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Monday, August 8, 2016

Drag Strip: Peaches Christ puts her own spin on Showgirls! The Musical!

Posted By on Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Clockwise: Nomi Malone (April Kidwell) and Cristal Connors (Peaches Christ) vie for top billing in Showgirls! The Musical!, playing at the Victoria Theatre through August 27th. - PHOTO CREDIT: JOSE A GUZMAN COLON
  • Photo Credit: Jose A Guzman Colon
  • Clockwise: Nomi Malone (April Kidwell) and Cristal Connors (Peaches Christ) vie for top billing in Showgirls! The Musical!, playing at the Victoria Theatre through August 27th.

In 1995 cult flick Showgirls, Vegas stripper Nomi Malone (Elizabeth Berkley) dreams of kicking off her hooker heels and thrusting her way into a major burlesque revue. With Showgirls! The Musical!, starring April Kidwell as the exotic dancer turned showgirl, Peaches Christ, who plays Nomi's nemesis Cristal Connors and also directs, realizes her own ambition of bringing a full-length stage show to San Francisco.

In anticipation of Showgirls! The Musical!'s west coast premiere on August 10, Peaches Christ spoke to SF Weekly about making the show her own, why the film that it's based on continues to titillate and why her new ice cream flavor is more mouthwatering than an iced nipple. 

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lovely, Low-Key On A Clear Day At NCTC: Barbra Would No Doubt Approve

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Melissa O'Keefe sings across the decades. - NCTC/LOIS TEMA
  • NCTC/Lois Tema
  • Melissa O'Keefe sings across the decades.
New Conservatory Theater Center offers a low-key, lovely production of the classic musical On A Clear Day You Can See Forever.

On A Clear Day 
has long been a show in search of an audience — though audiences seem to love it, it has never fared well at the box office, not when it opened on Broadway in 1965 or when legendary diva Barbra Streisand starred in a 1970 film version

In NCTC's production, superbly directed by Ed Decker, Streisand's Daisy Gamble is rewritten as David Gamble, a gay man. The songs are all there, and the premise and plot of the show remain the same. 

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Behind the Scene with The Last Five Years

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2016 at 9:30 AM

  • Mario Elias Photography
For the past six weeks, Margo Seibert (Rocky) and Zak Resnick (Mamma Mia!) have spent most of their waking moments independently pouring themselves into the same two-person show — The Last Five Years, directed by Michael Berresse and playing at A.C.T.’s Geary theater through June 5. You might think that such an arrangement would foster mutual affection (or mutual irritation) between the pair, but much like the characters they play on stage, Seibert and Resnick find they’re rarely in the same space.

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Thrillpeddlers' The Untamed Stage at the Hypnodrome: Life Is a Cabaret

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 8:00 AM

  • Zelda Koznofski
In 1972 Bob Fosse's classic film Cabaret celebrated the decadence of Weimar era Berlin while also noting the gathering storm which was looming just over the horizon. The Weimar Era was a wondrous time between the World Wars when Berlin was a mecca for avant-garde artists and performers — Berlin at that time was a place of unprecedented sexual freedom. It all ended in a heartbeat when Adolf Hitler was elected German Chancellor in 1933. Along with six million Jews, the era's anarchists and "sexual deviants" were hauled off to concentration camps, where most were murdered.

Thrillpeddlers' new musical The Untamed Stagenow playing at The Hypnodrome through May 28, also seeks to recreate that long lost time and place, albeit on a smaller scale. The results are often mesmerizing.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Big Hair and Gleefully Dubious Taste in Oasis' Above and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls

Posted By on Mon, Apr 25, 2016 at 11:15 AM

D'Arcy Drollinger As Chablis, Nancy French as Gewürztraminer and John Paul Gonzalez As Chardonnay - GARETH GOOCH
  • Gareth Gooch
  • D'Arcy Drollinger As Chablis, Nancy French as Gewürztraminer and John Paul Gonzalez As Chardonnay
This is my happening and it freaks me out!

So goes the most famous line in the inexplicably weird 1970 quasi-parodic non-sequel to Valley of the Dolls, Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Spoken by rock impresario Z-Man Barzett at a party in his living room, it only hints at the weirdness to come. (Z-Man later reveals that he has been a woman all along, and beheads someone who spurned his/her advances.)

