Fall theater preview: New works and national hits staged in Sacramento and beyond

Published: Saturday, Sep. 14, 2013 - 12:00 am

Tony winners. A musical biography. Inventive takes on the Bard and Brecht. Sacramento and Northern California have plans to stage more than their fair share of interesting and entertaining productions this fall.

Local companies continue their focus on newly created works, with B Street Theatre bringing contemporary plays such as “My Name Is Asher Lev” to the city. Meanwhile, the Sacramento Theatre Company is producing a recent adaptation of the classic novel “Jane Austen,” and Capital Stage is creating its own version of the Shakespeare staple “Macbeth.” In the Bay Area, recent New York hits heading west include the Tony Award-winning “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” and the universally praised “Peter Pan” prequel “Peter and the Starcatcher.”

Here’s a rundown of productions worth adding to your calendar:


“My Name is Asher Lev”

B Street opens its 2013-14 “B3” season with the acclaimed drama “My Name is Asher Lev.” Jerry Montoya directs the stage adaptation by Aaron Posner from the novel by Chaim Potok.

In the play, Asher Lev is an accomplished artist whose ability brings him into conflict with his conservative Hassidic upbringing.

The cast includes B Street newcomers Max Rosenak as Asher Lev, with Julie Voshell and Joel Polis. At 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; 2 p.m. Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays; and 1 p.m. Sundays. Runs Friday through Oct. 20. The B Street Theatre B2 Space, 2727 B St., Sacramento. Tickets: $23-$35, $5 student rush, $15 for Friday’s preview. Information: (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org

“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike ”

Christopher Durang’s 2013 Tony winner for best play, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” opens Berkeley Rep’s new season.

Director Richard E.T. White helms the comic Chekhov-flavored Broadway hit set in a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse. Two siblings who have long cared for their aging parents must deal with the arrival of their famous, globe-trotting sister. Runs Friday through Oct. 20. Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison St., Berkeley. Information: (510) 647-2949. www.berkeleyrep.org.

“Beautiful — The Carole King Musical

Singer-songwriter Carole King hit the lottery with her 1971 masterpiece “Tapestry,” but she had already made an indelible mark on pop music, writing numerous hits before she started to sing them herself. “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical,” at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre, is a pre-Broadway run of her musical biography, featuring a raft of hit songs she’s written over the years. Previews for the new musical, written by Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Douglas McGrath, begin Sept. 24. Runs through Oct. 20. Curran Theatre, 445 Geary St., San Francisco. Information: (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com.

“After Juliet”

Romeo’s cousin Benvolio is in love with Juliet’s cousin Rosaline, who is seeking revenge for Juliet’s death in this Shakespearean postscript by Sharman MacDonald. Lori Ann DeLappe-Grondin directs for City Theatre at Sacramento City College with live musical accompaniment by Sandford Wragg. 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays, with one Saturday matinee 2 p.m. Oct. 12. Runs Friday through Oct. 13. At the Art Court Theatre in the Performing Arts Center at Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Blvd. Tickets are $12-$15. Information: www.citytheatre.net.


“Pride and Prejudice”

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the book’s publication, Michael Stevenson directs “Pride and Prejudice” as Sacramento Theatre Company’s season opener. The production, based on Jane Austen’s classic novel detailing love and manners in 19th century England, comes from the lean adaptation by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan, which played two years at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Local cast features Brittni Barger as Elizabeth Bennet, Ryan Snyder as Mr. Darcy, and Matt K. Miller and Jamie Jones as Mr. and Mrs. Bennet (their fourth time playing a married couple at STC). 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; 12:30 p.m. Thursdays. Runs Oct. 2-27. Sacramento Theatre Company Mainstage, 1419 H St., Sacramento. Tickets: $15 - $40. Information: (916) 443-6722, www.sactheatre.org


Capital Stage creates an original adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most popular tragedies, known by the superstitious as “the Scottish play.” Stephanie Gularte directs with Scott Coopwood and Janis Stevens as the titular husband and wife, and this new version focuses on their marriage. 7 p.m. Wednesdays; 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays. Runs Oct. 23-Nov. 24, at Capital Stage, 2215 J St., Sacramento. Tickets are $26 to $36. Information: (916) 995-5464, www.capstage.org


“Priscilla Queen of the Desert — The Musical”

Opening its 25th season, Broadway Sacramento presents the national tour of the vibrant musical based on the 1994 film “Priscilla Queen of the Desert.” A trio of outrageous friends road-trip through the Australian outback in this costume-crazy extravaganza. 8 p.m Tuesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Runs Nov. 5-10. Single tickets $21-$93. At the Sacramento Community Center Theater, 1301 L St. Information: (916)

557-1999, www.BroadwaySacramento.com

“The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess”

Director Diane Paulus has done some work on George and Ira Gershwin’s great folk opera with playwright Suzan-Lori Parks adapting the existing book and arranger Diedre L. Murray downsizing the arrangements. Shorenstein Hays Nederlander, which operates San Francisco’s Curran, Golden Gate and Orpheum theatres, brings the national tour of the Broadway hit to the Bay Area. Previews start Nov. 10. Runs through Dec. 8. Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St., S.F. Information: (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com


Big Idea Theatre stages Berkeley-born Itamar Moses’ philosophy-centered comedy. The play is narrated by Bertolt Brecht, and deals with a university grant, Socrates facing corruption charges in ancient Greece, and the Inquisition in Italy. Themes of power and the cost of one’s ideals are brought to bear on a lazy graduate student. 8 p.m. Thursdays - Saturdays. Runs Nov. 15-Dec. 14. Tickets: $10-$20. At Big Idea Theatre, 1616 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento. Information: (916) 960-3036, www.bigideatheatre.com

“Peter and the Starcatcher”

“Peter and the Starcatcher” is Peter Elice’s Tony-winning creative prequel to J.M. Barrie’s “Peter and Wendy.” The play’s first national tour starts in San Francisco, with just 12 actors playing more than 100 characters in this highly praised production. Nov. 5.-Dec. 1. Curran Theatre, 445 Geary St., S.F. (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com.

Call The Bee’s Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120. Follow him on Twitter @marcuscrowder

Read more articles by Marcus Crowder

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