Improv adds even more mystery to Hitchcock show

Improv adds even more mystery to Hitchcock show

Improv adds even more mystery to Hitchcock show
Eileen Tumlin takes on the intrigue and laughter of Synergy Theatre’s “Spontaneous Hitchcock” through Oct. 30 in Walnut Creek. (Photo by Arastoo Darakhshan)

Columns Sally Hogarty Stage StruckCONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Oct. 19, 2022) — The wonderfully crazy improvisation of Synergy Theater is back with its world-debut of “Spontaneous Hitchcock: An Improvised Thriller in the Style of the Master of Suspense!”

It’s time for murder, madness and mystery with this clever group as they perform through Oct. 30 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center, 1601 Civic Dr.

“This hysterical homage to Sir Alfred Hitchcock – completely improvised and all based on audience suggestions – will keep you in stitches from the first creaking floorboard to the final shovel of dirt,” said artistic director Kenn Adams.

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

Marah Sotelo is the queen in a new twist on “Rumpelstiltskin” Oct. 23 in Danville. (Photo courtesy of East Bay Children’s Theatre)

Get ready to rumble, or rather Rumpelstiltskin, with East Bay Children’s Theatre’s (EBCT) musical spin on this favorite fairytale.

The company launches its 90th season Oct. 23 with this family-friendly musical at Danville’s Village Theatre, 233 Front St. Children of all ages are encouraged to come in costume and have pictures taken on the stage with cast members after the show.

EBCT’s fresh take on the popular tale includes crazy jokes, physical comedy and surprising twists, as well as Ron Lytle’s infectious, Broadway-style original score.

For tickets, go to

Spelling Bee

Time to brush up on your spelling as Contra Costa Musical Theatre (CCMT) presents “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” Nov. 4-20 at the historic El Campanil Theatre, 602 W. 2nd St., Antioch.

Audience participation is a must in this crazy look at a group of eclectic mid-pubescents vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. Be careful where you sit, you may find yourself onstage spelling along with the cast.
Given that COVID is still a reality, and anyone can find themselves testing positive, CCMT has double cast the six quirky spellers and three adults. The cast includes well-known local performers Michael Sally and Paul Plain. John Maio directs, with Kerry Leyden as musical director and Justin Sabino as choreographer.

After spending most of its history performing at the Lesher Center, CCMT will now travel to various venues throughout Contra Costa County this season.

For tickets, call 925-757-9500 or go to

Eugene O’Neill

The Eugene O’Neill Foundation is accepting applications for the Travis Bogard Day-Use Fellowship program at the group’s national historic site in Danville.

The fellowship consists of two five-day increments working in solitude at Tao House, O’Neill’s former home where he wrote many of his masterpieces. Playwrights, creative writers, scholars, critics, set designers, theater directors and visual artists are encouraged to apply.

Applications are due Nov. 1 for the Jan. 18-April 2 fellowship. Go to for details.

Clive Worsley is back at Cal Shakes but this time as executive director. (Photo courtesy of Cal Shakes)

Lots of changes at Cal Shakes. Managing director Sarah Williams is leaving after three years, with veteran arts leader Clive Worsley coming onboard in the newly created executive director position.

Worsley is well-known in Bay Area theater as an actor, educator and administrator. He helmed Town Hall as artistic director 2008-’13 and served as Cal Shakes’ director of artistic learning 2013-’21. Most recently, the award-winning actor was the executive director of the Junior Center of Art and Science in Oakland.

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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