Theater

Normal love

Two stars of Tony hit Next to Normal sound off on musical theater's future

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER Despite widespread critical acclaim, three Tony Awards, and a Pulitzer Prize, Next to Normal is something of a tough sell.

"It's a story about a bipolar mother and how her family deals with her disease," Curt Hansen explains, "and how it affects the kids, and how they also contribute to the disease."

Hansen plays Gabe, the seemingly perfect son of afflicted mother Diana. As one of Next to Normal's seven characters — performed by only six actors — Hansen has a pivotal role in the show. Read more »

Classic 'Rock'

Daniel Heath and Ken Flagg combine restorations in the glorious Man of Rock

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arts@sfbg,com

THEATER Only the barbarity of these dark dumb days could make someone nostalgic for the Reagan era. A simpler time? Not for most — hairstylists maybe least of all. But in The Man of Rock, New Jersey in 1986 appears mercifully devoid of economic mayhem, quasi-fascist politics, or the doom-shrouded future they portend, which is probably why this lively new music-blasted comedy can rock so well. Heavy metal, yes; heavy going, no.Read more »

More than child's play

What's the matter with the grimly fiendish stage treatment of Coraline?

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Heavenly landing

Cynthia Hopkins traverses time and space — and the extremes of success and failure — to reach the sublime

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arts@sfbg.com

THEATER A rare sighting the weekend of Nov. 18-20 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts: Cynthia Hopkins, as intergalactic space pilot Ruom Yes Noremac, a post-human "Druoc" in a floppy silver space suit hovering high above the stage of the Novellus Theatre, returning from the far distant future ... to do what? "Save the earth, of course."Read more »

East Bay studs

Machismo? It's complicated in David Cale's Palomino and Impact's The Play About the Naked Guy

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Kieran McGrath, a carefree 32-year-old Irishman living in New York City, would like to be a writer someday. In the meantime, he has a temporary job subbing for a friend as a carriage driver in Central Park. Its fortuitous, because the material for his first book will conveniently climb into the back of his palomino-drawn carriage in the form of an upscale pimp named Marsha and the series of rich and lonely Manhattan women she represents.Read more »

GOLDIES 2010: Christopher Kuckenbaker

Bringing graceful work and alternately intense and quirky looks to the stage

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In September, the San Francisco Fringe Festival offered patrons an off-Beat gem, The Burroughs and Kookie Show. A deftly performed blend of homage and intimate psychic excavation, the play imagines William S. Burroughs (actor-playwright Christopher Kuckenbaker) as talk show host, opposite a deadpan, laconic musician named Loubis the Pubis (Louis Libert), and a missing cohost, "Kookie," symbolized in absentia by a small, empty chair. Tonight's guest? An unsuspecting actor named Chris Baker (Christopher Kuckenbaker again). Read more »

Now is the time

African-American Shakespeare Company meets the future with a re-visioned classic

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Expansive roles

The Brothers Size gets apt Magic, while the play's the thing in Etiquette

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"Red" bayou

Marin Theatre enlivens the first entry in Tarell Alvin McCraney's Brother/Sister trilogy

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STAGE The young woman has something wrong with her; a chorus of women tell us so. They're neighbors in the same particular, yet nebulous, time/place: a housing project in a nameless small town in the Louisiana bayou, some time in the "distant present." As if floating on water, the young woman, an African American teen named Oya (Lakisha May), lies prone on a dais at the center of an otherwise bare stage as they speak of her. Read more »

Mr. In-Between

John Fisher's adaptation of The Picture of Dorian Gray casts bright light on murky morals

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