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Author: Robert M. Gardner

“The Events”: Shock and Terror at Shotgun Players, Berkeley

“The Events”: Shock and Terror at Shotgun Players, Berkeley

David Grieg Exposes Our Innermost Fears by Robert M. Gardner Caleb Cabrera (The Boy) is a wild force of nature. A lithe, seething, multi-faceted actor, Cabrera moves as easily across the stage as he does from character to character. The play opens with the Boy speaking from his perch off-stage as an innocent aborigine, speaking to an unseen trio of ships full of convicts.  The scene changes when he enters and engages the vicar, Claire (the dynamic Julia McNeal) and…

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“End of the Rainbow”: Judy Dazzles Again, at Lesher Center, W.C.

“End of the Rainbow”: Judy Dazzles Again, at Lesher Center, W.C.

Janelle Lutz Sings the Highs, Lows of Judy Garland’s Life by Robert M. Gardner It is 1968 in a hotel room in London at the Ritz where Judy Garland (the spectacular Janelle Lutz) arrives with her fiancée Mickey Deans (the younger, suave Clinton Williams). Judy is playing a five week stand in a comeback tour at the Talk of the Town. Judy complains about the size of the room and the lack of alcohol. When Mickey Deans reminds Judy that…

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“To The Bone” Hits Home at Ubuntu Theater, Oakland

“To The Bone” Hits Home at Ubuntu Theater, Oakland

Lisa Ramirez Traps Latina Torment in a Cage by Robert M. Gardner Ubuntu Theater Project’s “To The Bone” by Lisa Ramirez shocks us with its immediacy.  Writer and lead actor, Lisa Ramirez brings us this brutally honest play about five immigrant women working—under degrading conditions— in a poultry factory in New York state. Olga (a ferocious Lisa Ramirez) dominates and bullies her Latina friends. Olga’s rebellious daughter Lupe (the sparkling Juliana Aiden) turns up the heat as a powerful, wisecracking,…

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“Smokey Joe’s Café” Sizzles, at Town Hall Theatre, Lafayette

“Smokey Joe’s Café” Sizzles, at Town Hall Theatre, Lafayette

Lieber and Stoller’s Whirlwind Trip Down Memory Lane by Robert M. Gardner Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that two Jewish boys from New York wrote the musical timeline of my youth. Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller are responsible for writing more than 70 songs that made the music charts and defined the music of a generation.  When they were 19 years old, they penned “Hound Dog” for Big Mama Thornton.  Then, Elvis Presley made it into the…

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