1. Find a La Boheme near you if you can this holiday season. The one at San Francisco Opera is a crowd pleaser. Its sets are a bit more than slum-like; they are, alas, flimsy and shopworn. But it makes up for that with the glorious voices in its cast. And director John Caird (Les Miserables and Nicholas Nickleby) adds his theatrical flair to the evening, especially in Act II’s Latin Quarter crowd scenes.
2. If opera is not to your taste, then check out San Francisco Playhouse’s Promises, Promises, another crowd pleaser. The production of this 1968 musical—based on the 1960 film The Apartment—has its ups and downs but it’s mostly an “up” evening. There are some lovely performances by Monique Hafen as Fran, Corinne Proctor as Marge, Ray Reinhardt as Dr. Dreyfuss, and Kathryn Fox Hart as Peggy Olson. (That last character is the nomenclatural provenance for Mad Men‘s own Peggy.) But there is one star-making performance: Jeffrey Brian Adams as the show’s lead, Chuck Baxter. If San Francisco has an emerging local star, it is Adams. He’s as good as anyone on any stage in New York. I hope he plays Bobby in the Playhouse’s upcoming production of Company. This young man is the real thing.
3. The Furniture Bible by Christophe Pourny.
4. Provincetown is home to so much local talent. One of its best summer buskers—a breakout talent—is Anne Stott. Here is the YouTube video of her latest song, “We Are Here.”
5. Another great Provincetown talent is Gerald Goode, whose Facebook video of his singing a cover of Jeff Buckley’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” has over 1,500 views right now. Add to them. It’s one of the most beautiful performances you’ll ever witness.