Bay Area Cabaret Opens Its Exciting 16th Season With Maurice Hines performing with the Diva Jazz Orchestra in the Venetian Room at the Fairmont Hotel

by Charles Kruger This Sunday, Bay Area Cabaret will open its 16th season with a one-night-only appearance by tap dancer extraordinaire and Tony nominee Maurice Hines. Still tapping in his 8th decade, Hines (and his family) are the stuff of show business legend. He began performing professionally as a tap dancer at the age of […]

Review: ‘Dance Nation’ at SF Playhouse (***)

by Charles Kruger No doubt about it: “Dance Nation” is an extraordinary play and people will talk about it. In ten years of reviewing theatre in the Bay Area, seeing as many as 60 to 80 shows each year, I have never seen a production that has elicited such strong visceral reactions as “Dance Nation.” […]

Review: ‘Top Girls’ at A.C.T. (****)

by Charles Kruger Marlene is a successful young executive, moving up in the world, past her male competition, and as happy as a clam. She is charming, smart, charismatic, decent, and considerate. Or is she, really, quite as she seems? Churchill’s play is feminist in tone, but it is unusual in its exploration not only […]

Review: ‘Free For All: A New ‘Miss Julie’ for a New World,’ a world premiere at Cutting Ball (*****)

by Charles Kruger Playwright Megan Cohen and co-developer/director Ariel Craft have reconsidered a naturalistic classic (Strindberg’s “Miss Julie”) with spectacular results. Strindberg’s “Miss Julie,” is recognized as a masterpiece, and often considered, along with Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler,” to be one of the most important plays of the late 19th century, a time when writers were […]

Review: ‘Billy Budd’ presented by San Francisco Opera at War Memorial Opera House (*****)

by Charles Kruger In their publicity material promoting their wonderful and deeply moving production of the opera, “Billy Budd,” SF Opera provides this summary: “Meet Billy. He’s handsome, honest and good. He’s also doomed.” That is accurate and it brings to mind the obvious question: why should such a wonderful young man be doomed? What […]

Review: Bay Area Premiere of ‘Knives In Hens’ by David Harrower Presented by Anton’s Well (****)

by Charles Kruger Considering the emotional and intellectual impact of “Knives In Hens,” it is irresistible to remark that playwright David Harrower is very aptly named. “Harrow,” of course, means to cause distress, so a playwright named Harrower might indeed write distressing or disturbing plays. (I am not the first reviewer to make this observation.) […]