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Article by Jack Tucker of The Contra Costa Times, published August 17, 2001

Haunting Tales on tap at the Magic

By Jack Tucker
Contra Costa Times

TWO OF THE Bay Area's most innovative theater companies -- the East Bay's
Shotgun Players and San Francisco-based Word for Word -- are joining forces
to present "Winesburg, Ohio: Tales of the Grotesques," selections from
Sherwood Anderson's seminal collection of haunting stories of small-town
American life.

Previews begin at 5 p.m. Sunday and continue at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and
Wednesday at the Magic Theatre. The Magic is on the third floor of Building
D, Southside, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco. The show opens at 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, and runs through Sept. 2. It plays at 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays through
Saturdays and at 5 p.m. Sundays.

"Winesburg" comes over to Berkeley's Julia Morgan Theatre on Sept. 6 for a
run Thursdays through Sundays through Sept. 16. Weekday performances are at
8:30 p.m.; Sundays at 5 p.m. The Julia Morgan is at 2640 College Ave. (at
Derby Street), Berkeley.

This production of "Winesburg, Ohio," consists of four of Anderson's
interconnected tales: "Surrender," "Paper Pills," "A Man of Ideas" and
"Hands." Published as a collection in 1919, the stories' stark truthfulness
shocked Edwardian sensibilities deeply enough for some critics to label them
"filthy." Modern social leniency and insights have softened that harsh

Delia MacDougall, a charter member of Word for Word and an acting member of
the company, is directing. Her cast includes other charter members Jeri Lynn
Cohen, JoAnne Winter and Nancy Shelby, along with longtime Word for Word
players Adrian Elfenbaum and David Cramer.

They are joined by Shotgun Players founder and artistic director Patrick
Dooley; company member Beth Donohue, and regular players Jeff Elam, Amaya
Alonso Hallifax and Clive Worsley.

Tickets at both venues are $22 general and $20 for seniors, students and
Theater Bay Area (TBA) members. Wednesdays are Pay What You Can. Call
510-655-0813, or visit .

ON YOUR MARK, GET SET: It's always an anticipatory pleasure to get a notice
of a new show from El Cerrito producer Mark Wimple of "Good Lawyer" fame.
First, these high-spirited, original one-night stands (usually) are the
essence of community theater -- written, directed, acted in, flunkied and
gofered by the community people involved, on and behind the stage. Second,
these homegrown productions are just downright fun. And they're cheap at
$5 -- but only in price. The fun is top dollar.

Wimple's next offering, El Cerrito, is billed as A New Television Comedy:
"The Olema Slim Program." It is one show only at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 26,
at Contra Costa Civic Theatre, 951 Pomona Ave.

No, I haven't the foggiest idea of what it means.

Yes, finding out should be fat and sassy with laughter as usual.

It's probably a good idea to call for reservations at 510-528-2416.

TENOR, ANYONE?: Another scene will unfold at 7 p.m. on the stage of the
Contra Costa Civic Theatre the next day, Monday, Aug. 27, and again on Aug.
29. CCCT will cast "Lend Me a Tenor" by Ken Ludwig.

This hilarious farce, a longtime favorite on the community theater circuit,
needs a cast of four women and four men, ages 20s to 60s.

Prepare a one-minute monologue and be ready to read from the script. No
pay. No appointment necessary.

Performance dates are weekends starting Oct. 12 and playing through Nov.
17. For more information, call 510-524-9132.

To get you in the mood to audition for this wackiness, and to see it when
it goes up in October, here's a plot refresher:

World-famous tenor Tito Morelli is coming to Cleveland to perform "Otello,"
his greatest role, at the gala season-opener. Il Stupendo, as he is
reverently known, arrives too late to rehearse with the company. Through a
hilarious series of mishaps, he is given a double dose of tranquilizers to
calm him down. Alas, the Great One has also consumed so much booze he passes

What to do? The general manager of the opera company persuades his
assistant, an aspiring singer, to put on Morelli's Otello costume and go on
as a fake Il Stupendo. It works! Then --'Zounds! -- the real Morelli comes
to, quickly dons his spare costume, and joins the rumpus. Now two Otellos
are running around in costume, and two women are running around in lingerie,
each thinking she is with Il Stupendo!

"Golly, Ned," as grandpa used to say.

Jack Tucker's column runs Fridays in the West County Weekly. Send items of
interest to him c/o the West County Weekly, P. O. Box 100, Pinole, CA 94564;
fax 510-262-2776; e-mail , or call 510-262-2768. Include a contact name and

Address of original story:
(c) 2001 Contra Costa Newspapers


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