Troupes head back to the classics to launch a new decade

The old is new this season as several theater companies resurrect classic works.

They include Town Hall Theatre presenting “The Cherry Orchard” by Anton Chekhov, Onstage Theatre and Plotline Theatre’s rendition of Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” Poison Apple Production’s “Diary Of Anne Frank” and Center REPertory Company’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

The real life mother and daughter team of Anna and Shay Oglesby-Smith star in “The Glass Menagerie” at the Campbell Theater.

Mother and daughter Anna and Shay Oglesby-Smith play Amanda and Laura Wingfield in the Onstage/Plotline co-production of “The Glass Menagerie” at the Martinez Campbell Theater. Directed by Randy Anger, the iconic play also stars Carter Chastain and Ariel Sandino. It runs Jan. 17-Feb. 2. For more info, visit

Want more classics? See Town Hall artistic director Susan E. Evans’ version of “The Cherry Orchard,” with a translation by Richard Nelson, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. It plays Feb. 27-March 21 in Lafayette. Call 925-283-1557 or

Next up, Michael Butler directs Center REP’s production of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” adapted by Kate Hamill and running March 27-April 26. Call 925-943-SHOW or

Rounding out the plethora of classics is “The Diary of Anne Frank,” one of the most famous and haunting stories to emerge from the 20th century. It’s adapted for the stage by Wendy Kesselman, Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. Poison Apple artistic director Noelle Arms directs the show April 3-19 at the Campbell Theater. Visit

Clayton Theatre Company begins 8th season

Clayton Theatre Company will produce in its 8th season starting with “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940,” directed by La Tonya Watts with Roxanne Pardi assisting. The show runs March 19-April 4 at Clayton’s Endeavor Hall. Visit or 925-222-9106.

Congratulations to B8 Theatre Company for moving into its new home in the El Monte Plaza, 3503 Clayton Road, Concord. In keeping with its production of cutting-edge dramas, the group will feature “White Guy on the Bus” Feb. 13-March 1. For updates on the season, visit

Diablo Theatre Company and its resident youth performing company, SingOut Musical Theatre for Bay Area Children and Young Adults, have found a new home at Starlight Dance Studios and Theater, 6648 Alhambra Ave. #B, Martinez. SingOut offers musical theater programs for ages 4-18. For information on classes and tickets, visit or 925-944-1565.

Shellie Awards

The Lesher Center was filled with honorees for the Jan. 11 Shellie Awards, founded by Scott Denison in 1979 to recognize outstanding achievement in the performing arts in the Central Contra Costa/Diablo Valley region.

Patterned after Broadway’s Tony awards, the Shellies honored more than 120 individuals. Regional companies participating are Brentwood Theater Company, Center REPertory Company, Clayton Theatre Company, Contra Costa Musical Theatre, Onstage Theatre, Pittsburg Community Theatre, Town Hall Theatre Company and the Vagabond Players. The event features performances from each nominated musical and non-musical show. This year’s winners will be listed online.

Brentwood’s Ghostlight Theatre will produce back-to-back shows on Feb. 1 to preview the upcoming season. “The 2020 Showcase” will include songs and announce the season’s productions. It will be performed at 2 and 6:30 p.m. at the Theatre at Edna Hill, 140 Birch St., Brentwood. Visit

“Workforce,” a new musical by local playwrights Jim Maher and Alan Beliakoff, will debut Aug. 7-16 at the Campbell Theater. For audition information, visit

Diablo Ballet

Diablo Ballet’s ­“Balanchine & ­Beyond” includes selections from five ballets at the Del Valle Theatre.

Diablo Ballet celebrates the new year with the second program of its 2019-’20 season, “Balanchine & Beyond,” Feb. 7-8 at the Del Valle Theatre in Walnut Creek. The programs features selections from five ballets, including George Balanchine’s “Who Cares?” set to the music of Gershwin, the choreographic debut of company dancer Michael Wells, the bravura Esmerelda, and a celebration of female choreographers with works by Sally Streets and Penny Saunders. Call 925-943-SHOW, or

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