In its West Coast premiere at the B Street Theatre, Idris Goodwin's engaging new play "How We Got On" tells a resonant coming-of-age story for a new generation.
Set in 1988 suburban Midwest America, and using the birth of hip-hop music and culture as its backdrop, the story follows three high school kids who want to make it in the burgeoning music genre.
Terrell Donnell Sledge's Hank, Brian Quijada's Julian and Deonna Bouye's Luann are joined by PaSean Wilson as the omniscient Selector, who narrates the story and serves as a musical conductor of sorts.
The production smartly explains the early history of hip-hop with authenticity and accessibility. At just 85 minutes, the show flies by.
Performances are at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 5 and 9 p.m. Saturdays; 2 p.m. Wednesdays and Sundays; and 7 p.m. Sundays; through June 23. On the B Street Theatre Mainstage, 2711 B St. Tickets are $23-$35, $5 student rush. For information call (916) 443-5300 or go to www.bstreettheatre.org.
Catch him while you can
The jazz guitarist and composer Ross Hammond keeps his creative groove on. His latest CD, "Cathedrals," by the Ross Hammond Quartet (with Vinny Golia, Alex Cline and Steuart Liebig) came out this week.
His new trio with bassist Kerry Kashiwagi (Capital Jazz Project) and drummer Vanessa Cruz (Cave Women) debuts Friday at Kupros Bistro, 1217 21st St., Sacramento.
The band plays two sets starting at 9:30 p.m. There's a $5 cover, for 21 and over. The CD is available on iTunes, Amazon, eMusic and elsewhere. Hammond was also featured this week on the jazz website All About Jazz (www.allaboutjazz.com).
Sailing into Luna's from Portland with a new album "Swim" (also released this week), the Blue Cranes are a fresh kind of alternative jazz band. The music stark and somber or rich and brassy gets its drive from drummer Ji Tanzer and bassist Keith Brush.
The rest of the quintet are Reed Wallsmith on alto saxophone, Joe Cunningham on tenor saxophone and Rebecca Sanborn on keyboards. They've worked with an eclectic host of forward-thinking Northwesterners including the Decemberists, Wayne Horvitz, Rebecca Gates, Laura Gibson, Pete Krebs and Portland Cello Project.
Nate Query of the Decemberists produced "Swim" and Sacramento gets to dive in as the band finishes a short West Coast tour. The trio of Steuart Liebig, Phillip Greenlief and Dax Compise will also play. It starts at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St. (916) 441-3931. All ages. $5-$20 (sliding scale of what you can pay).
Hard to handle
Jez Butterworth's "Jerusalem" is not so much the place of love and peace heaven if you will described in the William Blake poem from which the play takes its name.
The big, brash and always entertaining play unfolds as a three-hour alcohol-and-drug-fueled fantasia depicting the state of modern England as seen through the eyes of the eccentric, self-mythologizing vagrant Johnny "Rooster" Byron.
The 2009 play was a critical darling during runs in London and New York. Christopher Cook directs the Green Valley Theatre Company's take on Butterworth's challenging brilliance at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 7 p.m. Sundays through June 30. At the Grange Performing Arts Center, 3823 V St., Sacramento. Tickets are $18. Call (916) 736-2664 or go to www.greenvalleytheatre.com for information.
Call The Bee's Call The Bee's Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120. Follow him on Twitter @marcuscrowder.