Drama Talk & Drinks: “If Paris Hilton could play Roxie Hart we’d be set for life” – CHICAGO

Katie was out of town, so I got to go with Brittany to SHN’s Chicago tour. I’m a big fan of musicals, and I think more people would be if they gave them a chance. Chicago is a great entry point, with its relentless energy, dark humor, sexy style and classic Fosse pizazz. This cast was great and the show was a whole lot of fun. If you really need another nudge, Seinfeld‘s J. Peterman (John O’Hurley) has awesome personality as Billy Flynn, and of course, Bianca Marroquin is amazing as Roxie. Here’s Brittany’s report:

[via SHN]

Thanks to the 2002 film version of the Broadway classic Chicago most people have an idea where they stand when it comes to this play. Since Broadway touring casts tend to be pretty uniformly great, we thought rather than do a normal Drama Talk & Drinks review of the show, we’d go backstage and give you some insights into why you might want to see this current production in particular, now open at SHN’s Orpheum Theater until November 16th.

After a quick backstage tour, we sat down with Christophe Caballero, swing and understudy for Mary Sunshine, and Adam Pellegrine, who plays Harry, Martin Harrison, and is part of the ensemble, to talk about what it’s like to perform in SF and what’s special about this current production of Chicago. Skip to the end if you want our quick and dirty assessment of the show, but Adam and Christophe had some fun things to say.

Brittany: What’s it like to perform for a San Francisco audience?

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Memorial for Ted Gullicksen

The Director of the San Francisco Tenants Union, Ted Gullicksen, died suddenly in his home the night of October 13th or morning of October 14th. There will be a memorial service this coming Sunday at Mission High. I didn’t know Ted personally, but when my mom and I were wrongfully evicted during dotcom1, the SF Tenants Union was very supportive. Ted and the Union have provided assistance to so many San Francisco residents over the years.

More about the memorial and Ted here. Donations in his memory can be made to the Tenants Union, or to the fund for Falcor, his dog, who needs medical care.

Drama Talk & Drinks: Party People – “I certainly couldn’t dance like that”

Fortunately for all of us, theater is alive and well in the Bay Area. Between some great shows and inspiring conversations, Drama Talk & Drinks is seeming more and more hopeful for lively, challenging and engaging performance around here. I dunno about you, but I am feeling jazzed to get out and see some theater. More on that soon. In the meantime, Brittany and her boyfriend took his mom to Berkeley Rep to see their new show, Party People. Here’s their report:

[(l to r) Christopher Livingston (Malik), Steven Sapp (Omar), and Reggie D. White (Solias) perform in UNIVERSES’ Party People, a high-wattage fusion of story and song that unlocks the legacy of the Black Panthers and Young Lords at Berkeley Rep. Photo courtesy of kevinberne.com]

When parents visit, finding events with reasonable decibel levels can sometimes be a challenge. So when Brittany’s SO’s Mom was in town, they decided to treat her to a night at one of the best theaters in the Bay Area, Berkeley Rep, to see their current show Party People. Since the play is partially about fostering intergenerational dialogue, we figured why not do a Drama Talk & Drinks Parent-Visit edition!

Brittany: One of the biggest problems with the current theatre scene, at least in my opinion, is it tends to play it too safe and fall back on what’s already been done. We see so many revivals and classics being remounted, and even with new plays lots of topics have been revisited ad nauseum. There’s definitely something to be said for timeless theater, but it’s hard to stay relevant without taking some risks. This play takes risks.

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Drama Talk & Drinks: “There aren’t a lot of black people left in San Francisco”

Katie & Brittany sat down with Eric Reid, who is starting a new theater company aimed at providing meaningful roles for people of color. Which is awesome. SF has a real diversity problem. Specifically, the African American population is disappearing. And there is far too little effort being made to address this. Eric missed a World Series game to talk with them, so the least you could do is look at his flyer (below), which is also awesome. Here’s their report:

A press release came across our inbox about a new-to-us theater company called Theatre Madcap that was doing a “deliberately diverse” production of True West. Even though we knew we couldn’t make the show to review it, we were intrigued. So we asked the Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Eric Reid, to coffee to tell us about his company and his show.

Katie: Tell us about Theatre Madcap.

Eric: We started it, my wife and I that is, about 2 and a half years ago. We started it really because as a black actor I’m frustrated that I can’t find a lot of roles for myself, or If I’m auditioning for something it’s always “ethnicity ambiguous” roles, nothing really for black folks or persons of color at all. So I thought if it’s going to be hard to be in theater, I might as well do it myself and struggle for moi.

Brittany: What have you been working on so far?

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The faux Elbo

As conversation continues about the future of The Elbo Room, NBC built a fake version for their family drama, Parenthood, which takes place in Berkeley. Emily Savage spotted the exterior, which utilizes the font, but not the layout.

Guys, they made a fake Elbo Room in LA for the Parenthood set.

