Showing posts with label san jose theater. Show all posts
Showing posts with label san jose theater. Show all posts

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Spend $125 at San Jose Downtown Businesses and get a $25 gift card

In the spirit of supporting local San Jose businesses, the San Jose Downtown Association is offering a special promotion this holiday season. If you spend $125 at Downtown San Jose businesses between Nov. 24 and Dec 24th, they will send you a $25 gift card.

Downtown San Jose in this case is defined as the Business Improvement District. Just provide the receipt(s) from any retail store, restaurant, cafe, museum, theatre, or entertainment venue located within the highlighted area in the map below and claim you gift card over here.

There are some exclusions such as touring shows, Sharks tickets, parking, and stays at hotels. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Theater is back with "The Great Leap" @ The San Jose Stage Company

The program cover of The Great Leap at The San Jose Stage Company

Program cover of The Great Leap at The San Jose Stage Company.

Manford (James Aaron Oh) making a basketball shot as
Wen Chang (Alex Hsu), Connie (Monica Ho), and
Saul (Tim Kniffin) watches at a distance on the court.
Photograph courtesy of Dave Lepori.
Randall King, the Artistic Director of The San Jose Stage Company, announced that "theater is back!" Yes it is and what a surreal feeling when I realized that the last time I saw a show at The San Jose Stage Company was the musical Chicago in February 2020. Oh, how great it feels to be back in the theater again ... safely!

Kicking off their 39th Season "Resilience" is Lauren Yee's play The Great Leap. Following four characters, an American basketball team travels to Beijing for a "friendship match" in 1989. There is much more to this "friendship" than meets the eye: a deep, yet strained, relationship between the two countries bringing the characters into a collision course. The most common line that shows how deep this "friendship" really goes: "no Chinese team will ever beat an American team."

The set of The Great Leap at The San Jose Stage Company.
Photograph courtesy of John Huân Vu.
On a beautiful and minimal stage centering around a basketball court, we follow two storylines eighteen years apart. This split timeline highlights two major points in our history: renewed relations between the United States and China and the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, China.

In the past timeline of 1971, we meet the American University of San Francisco basketball coach Saul (played by Tim Kniffin) who convinces a Chinese translator, Wen Chang (played by Alex Hsu), to a "friendship match" that will be played 18 years later in 1989. While in the present timeline of 1989, we follow 17-year-old Chinese-American Manford (played by James Aaron Oh) who pesters coach Saul to play in the "friendship match" against Beijing University. We also meet Connie (played by Monica Ho) who is a university student and is Manford's loving "cousin".

Saul (Tim Kniffin) and Wen Chang (Alex Hsu)
converses on the basketball court in 1971.
Photograph courtesy of Dave Lepori.

Without sharing the details of the story, each of the actors bring a unique dichotomy to their characters delivering comedic relief towards a dramatic, unexpected, and satisfying climax!

When we first meet Saul in 1971, he is an ambitious and confident coach but now struggles personally and professionally in 1989. Ironically, Wen became the opposite of Saul where Wen was a "nobody" in China in 1971 and is now one of the more influential citizens in the country in 1989. Although Manford started out very obnoxious and arrogant, you come to love him when you realize this kid never gives up - especially if it's for the right reason. Lastly, Connie is an extravagant and straight-to-the-point girl but works to embody that family love that was truly missing from Manford's life.

Manford (James Aaron Oh) confronted by his "cousin"
Connie (Monica Ho) on why he's not at school.
Photograph courtesy of Dave Lepori.
Personally, I was very impressed by Tim Kniffin where his body language spoke as loud as his words. As for Alex Hsu, it was personally so great to see him back on stage after last seeing him a decade ago fabulously acting in the musical Tales of the City at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Although I can't play basketball (or any sports) for the life of me, I really appreciate seeing that James Aaron Oh took the time to study up the sport so he can deliver a solid performance on stage. Lastly, the range that Monica Ho delivers during this play foreshadows that she's an actress I'd be on the lookout for in future performances.

