DT&D has reviewed a We Players show before. Last summer we loved their site-specific Ondine at Sutro Baths. So when we heard about their season kick-off party, The Capulet Ball, we were intrigued. Katie was busy, so Brittany and Sam donned their best Shakespearean-Masked-Ball garb and headed out for a night of Drama Talk and Drinks.
Brittany: So did you have fun?
Sam: Yeah, I had a blast.
B: I think that the show (the full production of Romeo and Juliet) is going to be good. The girl who was Juliet was great.
S: She had great energy. She really got the physicality of a teenager. She had no inhibitions, and couldn’t filter when Romeo was nearby. The balcony scene felt really genuine and fresh, and I don’t normally like Shakespeare since it so often feels stale.
B: Even though this was just a sneak-preview of the show that’s opening this summer, you really got a good sense of the characters. Even if you never saw the actors saying their lines, by just interacting with them- in dancing or making small talk- you could tell who they were.
S: The characters were really intimate with the audience. It reminded me of Sleep No More, where you don a mask and become part of the scene. I wish that it went longer.
B: Yeah, it was really short. It was supposed to go until 10 but it only went until maybe 8:45 before the action ended and people started to leave. Even the band wrapped up early. I guess it’s good to leave the audience wanting more, but I thought it would be a longer production.
S: For the brief production it was, the costumes were phenomenal. The animal masks were haunting, they added something whimsical to the production.
B: It’s also fun that so many audience members got dressed up. There were some elaborate costumes and impressive masks. The show only worked because the audience bought-in. If you had come into that space with the audience wearing normal street clothes it would have been a very different experience. People dressed up, danced and interacted. That’s what made it fun, getting to be in character yourself.
S: I wonder if we could have convinced the band to keep playing, it ended so early and I wanted it to continue. There was still a boy to kill!
B: And a girl. And a few other people too.
S: Not enough death for an evening out.
The Verdict: The Capulet Ball is a fun way to support an innovative Bay-Area theater company. It’s not even the whole first act of Romeo and Juliet, so if you want to see the full play, hold out until R&J opens this summer. But if you want to have a very cool interactive theater experience, that lets you dress up and be part of the show, go to this. It’s pricey, but it supports a good cause, and drinks and light food are included.
The Drama Talk: We Players is great at site-specific work, and The Capulet Ball is no exception. The space for this production was perfect, and looking at the future venues, there are some neat places on the list. Production values are super high. Once you walk through the door and put on your mask you’re transported to the Capulet’s home and the party where Romeo and Juliet’s star-crossed paths first cross. It helps if you get dressed up, drink some mead, and go in with no inhibitions.
The Drinks: The party has an open bar, so we drank there. Wine, beer and mead only, but the pours are generous and flow all night.
There are only three more performances of The Capulet Ball, all in different parts of the Bay Area. They run through June 18th, and range from $75 for the show in Oakland, to $150 to the show in Calistoga (which includes dinner). Tickets are available through the We Players website: http://www.weplayers.org
Once on a road trip back from Yosemite, Brittany and friends Chad and Thais got on the subject of musical theater. During the course of that conversation the lesser known 1930s Rodgers and Hart musical, The Boys from Syracuse, came up as a topic. Brittany had never heard of it. Chad had it on his iPod. The inevitable happened and the car filled with show-tunes.
One of the passengers was not a musical theater fan, so after a couple songs a new DJ was appointed, but Brittany was intrigued. She knew the songs and recognized the plot (it’s a musical retelling of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors), but she didn’t know the show. When she found out there was a production of The Boys from Syracuse happening at Eureka Theater, she knew she had to take Chad and Thais with her for a night of Drama Talk and Drinks.
Brittany: Thanks for joining me for Drama Talk and Drinks, what did you think of the show?
Thais: I loved it, I thought it was a blast.
Chad: I thought it was fun. I love music from the 1930s. It’s jazzy, brassy and just fun.
T: The performances were fun too.
B: I liked three leading women in particular (Abby Haug, Elise Youssef, and Erin Yvette). The guys…some of them were better than others.
T: The guys who played Antipholus looked like James Franco.
B: That’s so true! They looked exactly like a taller James Franco.
C: They didn’t really stand out to me. “This Can’t Be Love” didn’t sound the way I expected it to sound. It should be more romantic. I know it’s a farce, but they didn’t take the time for a more serious moment.
T: I loved the two Dromios though! The choreography, the references to Groucho Marx. It was hilarious.
B: The Dromios were great, but I agree with Chad on the love songs. I was hoping for more love. These songs are such Broadway songbook classics, even though the show isn’t necessarily that well known, they come with certain expectations. Also I could have done without the dance breaks.
