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San Francisco Spotlight: November 2009

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Donna McKechnie
(© Tristan Fuge)
Broadway by the Bay in San Mateo offers six performances of Broadway Up Close and Personal: A Tribute to Cy Coleman (November 5-8), in which Tony Award-winning lyricist David Zippel and Director of Musical Theatre for ASCAP Michael Kerker pay tribute to the legendary composer. The cast features Tony Award-winner Donna McKechnie along with Judy Blazer, Jason Graae, and Sharon Wilkins. Meanwhile, City Lights Theater Company in San Jose starts off the holiday season with the West Coast premiere of Another Night Before Christmas (November 19-December 20), featuring a book and lyrics by Sean Grennan and music by Leah Okimoto. Set on Christmas Eve, the story follows a burned-out social worker who shares her groceries with a homeless man who may be Santa Claus.

The celebrated Shakespeare's Globe Theatre production of Love's Labour's Lost arrives in Berkeley this November when the U.S. tour plays Cal Performances (November 4-8 at Zellerbach Hall). In this early Shakespeare comedy, the King of Navarre and his courtiers find their vow to give up pleasure more difficult than they had thought when the Princess of France and her ladies pay a visit. Dominic Dromgoole, Artistic Director of The Globe, directs.

Dan Hoyle's award-winning Tings Dey Happen is back in San Francisco November 5-29, following the show's U.S. State Department-sponsored tour across Nigeria. In this one-man tour-de-force, Hoyle details the year he spent studying oil politics in Nigeria by portraying the many people -- militants, warlords, prostitutes, and diplomats -- he met along the way. Produced by the Marsh, the play will perform at the newly-reopened Marine's Memorial Theatre.

A decade after Beautiful Thing received its West Coast premiere at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, Jonathan Harvey's play returns to NCTC in a 10th anniversary revival (November 6-January 3). Andrew Nance, who appeared in NCTC's original production, directs the story of two teenage boys in working class London who fall in love. Golden Thread Productions is also celebrating a 10th anniversary for its festival of plays exploring the Middle East. ReOrient 2009 - The First Ten Years (Thick House, November 19-December 13) will feature eight favorite plays from 1999-2008 and the world premiere of No Such Cold Thing by Naomi Wallace.

At the SF Playhouse, David Greenspan's She Stoops to Comedy (November 18-January 8) is a gender-bending tale of an actress (played by a man) who tries to woo her estranged female lover by playing Orlando to her lover's Rosalind in a summer stock production of As You Like It. 42nd Street Moon presents Jubilee (Eureka Theatre, November 25-December 13), Cole Porter and Moss Hart's tale of a royal family who abandons the throne to embark upon an adventure.

Two out-of-this world plays make their Bay Area premieres in Marin this month. First, the Marin Theatre Company presents boom by Marin native Peter Sinn Nachtrieb (November 12-December 6), in which a woman answers a casual encounters ad that turns out to be from a man who, fearing the apocalypse is near, seeks her help to repopulate the world -- even though she hates babies and he's gay. At the 6th Street Playhouse, The Possession of Mrs. Jones (November 13-December 6) is a rock musical set in the 1950s as God and Satan emerge from a suburban housewife's washing machine and seek her help in preventing a corporate takeover of Heaven and Hades. The show features a book and lyrics by D'Arcy Drollinger, with music by Drollinger and Ted Hamer.

In the East Bay, the Impact Theatre offers the co-world premiere of Large Animal Games (November 5-December 12), which is simultaneously premiering at Dad's Garage Theatre in Atlanta. Set in a lingerie shop, Steve Yockey's play takes a biting look at relationships, big-game hunting, and intimate apparel. Over in Walnut Creek, Center REP hosts the Reduced Shakespeare Company for four performances of their popular comedy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at the Lesher Center for the Arts (November 12-14).

Mystery on 13th Street is the latest offering from the San Carlos Children's Theatre. In Shari Potter's mystery, a group of kids enlist a strange scientist to help with a park project, but soon begin to wonder if he's actually a mad scientist up to no good. The quirky play runs at Heather Elementary School, November 13-22.

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