Festival of new musicals; “Great leap” in San José
There are a ton of shows to see in the Bay Area this weekend. Here’s a festival of new musicals, a play by Lauren Yee, an exciting author interview and a concert from an alternative country gem that local art lovers should know about.
Marsh’s New Musicals: While The Marsh performance spaces in San Francisco and Berkeley are best known for presenting solo biographical shows, he is branching out into the musical genre for his latest series. “The Festival of New Musical Voices,” which opens September 30 at the Marsh Berkeley, features three new musicals and a musical film developed largely through virtual workshops during the pandemic.
Works include “Aphrodisia,” an impressionist symphonic poem / musical film by Marsh Founder and Artistic Director Stephanie Weisman and SF Ballet Principal Dancer Wei Wang, and featuring the female vocal ensemble Voci; “The Hummingbird,” an autobiographical work by performance artist Kathryn Keats about a woman’s long journey after an abusive relationship; “Jockamo,” by Wayne Harris and Maggie Wilson, a two-person show (accompanied by a three-way blues band) about a young white producer and an elderly black musician in a hurry to write a song together for a Katrina fundraiser; and “Music & Muses of Margaret Bonds and Langston Hughes,” written and performed by Candace Johnson and featuring San Francisco Symphony keyboardist Marc Shapiro, on the relationship between Bonds, a revolutionary black pianist, and Hughes, the famous poet and Harlem Renaissance playwright.
Acclaimed director David Ford of The Marsh helped develop the shows, which will each be offered multiple times during the festival.
Details: Until October 10; Berkeley Marsh, 2120 Allston Way; $ 20- $ 100 individual shows, $ 50 passes 4 shows; proof of vaccination required for entry, masks required inside the venue; themarsh.org.
” The big jump ” : One of the great things about playwright and San Francisco native Lauren Yee’s comedy / drama is that it seems timely for a number of reasons. It is about a basketball star from Chinatown San Francisco joining an American college team on a “friendship” tour to play against a team in China during the days of the uprising and massacre of Tiananmen Square. The play, presented by the American Conservatory Theater in 2019, mixes humor, poignant observations on personal and cultural identity, and genuine intrigue as it ends with a climax. Now, the San Jose Stage Company presents Yee’s play starting September 29, with Monica Ho, Alex Hsu, Tim Kniffin and James Aaron Ho. Jeffrey Lo is directing.
Details: Until October 17; San Jose Stadium, 490 S. 1st St .; $ 32 to $ 54; www.thestage.org.
A conversation with a literary giant: The Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco is set to reopen after the pandemic on October 20 with a full list of new exhibits and events. But in the meantime, it continues to deliver the kind of compelling streaming content it has featured on its website since COVID shut down museums and art venues around the world.
A case in point comes this week when the MoAD website hosts an online interview with Wole Soyinka, the acclaimed poet, novelist, essayist, activist and thorn in the side of the Nigerian government. Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (in 1986), this week published his first novel in nearly 50 years, “Chronicles of the Land of the Happiest People on the Planet”, which critics describe as a satire, murder. mystery and partly political treatise on one of his favorite subjects – the terrible toll that corruption and tyranny take on liberty. He has long denounced colonialism and imperialism as well as dictators around the world and has been jailed twice in his native Nigeria for criticizing the government.
Soyinka, who destroyed his US green card after Donald Trump was elected, is expected to have a lot of interesting things to say when interviewed on September 30 at noon as part of MoAD’s Conversations Across the Diaspora interview series. hosted by Nigerian author Sarah. Ladipo Manyika. Meanwhile, “Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on the Planet” will be the topic of MoAD’s Zoom African Book Club online gathering at 5pm on 24 October.
Details: Interview with Wole Soyinka, at noon on September 30; African Book Club, 5 p.m. on October 24; both pay what you can, pre-registration required; www.moadsf.org.
– Bay Area News Foundation
Brandi is back: Everyone who attended Napa’s BottleRock Festival opening night on September 4 had a chance to see history being made when an 11th hour-inspired lineup to replace a sick artist resulted in than to the second live performance in Highwomen history, the Alternative Country Supergroup made up of Brittney Spencer, Maren Morris, Brandi Carlile and Natalie Hemby. The quartet (then starring Amanda Shires instead of Spencer) released an eponymous album in 2019 – a sublime recording that you can check out on multiple streaming platforms – and for a variety of reasons, we’ve hardly heard of it since. So the brief reunion was a big deal at the festival and on social media.
We can’t guarantee the same kind of magic will happen this weekend when Carlile returns to the Bay Area for a solo show at the Frost Amphitheater at Stanford University. But we can tell you that the singer-songwriter is a formidable artist on her own, with a knack for writing melodic and insightful songs as well as a versatile and evocative voice that can take on rock, pop. and country with the same conviction. Her six albums so far have produced 11 Grammy nominations, and she is releasing a new album, “These Silent Days”, this week.
Details: 6.30 p.m. October 1; Frost Amphitheater, Stanford University; $ 69.95 to $ 109.95; proof of vaccination or negative COVID test required for entry; live.stanford.edu.
– Bay Area News Foundation