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Sonoma County Gazette

Theater - Performing Arts

Live theater thrives in Sonoma County with stages in every city and even small towns. From entertaining musicals to deep dramas, performers bring entertainment into our lives in intimate theaters. Harry Duke reviews live performances for Gazette readers, both in print and online. SEARCH Harry Duke for his reviews.

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2017-10-18Oct 18, 2017

If you’re at the point where you need a break and feel safe enough to get out, go ahead and turn off your TV and radio, put your phone on silent, grab some friends who could use a laugh or two as well, and join King Arthur and his gang on their quest. You may not find the Grail, buy you’ll find some something better – a little light during these very dark days.

2017-06-28Jun 28, 2017

Flynn Creek Circus, Mendocino County’s own charmingly nostalgic, surprisingly fresh all human circus, will be raising their vintage big top tent in Santa Rosa for shows July 7-9th.

2017-06-26Jun 26, 2017

One of the largest Civil War reenactments west of the Mississippi and the largest in Northern California is returning to Freezeout Canyon in the charming town of Duncans Mills, California, on the Russian River.

2017-06-21Jun 21, 2017

George M. Cohan was known as “the man who owned Broadway” in the first two decades of the twentieth century. A prolific playwright and composer of hundreds of songs, today he’s mostly known as the answer to the trivia question “Whose statue can be found opposite Times Square between 45th and 47th Street?” He is considered by many to be the father of the American musical, which is why he deserves a better show about him than the one written by Michael Stewart and John & Francine Pascal.

2017-06-16Jun 16, 2017

To the gentle call of seagulls and the sound of waves washing against the shore, we settle comfortably into upholstered chairs, our drinks resting in their handy holders, when BANG! – the stage alights in a tempestuous storm and grand chaos aboard a ship, soon to be wrecked on Prospero’s island.

2017-06-11Jun 11, 2017

The frenetic pace of this farce does not distract from how funny it is. The faultless timing of the 9 actors in this ensemble work speaks not only of their undeniable talent but of Director Avi Lind's skill in bringing it all together. This performance by Curtain Call's theatrical company, run by West County's dynamic duo of production, Michael Tabib and Dennis O'Shea, should not be missed.

2017-06-08Jun 8, 2017

First produced in Baltimore in 1995, it opened off-Broadway in 1997 and closed after a scant 29 performances. Despite its lack of success, the show has become a staple of community theatre, no doubt playing off the goodwill and sense of nostalgia that many people have for childhood amusements. That goodwill is tested.

2017-06-06Jun 6, 2017

If you haven’t had a chance in the last 104 years to check out the Mountain Play, now’s as good a time as any. This year brings an enjoyable production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to the Cushing Memorial Amphitheater atop Mt. Tamalpais and while it’s a trek to get there, it’s a trek worth taking.

2017-05-16May 16, 2017

Big shot Broadway producer Jerry Cobb has a problem. He’s in desperate need of a big comedy hit to impress the Hollywood bigwigs and pave his way to fame and fortune on the left coast. He’s rented a suite in one of Arizona’s finest hotels where he and Charlie Bascher, his assistant, await the arrival of Broadway wunderkind playwright Danny “Nebraska” Jones. Things aren’t going well as there are slight temperature control issues with their rooms and things don’t get much better when Jones arrives. Seems that he is in a bit of a funk. He’s experienced a painful loss and his best idea for a comedy begins with a child being devoured by wolves. What lengths will producer Cobb, assistant Bascher and a surprise visitor go to in getting the script they want?

2017-09-16Sep 16, 2017

Back in my college days when, after the ingestion of a substantial quantity of adult beverages, the conversation topic amongst my friends inevitably steered to the meaning of life, my standard contribution was that life had no meaning, it was simply the sum of the choices we make. I then proceeded to a) throw up, b) pass out, or c) grab another beverage. See? Choices.

2017-09-15Sep 15, 2017

The second of two film-related theatrical productions running in the North Bay is Sonoma Arts Live’sThe Spitfire Grillwhose tale from screen to stage is fraught with high expectations, financial disappointment, critical recognition, and the worst of timing.


2017-09-07Sep 7, 2017

Titular roles don’t come much more challenging than those of Miguel de Cervantes, the Man of La Manchaand John Merrick, better known asThe Elephant Man, so why not cast the roles with performers whose fortés are outside of standard American theatre?

2017-09-01Sep 1, 2017

A citizen of Santa Rosa who criticizes anything Charles Schulz/ “Peanuts”- related runs the risk of being run out of town on the next SMART Train. This theatre critic took on that risk and attended the opening night performance of the  6th Street Playhouse production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. I’m happy to report that I won’t be taking an unscheduled rail trip anytime soon.

2017-09-01Sep 1, 2017

Curtain Call Theatre proudly presents its current production of this fine play with another distinguished cast, a hallmark of CCT.

2017-08-19Aug 19, 2017

One week ago, as Nazis and white supremacists marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, I was in the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center watching a production of Larry Shue’s The Foreigner. It’s an award-winning, two-act comedy first produced in 1984 that’s become a staple of community theatre. Having seen the show, I knew full well where it would go in Act II and yet I found my stomach-churning at the sight of hooded and robed Klansmen filling the stage. At that moment, the play and its humor completely evaporated for me as images of what had happened earlier in our country filled my mind. 

2017-08-05Aug 5, 2017

According to IMDB, the budget for 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens was an estimated $245,000,000.00. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here in saying the budget for the Redwood Theatre Company’s production ofBrittany Law’s original musical parody The Farce Awakens was about 1/245,000,000th of that. Cardboard sets, Super Soakers for ray guns, and a droid costume consisting of an oversized t-shirt and bike helmet equal a show with production values that would make Edward D. Wood, Jr. blush.

2017-07-30Jul 30, 2017

KBBF is rising to the challenge to navigate audiences through these difficult political times. As part of the station’s goal to connect with the community and represent it well, Alicia Sánchez, Andre Andrus, Alan Bloom attended theNational Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB)conference in Denver in July.

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