and the thought provoking
HISTORY OF NEXT
Best Theatre of 2018
Composing my “Top Lists of the Year” is not easy since so many outstanding productions are part of the greater Bay Area Theatre in a region with so many wonderful companies - with 300 stages plus in the Bay Area. And of course I can not get to all of them. Here is my list of Plays, Musicals and Actors - 25 in all for Best of 2018
I will list Number One to Ten - and my overflow list - This was the season of Diversity on Bay Stages. The year of IN THE HEIGHTS deservedly brought so many brown actors down stage into leads and the spotlight. The year in Film and TV that recognized Asian Hollywood and Theatre. We also lost many including the icon American Playwright Neil Simon, who at 91 died this past year he dominated Broadway for sixty years. The Odd Couple was staged this season in the North Bay and Simon's plays will all remain classics. Our own local actor Peter Donat, who dominated the American Conservatory Stage for more than 50 years died at the age of 90.
NUMBER ONE - My Favorite Play of 2018 - THE PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF NEXT
Berkeley's TheatreF1rst under the Direction of Jon Tracy written by Everybody, with Awele, Justin Howard, Leela Kiyawat, Unity Tambellini Smith and LaMont Ridgell
facilitated by Awele, Anthony Clarvoe, and Cleavon Smith, directed & arranged by Jon Tracy.
NUMBER TWO - ANGELS IN AMERICA PARTS 1 AND II - The Berkeley Rep; Part One: Millennium Approaches Part Two: Perestroika By Tony Kushner Directed by Tony Taccone.
NUMBER THREE -
THE LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE - The San Jose Stage,
By Martin McDonagh,
Directed by Joshua Marx
With Rob August, Randall King, Carley Herlihy, Trevor March, John Flanagan, Loki Miller, Brendan Quirk, and Andy Cooperfauss
and Wee Thomas
NUMBER FOUR - WOMEN LAUGHING ALONE EATING SALAD - Shotgun Players - Written by Sheila Callaghan, Directed by Susannah Martin. With Caleb Cabrera, Melanie DuPuy, Regina Morones, and Sango Tajima.
NUMBER FIVE - PARTITION - Indra’s Net Theater, by Ira Hauptman
Directed by Bruce Coughran. With Heren Patel, Alan Coyne, David Boyll, Marco Aponte and Avanthika Srinivasan.
NUMBER SIX - CLYBOURNE PARK - ALTARENA PLAYHOUSE
by Bruce Norris, Directed by Daren A.C. Carollo, with Ted Barker, Peter Budinger, Leslie Howard, Champagne Hughes, Khary L. Moye, Shay Oglesby-Smith, and Steve Rhyne.
NUMBER SEVEN - MEN ON BOATS American Conservatory Theatre
By Jaclyn Backhaus, Directed by Tamilla Woodard with Arwen Anderson, Rosie Hallett Lisa Hori-Garcia, Libby King, Amy Lizardo, Sarita Ocón, Annemaria Rajala, Katherine Romans, Liz Sklar and Lauren Spencer
NUMBER EIGHT - EUREKA DAY - Aurora Theatre - By Jonathan Spector | Directed By Josh Costello, With ELIZABETH CARTER, CHARISSE LORIAUX, LISA ANNE PORTER, ROLF SAXON. TEDDY SPENCER.
NUMBER NINE - VIET GONE American Conservatory Theatre by Qui Nguyen. Directed by Jaime Castañeda. With Jenelle Chu, Stephen Hu, Cindy Im, James Seol, and Jomar Tagatac.
NUMBER TEN - A FEW GOOD MEN - THE OTHER OTHER THEATRE COMPANY - Written By Aaron Sorkin, Directed By Joel Roster with Jen McFarlane, Rafael Garcia, Marisa Cozart, Gretchen Lee Salter, Jerry Motta, Henry Perkins, Chris Totah, LaMont Ridgell, Terrance Smith, Melynda Kiring, and Amanda Leigh
BEST PLAY ENSEMBLE - ALL THE WAY -Palo Alto Players - Directed by Peter Allas WITH Michael Monagle, Gwendolyne Wagner, Kevin Copps, Adrien Gamache, Michelle Mosley, Tom Gough, Frank Gallo, Andrew Harris, Vic Prosak, Josie Burgin Lawson, Fred Pitts, Jay Delo, Stephen L. Wilson, William Bryant Jr., Dermot Durnin, Shannon Turner, Kyle Smith, and Gaddy Foster.
OTHER PLAYS TO NOTE : Hamlet - Ubuntu Theater Project - HAND TO GOD - SAN JOSE STAGE, FAIRVIEW - BERK REP, God of Carnage - City Lights Theater Company SHIRLEY VALENTINE - CENTER REP, TWO MILE HOLLOW - Ferocious Lotus’
MUSICALS - One to Ten
NUMBER ONE - TUCK EVERLASTING Theatre Works, Book by Claudia Shear & Tim Federle, Music by Chris Miller, Lyrics by Nathan Tysen, Based on the novel Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babb, Directed by Robert Kelley. With Natalie Schroeder, Katie Maupin, Eddie Grey. Jonathan Rhys Williams. Floyd Collins, Rhys Williams, Travis Leland, Michael Gene Sullivan, Marissa Rudd, Colin Thompson, David Crane and Lucinda Hitchcock Sullivan.
NUMBER TWO - DEAR EVAN HANSEN - CURRAN THEATRE - Book by Steven Levenson composers Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, Directed by Michael Greif. With Jessica Phillips, Christiane Noll, Aaron Lazar, Marrick Smith, Maggie McKenna, Jared Goldsmith, Phoebe Koyabe, Ben Levi Ross, Stephen Christopher Anthony, Ciara Alyse Harris, John Hemphill,Noah Kieserman, Jane Pfitsch, Coleen Sexton and Maria Wirries.