Overall, the show delivers a great story through the impressive dramatic and comedic performances of the actors to show that indeed, "theater is back!" Please note that heavy language is used and may not be suitable for all audience members.

Wen Chang (Alex Hsu) facing the tanks at Tiananmen Square.
Photograph courtesy of Dave Lepori.
Catch a performance from Wednesdays through Sundays now until October 24, 2021. You can purchase tickets online at The San Jose Stage Company website at or at their box office at 490 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113, (408) 283-7141. Discount tickets are available for students and seniors. To ensure the health and safety of the cast, staff, and those attending, please note that you must adhere to their safety protocols which also includes a proof of vaccination.

Written by John Huân Vu, edited by Greg Ripa.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

All That Jazz with "Chicago" @ The San Jose Stage

They had it comin'
They had it comin'
They had it comin' all along
'Cause if they used us
And they abused us
How could you tell us that we were wrong?

Back in high school, I was wondering why so many people loved CHICAGO when it first came out in theaters in 2002. Before I knew I loved musicals, I found the songs "Cell Block Tango" and "We Both Reached for the Gun" to be sensational and fascinating. Of course, being quite an ignorant child believing that justice will always prevail, I had no idea that the outcome of this musical's riveting storyline and dazzling musical numbers would be a scandalous travesty of justice. It was so scandalous in storyline, outcome, costumes, and choreography, that the original 1975 Broadway production of CHICAGO only ran for 968 performances, which is a relatively short run for an open-ended broadway production. Thankfully, two decades later, a more accepting Broadway audience and significant production tweaks paved the way for the current revival of CHICAGO, which is now the longest-running musical revival and longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

"We Both Reached For The Gun" musical number Center Stage: Monique Hafeb Adams (as Roxie Hart), Keith Pinto (as Billy Flynn), Kyle Bielfield (as Mary Sunshine) Ensemble: Patrick Wayne, Jill Miller, Jacqueline Neeley, Zoey Lytle, Matthew Kropschot, Tony Wooldridge, Tracey Freeman-Shaw, Monica Moe, Vinh G. Nguyen, Nick Rodrigues. Photo By Dave Lepori
"We Both Reached For The Gun" musical number
Center Stage: Monique Hafeb Adams (as Roxie Hart), Keith Pinto (as Billy Flynn), Kyle Bielfield (as Mary Sunshine)
Ensemble: Patrick Wayne, Jill Miller, Jacqueline Neeley, Zoey Lytle, Matthew Kropschot,
Tony Wooldridge, Tracey Freeman-Shaw, Monica Moe, Vinh G. Nguyen, Nick Rodrigues.
Photo By Dave Lepori

"Razzle Dazzle" musical number  Keith Pinto (foreground as "Billy Flynn") alongside  Matthew Kropschot, Monica Moe, Jacqueline Neeley,  Jill Miller, Zoey Lytle, Tracey Freeman-Shaw,  Tony Wooldridge, Nick Rodrigues  Photo by Dave Lepori
"Razzle Dazzle" musical number
Keith Pinto (foreground as "Billy Flynn") alongside Matthew Kropschot,
Monica Moe, Jacqueline Neeley, Jill Miller, Zoey Lytle,
Tracey Freeman-Shaw, Tony Wooldridge, Nick Rodrigues.
Photo by Dave Lepori
Since my high school years, I have seen the musical twice on Broadway and once as a touring production through Broadway San Jose. I had no idea that the theatrical production would be significantly better than the big screen version including its simple set design, kinky costumes, and "all that jazz" expected from this musical.

CHICAGO took the stand at The San Jose Stage Company with its official opening night on February 8, 2020. The production was mostly true to what I've seen on Broadway especially when it comes to the choreography, singing, and costumes. The company at The San Jose Stage Company hit top marks for producing a Broadway quality show in its intimate setting allowing Bay Area residents to fall in love with this classic!

