Studs Terkel, Fats Waller jazz and zombies – October has it all

Courtney Rhone, left, Rudy Brown, Ashley Fornee, Dedrick Weathersby, Andrea Daniel and Chris Poston are featured in Contra Costa Musical Theatre’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’ ” through Oct. 29 at the Lesher Center. (Photo by Linda Carter)

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, CA (Oct. 17, 2023) — You can still catch Contra Costa Musical Theatre’s swinging production of “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” which continues through Oct. 29 at Walnut Creek’s Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Dr.

The tribute to the incredible songwriter Fats Waller is full of tunes from the 1920s and 1930s. Sometimes sassy and at other times sultry, the show includes such tunes as “Honeysuckle Rose,” “This Joint is Jumpin’ ” and, of course, “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

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

Clayton Theatre Company’s “Working” will also entertain appreciative audiences through Oct. 28. This engaging musical, based on Studs Terkel’s interviews with American workers from all lines of work, paints vivid portraits of them as they go about their jobs. Whether it’s Dolores telling why she loves being a waitress or Tom the firefighter becoming emotional about the lives he has saved, they all give a slice of Americana and the pride taken in doing a good day’s work.

The cast includes Nathalie Archangel, James Bradley Jr., Kevin Coren, Russ Kladko, Megan Larsen, Mary Katherine Patterson, Linda Sciacqua and Gina Yetner.

“Working” performs at Clayton’s Endeavor Hall, 6008 Center St. For tickets, go to

As “Working” closes, the company prepares for its next show with auditions for “But Why Bump Off Barnaby?” The comedic mystery auditions Nov. 5-6 and performs March 1-16. Go to to schedule an audition.

Zombie Apocalypse

Justine Moser, left, Arastoo Darakhshan, Adrián Bosada, Shane Walker, Lynn Shields, Ben Piper and Cody B. Morrison improv “Z is for … Zombie” in Walnut Creek through Oct. 29. (Photo by Arastoo Darakhshan)

Be careful the next time you travel to Walnut Creek – you might just run into a zombie. OK, maybe not on the street but you certainly will if you attend Synergy Theater’s “Z is for … Zombie: An Improvised Zombie Apocalypse!”

Don’t panic, however, with these zombies you’re more likely to succumb to fits of laughter than anything else.

“Some of the characters are regular townsfolk and others are shape-shifting zombies from space who have killed, eaten and taken the form of their unsuspecting victims,” explained Synergy artistic director Kenn Adams. “When the story begins, nobody knows who is still human and who has been turned into a zombie – not even the cast. So, all through the show the characters are trying to stay alive when, at any moment, the person they trust the most might suddenly go zombie and suck out their brains.”

The improvised horror spoof runs through Oct. 29 at the Lesher Center. Call 925-943-7469 or go to

A ghost story

Also helping get us in the mood for Halloween is the Drama Factory production of “The House on Galloway Street, a Ghost Story” through Oct. 21.

The original story by John Ballesteros centers on the ghost of the Crying Girl told in a high school setting with three flashback vignettes. The website notes the play has “instances of disturbing content that maybe unsettling for some audience members.”

Shows take place at the Nick Rodriguez Theatre, 213 F St., Antioch. For tickets, go to

And, if you hurry, you can catch one of the final performances of Pittsburg Theatre Company’s “Young Frankenstein.” The Mel Brooks musical runs through Oct. 21 at California Theatre, 351 Railroad Ave., Pittsburg. For more information and tickets, go to

The Martinez Campbell Theater closes out October with several fun events, including Act II Improv at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 21. The improvised pieces are made up from audience suggestions. Look for a stage reading of “Hero,” a new musical by Jim Maher, at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 22.

For more information on both events plus scary Halloween movies at the theater at 636 Ward St., Martinez, go to

One of my favorite comedies, “You Can’t Take It With You,” is up next for Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble. The Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman comedy about an eccentric but goodhearted family runs Nov. 3-12 at the Edna Hill Theatre in downtown Brentwood.

For tickets, go to

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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