Local News Matters Arts & Entertainment newsletter
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The Bay Area is a hub of artistic expression, attracting artists, writers and musicians from around the globe to live, work and create. We highlight some of the offerings here.
• Harry Potter 2.0: It’s been the talk of the theater world since it debuted in 2016 and now it’s in San Francisco for an open-ended run. We’re talking about “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” the dazzling play that picks up the Potter story 19 years after the final book and movie, and finds our protagonist seeing off his son at the Hogwarts school for wizards. “Cursed Child” is a two-part play that runs nearly six hours in all, and the story sometimes seems forced, but Potter fans will be in heaven and the special effects are stunning. After a lengthy preview, the show has officially opened at The Curran in San Francisco; tickets are $59-$199 per part and you can split up the viewings or take in all in one eight-hour odyssey (with breaks, of course). More information is at www.harrypotteronstage.com.
• Going global: Ragazzi, the Peninsula-based boys chorus that is 250-plus voices strong, is circumventing the Earth with music for this year’s holiday concert series. “Celebrations of the Season: Stories of our Immigrant Heritage” will explore multiple cultures’ contributions to “the melting pot of American music” and feature songs from Italy, Poland, Ireland, Mexico, Germany, China and Africa. A traditional carol singalong will bring the concerts to a close. Hear the boys at 2 p.m. Dec. 7 in Palo Alto’s First United Methodist Church and at 4 p.m. Dec. 8 at Old First Presbyterian Church in San Francisco. The final concert takes place at 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at Burlingame United Methodist Church. Ticket prices range from $5 to $33; visit www.ragazzi.org or www.oldfirstconcerts.org or call 650-342-8785 or 415-474-1608.
• Josh Kornbluth returns: The Bay Area is filled with talented monologists, and Josh Kornbluth is one of the most revered of the bunch. He’s been entertaining folks for three decades with his often-autobiographical tales of love, history and taxes, and now he’s on something of a greatest hits run. From Dec. 5-22, he’s performing “Ben Franklin: Unplugged,” “Love & Taxes” and “Citizen Josh” at the Waterfront Playhouse in Berkeley. The run, tagged “Josh-a-Palooza,” is a benefit for Berkeley’s TheatreFirst stage company. Tickets, a schedule and more information are at www.theatrefirst.com.
• Storm-y weather: You might remember Storm Large from her punk/rock days in San Francisco, fronting bands such as Storm and Her Dirty Mouth. Or you might remember her as one of the featured singers of the fab pop/classical/swing outfit Pink Martini. But if you’ve seen — or heard — Large, chances are you haven’t forgotten it. She has tons of vocal talent and an often-R-rated stage personality to match. She’s back in town on Dec. 7 to perform her Christmas show — dubbed “Holiday Ordeal” — at San Jose’s Hammer Theatre Center. This one’s not for the kiddies, folks. Performances are 7 and 9:30 p.m.; tickets are $30-$45 at www.hammertheatre.com.
• It’s ‘Nutcracker’ time: In case the decorations that went up in drugstores like a month ago didn’t make it obvious enough, it’s holiday time — and that means: “Nutcrackers!” Several productions of the timeless ballet are up an running. San Jose Dance Theatre offers an opulent, full-length version backed by the 52-piece Cambrian Symphony; it runs Dec. 6-15 at the San Jose Performing Arts Center ($20-$95; www.sjnutcracker.com). Mark Foehringer Dance Project|SF offers a fun and splashy 50-minute kid-friendly production that runs Dec. 7-22 at Fort Mason Center’s Cowell Theater in San Francisco ($20.50-$42.50; mfdpsf.org/nutcracker-sweets). And if you’re an audience-participation kind of “Nutcracker” fan, the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band’s Dance-Along Nutcracker invites you to bust a move during its comedic “Nutcrackers in Space” production, which runs 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 7 and 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco ($35-$50; https://dance-along-nutcracker.sflgfb.org).