Branden Noel Thomas as "Matron ‘Mama’ Morton" Photo by Dave Lepori
Branden Noel Thomas 
as "Matron ‘Mama’ Morton"
Photo by Dave Lepori
Given that I've seen previous productions at The San Jose Stage Company, it was great seeing former cast members return to the show including Monique Hafen Adams as Roxie Hart, Allison F. Rich as Velma Kelly, Keith Pinto as Billy Flynn, Matthew Kropschot as Fred Casley, and ensemble members June Miller, Monica MoeVinh G. Nguyen, Tracey Freeman-Shaw.

The highlight of the show was the excellent performance of Branden Noel Thomas performing as Matron "Mama" Morton. Branden's singing, acting, makeup, and costume was impeccable. Branden knew how to pull in the audience and deliver musical notes and lines with gravity... and tenacity. Branden is a young person whom I will be paying attention in future productions.

One thing that didn't occur in the Broadway production, but which The San Jose Stage Company changed very well, was the different direction to their musical number, "Mister Cellophane." Performing as Amos Hart was Sean Doughty, who previously performed the same part at another theater. In addition to Sean applying the sad clown makeup from the movie version, it was comical and malevolent to see how the spotlight operator moved the spotlight away from Amos on stage several times. Plus, Amos never received his exit music, as other characters did. Little things like this is truly reminiscent of the character of Amos Hart who is so innocent yet easily mistreated throughout the story.

Sean Doughty as Amos Hart
Photo By Dave Lepori
All in all, this is one of the few shows I would watch again and again. So make sure you catch a performance playing Wednesdays to Sundays now until March 15, 2020. You can purchase tickets online at The San Jose Stage Company website at or at their box office at 490 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113, (408) 283-7141. Discount tickets are available for students and seniors.

Written by John Huân Vu.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

"Disenchanted" @ 3Below - A Musical Parody on Disney Princesses!

Courtesy image by 3Below Theaters & Lounge
Although I may not be an expert of the world of Disney, I have always been a fan of their stories including the timeless animated movies. Breaking down "The Princess Complex", the musical comedy Disenchanted brings the audience to laughter on the alternative true stories of the many princesses you've come to love including:
  • Belle from Beauty & the Beast
  • Hua Mulan from Mulan
  • Ariel from The Little Mermaid
  • Pocahontas from Pocahontas
  • Tiana from The Princess and the Frog
  • Rapunzel from Tangled
  • Jasmine from Aladdin
  • Cinderalla from Cinderella
  • Snow White from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) from Sleeping Beauty
The Princesses featured on Disenchanted at 3Below Theaters & Lounge  Pictured left to right: Mulan (played by Eimi Taormina), Sleeping Beauty (played by Natasha Drena), Tiana (played by Marissa Rudd), Snow White (played by Colette Froehlich), Cinderella (played by Theresa Swain), Ariel (played by Shannon Guggenheim)  Courtesy image by 3Below Theaters & Lounge
The Princesses featured on Disenchanted at 3Below Theaters & Lounge
Pictured left to right: Mulan (played by Eimi Taormina), Sleeping Beauty (played by Natasha Drena), Tiana (played by Marissa Rudd), Snow White (played by Colette Froehlich), Cinderella (played by Theresa Swain), Ariel (played by Shannon Guggenheim)
Courtesy image by 3Below Theaters & Lounge
Arriving to 3Below Theaters & Lounge, there were so many people in line who were eagerly waiting to see Disenchanted. Some audience members wore their tiaras or some type of Disney gear. Once I got to my seat, I had some time to admire their stage design and lighting while playing a guessing game on which princess is which silhouette on the wall.

