KQED’s Cy Musiker and David Wiegand share their picks for great shows around the Bay Area this week.
Both David and I are a bit groggy after a late evening at the opening of Fiasco Theater’s excellent stripped down production of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods. Details for the run at SHN’s Golden Gate Theater through April 2 are here. I’m also stoked to see Aaron Diehl and Cecile McLorin Salvant celebrate the music of Jelly Roll Morton and George Gershwin. They’re at Bing Concert Hall at Stanford, Kuumbwa in Santa Cruz, the Mondavi Center in Davis and SFJAZZ — with details here.
March 11: Meklit Hadero is one of the Bay Area’s most adventurous singers and songwriters. She’s Ethiopian-born, and a TED Fellow who brews her music out of jazz, soul, R&B and world music. Hadero has been busy lately curating The Nile Project (a touring group of Nile Delta musicians) and Undercover’s tribute to Lauryn Hill, so it’s nice to see her focusing again on her own music — especially in the intimate setting of Bing Concert Hall’s new Rehearsal Studio, with its cocktail lounge feel. Details for Hadero’s show Saturday are here.
March 7–19: Eclipsed is a play about the brutal violence of the Liberian Civil War and the bitter lives of women held as sex slaves by a rebel officer. The show is remarkable as the first on Broadway produced by an all-black, all-women creative team, including former director (and former Berkeley Rep Associate Director) Lisel Tommy and playwright and Zimbabwean-American Danai Gurira (who’s also one of the stars of the TV series The Walking Dead, and slated to appear in the upcoming Marvel Black Panther movie). Gurira started writing because she didn’t think there were enough plays about Africa on American stages (you think?), and has won nothing but praise for her work. Eclipsed is the second show at the renovated Curran Theatre (after Fun Home), and more proof that owner Carole Shorenstein Hays is making good on her promise to bring important, serious shows to San Francisco. Each performance of Eclipsed will be dedicated by name—in a post-show presentation—to abducted girls around the world. Details here.
March 16–19: The New Century Chamber Orchestra is continuing its 25th anniversary with a season of farewell to music director and violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, who will leave to teach full-time at Loyola University next fall. For this concert, Salerno-Sonnenberg has put together a program of pure pleasure, featuring an excerpt from Stravinsky’s ballet Apollon musagète and a suite of songs from An American in Paris. That brings in the other stars of these shows, the choral group Chanticleer. You can’t go wrong. It runs March 16 in Berkeley at the First Presbyterian Church, March 17 in Palo Alto at the Oshman JCC, March 18 at Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and March 19 in San Rafael at the Osher Marin JCC. Details are here.
March 11–May 29: Two of the greatest names in modern art are together for the first time at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art — French Fauvist and impressionist Henri Matisse (1869-1954) and Californian Richard Diebenkorn (1922–1993). That Diebenkorn was deeply influenced by Matisse was no secret, But in this collaboration between the Baltimore Museum of Art (with its deep collection of Matisse) and SFMOMA (with its deep collection of Diebenkorn), visitors can see firsthand the way Diebenkorn often employed the same colors and design elements that Matisse used in his paintings. “Diebenkorn had an incredible visual memory,” SFMOMA curator Janet Bishop told me while we talked in front of Matisse’s Yellow Pottery from Provence, “and he carried that image with him, so several years later, when he made one of his Berkeley paintings, you see that same palette emerge, that same banding of color. To see these paintings together for the first time is an incredible thrill.” And they’re gorgeous. Details for the Matisse/Diebenkorn show at SFMOMA are here.
March 10–12: The Coathangers are three women from Atlanta who only occasionally do ballads — mostly they play garage and surf-punk with no compromises. The band’s name (a reference to dangerous abortion methods so common before Roe v. Wade) makes David uncomfortable, but maybe that’s the idea for a trio whose song titles include “Don’t Touch my Sh-t.” They touch down three times in the Bay Area this weekend — on March 10 at Brick and Mortar in San Francisco (details here), March 11 at the Starline Social Club in Oakland (details here), and March 12 at the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa (details here).