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San Francisco Spotlight: October 2007

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Jeannette Bayardelle and Michelle Williams
in The Color Purple
(© Paul Kolnik)
Good things come to those wait this month. The West Coast premiere of the musical The Color Purple, based on the novel by Alice Walker, plays the Orpheum Theatre October 9-December 9. The production, which features Jeannette Bayardelle, Felicia P. Fields, Michelle Williams and local favorite Latoya London (of American Idol fame), focuses on a poor African-American woman named Celie and her tremendous journey and triumph over adversity.

Tony Award winner Frank Galati brings his stage adaptation of acclaimed Japanese novelist Haruki Murakmi's after the quake to Berkeley Repertory Theatre (October 12-November 25.) This simple, gentle story is about a timid man's efforts to woo an old flame in the aftermath of a disastrous earthquake with whimsical bedtime stories of a six-foot frog's fight to save Tokyo. A.C.T. revives The Rainmaker, N. Richard Nash's classic western romance about a con man who promises to end a drought, touching the lives of a young country girl and her family.

Mark your calendars. San Francisco's annual Free Night of Theater is October 18 and is expected to include more than 120 Bay Area theatre companies. Helping kick off the event is the Performers Under Stress production of Mrs. Warren's Profession, playing at The Garage, October 18-November 11. George Bernard Shaw's classic play, about a headstrong young woman who discovers how her mother made her fortune, has been updated for the 21st Century featuring commedia dell'arte and several multimedia components.

The Actors Theatre of San Francisco presents Tennessee Williams' Camino Real (October 19- December 8), about a 16-block stretch of purgatory where Don Quioxte, Lord Byron, Camille, and Kilroy can be found wandering and pondering how they can leave. Keeping them off the straight and narrow, however, is Gutman, the purveyor of the local luxury hotel, who wows them with cheap thrills, entertainment and sometimes brute force.

42nd Street Moon presents Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash's classic musical One Touch of Venus (Eureka Theatre, October 25-November 1), in which a statue of the goddess Venus is accidentally brought to life by a barber. The San Leandro Players presents William Inge's Bus Stop (October 20-November 18), in which several strangers are stranded together at a bus depot in Kansas City due to a snow storm. Joan Rya, Donna Sachet, and Hannah Rose Kornfeld star in the hilarious Ruthless: The Musical (The Purple Onion, October 13-November 3). The avant-garde Sleepwalkers Theatre presents the dark comedy Use Both Hands (October 18-November 17) about two desperate strangers whose lives become intertwined.

Finally, TheatreWorks presents Broadway star Camille Saviola as Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in the acclaimed solo piece Golda's Balcony (October 3-28), and Burke Moses, Sarah Uriarte Berry, Rick Hilsabeck, and Michele Ragusa headline the American Musical Theatre of San Jose's production of the classic musical Guys and Dolls (October 9-21).

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