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“Dreamgirls” Hits the High Notes, at Berkeley Playhouse

“Dreamgirls” Hits the High Notes, at Berkeley Playhouse

Millennial Notes Brendan Simon Captures Motown, R&B Glory Days by Justin Lopez In a large dressing room decked in 60s decor, former R&B band lead singer Effie White (fearless Tanika Baptiste) passionately begs her partner and band manager not to leave her. First, she is totally desperate, but her pleas become demands to remain with the band. She defiantly sings out: “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” “Dreamgirls” depicts the rise of a fictional Motown, R&B band, The…

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“Allegiance”—Dark, Yet Uplifting, At CCCT, El Cerrito

“Allegiance”—Dark, Yet Uplifting, At CCCT, El Cerrito

Jay Kuo Uses Japanese Internment to Celebrate the Human Spirit by Jennifer Ann Charron “Allegiance” connects the shameful history of Japanese American internment during WWII with a family’s story of hope and resilience. We follow the Kimura family from their Salinas farm to captivity in a Wyoming relocation camp. But “Allegiance” is no downer. This plucky musical is jam-packed with heartening songs of family, love, and redemption. After some dissonance, Jay Kuo’s writing rises to brilliance. While “Allegiance” vividly portrays…

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“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Makes Us Lift Up Our Hands, at Ray of Light, S.F.

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” Makes Us Lift Up Our Hands, at Ray of Light, S.F.

Millennial Notes Coleton Schmitto: Unforgettable in Gender-Bending Musical by Justin Lopez By the end of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” I am breathless and choking back tears. Hedwig (superlative Coleton Schmitto) is stripped bare of his clothes and all emotional walls. Bright floodlights shine from behind, as Hedwig slumps over a tall ladder. We are shaken by the transformation. Hedwig and Yitzhak (striking Maya Michal Sherer) urge us to “lift up our hands.” Yet we’re already doing just that, swept…

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“Hunchback of Notre of Dame” Dazzles, Delights, at Bay Area Musicals

“Hunchback of Notre of Dame” Dazzles, Delights, at Bay Area Musicals

Millennial Notes Matthew McCoy Elevates Disney Favorite by Evelyn Arevalo Director and Choreographer Matthew McCoy brings thrills to Victor Hugo’s gothic tale The Hunchback of Notre of Dame in this vibrant adaptation of the Disney movie. If you see one musical this year, see “Hunchback” by Bay Area Musicals. McCoy’s production presents an hypnotic kaleidoscope of colors, dances, and angelic choruses—leaving us singing and tearful. It’s 1482, Paris, and the chimes of Notre Dame usher us into the solitary world…

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