The set of Disenchanted at 3Below Theaters & Lounge
The set of Disenchanted at 3Below Theaters & Lounge
Photograph taken and with permission by John Huân Vu.
The program of Disenchanted at 3Below Theaters & Lounge
Photograph taken and with permission by John Huân Vu.
Sporting their Mickey hats, the small band starts off the first number of the musical comedy led by the hostesses, Snow White (played by Colette Froehlich), Cinderella (played by Theresa Swain), and Sleeping Beauty (played by Natasha Drena).

One of my all-time favorite characters, Mulan (played by Eimi Taormina), shared her story on the fact that she may in fact be a lesbian! Marissa Rudd played one of the most underrated princesses, Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, who used her stature as a strong black woman stating one obvious truth: "Why’d it take ’em so long to give a sistah a song?"

However, one cast member that brought the audience members (including me) to passion, joy, and laughter was Shannon Guggenheim. In addition to being the show's choreographer, Shannon played Belle, Ariel, and Rapunzel. Although Shannon was able to exude Belle as clinically insane and why Ariel truly regrets having her own two feet, nothing can compare to her character as Rapunzel! With direct interaction with the audience members, Shannon's Rapunzel held her long hair while speaking to us with a strong German accent to literally whip us to sing "Not V'One Red Cent."

Unfortunately, one issue that I hope will be resolved in the future are the microphone issues. Ever since I saw their previous production of "A Spoonful of Sherman", it seems that the microphone did cut in and out for some of the musical numbers. Thankfully, it was not enough for me or for others to follow along with the stories, jokes, and singing from this cast.

The set of Disenchanted at 3Below Theaters & Lounge
Photograph taken and with permission by John Huân Vu.
All in all, the musical comedy Enchanted was a very entertaining and funny show hitting the humorous layers of sexism, racism, and women empowerment.

Catch a good laugh now and until July 21, 2019 by catching a performance of Disenchanted playing Thursdays to Sundays at 3Below Theaters & Lounge. You may purchasing tickets online or at their box office at 288 South 2nd Street, San Jose, CA, (408) 404-7711. Discount tickets are available for students, seniors, military, and educators and parking validation is available at the upstairs parking garage. Please note that the show may not suitable for everyone and discretion is advised due to some language and sexual innuendos. As their advertisement would put it: the show is "not suitable for youth but perfect for parents' night out!" As one running joke from the show went, the princesses always had to "wait for their princes ... to come."

Written by John Huân Vũ.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Mamma Mia! @ The Stage

Donna and the Dynamos
Allison F. Rich (Tanya), Adrienne Herro (Donna), Jill Miller (Rosie)
Courtesy photograph provided by The Stage in San Jose.

As an ABBA fan, I knew that I wanted to see Mamma Mia! playing at The Stage in San Jose even if my friends may jokingly say, Here We Go Again! Upon seeing the Broadway tour production at the Center for Performing Arts and watching every movie of its franchise, I know that The Stage would give its own take allowing every audience member to love its song and story.

The set of Mamma Mia! at The Stage in San Jose.
Photograph taken and with permission by John Huân Vu.
Sitting on the last row—also known as row 5—at The Stage, the simple stage was elegant on "an island sparkling in the iridescent blue of the Aegean in 1999." I was surrounded people from all ages from an elementary school daughter to two seniors going on their lovely date on a Sunday afternoon.

As the Overture starts, the five band orchestra is found playing at the center back part of the stage led by The Stage former cast member and now conductor, Martín Rojas Dietrich. Despite the small theater, the orchestra was able to deliver all the songs allowing an ABBA fan to feel the music resonating in their hearts.

Although I came in with high expectations, what really hit the musical out of the park were the three cast members that made Donna and the Dynamos (Donna, Tanya, and Rosie) including their delivery of the infamous song, "Dancing Queen."

Allison F. Rich, musical director and cast member, continues to deliver a solid performance as Tanya including her seductive flirtation with Pepper, played by Michael J. Wu, in "Does Your Mother Know." Jill Miller, who played Rosie, performed a great duet with Jeffrey Brian Adams, who played Bill, in "Take a Chance on Me" with a nod to some future BDSM.