This is the provenance — or part of it, anyway — to D'Arcy Drollinger's drag rock musical Above and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, now playing at Oasis through May 14. Drollinger, whose previous original works include Shit and Champagne and its sequel, Champagne White and the Temple of Poon, gleefully hoovers up references from the campiest corners of pop culture while paying homage to the '90s post-punk art band Enrique (of which Drollinger was a member.) It's gonna get weirder.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Benjamin’s Scheuer Plays Six Guitars and One Audience in The Lion

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Benjamin Scheuer with his cast of characters - MATTHEW MURPHY
  • Matthew Murphy
  • Benjamin Scheuer with his cast of characters
In Benjamin’s Scheuer’s one-man musical show, The Lion (now playing at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater), he takes the lead alongside a cast of six guitars, some of which literally play the roles of the guitars of his past. He earnestly, playfully, and sometimes painfully plays each instrument, tying roughly a dozen songs together with strings of prose and personal narration that tell the story of the artist’s life and relationship with music, starting at age 10.

Scheuer plays something else as well — the audience. In one off-script moment during Tuesday night’s performance, he noted a commotion in the front row and added a candid aside: “Come on, I know you’re there. It’s not like I don’t know you’re there.”

Forgive the tired metaphor of comparing heartstrings and catgut, but Scheuer seems to know what he’s doing when he caters his life’s story for the audience's consumption. We become the final piece of the playbill, offering the gasps of surprise, spontaneous applause, and a perfectly timed laugh track that is anything but forced.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Benjamin Scheuer and His Cast of Stringed Performers in A.C.T.'s The Lion

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 11:00 AM

  • Matthew Murphy
As the sole performer in the one-man musical The Lion, a 2015 Drama Desk Award-winner that will be running on the stage of A.C.T.’s Strand Theater April 19-May 1, songwriter and story teller Benjamin Scheuer appears to be a show unto himself. Scheuer, who hails from Greenwich Village and plays a variety of guitars over the course of the show, sees it a little differently.

“The guitars are my cast,” said Scheuer. “I play six guitars. I also understudy a guitar.” The understudy has only seen action in two of Scheuer’s performances, but is as vital an actor as any.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Unfortunates Brings Soulful Blues to A.C.T.'s Strand Theatre

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 11:00 AM

CJ (Christopher Livingston), Big Joe (Ian Merrigan), and Coughlin (Jon Beavers) face the horrors of war - KEVIN BERNE
  • Kevin Berne
  • CJ (Christopher Livingston), Big Joe (Ian Merrigan), and Coughlin (Jon Beavers) face the horrors of war

Sometimes, a show suits a setting so well that it takes on the characters and personality of hte place where it is performed. Such has been the case with The Unfortunatesthe latest production to hit the stage of A.C.T.’s Strand Theater. Based on the mysterious blues classic, “The St. James Infirmary,” and originally developed as a Midnight Project at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the soulful darkly comic musical tracks POW Big Joe, who relies on music and community to find the courage to face his final moments before a firing squad. In the seconds before Joe’s execution, he is knocked unconscious and falls into an Alice-in-Wonderland dream world inhabited by a community of misfits who help him rise to greater strength through song.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Back in Baby's Arms: Always.....Patsy Cline Adds Shows at Altarena Playhouse

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 12:30 PM


Virginia Patterson Hensley (1932-1963) became internationally famous and beloved as Patsy Cline. Blessed with a rich and emotionally expressive voice, Cline continues to sell records today, more than fifty years after she died in a plane crash at age 30. In 1973, she was the first woman inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her powerful vocal range transcended the country genre — Cline was ranked No. 46 in the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time issue of Rolling Stone

Cline has also become something of a gay icon.

"For a gay favorite, Patsy has all the requisite elements," explained Clay David, Artistic Director of Altarena Playhouse in Alameda. "A tragic, early death, a portfolio of dark and poignant songs, and an allegedly miserable personal life." David noted that Cline is often listed as a gay icon next to Bette Midler, Cher, Madonna and Liza Minnelli. 

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Lizzie Borden Comes Out Swinging at the Victoria Theatre

Posted By on Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 8:00 AM


"Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done she gave her father forty-one."

Lizzie Borden (1860-1927) was the prime suspect in the 1892 axe murders of her father and stepmother. She was acquitted, and the killings were never resolved. Despite ostracism from her community, Borden remained in her hometown, Fall River, Mass., for the rest of her life. The case, a sensation at the time, retains its hold on the public's imagination to this very day.

So did Lizzie hack them or didn't she? Those questions might be answered in Lizzie, a new musical now playing at the Victoria Theatre through October 17.

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"