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Author: Robert M. Gardner

“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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“Don Quichotte,” A Romance in Two Ages, at Island City Opera, Alameda

“Don Quichotte,” A Romance in Two Ages, at Island City Opera, Alameda

Massenet Twists the Tale of our Favorite Knight by Robert M. Gardner “Don Quichotte,” the second show of Island Opera’s 2017 season, capitvates us with its comedy and romance. The intimate venue folds the audience into the stage action. The lyrical qualities of the voices of Dulcinee (Buffy Baggott) and Sancho Panza (Igor Viera) complement the stoic nobility of Don Quichotte (William Pickersgill). “Don Quichotte,” penned by Massenet in 1910, is not the same story as Cervantes’ 1605 novel. Massenet…

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“Don Pasquale” Delights at Island City Opera, Alameda

“Don Pasquale” Delights at Island City Opera, Alameda

Talented Singers Update Donizetti’s Comic Opera by Robert M. Gardner What makes a complete life?  This age old dilemma is the central question of this little gem of a production of Donizetti’s comic opera “Don Pasquale” at the Island City Opera. Set in a modern San Francisco, the inspired set design by Scott Barringer overcomes the limitations of the small space and invites the audience to indulge themselves in a modern take on this classic Italian masterpiece.  We first encounter…

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“Tenderly, Rosemary Clooney Musical” Steals Hearts at Altarena Playhouse, Alameda

“Tenderly, Rosemary Clooney Musical” Steals Hearts at Altarena Playhouse, Alameda

Reliving Juke Box Memories with “America’s Sweetheart” by Robert M. Gardner Rosemary Clooney charted four Number One hits in the 50s, including “Come On-A My House, “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake,” and “Mambo Italiano. She became “America’s Sweetheart” producing famous hit records for over five decades. But behind the scenes and one time onstage, she experienced terrible breakdowns. Now, at Altarena Playhouse, the vivacious Kim Long brings Rosemary Clooney to life, again, in the musical…

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