Donna, played by Adrienne Herro
Courtesy photograph provided by The Stage in San Jose
Nevertheless, to round out the trio was a spectacular performance by Adrienne Herro who played Donna. From the first scene to the last, Adrienee Herro evoked Donna's character as a mother who is not only confused and frustrated but also loving and fun. The audience can relate to Adrienee Herro when she delivered her anguish in "The Winner Takes it All" for feeling cheated by Sam, played by Noel Anthony, to her elation in "Super Trouper." Personally, I can envision Adrienee Herro playing the character Diana in one of my personal favorite musicals, Next to Normal. She was a great actress!

I want to give a callout to the crew under Bethany Deal, Costume Designer, and Ge Jia, Costume Design Assistant, for creating the amazing costumes worn by Donna and the Dynamos along with the fathers (Harry, Bill, and Sam). Instead of doing the same costume style but with different colors, they used the same fabric and silver color but using different styles to represent each of the respective personalities. See the photograph of Donna and the Dynamos to understand why I loved their costumes. Heck, I'd love to buy any of the ones worn by the fathers!

Unfortunately, one of the things that made me really cringe throughout the show was when the ensemble and cast members were wearing masquerade masks. Although I could understand the significance to blend into the background, there are alternative ways such as the use of lighting, similar colored costumes, or maybe not even having them wear masquerade masks at all.

Despite my cringe, I was proud of the men who were willing to wear adorable flippers and go shirtless in "Lay All Your Love On Me" with Sky, played by Sam Saustine, and the boys, played by Michael J. Wu, Sean Okuniewicz, Vinh G. Nguyen, and James Zongus. Along with the girls played by Allison J. Parker, Brigitte Losey, Sarah Bylsma, Monica Moe, Brittney Monroe, and Tracey Shaw, the audience were engaged throughout the storyline including after the bows with some audience members standing (and dancing) to their final song!

It was a fun show and you can catch a performance playing from Wednesdays to Sundays now until July 7, 2019. You can purchase tickets online at The Stage website at or at their box office at 490 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113, (408) 283-7141. Discount tickets are available for students and seniors. As a word of caution, this show may not be appropriate for everyone and discretion is strongly advised due to the some language, a lot of sexual innuendos, and taboo humor. I personally had some good laughs and I believe you will also too!

Written by John Huân Vu.

Monday, April 15, 2019

"A Spoonful of Sherman" U.S. Premiere @ 3Below Theaters & Lounge

A great song is always "singable, sellable, and most of all, sincere."

This is the core belief of The Sherman Brothers where we come to love many of their songs including those from Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Winnie The Pooh, Charlotte's Web, and the infamous, "It's a Small World After All." Nevertheless, "A Spoonful of Sherman" is much more than The Sherman Brothers  - it's about their family.

The San Jose Blog was given an opportunity to talk with Robert J. Sherman, the son of Robert B. Sherman and the nephew of Richard M. ShermanAfter his father passed away in 2012, Robert launched a posthumously biography of his father but thought a book signing wasn't really appropriate. Given this, Robert decided to do a small cabaret show in London with just four cast members and with him as a narrator. With low expectations, Robert did not realize that his show would garner rave reviews including 4 stars from The London Times. Robert worked with a producing partner and reworked the show to what we have today as "A Spoonful of Sherman."

3Below hangs these colorful umbrellas in their lobby to welcome "A Spoonful of Sherman"
Photograph taken and with permission by John Huân Vu.

"A Spoonful of Sherman" is a loving tribute to Robert's family starting from the roots of his grandfather, Al Sherman, to The Sherman Brothers, to his own life as a songwriter and composer today. In addition to 55 songs, the show is narrated by the singers themselves where we follow the family during the Great Depression, the fight in World War II, the successful work under Walt Disney, and their continued legacy to today. The show had its world premiere in the United Kingdom with a tour in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In the future, they are hoping to do a production in South Africa and Singapore.

