Fall Arts Preview
What’s on stage and on display in the East Bay.
Fall is our favorite. The leaves changing to brilliant reds and yellows, the return of layers to our wardrobe, the fresh start of a new school year, and, of course, another exciting season of theater, dance, music, and art.
Here is a guide to what’s on stage and on display in the East Bay this fall.
August 31–September 29: After the Revolution
Amy Herzog’s After the Revolution, which won the New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award, makes its Bay Area premiere in Oakland. Directed by Joy Carlin, this McCarthy–era family drama revolves around discovering that a family member isn’t who he seems. Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison St., Berkeley, $20–$60, (510) 843-4822, auroratheatre.org.
September 6–15: Legally Blonde the Musical
Playing off Reese Witherspoon’s big-screen performances as a brilliant ditz in the courtroom, Legally Blonde: The Musical brings the Harvard Law student-in-pink to the stage. Woodminster Amphitheater, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd., Oakland, $27–$56, (510) 531-9597, woodminster.com.
September 6–27: Anna Christie
This year’s fest features a rendition of O’Neill’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Anna Christie, performed by Danville’s Role Players Ensemble. First a Broadway hit nearly a century ago, Anna Christie follows the struggles of a former prostitute who falls in love but struggles to shake her past. The Village Theatre, 233 Front St., Danville, $20–$28, (925) 314-3466, danville.ca.gov/enjoy_danville/.
September 6–28: Shrek The Musical
In Shrek: The Musical, Diablo Theatre Company brings the hit Dreamworks animation to life, as the big, green ogre and his Donkey buddy take to the stage to rescue Princess Fiona. Lesher Center, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, $49–$53, (925) 943-7469, tickets: lesherartscenter.org, more info: diablotheatre.org.
September 12–October 5: The Rainmaker
This classic romantic comedy comes to Lafayette under the direction of Derrick Silva. As Lizzie Curry and her family suffer through a devastating drought, the handsome stranger, Starbuck, comes along with an outlandish promise: to make it rain. Town Hall Theatre, 3535 School St., Lafayette, $15–$32, (925) 283-1557, thtc.org.
September 25–October 20: A Winter’s Tale
A Winter’s Tale makes an Autumn appearance at Orinda’s outdoor-performing California Shakespeare Theater. Guided by Patricia and Paloma McGregor, A Winter’s Tale embodies all the elements one comes to expect from a Shakespeare’s tragedy. Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda, tickets start at $20, (510) 548-9666, calshakes.org.
September 11–October 6: 1776: The Musical
The Tony Award–winning 1776 makes its West Coast debut at the American Conservatory Theater. With Frank Galati returning as director, the production will take audiences through a musical recount of the efforts to pass the Declaration of Independence. American Conservatory Theater, 405 Geary St., San Francisco, (415) 749-2228, act-sf.org.
September 20–October 20: Vanya and Sonia and and Masha and Spike
Following a smashing Broadway debut earlier this year, Christopher Durang’s Chekhov-inspired comedy comes to Berkeley Rep. Winner of this year’s Tony Award for Best Play, it stars Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce. Roda Theater, 2015 Addison St., Berkeley, $14.50–$57, (510) 647-2972, berkeleyrep.org.
September 28–October 6: Carmen
Set in 19th century Spain, this captivating opera by Bizet tells a story of obsession and betrayal, as a gypsy girl seduces a soldier. Performed by Livermore Valley Opera.
Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore, $29–$74, (925) 373-6800, tickets: mylvpac.com, more info: livermorevalleyopera.com.
October 11–November 10: Tarzan
Contra Costa Musical Theatre brings the jungle to Walnut Creek. Jasen Jeffrey directs the classic tale of Tarzan, featuring the music of Phil Collins used in the Disney feature film. Lesher Center, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek; $44–$54, (925) 943-7469, tickets: lesherartscenter.org, more information: ccmt.org.
October 15–November 17: Strangers, Babies
Berkeley’s Shotgun Players present Strangers, Babies, a story of hope and redemption that slowly reveals the secrets of May, a woman with a haunted past. Directed by Jon Tracy and written by Linda McLean. Shotgun Players, 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, (510) 841-6500, shotgunplayers.org.
