Step back in time to the day of Renaissance rock star William Shakespeare and his overwhelming popularity with the public. Not everyone, however, loves the Bard’s monopoly on theater. Two brothers also dream of writing the perfect play that would bring fame and fortune. But where to begin?
Evidently, with a local soothsayer who predicts the future of theater includes singing and dancing. That’s all the advice Nick and Nigel Bottom need as they set out to write the world’s first musical. And that’s all Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell needed to create today’s crazy musical farce “Something Rotten.”
Along with Grammy Award-winning songwriter Wayne Kirkpatrick, the playwrights combined 16th-century Shakespeare and 21st-century Broadway theater into a wacky musical comedy treat that garnered 10 Tony Award nominations.
Now, Tri Valley Repertory brings the show to Livermore’s Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Jan. 14-29.
Brian Olkowski directs with Jed da Roza as music director, while creating the choreography are Christina Lazo and Meghan Hornbacker.
The musical features Tommy Lassiter as Shakespeare with Matt Skinner and Austin Andrade as Nick and Nigel Bottom, respectively.
For more information and tickets, call 925-373-6800 or go to www.ticketfaster.com.
Martinez: The Campbell Theatre at 636 Ward St. in Martinez is gearing up for a fun year-end and beginning-of 2023 with several shows.
Act II Improv keeps the laughs coming with its “Just missed the Holidays” variety show Dec. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Masters of Ceremonies Jaime Rich, Randy Wight and Keith Williams promise a “no holds barred variety show with singing, dancing, improv, magic and comedy.”
The new year takes off with three short comedies and an original radio murder mystery all packed into an evening’s entertainment thanks to Plotline Theatre Company.
Director Randy Anger bundles three short comedies together for Act I: David Ives’ “Time Flies” starring Jerry Motta and Sheilah Morrison; Robert Anderson’s “I’m Herbert” featuring this columnist and Jerry Motta; and Alice Gerstenberg’s “Fourteen” with Melynda Kiring, Erin Hurley and Jerry Motta. You could call the evening “Jerry and His Girls!”
Act II is an original radio drama written and directed by Anger. The show runs Jan. 13-29.
For tickets to either the improv or the short plays and radio drama, call 925-350-9770 or go to www.campbelltheater.com.
Danvile: The new year also brings Eugene O’Neill’s rarely produced “The First Man” to Danville. Presented by the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, the show runs Jan. 13-15 at The Museum of the San Ramon Valley, 205 Railroad Ave.
On Jan. 14 at 4 p.m., Dramaturg Beth Wynstra will explore the cultural context of O’Neill’s play detailing the power of societal norms on etiquette, marriage and family life in early 20th-century America and the America of today. The lecture is free.
Go to www.eugeneoneill.org for information and tickets.
Pittsburg: And speaking of O’Neill, Pittsburg Community Theatre (PCT) is holding auditions for two shows in January one of which is by Eugene O’Neill. O’Neill’s comedy “Ah, Wilderness!” will audition Jan. 7 (2-4 p.m.) and Jan. 8 (5-7 p.m.).
The rare O’Neill comedy takes place on the 4th of July 1906, in a small town on the Connecticut coast. Here 17-year-old Richard Miller deals with his first love, youthful indiscretions and more.
Auditions take place at Church of the Good Shepherd office building, 3200 Harbor St., Pittsburg, and consist of preselected readings from the play, which are available on PCT’s website.
“Ah, Wilderness!” runs April 22-30 at the California Theatre in Pittsburg.
More Pittsburg: PTC will also audition for “It Shoulda Been You,” an original new musical.
Centering on the Steinberg wedding, the play follows a Jewish bride and Catholic groom. Her mother is a force of nature and his is a tempest in a cocktail shaker. Everything that can go wrong does and love pops up in the strangest places.
Auditions are Jan. 8 (2-5 p.m.) and Jan. 9 (7-9 p.m.) also at Church of the Good Shepherd. Those auditioning should bring a song and a background track – no accompanist provided – and prepare a comedic monologue. “It Shoulda Been You” performs June 17-25 at the California Theatre in Pittsburg.
For more information and to sign up for an audition, go to www.pittsburgcommunitytheatre.org.
Castro Valley: Plethos Productions holds its 6th Annual Season Announcement Soiree on Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. at Castro Valley Marketplace, 3295 Castro Valley Blvd. The formal event will not only announce the 2023 season but will also present five Fammy Awards for outstanding cast and crew members.
The night includes stand-up comics, actors, singers, dancers, delicious food and more. For tickets, call 510-388-1979 or go to www.plethos.org.
S.F.: If you’re still looking for some New Year’s Eve action, The Speakeasy has a few tickets left for its New Year’s Eve bash. Period attire encouraged as you welcome 2023 with a live jazz band, cabaret entertainment, endless games in the swank casino and much more.
For more information and tickets, go to www.thespeakeasysf.com.
Sally Hogarty can be reached at email@example.com. Read more of her reviews online at eastbaytimes.com/author/sally-hogarty.