Nevertheless, it was an honor for Robert when Guggenheim Entertainment reached out to have the United States Premiere at 3Below Theaters and Lounge! Like The Sherman Brothers, it was no coincidence that the brothers and producers of 3Below (Scott Guggenheim and Stephen Guggenheim) really wanted "A Spoonful of Sherman" to be at their theater in San Jose. As Robert puts it, the brothers were persistent!

A close up set of "A Spoonful of Sherman" from Row E
Photograph taken and with permission by John Huân Vu.

The set of "A Spoonful of Sherman" from Theater 3 Entrance
Photograph taken and with permission by John Huân Vu.

Well, the persistence paid off when I had the opportunity to see the show on Sunday, April 14, 2019 at their matinee. The last time I got to see a stage production was "Sondheim on Sondheim" and you can read my article on The San Jose Blog here. The production was significantly different from "Sondheim on Sondheim" where "A Spoonful of Sherman" was focused on a gifted, talented, and close-knitted family.

Although I would consider myself a Disney fan, I was more keen to hearing about the Sherman family and listening to other unknown musical pieces. Fans of Mary Poppins would know its songs including the infamous "A Spoonful of Sugar", "Jolly Holliday", "Feed the Birds", "Step in Time", "Chim Chim Cher-ee", and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". With the amazing lighting and set design, the singers were able to narrate the story while bringing all its songs to its fruition. 

Robert J. Sherman talks to the cast and audience after the show of "A Spoonful of Sherman"
Left to Right: Susan Gundunas, F. James Raasch, Barry Koron, Robert J. Sherman, Theresa Swain, Stephen Guggenheim, Shannon Guggenheim
Photograph taken and with permission by John Huân Vu.

For me, there were some songs that stood out. Although he is the main pianist throughout the show, Barry Koron sung "Crunchy Crackers" humorously as a bird from the musical "Love Birds." In honor of one of Al Sherman's work, Theresa Swain sang "Now's the Time to Fall in Love" taking a positive spin during the Great Depression. If you love Winnie the Pooh, you would enjoy the singing and acting of "The Wonderful Thing about Tiggers" done by Shannon Guggenheim. F. James Raasch was able to make us laugh by monkeying around in "I Wanna Be Like You" from "The Jungle Book." Giving life to "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," Stephen Guggenheim lend his opera voice to the song "Hushabye Mountain" with Susan Gundunas expressing her pining love in in "Lovely Lonely Man."

Although some might consider the song "It's a Small World After All" an annoying song, learning about its history, especially at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, brings us the reality of why The Sherman Brothers wrote it. And if you get to see the show, try to hear that one extra verse added and only been shared on "A Spoonful of Sherman."

Robert J. Sherman with the cast of "A Spoonful of Sherman"
Left to Right: Stephen Guggenheim, Shannon Guggenheim, Susan Gundunas, Barry Koron, Robert J. Sherman, Theresa Swain, F. James Raasch 
Photograph taken and with permission by John Huân Vu.

Robert J. Sherman with the cast of "A Spoonful of Sherman"
Left to Right: Stephen Guggenheim, Shannon Guggenheim, Susan Gundunas, Barry Koron, Robert J. Sherman, Theresa Swain, F. James Raasch
Photograph taken and with permission by John Huân Vu.

Although I only covered the tip of the iceberg of "A Spoonful of Sherman," only you can experience the entire production in your own ears, eyes, and heart. Catch a performance today until May 5, 2019 on Thursdays to Sundays by purchasing tickets online at the 3Below Theaters and Lounge website at or at their box office at 288 South 2nd Street San Jose, CA, (408) 404-7711. Discount tickets are available for seniors, students, military, and youth. Please note that although it's a family-friendly production, children under the age of 10 may find some parts boring and some parts exciting like "Let's Go Fly a Kite."

