterTheater Ensemble, which transforms storefronts along downtown San Rafael's pedestrian shopping district into temporary performance spaces, visits Caryl Churchill's Owners (May 7-30).

Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley presents Woody Guthrie's American Song, which follows the iconic folksinger as he travels this land "from California to the New York islands" in a musical production conceived, adapted and directed by Peter Glazer (May 27-June 20). Berkeley's Shotgun Players have God's Ear for Jenny Schwartz's tale of a couple shattered by the death of their only son, directed by Erica Chong Shuch (Ashby Stage, May 19-June 20), and Denmark comes to Concord with Butterfield 8 Theatre Company's Hamlet, adapted by Maureen-Theresa Williams and directed by John Butterfield.

Finally, while residents of Napa will tell you it's paradise there, Dreamweavers Troupe want you to think it's really Eden in The Diaries of Adam and Eve (May 13-23). Structured as a series of journal entries, Adam is puzzled by the new arrival and suspicious of her disturbing appetite for fruit. Meanwhile, Eve gives names to everything and seeks out the companionship of a certain garden snake.

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