Uptown Theatre, Napa (credit: Randy Yagi)
The Bay Area’s fall theater season is already in full swing, with most of the attention in San Francisco’s Theater District. However, in the North Bay, there are also a number of theater productions about to get underway that also deserves some of the local limelight. Here’s a fall theater preview featuring five of the best upcoming plays in the North Bay.
The Uptown Theatre Napa
1350 Third St.
Napa, CA 94559
Date: Nov. 25 at 8 p.m.
Making its only Bay Area appearance, the talented cast from An Irish Christmas Tour 2015 will help celebrate the holidays at Uptown Theatre Napa. Guests can expect an cheerful evening full of Irish dancing, storytelling and delightful renditions of Christmas classics such as “Carol of the Bells,” “The Little Drummer Boy,” and “Silent Night” along with lively traditional Irish music. An Irish Christmas Tour is managed by Kerry Records, an Irish-owned production based in Los Angeles. Featured performers include virtuoso violinist and musician’s coordinator Bella Issakova, vocalists Katherine Trimble and Koral Aakre, narrator and storyteller Sheelagh Cullen and principal dancer Scott Doherty, a former men’s Irish dance world champion. The production also features several more world-class Irish dancers from the Kerry Dance Troupe and musicians from the Kerry Trad Orchestra.
10 Ave. of the Flags
San Rafael, CA 94903
Date: Nov. 6 at 8 p.m.
Bay Area native and beloved local celebrity Brian Copeland will present his one-man show, “Scion,” based upon a true event in his hometown of San Leandro. The winner of KQED’s Best New San Francisco Play of 2014, the solo show is based upon a horrific triple homicide at the Santos Linguisa Sausage Factory 15 years ago. Despite the disturbing nature of the story’s content, Copeland’s play is a mixture of intense drama and comedy as he looks into the life of the factory’s owner, Stuart Alexander, who was convicted of murdering three government meat inspectors and died in prison in 2005. A well-known Bay Area personality, the multi-talented Brian Copeland has appeared on local television stations for many years and has hosted his own radio program on KGO for 18 years. As a comedian, he was the opening act for some of the biggest names in show business, including Ray Charles, Ringo Starr, Lionel Richie, the Righteous Brothers, the Temptations and Aretha Franklin.
Novato Theater Company Playhouse
5420 Nave Drive
Novato, CA 94928
Dates: Oct. 23 – Nov. 22 at 8 p.m., Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Local actors and actresses will hit the stage at the Novato Theater Company Playhouse to present the Tony Award-winning musical “Into the Woods.” Based upon the book by James Lapine with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the fantasy musical depicts timeless characters from children’s books like Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk. The original Broadway production earned several nominations from the 1988 Tony Awards and won three, including Best Book of a Musical for James Lapine and Best Original Score for Sondheim. One of the most acclaimed composers and lyricists of all time, Stephen Sondheim is best known for his work from world-famous plays like “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum,” “Sweeney Todd,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Sunday in the Park with George” and his two most critically acclaimed musicals, “Gypsy” and “West Side Story.” The local ensemble cast from Theatre-At-Large includes Dani Beem as the witch, Sean O’Brien as the baker, Alison Peltz as the baker’s wife and John DeBernard as the narrator/mysterious man. The 2014 film adaptation featured stars like Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp.
Marin Theatre Company
397 Miller Ave.
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Dates: Oct. 29 – Nov. 22 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
The Marin Theatre Company will present the Bay Area premiere of Elizabeth Irwin’s “My Mañana Comes.” The Off-Broadway play centers around four busboys seeking a better life despite receiving low wages from a high-end restaurant in New York’s Upper East Side. The 90-minute play had its world premiere at the Playwrights Realm in New York City and received positive reviews from the New York Times, the New York Daily News, Timeout New York and Theatermania. Earlier in the year, “My Mañana Comes” was nominated for Outstanding Play by both the Lucille Lortel Awards, and the Drama Desk Awards, and Page One Playwright Jill Irwin was nominated for the John Gassner Award for New Play by the Outer Critics Circle Awards.
The Rocky Horror Show
6th Street Playhouse
52 W. 6th St.
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Dates: Oct. 23 – Nov. 8 at 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Audience participation is all but certain for the 6th Street Playhouse production of the 1970s cult musical “The Rocky Horror Show,” written by Richard O’Brien. The quirky musical that debuted at London’s Royal Court Theatre was a smash hit that eventually led to the wildly popular film adaptation, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in 1975 and helped launch the careers of Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick and Tim Curry in the lead role as Dr. Frank N. Furter. The film version quickly gained a worldwide cult following, encouraging members of the audience to show up in costume inspired by its characters such as Dr. Frank N. Furter, Janet Weiss, Riff Raff, Magenta and Columbia. Notable songs from both the theatrical and film versions include “Science Fiction/Double Feature,” “Dammit Janet,” “There’s a Light (Over at Frankenstein Place,” and “The Time Warp.” The 6th Street Playhouse in located in Santa Rosa’s historic Railroad Square, featuring outstanding restaurants like Jackson’s Bar and Oven and Stark’s Steakhouse.
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com