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TBA Online: News & Features: November 2013

Laura’s Editors’ Picks: November/December 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013  
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By Laura Brueckner


Peter and the Starcatcher
Curran Theatre
Nov. 5–Dec. 1

The tale of Peter Pan has inspired countless adaptations, including creator J.M. Barrie expanding his own 1904 play into the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy. Clearly resonant on a number of levels, the now-archetypal story of the boy who wouldn’t grow up has since generated an avalanche of plays and musicals, plus films, comics, video games, a peanut butter brand, an unflattering psychological syndrome, and yet more novels: darker versions, anime versions, sequels and prequels. The basis for Starcatcher is one of those: the first in a four-novel series for children set before Pan’s famous adventure. Developed for Broadway in partnership with La Jolla Playhouse (who staged it in 2009), it’s now a Tony Award-winning juggernaut with no doubt insane production values calculated to make us go “WOW!”...and that, as we begin our trudge through the Bay Area’s long, drizzly sort-of-winter, can be just what the doctor ordered. Visit shnsf.com.



Joey deBettencourt, Edward Tournier and Benjamin Schrader in Peter and the Starcatcher. Photo: Jenny Anderson


Laura’s Other Picks

A Bright New Boise
Aurora Theatre
Nov. 14–Dec. 8

If you have a long theatre memory, you’ll recall Samuel D. Hunter’s haunting play I Am Montana, selected for the 2007 Bay Area Playwrights Festival alongside Annie Baker’s Body Awareness and Christopher Chen’s Into the Numbers. Hunter, who hails from northern Idaho, explores the strangeness of mundane places like Montana and Boise, Idaho, with a deft and surreal touch; according to publisher Sam French, A Bright New Boise is a dark comedy “about the meager profits of modern faith” that won a 2011 Obie Award for playwriting. Visit auroratheatre.org.

The Snow Queen
San Jose Repertory Theatre
Dec. 4–22

Don’t confuse this adaptation of European fairy tale The Snow Queen with the family-friendly, puppet-filled production American Repertory Theater staged in 2011. Like Peter Pan, this story has been adapted into numerous films, dance pieces, plays and even operas—a good sign that the story has a compelling plot and irresistible potential for theatricality and spectacle. San Jose Rep’s world-premiere version is a darker rock musical about coming of age and the loss of innocence; created by Rick Lombardo, Kirsten Brandt and Haddon Kime, it features an original book, lyrics and music—much of which will be supplied by actors doing impressive double duty on instruments. Visit sjrep.com.

KML Winter Follies
Z Below
Dec. 12–14

Taking over Z Space’s Z Below venue for one chilly weekend only, prolific comedy troupe Killing My Lobster goes bonkers with a nonholiday winter show of vignettes helmed by an “all-star collection” of veteran KML directors. KML burst onto the scene in 1997, and has since created not only a signature brand of themed comic sketch shows but also full-length plays (including the Glickman Award–winning premiere of Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s Hunter Gatherers), short films and YouTube video shorts, material for HBO, the Hi/Lo Film Festival and a series of writing classes. Need an antidote to the Christmas Carol blues? Visit killingmylobster.com.


Laura Brueckner is associate editor for Theatre Bay Area and the director of new work for Crowded Fire Theater. She plans to finish her doctoral degree eventually. E-mail her your favorite holiday song at laura@theatrebayarea.org.