Autumn brings a bounty of new productions to the capital city
You want variety? You’re going to get it onstage over the next four weeks. In September, the region will see a new musical, an American classic, a memoir about the Holocaust, a chilling modern take on “boy gets girl” and a newly commissioned script with a loony slant.
Perhaps the most unusual show is Let the Eagle Fly, a musical of unabashed social relevance based on the life of farm-labor activist, boycott organizer and social crusader Cesar Chavez. It opens September 15 at The Space, part of California Stage. Ray Tatar, who is co-directing the show with Richard Falcón, describes it as an “immense” production. “There are 23 people onstage and seven musicians in the pit,” he said.
Tatar’s venue has plenty of room for performers but seats only 90 people. There’s no way ticket revenue can keep up with the costs of mounting a big-cast show in that setting, but Tatar doesn’t care. He has zeal for this project.
He vividly recalled attending impromptu performances by El Teatro Campesino decades ago—performances at farm-laborer camps in the Central Valley, illuminated by the headlights of beat-up old pickups.
“Dolores Huerta [co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America] is coming, and so are members of the Chavez family,” Tatar said of the show’s opening. Let the Eagle Fly plays through October 8, and more information is available at www.calstage.org.
You want something new, and perhaps a little strange? Opening on September 17 at the B Street Theatre is Lune, Pronounced Looney by Kira Obolensky. The script was commissioned for the B Street, and the playwright is familiar: The theater previously has staged Obolensky’s Lobster Alice (based on a brief collaboration on an animated film by Salvador Dali and the Walt Disney Studios) and Hate Mail (a sort of “poison pen” version of A.R. Gurney’s oft-staged, sentimental play Love Letters). Those plays featured an accessible, audience-friendly combination of silliness and surrealism. Insiders at the B Street have described this new play as something of a departure from Obolensky’s past work. Time will tell. For more information, visit www.bstreettheatre.org.
If you missed the summer Shakespeare season, there’s one production remaining in the California Shakespeare Theater’s season, at the Bruns Memorial Amphitheater in Orinda. As You Like It opens on September 13. Inevitably, comparisons will be made with this summer’s production of the same script at Shakespeare Santa Cruz (which earned the top rating from the San Francisco Chronicle and SN&R). CalShakes’ venerated artistic director Jonathan Moscone will be at the helm. Tickets are available at www.calshakes.org.
You want something tense and edgy? Capital Stage opens its new season on September 23 with Boy Gets Girl by Rebecca Gilman. This American play—which has been staged in London and elsewhere—has been described as a “stalker drama” told from the woman’s point of view.
Capital Stage has been coming on strong of late; artistic director Stephanie Gularte says she’s out to “produce bold theater in Sacramento [that] will appeal to adult audiences.” Readers may recall Gularte’s memorably icy performance in Neil LaBute’s The Shape of Things, which opened Capital Stage’s season last fall. Tickets for this season are on sale now at www.capitalstagecompany.com.
Do you believe it’s critical to remember the past? You are absolutely right, and the Foothill Theatre Company has a play for you. And Then They Came For Me is described on the company’s Web site as a “mixed media presentation remembering the world of Anne Frank, as told by two of her teenaged neighbors who survived the Holocaust.” Gary Alan Wright is in charge of the production, which opens at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City on September 28. Learn more at www.foothilltheatre.org.
Lastly, if you’re looking for an American classic, the Sacramento Theatre Company is staging To Kill a Mockingbird, opening October 4. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel from 1960, this show will feature an all-star local cast including Katie Rubin (who played herself in her one-woman show Insides Out!); Matt K. Miller; and two veteran professionals from the foothills, Carolyn Howarth and David Silberman. Philip Charles Sneed, who directed last fall’s luminous—and very popular—production of A Raisin in the Sun, will direct this show as well. (Sneed was recently appointed artistic director of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival; he’ll be moving at year’s end.) You can find show information at www.sactheatre.org.