October 16–26: The Robber Bridgegroom
The brand-new Clayton Theatre Company opens its doors with The Robber Bridegroom, a southern fairy tale set in 18th century Mississippi. Based on the book by Alred Uhry, the Pultizer Prize–winning author of Driving Miss Daisy. Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St., Clayton; $8–$30, (925) 222-9106 claytontheatercompany.com.
October 17–19: Hansel and Gretel
The Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble opens its season with Hansel and Gretel, the classic tale of a brother and sister who must fend for themselves in the forest after a witch puts a spell on their parents. Lesher Center, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, $14, (925) 943-7469, tickets: lesherartscenter.org, more information: fantasyforum.com.
October 19–November 3: Spamalot
Reaching into Monty Python’s bag of intellectual slapstick, Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre presents Spamalot. Based on the classic comedy Monty Python and The Holy Grail, King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table sing their way through a trail of misadventures as they seek the fabled relic. Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore, $29–$74, (925) 373-6800, tickets: mylvpac.com, more information: trivalleyrep.com.
October 25–November 23: Don’t Dress for Dinner
Following up to the popular Boeing, Boeing, Center REP of Walnut Creek presents the sequel Don’t Dress for Dinner. Set 10 years after the original story, the shenanigans continue in this brilliant bedroom farce. Lesher Center, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, $14, (925) 943-7469, tickets: lesherartscenter.org, more information: centerrep.org.
October 25–December 8: The Pianist of Willesden Lane
Sharing a theme (but not the same story) with the Oscar-winning film The Pianist, The Pianist of Willesden Lane, at Berkeley Rep, tells the true story of Lisa Jura, a Jewish musician whose dreams were interrupted by the Nazis and World War II. Set in 1938 Vienna. Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley, $14.50–$57, (510) 647-2972, berkeleyrep.org.
September 14: Alonzo King Lines Ballet
Amid a world tour, the Alonzo King Lines Ballet stops at the Bankhead Theater to perform a pair of its critically claimed pieces. The San Francisco–based dance group will perform “Scheherazade,” which is King’s re-interpretation of “1,000 Nights,” and “Resin,” a piece choreographed to Sephardic music.
Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore, $15–$55, (925) 373-6800, tickets: mylvpac.com, more information: linesballet.org.
October 23-24: Nederlands Dans Theater
Nederlands Dans Theater returns to Berkeley for the first in more than two years. Visiting from The Hague, this mesmerizing dance group, directed by Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, will perform “Sehsucht” and “Schmetterling”—two pieces yet to be seen on the West Coast. Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft Way between Telegraph and Dana, Berkeley, $30 and up, (510) 642-9988, calperfs.berkeley.edu.
November 1–2: Shanghai Ballet
The Shanghai Ballet makes its Berkeley debut with “The Butterfly Lovers,” a classic Chinese romance story borne out of the Tang Dynasty. Dazzling audiences worldwide for three-plus decades, this ballet group fuses Chinese and Western styles. Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft Way between Telegraph and Dana, Berkeley, $30 and up, (510) 642-9988, calperfs.berkeley.edu.
November 9, 15–16: Diablo Ballet
To launch its 20th anniversary season, the Walnut Creek–based Diablo Ballet will perform a duet from Eugene Loring’s “Billy the Kid” and Sean Kelly’s “A Swingin’ Holiday,” among other choreographies, in Fremont, then a week later in Walnut Creek. Ohlone College, 43800 Mission Blvd., Fremont; Lesher Center, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-1775, diabloballet.org.
November 22–23, 29–30: Smuin Ballet
Performing with a holiday spirit, the San Francisco–based Smuin Ballet will visit the East Bay for four nights of “XXMAS,” a Christmassy, Roman-numeral nod to the company’s 20th anniversary. The Christmas Ballet will be in Walnut Creek the weekend before Thanksgiving, and in Livermore the weekend after. Lesher Center, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469, tickets: lesherartscenter.org; Bankhead Theater, 2400 1st St., Livermore, (925) 373-6800, tickets: mylvpac.com. More info: smuinballet.org.