C: You can only see a grapevine so many times. They were having a good time though, which made it enjoyable to watch.
T: The women’s voices were lovely too.
C: “Sing for Your Super” was the stand-out song of the show. It made my night.
The Verdict: If you’re a fan of Rodgers and Hart and the Great American Songbook, you’ll probably enjoy this show. It’s got some great voices, fun songs, and great energy. If traditional musical theater makes you want to pull the car over and scream, skip it.
The Drama Talk: 42nd Street Moon, the company behind this show, is committed to restoring, preserving and producing rarely performed musicals. The Boys from Syracuse is one such ‘lost classic’, typical of 1930s American musical theater, when the genre was in it’s hey-day. If you know Rodgers and Hart’s music, you’ve heard some of the songs in this show, you likely just didn’t know where they came from.
It’s possible part of the reason the show has been lost is the overtly sexist messages throughout the show. The idea of women singing for their supper is more than a little regressive now. But just like those awkward things your grandparents sometimes say, it’s a product of its time, so you feel like you can’t blame the musical. The three female leads are incredibly talented. The costumes are great. It’s generally a fun time.
The Drinks: Opening night started early and ended early, so we needed to get dinner and drinks after the show. Although Kokkari across the street would have technically been more fitting, since the show is set in Greece, we didn’t have $100 to drop, so we went to Osha on the Embarcadero. The sweet drinks and the bright colors seemed a fitting end to a technicolor Broadway “forgotten classic”.
The Boys from Syracuse runs through April 17th at the Eureka Theater. Shows are Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 6pm and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are available through the 42nd Street Moon website, and range from $22-$75, but Eureka theater is small enough, it really doesn’t matter where you sit for the show.
Rob and Lauren, formerly of the band He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister (not actually brother/sister but yes actually husband/wife) have a new project called KOLARS. They’re stopping by Mission Bicycle Company for an intimate acoustic show tomorrow before their sold-out Independent gig on Saturday. Free beer courtesy of New Belgium Brewing.
Friday 3/18. Doors at 7:30, show at 8:00. Limited tix available online and at the door. 766 Valencia, between 18th and 19th.
Modern times call for modern fairytales. So when we heard there was a new musical called Tinderella, by FaultLine Theater, happening at PianoFight we knew we wanted to check it out.
Brittany: I enjoyed it. I thought it was delightful. They were really good voices and it was clever.
Katie: I was pleasantly surprised at the talent. All of the 5 actors had good voices and the two girls – WOW such great voices. Also, I’ve done some online dating, so I felt close to the content too.
B: Yeah, but I don’t think my mom would get it . There were too many pop-references. You kinda need to be living in San Francisco, or another big city, and be in your 20s or 30s to really get this show.
K: Definitely. I also thought they could tie in the story of Cinderella little better, since it is called “Tinderella”.
B: Yes the only thing she really has in common with Cinderella is she forgets her shoes at a party. But it’s pretty unrelated otherwise. He doesn’t look for her when she runs. She doesn’t have weird family drama. There’s not any magic (although one bizarre moment where she appears to talk to birds). It wasn’t a fairytale, more of a story about how fairytales don’t really happen. Also the ending fizzled a bit for me. It felt like they ran out of ideas and just found the fastest way to wrap it up.
K: The night itself definitely didn’t fizzle for me. I really enjoyed the whole night out. A good show, good food, good drinks. Just one Lyft and everything you need for a great night all in one venue.
B: I’m already looking forward to our next DT&D date at PianoFight!
The Verdict: If you are in your 20’s or early 30’s and have done some online dating, this show will be a hoot for you.
The Drama Talk: Overall, good cast and funny concept, but the script still needs a little work. It just seemed like they ran out of material, and never really lived up to the un-said promise of giving us a contemporary retelling of Cinderella. We left wanting more, specifically more live dramatizations of Tinder date train-wrecks.
The Drinks: You are in luck. Going to a how at PianoFight means you have access to a full kitchen and bar. AND you can bring your drinks in the theater and sip while you watch.
Friday: Let’s Dance at Rickshaw Stop! Starring members of North American Scum (the longtime local LCD Soundsystem cover band) as QUEEN BITCH! This is gonna be epic! (Get tickets quick!)
Saturday: Smithsfits Valentine’s Edition at the Knockout! Starring Yule, Benson, and Perez, spinning Smiths and Misfits all night long!
Sunday: Mission Mission 9th Anniversary Party at Pop’s Bar! Starring Ariel Dovas! First thing in the morning, don’t forget!