A photo posted by @tofuandwhiskey on

Back in reality, Matt Shapiro, co-owner of the club, explains their current situation on their Facebook page:

OK…the blogs are about to roll out the latest “news”…some with more hyperbole than others…
Here is what is really happening:
We are aware of the building owners plans to build condos on this property…Whether they get approval from the city and how long it will take is really anyone’s guess. The one thing that is definite is our lease goes for another year – Matt Shapiro, Elbo Room co-owner.

The brunch unicorn

[via hello, cheetle.]

Check out our previous unicorn coverage below.

A Drama Talk & Drinks special: The future of SF nightlife

Ignoring The Space Between Windows
[file photo by Ariel]

As a passionate theater and event-goer, Brittany went to a forum on the future of SF’s nightlife amid recent closings due to economic and cultural shifts in the city, as well as neighbor complaints. Here’s her report:

Empty Sign
[file photo by Ariel]

People are moving into cities for a reason. We endure small apartments, high prices and the discomfort of living on top of each other to gain access to the inspiration and entertainment that comes with being surrounded by crazy creative people. Arts and culture are the lifeblood of what makes any city unique, particularly San Francisco.

I review theater here because I want to shine a light on one element of what makes our city so great (even if I don’t always love what I see). So when I heard CMAC (California Music and Culture Association) was hosting a “Supervisor Nightlife and Entertainment Forum” allowing Supervisor candidates to “discuss their visions for the future of nightlife and culture in San Francisco.” I wanted to hear what they had to say.

Something About The Elbo Room
[file photo by Ariel]

With the SF Bay Guardian closing announcement happening earlier in the day, the conversation about what will happen to SF if our arts and culture can’t make the rent seemed more urgent than ever. Which is why it was disconcerting that only three candidates — Supervisor Scott Weiner, Supervisor Jane Kim, and Juan-Antonio Carballo — out of six who were invited to participate even made it to the event.

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Drama Talk & Drinks: SO MUCH BLOOD!

Katie was busy, so Brittany brought a friend from the theatre world to a crazy, bloody, sexy, puppety show that sounds like a lot of fun. Here’s their report:

Katie is a bit of a buzz-kill when it comes to Halloween (sorry Katie). She hates dressing up, doesn’t like scary movies and gore makes her queasy. Brittany, on the other hand, has her requisite costume box in the closet and grew up on Tales From The Crypt. So when we got the press release about Thrillpeddlers Shocktoberfest 15: The Bloody Debutant and Katie was busy, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to call in our friend Michael St. Clair, a lecturer in the Theater and Performance Studies department at Stanford who’s been known to wear a costume even outside of Halloween reverie, to come along and review the show.

Brittany: So Michael, for your introductory Drama Talk & Drinks review, what did you think about the show?

Michael: It was brilliant. It was at least 50% more fun than I expected it to be.

B: That was, in my opinion, absolutely delightful.

M: If you don’t like comedy/sex/violence, or lots of gore, of fake blood, or demon summoning, or things flying in your face, it’s not the show for you. But if you like those things . . .

B: And like kinky fetish stuff . . .

M: Spiced up with a bucket of blood and terrible things . . .

B: SO MUCH BLOOD!

M: . . . Then you’ll love it.

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Drama Talk & Drinks: Are you okay with tangents?

Last month I saw Old Hats at ACT. Bill Irwin is amazing. It was a really fun show, but I think that title would keep younger audiences away. If the theatre wants to get a new generation coming out, and they need to, they should really adopt a more modern naming convention, as this does this column. Katie & Brittany recently saw The Late Wedding, and while the title may not get you out of your chair, they say the play is worth it. Here’s their report:

[photo by Pak Han]

About a year ago Katie read a play called The Hundred Flowers Project by Christopher Chen in Theatre Bay Area magazine. She liked it so much she told Brittany “Whenever another Christopher Chen play is produced, we need to go”. That time arrived. Crowded Fire Theater Company commissioned the world premiere of Chen’s new work, The Late Wedding, and it’s now playing at The Thick House.

Katie: I really enjoyed the freshness of the format and devices Chen used. It really brought the audience into the story, and I liked that. I thought the staging was really neat, and the set was awesome. It was so inventive and the use of the space was creative, just that alone is worth seeing.

Brittany: I was continuously interested. At times I felt like the play was throwing me around, but it was fun how the playwright acknowledged it. I loved the asides to the audience, where they said, “That was weird huh, this is why” or “Relax and just go with it”. In the opening monologue we’re told to “trust the play and let it take you somewhere”, so after that I was open to it taking me anywhere, even though I didn’t always know where it was going.

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Gearing up for Halloween?

Hoping for some sweet haunted houses in the neighborhood this year. I know Adobe Books is building one as we speak.

Christopher F. Smith spotted the above evidence on Mission Street last night. Hopefully it was purchased for a joyful reason.

Ariel Dovas

Posts: 710

Email: ariel (at) missionmission.org

Website: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eviloars/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/eviloars

Biographical Info:

This guy moved to the neighborhood from his hometown of Santa Cruz in '93. Now he makes movies and does a bunch of other weird stuff.