Fall sees wide range of productions, from ‘Clue’ and ‘Dracula’ to classic ‘Nutcracker’

Fall sees wide range of productions, from ‘Clue’ and ‘Dracula’ to classic ‘Nutcracker’
Everyone’s a suspect as the butler, played by Brady Morales-Woolery at left, tries to solve a murder in the Center REP production of “Clue.”

Columns Sally Hogarty Stage StruckCONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Nov. 10, 2022) — There are some fun shows taking place in Contra Costa County now, including murder and blackmail at Center REP with “Clue” through Nov. 20 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center.

Six guests assemble for a dinner party at Boddy Manor, and then become suspects when their host turns up dead. Led by Wadsworth the butler (a fabulous Brady Morales-Woolery), the guests race to find the killer before he finds them.

Based on the 1985 Paramount movie, which was based on the popular Hasbro game, the show features lots of physical comedy as this very talented cast wanders through Kelly Tighe’s highly imaginative set. Did Col. Mustard (Dorian Lockett) commit the murder in the library with a wrench? Or perhaps it was Mrs. Peacock (Wilma Bonet) in the kitchen with a knife? There’s only one way to find out.

For tickets, call 925-943-SHOW or go to www.lesherartscenter.org.

Dracula and The Addams Family

Leilani Ford’s Wednesday, center, brings her boyfriend to dinner in Pittsburg Community Theatre’s “The Addams Family.” (Photo by Sara Leyva)

Halloween continues into November thanks to the Drama Factory and its production of “Dracula,” playing at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 and 1 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Nick Rodriguez Theatre, 213. F St., Antioch.

“Count Dracula is back and travels from Transylvania to England with the spider-eating lunatic Renfield,” said Lee Ballesteros. “It’s a dark, wonderful, fun and creepy tale.”

Go to http://www.dramafactory.org for tickets.

Adding to the “weird” factor is Pittsburg Community Theatre’s “The Addams Family,” playing through Nov. 20.

Based on characters created by cartoonist Charles Addams, the story tells of young Wednesday (Desiree Capote), who has fallen in love with a normal young man (Luke Cannon). Her parents Gomez (Phillip Leyva) and Morticia (Shelly McDowell) host a dinner for the boyfriend and his parents (Mark Flores and Jennifer Stark). Needless to say, things don’t go smoothly with Uncle Fester (Tony Gardner), Grandma (Kimberley E. James), Pugsley (Brian Doolittle) and Lurch (Thomas James) in attendance.

Dianna Schepers directs this quirky musical, with final performances at 8 p.m. Nov. 18-19 and 2 p.m. Nov. 20 at the California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg.

Go to www.PTCCA.org/tickets or call 925-439-PLAY for tickets.

Spelling Bee

Contra Costa Musical Theatre is once again part of the East Bay theater scene with its production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at Antioch’s El Campanil Theatre. You can enjoy this fun musical, and maybe show off your own spelling acumen, at 8 p.m. Nov. 11-12 and 18-19 or 2 p.m. Nov. 13 and 20.

John Maio directs this eclectic group of mid-pubescents as they vie for the championship, with some “lucky” members of the audience invited on stage to join the contestants.

For tickets, go to https://www.elcampaniltheatre.com.

Holiday spirit

Diablo Ballet and Smuin Ballet are getting everyone in the mood for the December holidays.

Diablo presents an expanded version of Julia Adam’s “The Nutcracker Suite” Nov.11-12, featuring new characters and dances as Clara once again takes her magical journey through the land of sweets.

Smuin presents “The Christmas Ballet” Nov. 19-20, with classical ballet set to beloved carols as well as red-hot contemporary dance numbers set to pop favorites.

Both ballets take place at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr. For tickets, call 925-943-SHOW or go to www.lesherartscenter.org.

Here’s a chance for a qualified individual to make his or her mark on local theater. Center Repertory Company has begun a search for a new artistic director.

During COVID, the Lesher Center’s resident professional theater company had let go its incredibly talented artistic director, Michael Butler. Part-time artistic consultants took the helm when the company began producing theater again in December 2021.

“Center REP’s artistic director will chart the course for the company’s evolution,” said Lesher Center General manager Carolyn Jackson. “We are seeking a collaborative leader, with an established track record of creating excellent theatrical experiences and a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in our field.”

The DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland will manage the search, with Jackson serving as chair of the search committee. Interested applicants should apply by Dec. 14 to be included in the first round of review. The full position description and application instructions can be found at https://lcarts.org/REP-artistic-director.

Sally Hogarty
Sally Hogarty

Sally Hogarty is well known around the Bay Area as a newspaper columnist, theatre critic and working actress. She is the editor of the Orinda News. Send comments to sallyhogarty@gmail.com