SF Life: Judy Garland, Theatre, Cherry Blossoms
Happy Spring Tomatoes! There is a wonderful line-up of theatrical productions in some of the lesser-known venues and we have them many for you including a site-specific romp through Golden Gate Park, a one on one immersive psychology experiment, and more. Judy Garland’s famous tunes and voice are recreated for our enjoyment in the mission. And it is time to head to Japan Town for the heralding of Spring with the blooming of the Cherry Blossoms.
April 1 & 2. Judy Garland “Fool in Love”
The revered Judy Garland is often portrayed by many fabulous folks and arguably none better than Connie Champagne. Champagne returns to the San Francisco cabaret stage as Judy Garland in a new show “Fool in Love”, which focuses on the legendary star’s best romance-lorn tunes. This is a new line-up for her full of songs about “the men who got away” (to paraphrase one of Garland’s best-known titles) is sure to offer her plenty of chances for vocal fireworks and to break our hearts, just the way we tomatoes remember. Martuni’s. 4 Valencia St. SF. Get tickets.
April 8-9 & 15-16. The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival
Did you know…. this is one of California’s most prominent celebrations of Asian traditions. Each year, over 220,000 people attend this dazzling display showcasing the vibrant colors and grace of the Japanese culture, and the rich heritage and diversity of the Japanese American community. The Festival features Japanese cultural performances, traditional arts, live music, the annual Queen Program, and a parade that returns this year.
The NCCBF is one of the largest cherry blossom festivals outside of Japan, second to the festival in Washington, D.C., and held at one of three remaining officially designated Japantowns in the United States. Since 1968, the festival serves to cultivate the continued alliance between Japan and the United States using culture as its bridge. The vibrant festival takes place for two weekends, April 8 -9 and 15 – 16. Free to wander around. Get the details.
Let’s talk about theatre, shall we? We do bring you so many offerings and we just can’t help ourselves because the Bay Area has such incredibly talented playwrights, producers and actors bringing us a plethora of new and unique works as well as our favorite oldies but goodies. The best plays are not always the biggest and some of these smaller venues are just perfect for the performances.
Now-May 7. Poor Yella Rednecks
We have the Arkansas-born playwright Qui Nguyen who elaborates on the family history he first delved into with saucy whimsy in “Viet-gone”. Expect earnest probing of the disappointments of the American dream that somehow never lose a sense of play, thanks in part to bursts into rap and wisecracks from a lusty grandma character. https://www.act-sf.org/your-visit/our-venues/the-strand-theater/
April 7-29. Change Your Mind
This is a 50-minute, one-on-one immersive experience where each audience member is a patient to performer L.M. Bogad’s Dr. Masc, who identifies your “personality pathology” makes some painless medical interventions and then unveils a new, fully actualize you, unburdened by hangups. The co-creator wants to build an experience that asks audience members hard questions like, “what if you gave yourself permission to change?” https://changeyourmind.show/
April 13-May 21. Exhaustion Arroyo: Dancin’ Trees in the Ravine
This is a bilingual play that sprung from the expansive imagination of playwright W. Fran Astorga. A boulder and a “shroom” are characters, and the latter begins this play by transforming the audience into trees. Set partly in a woefully understaffed pizza parlor and partly in the woods in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the play is a comic investigation of the way our country slapped the label of “heroes” on essential workers during the pandemic’s early days while only making their lives worse. https://cuttingball.com/
April 8. Grand Horizons
The show opens as a regional premier at The Stage in San Jose. Fifty years into their marriage, Bill and Nancy want a divorce. While they seem unfazed by the decision, their two adult sons are shaken to the core, forced to reexamine everything they thought they knew about their parents’ outwardly happy lives.
As the family grapples with their new reality, each must reckon with their own imperfect past and how their collective love for each other might express itself in new and unlikely forms. GRAND HORIZONS shakes up the status quo as it delves into the explosive themes of love, loss, and hope. This comedy will resonate deeply with many audience members. https://www.thestage.org/