B8 heading ‘Backwards’ in new home

It’s “Murder for Two” at Center Rep in Walnut Creek, featuring Eric Van Tielen and Eric Shorey. (Mikki Shaffner/Cincinnati Playhouse photo)

Much like a phoenix that rises from the ashes, Concord’s B8 Theatre Company is thriving at the Concord Historical Society.

The company carries on with plans to host its annual gala and fundraiser “B8 Backwards” on Sept. 14. Enjoy a unique selection of scenes and songs “backward” from how they would traditionally be performed, not dependent upon sex or age.

The gala leads the way for the company’s season opener, “Strange Ladies” by Susan Sobeloff Sept 27-Oct. 13. Set in World War I, the play focuses on a group of radical American suffragists. The show celebrates 100 years of winning voting rights for women. Period protest music weaves through the play, dramatizing the suffragists’ political strategies. Artistic director JanLee Marshall directs, assisted by Becky Potter. Tickets at b8theatre.org or 925-890-8877.

Clayton Theatre Company opens its 8th season with the East Bay premiere of “The Mel Brooks’ Musical Young Frankenstein.” With its silliness, sexual innuendo and physical comedy, this electrifying adaptation runs Oct. 17-Nov. 2. Visit claytontheatrecompany.com or call 925-222-9106.

Center REPertory Company launches its 2019-’20 season with “Murder For Two,” a perfect blend of music, mayhem and murder. Equity actors Eric Shorey and Eric Van Tielen play 13 roles – and the piano – in this witty and winking homage to old-fashioned murder mysteries Aug. 30-Oct. 6 in Walnut Creek. Call 925-943-SHOW or visit lesherartscenter.org.

Town Hall Theatre marks its 75th anniversary with “The Legend of Georgia McBride,” starring Andrew Mondello in this gender-bending, campy and heartfelt celebration of divas. Cindy Goldfield directs the comedy about a young Elvis impersonator who transforms himself into a drag queen. The show runs Sept. 26-Oct. 19 in Lafayette. Tickets at 925-283-1557 or townhalltheatre.com.

Onstage Theatre’s 42nd season begins with “Camping with Henry and Tom” by Mark St. Germain, a play inspired by an actual camping trip taken by Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Warren G. Harding. Randy Anger directs an all-star cast, including Wayne McRice, Mark Hinds, Gary Mutz and Joseph Hirsch. The play shows Sept. 13-29 at the Campbell Theater in Martinez. Contact campbelltheater.com or 925-350-9970.

Diablo Actors Ensemble presents the Neil Simon classic comedy “Barefoot in the Park,” helmed by artistic director Scott Fryer. Samantha Fryer and Austin Pierce star as young newlyweds who discover the honeymoon is over when their apartment isn’t all they’d hoped it would be. Beth Chastain plays the meddling bride’s mother, and William McNeil is the couple’s eccentric next door neighbor. See it Sept. 6-21 in Walnut Creek. Tickets at 925-943-SHOW or lesherartscenter.org.

Contra Costa Musical Theatre brings us an entertaining story of two drag queens and a transgender woman who contract to perform at a resort town in a remote Australian desert in “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Musical.” It’s a flamboyant, funny, heart-warming and disco-fueled story of self-discovery, sassiness and acceptance. The score features a hit parade of dance floor favorites. This campy musical runs Oct. 11-Nov. 9 in Walnut Creek. Call 925-943-SHOW or visit lesherartscenter.org.

Enjoy the lovely eucalyptus grove of California Shakespeare’s Bruns Theatre for “Macbeth,” directed by Victor Malana Maog. William Shakespeare’s cautionary tale of unbridled ambition closes out the season Sept. 18-Oct. 13 in Orinda. Visit calshakes.org or call 510-548-9666.


Megan Larsen stars in Role Players Ensemble’s “The Glass Menagerie” in Danville. (Stephanie Seaberg photo)

Megan Larsen stars as Laura Winfield in Role Players Ensemble’s production of “The Glass Menagerie,” Aug. 30-Sept. 15 in Danville. Role Players partners with the 20th annual Eugene O’Neill Festival for this season opener. The family’s lives are reflected in fragile glass figurines in this classic that launched the career of playwright Tennessee Williams. Tickets at roleplayersensemble.com or 925-820-1278.

Woodminster Amphitheatre celebrates its 53rd season at Oakland’s beautiful Joaquin Miller Park with “Into the Woods” by James Lapine, with a score by Stephen Sondheim and everyone’s favorite enchanting storybook characters. All wishes are granted, but the consequences return to haunt with disastrous results. The show runs Aug. 30-Sept. 8. Visit woodminster.com or call 510-531-9597.

Ghostlight Theatre Company is requesting 10-minute plays from local writers for its one-act festival March 27-29 at the Brentwood Community Center. Deadline to submit is Oct. 31. The plays must be original, unpublished works. They will need minimal set and prop requirements and will be performed in the round. Contact Helen Dixon at helen@ghostlightte.org.

Kick up your heels and join the Disco-Divas, a convent of nuns in a newfound sisterhood, in Pittsburg Community Theatre’s production of the hysterical musical “Sister Act.” It plays Sept. 7-22 at the California Theatre. Call 925-427-1611 or visit pittsburgcaliforniatheatre.com.

Kathryn G. McCarty is well-known around the Bay Area as an educator, playwright and journalist. Send comments to KGMcCarty@gmail.com.