September 13, 15: Gold Coast Chamber Players
The Gold Coast Chamber Players open the 2013–14 season with “Hungarian Strings.” Featuring Juliana Athayde and Candace Guirao on violins, Pamela Freund-Striplen on viola, Amos Yang on cello, and Yana Reznik on piano. Community Hall, Lafayette Library, 3491 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, $50–$140, (925) 283-3728, gcplayers.org.
September 22: Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra
Violinist Juliana Athayde and violist Pamela Freund-Striplen pair up for “It Takes Two,” as part of the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra’s first concert program of the season. Lesher Center, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469, tickets: lesherartscenter.org, more information: cccorch.org.
September 26: Quartet San Francisco
The Grammy-nominated Quartet San Francisco is holding a CD release party in Oakland—hometown of the group’s leader, Jeremy Cohen. Yoshi’s, 501 Embarcadero West, Oakland, $21, (510) 238-9200, tickets: yoshis.com, more information: quartetsanfrancisco.com.
September 29: California Symphony
Under new music director Donato Cabrera, the California Symphony opens its season. Recognized by Reader’s Digest as the “best in America,” the Walnut Creek–based symphony will perform the works of Mozart, Dvorak, and John Adams. Lesher Center, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469, tickets: lesherartscenter.org, more information: californiasymphony.org.
September 29: Fall Free for All
Cal Performances hosts a full day of free performances during its fourth annual Fall Free for All. Enjoy a wide variety of performing all across the UC Berkeley campus. Line-up to be announced. UC Berkeley, Berkeley, (510) 642-9988, calperformances.org.
October 3: Berkeley Symphony
The Berkeley Symphony’s season opens with the world premiere of Edmund Campion’s “Ossicles,” as well as renditions of Wagner’s Siegried Idyll and Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, $15–$74, (510) 841-2800, berkeleysymphony.org.
October 13: Diablo Symphony
Pianist Eric Zivian headlines the Diablo Symphony Orchestra’s opening night with his rendition of “Fate,” Beethoven’s fifth symphony. Lesher Center, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, $10–$25, (925) 943-7469, tickets: lesherartscenter.org, more info: diablosymphony.org.
November 8: Oakland East Bay Symphony
With Michael Morgan conducting, the Oakland East Bay Symphony opens its 25th anniversary season with Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring.” Bay Area conductor John Kendall Bailey begins the evening with an introductory talk. Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway Ave,, Oakland, (510) 444-0801, oebs.org.
November 13: Pacific Mambo Orchestra
One of the hottest Latin big bands in the West, the Pacific Mambo Orchestra comes to the Bankhead Theater. Featuring trumpeter Steffen Kuehn, pianist Christian and drummer Tito Puente, Jr. (Yes, son of THAT Tito Puente), this trio brings its own contemporary flair to traditional Latin sounds. Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore, $15–$55, (925) 373-6800, mylvpac.com.
November 16: Joshua Redman Quartet
After touring Europe with his quartet, saxophonist and Berkeley native Joshua Redman returns to the Bay Area to perform in his hometown. Longtime collaborators Aaron Goldberg, Reuben Rogers, and Gregory Hutchinson will join with Redman in performing selections from his latest album, “alking Shadows. Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley, tickets start at $22, (510) 642-9988, calperfs.berkeley.edu.
November 17: Contra Costa Wind Symphony
Opening its 34th season, the Contra Costa Wind Symphony… TKTKTKTK. Lesher Center, 1601 Civic Ave., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469, ccwindsymphony.org.
November 24: Pacific Chamber Symphony
The Pacific Chamber Symphony makes its season debut with the theme “Crazy about Bach,” in which the orchestra will perform the Brandenburg Concertos, a collection of six works by Bach. Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore, $10–$50, (925) 373-6800, tickets: mylvpac.com, more information: pacificchambersymphony.org.
December 7: Livermore-Amador Symphony
One of the longest-standing orchestras in the Bay Area, the Livermore-Amador Symphony begins its 50th year with conductor Arthur Barnes. The night includes renditions of works by Beethoven, Gershwin, Barnes and Lees. Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore, $10–$29, (925) 373-6800, tickets: mylvpac.com, more information: livamsymph.org.