From double the improv to ‘The Children’s Farm’

From double the improv to ‘The Children’s Farm’

Grindstone band
The Grindstone Band will give a benefit concert at the Campbell Theater in Martinez on Oct. 16.

Columns Sally Hogarty Stage StruckCONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Oct. 13, 2021) — Improv for Good will tickle your funny bone in its improvised theatrical show at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Campbell Theater, 636 Ward St., Martinez.

The first half of the show features short-form games with a scene-based twist made up from audience suggestions. The second half, “Improv After Dark,” is a bit more adult themed, and I’ve been told it’s not for those with sensitive ears or feelings.

The show benefits Onstage Theatre Company and the Martinez Campbell Theater.

Then at 7 p.m. Oct. 16, the Campbell Theater holds a fundraising concert featuring the Grindstone Band. Rock out with this eclectic, blues-infused group and support the theater as well. Tickets cost $17 at the door or $18.84 with service fee in advance at

Just a reminder: All guests, performers and crew must be fully vaccinated to attend events at the Campbell. Masks will also be required indoors. For more information on events or vaccination policy, call 925-350-9770.

All Together Now

For even more great tunes, try “All Together Now!” featuring songs by classic and contemporary Broadway composers and lyricists performed by Pinole Community Players and Pittsburg Community Theatre performers. Music Theatre International has made the cabaret performance possible to help theater companies recover from the pandemic.

The local fundraiser happens 8 p.m. Nov. 12 and 4 p.m. Nov. 13 at Steeltown Coffee & Tea, 695 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. It benefits the Betty Brown Scholarship Fund, which provides support for local youth to attend fall and summer youth workshops as well as a scholarship to a graduating senior.

The cast includes Christina Boothman, Kevin Burns, Justin Cole, Torrell Henderson, Gregg Klein, Justin Madres, Anjee Norgaard-Gallia, Shauna Shoptaw, Stefanie Suzuki and Leah Wilson.

Given the intimate venue, they recommend advance tickets. Call 925-439-PLAY or go to

The Children’s Farm

You can still catch Town Hall Theatre’s return to live programming with “The Children’s Farm.”

Written by Sean Dunnington, the lightly produced show comes as part of the company’s New Voices series that strives to feature plays written by traditionally underrepresented and underproduced artists. According to director Ciera Eis, the show presents “an honest interpretation of a child’s journey of self-discovery and family belonging … an imaginative and deeply fun dive into the world of a child through the beauty of queerness, acceptance, therapy and resilience.”

The show runs Oct. 15 and 16 at the Lafayette theater, 3535 School St. For tickets, go to

Spontaneous Shakespeare

From double the improv to ‘The Children’s Farm’
Nikki Vilas, left, Lynn Shields and Eileen Tumlin are the three witches in Synergy’s production of “Spontaneous Shakespeare” running through Oct. 24 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center. (Photo by Arastoo Darakhshan)

Synergy Theater returns and with a new play by William Shakespeare. Well, maybe the Bard didn’t write every word, but it will be in his style as the improv company presents “Spontaneous Shakespeare.” The completely improvised two-act comedy runs through Oct. 24 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr.

“We do our best to emulate the style rather than send it up,” said artistic director Kenn Adams. “We read his plays try to figure out just what makes Shakespeare Shakespeare. As it turns out, his plays are full of outrageous comedy. Bawdy humor, double-entendres, wild disguises, mistaken identities, broad physical humor and a lot of very groan-worthy puns and wordplay. He really had a knack for some very low comedy. And, naughty, too.”

As the company says: “Thou wilt not believe it’s improvised.”

For tickets, call 925-943-7469 or go to

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