Jun. 6–Jul. 1
The wheels on the bus go round and round/Round and round/Round and round/The wheels on the bus go...I’ll spare you the rest. You probably won’t hear this little ditty if you go to see “Wheelhouse” (unless you are toting a toddler), but you will hear music by the pop-rock trio GrooveLily. The real-life band stars in its autobiographical musical for which it wrote the music, book and lyrics. This is the second collaboration between the band and TheatreWorks, which supported the development of the group’s musical “Striking 12” through its New Works Initiative back in 2003. Unlike the story of “Striking 12,” however, which is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, “The Little Match Girl,” the story of “Wheelhouse” is closer to home: a traveling rock band falls on hard times when it sets out on tour in an aging Winnebago. But don’t bring the box of tissues—it’s all musical comedy in this house on wheels! Visit theatreworks.org.
Caroline’s Other Picks
Des Voix. . .Found in Translation
Parlez-vous français? Even if your answer to that question was “Quoi?” you should come see Playwrights Foundation’s festival of new plays by up-and-coming French playwrights. Don’t worry about dusting off your old French-English dictionary from high school; these three plays have been translated into English. Completing the cultural exchange, three plays by early career American playwrights will be translated into French and performed in Paris this fall: “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” by Rajiv Joseph, “every tongue confess” by Marcus Gardley and “The Reckless Ruthless Brutal Charge of It, or, The Train Play” by Liz Duffy Adams. If the French playwrights are anything like the American ones, we are in for a treat. Visit desvoixfestival.com.
Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men
Berkeley Repertory Theatre
May 25–Jun. 24
Just the title of this play is enough to make me want to see it; it sounds like something out of a Langston Hughes poem. Indeed, playwright Dael Orlandersmith grew up in Harlem in the ’60s; her plays often reflect that experience. But in case you aren’t as easily swayed, “Black n Blue Boys/Broken Men” has the credentials to back it up. Orlandersmith’s play “Yellowman” was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2002 (“Topdog/Underdog” by Suzan-Lori Parks, another successful female African American playwright, won). Besides winning acclaim as a playwright, Orlandersmith, who often acts in her one-woman plays (as she does in this one), has also won praise for her acting abilities. Visit berkeleyrep.org.
Crowded Fire Theater
May 31–Jun. 23
As I write this at the end of March, Crowded Fire has just wrapped up its 2012 Matchbox Reading Series of provocative new plays. In May, it’s presenting a full production of a play that was featured in the 2010 Matchbox, “Good Goods” by Christina Anderson (no relation to this writer, though I rather like the name). Before coming full circle, Anderson’s play, which explores Black American history from 1961–1994 in a fictional town, had its world premiere at Yale Repertory Theatre this February. It seems that Crowded Fire was right on the money, since Anderson was named one of 15 up-and-coming artists “whose work will be transforming America’s stages for decades to come” by American Theatre Magazine. Visit crowdedfire.org.
Caroline Anderson is listings editor for Theatre Bay Area. E-mail her at email@example.com.