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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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2017-12-01Dec 1, 2017

The Holiday Season is upon us. That means not only shopping, decorations and more shopping, but also a slew of Christmas movie reruns and live shows. Cloverdale Performing Arts Center's contribution to the latter category isNutcracker . . . The Musical, a whimsical retelling of the classic ballet that's bound to entertain every member of your extended family.

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.

2017-11-27Nov 27, 2017

Season  & Performance Tickets make great holiday gifts. Slip them inside a glass with a bottle of wine, beer, cider, a box of locally made food, a jar of popcorn kernels, wrapped around candy bars, whatever creative way you care to dress up a small package with a large experience inside.

2017-11-25Nov 25, 2017

In 1992, a retired truck driver named Teri Horton paid five dollars for a painting from a southern California thrift store to give as a gag gift to a friend. An incomprehensible series of dots, blotches and streaks, her friend refused her gift and Horton ending up trying to unload the gangly canvas at a yard sale.

2017-11-24Nov 24, 2017

At last count, Sonoma County had over twenty active theatre companies, ranging from the nomadic Pegasus Theatre Company to the theatre departments of the two local institutions of higher learning.

2017-10-28Oct 28, 2017

The unique bonds of female friendship are at the heart of Robert Harling’sSteel Magnolias, now in the middle of its run at Santa Rosa’s6th Street Playhouse. Based on the life of Harling’s sister, the show debuted off-Broadway in 1987 and shortly thereafter was adapted into the successful film starring Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine and Julia Roberts in an early Academy Award-nominated role.

2017-10-23Oct 23, 2017

Written in the 1950’s and set in the 1930’s, modern audiences may find it tough to get past the basic plot points of N. Richard Nash’sThe Rainmaker, the Sonoma Arts Live production running now at the Sonoma Community Center.

2017-10-22Oct 22, 2017

Also marching forward in Sonoma County in “the show must go on” tradition is Petaluma’s Cinnabar Theater which opened their production of Ronald Harwood’sQuartet, running now through October 29. It’s a one-set, two-act, four-scene, four-actor comedy whose setting – a retirement home – would belie the energy it generates and the amusement it delivers.

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.

2017-09-16Sep 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.

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