Independent Theater Reviews for the San Francisco Bay Area



Alexandra Garfield uses her life-long love of theater, fifteen years of experience on stage and behind the scenes and two journalism degrees to bring you the best information about theater in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Recent Reviews

October 9, 2019

TheatreWorks’ newest show, Mark Twain’s River of Song,  is a laid back look at the world depicted in Mark Twain’s novels and memoirs, as narrated by the author himself. The production features three musicians on stage as part of the story who play a mix of old spirituals and new songs written for the show. Held together by only the loosest of plots, the play feels like a relaxed ride down the Mississippi River that Twain loved so much.

July 25, 2019

Funny, heartfelt and painful, The Language Archive speaks to truths that are more complex than any language can describe.  TheatreWorks is beginning its 50th anniversary season with a thoughtful show that features many of the key elements that have made this local theater company great. Unfortunately, The Language Archive also exhibits a certain degree of hopelessness which ultimately prevents this good show from becoming a great show.

June 15, 2019

Smart, moving and unexpectedly hilarious, Archduke tells the story of the three men that assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, arguably sparking the conflict that became World War I.  TheatreWorks’ newest play highlights all of the reasons why this local theater was honored with a Tony Award this year.

May 12, 2019

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical is a rare musical that combines all of the magic of an epic fantasy with the fun of a children’s show. This musical hits the sweet spot, perfectly catering toward kids of all ages. Laugh-out-loud funny moments mix perfectly with realistic emotional turmoil and a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. With a fantastic cast and a production that uses blackbox theater techniques and mainstage lighting design, this show will blow you away.

April 29, 2019

What sets this version of Vanity Fair apart, however, is playwright Kate Hamill’s marvelous retelling of the story, which sheds light on William Makepeace Thackeray’s “novel without a hero” in unique and often surprising ways. The play isolates two questions from the book, to refocus the story around and bring the audience into the world of the play: What do you want? And what will you do to get it? By posing these questions to the audience, Hamill takes the moral quandaries of the characters out of the abstract and forces audience members to confront their own vanity, greed and questionable decision making.

April 20, 2019

You may not know the names of Richard and Robert Sherman, but you already know their music. From writing classic scores including Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Winnie the Pooh, the Sherman Brothers have gained the reputation for writing “the songbook of your childhood.” They gained wide acclaim including two Oscars, two Grammys and many more nominations with their “singable, sellable and sincere” songs.  With delightful tunes and clever lyrics, the Sherman Brothers’ songs have been delighting audiences for decades. After a successful debut on London’s West End in 2014, A Spoonful of Sherman is currently making its U.S. debut in Downtown San Jose.

April 12, 2019

Clever, heartfelt and moving, Hershey Felder’s newest show tells both his own story, and that of French composer, Claude Debussy. A Paris Love Story is deeply emotional and hauntingly beautiful. It is not a show to miss.

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