Bars and Measures

Bars and Measures; 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Thursday; 1 p.m. Sunday; $23-$35. 2711 B Street; (916) 443-5300; Through September 27.
Rated 5.0

After the success of Idris Goodwin’s How We Got On at B Street in 2013, Buck Busfield commissioned the playwright to create a new work for the theater. The result, which is now getting its world premiere here, is Bars and Measures and it is jump-up-and-clap brilliant stagecraft at its best.

The terms “bars” and “measures” are musical references, but they have a simultaneous second meaning in this fascinating tale of two African-American brothers. One is an incarcerated jazz genius (Jani Kearse), a recent convert to Islam and a bit of a firebrand. The other brother is an aspiring classical pianist (Darian Dauchan), a Christian and supporter of his kin. In regular visits, the two explore the saving—and freeing—graces of music. And when serious disagreements arise (involving faith, commitment and actions taken or contemplated), the brothers try to reconcile those differences through music.

Bars and Measures is a B3 play—one of the company’s edgier, more experimental productions—but it is presented on the Mainstage, where small-cast comedies are usually the rule. It’s good to break the rules sometimes, especially with something as fine as this. It never disappoints.