‘Shylock’ explores crucial questions at Tabard

By Ande Jacobson

Tabard Theatre, in partnership with Silicon Valley Shakespeare, is exploring several important questions through their current production of Shylock, a play by Mark Leiren-Young. The playwright deftly confronts several considerations surrounding the questions of how artistic works should be presented to a modern audience. On the one hand, should audiences be shielded from that which makes them uncomfortable when imbued with current cultural sensitivities, particularly for works from another time? Should they be spoon fed the intent of a given work, or should they be allowed to come to their own conclusions? More directly, the play uses the controversial character of Shylock and questions how he should be portrayed to a modern audience or even whether a company should mount a production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice in the first place. Continue reading

Mystery, murder, mayhem, and magic abound in SBMT’s “City of Angels”

sbmt-coa-program-1By Ande Jacobson

Who doesn’t love a tangled murder mystery? SBMT has one in City of Angels, complete with a full orchestra highlighting all the twists and turns in the story of a 1940s detective novel being transformed into a Golden Age Hollywood movie. This show (with book by Larry Gelbart, music by Cy Coleman, and lyrics by David Zippel) captures the film noir feel of the period, embellishes it with witty dialogue and a classy jazz score, and neatly packages it into an evening of exquisite theatre. Continue reading

WVLO’s “Fiddler on the Roof” opens in November

brook-michelbergBy Ande Jacobson

“A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck…how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in a word – tradition!”

West Valley Light Opera is proud to present its production of Fiddler on the Roof this November and December in Saratoga, CA. Continue reading

“Superior Donuts” serves up more than “dessert cakes”

By Ande Jacobson

Playwright and actor Tracy Letts describes Superior Donuts as involving a “clash of cultures”.  Letts intersperses some light moments and witty exchanges between several colorful and diverse characters with some darker, more serious situations.  Much of the story provides background on unseen family members and circumstances that encumber, or scar the visible characters.  The play is well written, and right from the start, the action turns the quaint little donut shop on its head.  In the first blackout at the top of the show, the shop is transformed from a neatly kept eatery into a disheveled establishment with chairs overturned, rubbish strewn everywhere, and graffiti on the wall. Continue reading