The Pear explores communication complexities in “Tribes”

pear-tribes-sylvia-billyBy Ande Jacobson

The Pear makes quite a statement with its current production of Tribes, by Nina Raine. Humans are by nature tribal, i.e., as a species, we tend to gather based on some kind of commonality. That commonality can be defined in many ways such as being descended from a common ancestor, forming a community of common customs and traditions, following a common leader, or any other distinction that provides a basis for cohesion. Within a given tribe, there’s usually some form of hierarchy, and in modern times, it’s common for someone to belong to a number of tribes. Continue reading

A good old-fashioned band concert that helps the community

csb-veterans-day-2014By Ande Jacobson

How would you like to enjoy “An Afternoon of American Music” on a lazy Sunday afternoon this November? If you’re near Cupertino, CA on Sunday, 8 November, you’re in luck. The Cupertino Symphonic Band is going to be performing at the Quinlan Community Center in Cupertino at 3PM. This annual concert is presented to honor our veterans on the Sunday closest to Veteran’s Day and promises to be a moving experience. In addition to a program of symphonic American music, the CSB Jazz Ensemble will also be making an appearance playing a few charts during intermission. Continue reading

Buckle up for an emotional ride with BBB’s “West Side Story”

bbb-wss-at-danceBy Ande Jacobson

West Side Story first hit the Broadway stage in 1957, and this famous musical, with book by Arthur Larents and music by Leonard Bernstein, gave the youthful lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, his Broadway debut. The show was groundbreaking, particularly for its explosive action, and it was nominated for six Tony Awards. While the show won for Best Choreography and Best Scenic Design, alas, it lost the Best Musical Award to Meredith Willson’s The Music Man. Most theatre or movie aficionados are familiar with the show, its plot bringing the classic story of Romeo and Juliet to the current era when it debuted. Today, its tale of the star-crossed lovers from opposite gangs forms a period piece, keeping the tension and angst of the time alive, and Broadway By The Bay’s production is one to be treasured. Continue reading

Chaos is timeless

pear-arcadia-1By Ande Jacobson

Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard, is Pear Avenue Theatre’s final production in its Pear Avenue performance space, and this is one not to be missed. The play is claimed by many in the critical community to be Stoppard’s finest, with timeless themes and witty dialog that will keep audiences enthralled from start to finish. Continue reading

Here’s to you, Frankie Payne!

birdsbannerBy Ande Jacobson

Pear Avenue Theatre’s May production is a fun one. Birds of a Feather, written by local playwright Paul Braverman, is the third and final chapter in the Frankie Payne trilogy. We follow Payne’s unpredictable path through Boston’s criminal underworld. She strikes sometimes uneasy (and often humorous) alliances with the shady characters there to right the wrongs that the police can’t always correct. This episode takes place in Boston from 31 October – 3 November 1965 and has a few surprises in store for audiences. Continue reading

Solve “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” at SCP

drood-sceneBy Ande Jacobson

Sunnyvale Community Players concludes its 45th season with The Mystery of Edwin Drood. This musical, written entirely by Rupert Holmes, turns the unfinished Dickens story of the young Edwin Drood on its head. From the time they walk into the theatre, the audience members will be invited to join in the fun as the Music Hall Royale tells the tale as a play within a play. Dickens never finished his novel because he had the audacity to die prior to penning an ending. As such, the company members can only go so far with the story on their own. Every performance, the company will ask the audience to vote on a variety of important plot points such as determining the identity of a detective who shows up in Act 2. They’ll also be asked to identify the murderer, because let’s face it, a mystery just isn’t worth its salt without a murderer. Finally, there will be one other outcome on which to vote, but you’ll have to come see the show to find out what. Continue reading

Dragon’s stage is haunted this Halloween

dragon-woman-in-black-2By Ande Jacobson

The Woman in Black, adapted by Stephen Mallatratt, is an impressive ghost story set in a small Victorian theatre and currently haunts the Dragon stage. Susan Hill’s 1983 horror novella of the same name was the source for this stage version, a play that has been running in London’s West End since 1989. It’s tough to tell an effective ghost story on stage, but this one is riveting. The plot follows Arthur Kipps, a man haunted by a terrible secret from early in his career as a London solicitor. He hires an actor to help him reenact the events that have haunted him so his family and friends will finally understand the horror that he’s been living with. Then he hopes he can bury the past and move on with his life. Sounds simple, right? Continue reading

“Gypsy” swoops onto the Sunnyvale stage

gypsy-photoBy Ande Jacobson

Sunnyvale Community Players proudly opens its 45th season with the theatre classic – Gypsy – the story of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee’s mother Rose, the person who defines the archetypical stage mother. This well-known musical includes songs such as “Some People,” “Together, Wherever We Go,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” and “Rose’s Turn,” along with several others that will be familiar to many audience members. Continue reading

Stanford Rep sets sail on an imaginative journey

MDR.Frank.Chen-2By Ande Jacobson

Some works are timeless, tackling issues that are relevant throughout the human condition. Stanford Repertory Theater’s current offering fits that bill. In a production that captures the essence of theater and humanity, the company brings the captain and crew of the Pequod to life in an enthralling presentation of Orson Welles’ Moby Dick, Rehearsed. The play sparks the audience’s imagination and stretches the actors physically, musically, and intellectually when spectators and performers alike are drawn together as this classic story unfolds. Continue reading

WVLO is “Crazy For You” to join them for some summer musical fun

Crazy4U_3163_5x7c_300dpiBy Ande Jacobson

West Valley Light Opera is finishing off its 49th season with Crazy For You, a rollicking, all-Gershwin musical with a story based on their 1930 collaboration, Girl Crazy. Crazy For You, which debuted in 1992, not only has music from the original show, it adds several hit songs from other Gershwin musicals. Some familiar favorites include: “K-ra-zy for You,” “I Can’t Be Bothered Now,” “Shall We Dance?,” “Slap That Bass,” “I Got Rhythm,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Embraceable You,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” and a snippet from “Concerto In F.” Continue reading