NUMBER THREE - SOFT POWER - CURRAN THEATRE - by David Henry Hwang (play and lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori (music and additional lyrics) Directed by Leigh Silverman
NUMBER FOUR - IN THE HEIGHTS - SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY Hammer Theatre Production Directed by Buddy Butler, Musical Direction by Fred Cohen, Choreographer Bridgette Loriaux, Hip Hop Director Frankie Mendoza.
NUMBER FIVE - HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME - BAY AREA MUSICALS Directed and Choreograph by Matthew McCoy, Musical Direction by Jon Gallo Featuring; Alex Rodriguez, Clay David, Alysia Beltran, Jack O'Reilly, Branden Thomas, Pauli Amornkul, Patrick Brewer, Alvin Bunales, Jorey Cantu, Juan Castro, Julio Chavez, Z Hansen, Christopher Juan, Benjamin Nguyen, Loreigna Sinclair, Kaylamay Suarez.
NUMBER SIX - ALLEGIANCE - CONTRA COSTA CIVIC - Book by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo, and Lorenzo Thione Music by Jay Kuo, Directed by Lily Tung Crystal, Music Director Kenji Highashihama
NUMBER SEVEN - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR - RAY OF LIGHT - All Female cast Directed by Eliza Leoni and Shane Ray, Choreography by Alex Rodriguez, Set Design by Kuo-Hao Luo, Musical Direction by Ben Prince, Live Video effects by Erik Scanlon and Patrick Nims.
NUMBER EIGHT - WEIGHTLESS - Z SPACE A New Rock Opera by The Kilbanes (authors Kate Kilbane and Dan Moses) Featuring Lila Blue, Julia Brothers, Dan Harris, Kate Kilbane, Dan Moses and Josh Pollock | Directed by Becca Wolff
NUMBER NINE - DREAM GIRLS - BERKELEY PLAYHOUSE - Directed and Choreographed by Brendan Simon, Music Director Michael Patrick Wiles with; Marissa Rudd, Stephen Wilson, Loreigna Sinclair, Marcel Saunders, Tanika Baptiste, Kris Anthony Williams, Shawn J West, Chanel Tilghman, Jennifer Frazier, Tiana Paulding, Elizabeth Jones, Vida Mae Fernandez, Cadarious Mayberry, The T, Montel Anthony Nord, Isaiah Collins, Johnny Davison, Zach Padlo, Joe Ayers, Katie Iannitello, Ella Ruth Francis, and Aurelia Jordan.
NUMBER TEN - RAGTIME - Contra Costa Civic Theatre - Directed by Marilyn Langbehn, Music Director Tania Johnson, Choreographer Allison Paraiso-Silicani- with LaMont Ridgell, Robin Murray, Sterling Liska, Sophia Gilbert, Clio Salzer, Chris Poston, Ben Knoll, Rob Lewis, Annika Bergman, Maria Mikheyenko and Ron Pickett
Other Musicals I want to mention; RAGTIME Berk Playhouse,
HEDWIG San Jose Stage,
MILLION DOLLAR at Broadway By The Bay,
MARY POPPINS SF PLAYHOUSE,
TAYLOR MAC Curran Theatre,
ALICE IN WONDERLAND - BA Children's Theatre,
IN THE HEIGHTS Woodminster
BEST MUSICAL ENSEMBLE - IN THE HEIGHTS - CUSTOM MADE THEATRE WITH USNAVI: Julio Chavez VANESSA: Nora Fernandez Doane NINA: Carla Gallardo BENNY: Dedrick Weathersby CAMILA: Bidalia Albanese KEVIN: Sergio Lobito*CARLA: Elena Ester, SONNY: Edwin Jacobs, ABUELA: Michelle Navarrete GRAFITTI PETE: Jepoy Ramos, DANIELA: Mia Romero, PIRAGUA GUY: Ernie Tovar
ALEX RODRIQUEZ Hunchback of N Dame BAY AREA MUSICALS
BEST ACTORS/ PLAY AND MUSICALS
DC SCARPELLI - Little Whorehouse, FOLLIES IN CONCERT
LA MONT RIDGELL - Ragtime CCCT and A Few Good Men
DOMINIC DAGDAGAN - In The Heights, Mary Poppins, Pippin
ALLISON RICH - MAMMA MIA - Between Riverside & Crazy,
POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
KEITH PINTO - MAMMA MIA - Hedwig - Dames and Sea -
NIKITA BURSHTEYN - Saturday Night, FOLLIES IN CONCERT
ASHLEY COWL - Dames and Sea 42nd St MOON
HEATHER ORTH - JCSS, Noises Off
LINDSEY HIRATA - Allegiance CCCT
VINH NGUYEN - Allegiance CCCT
CLAY DAVID - Hunchback - Bay Area Musicals
DAVID CRANE - Noises Off, Tuck Everlasting THEATRE WORKS
KAMREN MAHANEY - Rock of Ages, Spring Awakening, Avenue Q
DAVE ABRAMS - Ragtime BPH
MINDI LYM - Ragtime BPH
OSCAR TSUKAYAMA - Oklahoma, In The Heights WOODMINSTER THEATRE
TARIF PAPPU - Million Dollar Quartet BROADWAY BY THE BAY - Redwood City
2018 ANOTHER IMPRESSIVE YEAR FOR BAY AREA
THEATRE - I MISSED SOME SHOWS - BUT I ENCOURAGE ALL MY READERS
TO GET OUT AND SEE A SHOW THIS WEEK OR WEEKEND.
Clip from San Jose Stage Company HEDWIG - with my pick for
Best Actor of 2018 KEITH PINTO
CLIP FROM JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR - RAY OF LIGHT
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM VMEDIA ARTS