Written by John Huân Vu.

Monday, April 8, 2019

“Adios Mama Carlota” @ The San Jose Stage Company

There’s no bad seat in the house.

Although I was sitting on the last row—also known as row 5—at The San Jose Stage Company (The Stage), it was far from a a typical nosebleed. As we sat around a beautiful and yet simple stage, the backing of the set contained picture frames that enveloped different projected images to tell us a story of each scene. From the beginning to the end, we witness the illusion and metaphors projected to us through the screens, lighting, costumes, and music on an unexpected true story of Mexico’s history with a contemporary and comical twist!

“Adios Mama Carlota, The Express of Mexico” is the world premiere production in partnership between The Stage and El Teatro Campesino in San Juan Bautista written by Luis Valdez and directed by Luis’ son, Kinan Valdez. Before opening night, Kinan shared to The San Jose Blog that The Stage was a “home away from home” especially the intimateness of the small theater. Growing up witnessing his father’s work at El Teatro Campesino, Kinan truly felt humbled and honored being asked by his father and mentor to direct this production. Kinan not only hopes that the production will help audience members leave the show as true collaborators, but rethink on the history of imperialism and abuse of power noting the layers of humor throughout the story.

Set at least 150 years ago in Mexico, we are led by Empress Carlota played by a regular cast and staff member of The Stage, Allison F. Rich, whose bold eyes and body language can rivet anyone into a storyline. Her husband, Maximilian, played by Will Springhorn Jr., whose character’s interesting life lacked the true foundation in himself both as a leader and as a lover.

Instead of being a footnote in the history books of the United States, we get to unpack the story better including the remnants of the United States Civil War (with a brief appearance of President Lincoln) to the north, the political realities of leading a country at home and abroad, and layers of relationship issues including sexual morality. We are led along other supporting characters (including the multiple ghosts) played by cast members rooted in the partnership of The Stage (Martín Rojas Dietrich, Edward Hightower) and El Teatro Campesino (Estrella Esparaza-Johnson, Noé Yaocoatl Montoya). After seeing him perform in Hand to God and Newsies, it was not surprising to see Sean Okuniewicz play another seductive character but this time wearing (or growing) a large beard. And to round it off, nothing touched my heart more than Jessica Osegueda who enhanced her character and the entire storyline with a couple of musical and dance numbers.

Catch a performance playing from Wednesdays to Sundays now until April 28, 2019. You can purchase tickets online at The Stage website at or at their box office at 490 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA, 95113, (408) 283-7142. Discount tickets are available for students and seniors.

Written by John Huân Vu.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Cinema Club Silicon Valley

One of San Jose's best kept secrets is Cinema Club Silicon Valley. Once per month, they screen a movie that you can't see anywhere else and follow it with a filmmaker Q&A. Each screening is a surprise and the club has been going strong for 22 years. The last movie they screened was PROSPECT, which just opened for a wide release this past weekend.

On November 18th, they will have their final screening for 2018 and they are opening it up for everyone. Tickets are $16 and it will screen at 3Below in Downtown San Jose.

To RSVP, click here and follow the ticket link.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

sjDANCEco Opens Season 16 with “Flying” October 12 and 13 in San Jose

Who: sjDANCEco presents
What: Flying
When: Friday and Saturday, October 12 and 13 at 8:00pm
Where: California Theatre, 345 S. First Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Why: The 16th Anniversary of sjDANCEco is entitled Flying and will feature a collaboration with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Barbara Day Turner.

Tickets: $45 to $70. Visit online at or call 408.520.9854

More: The 2018-19 Fall Season entitled Flying returns the company to the beautiful California Theatre with two public performances, and again this year a free Youth Performance for under-served Title 1 schools. In its 9th year of collaboration with Barbara Day Turner and the San José Chamber Orchestra, the program will feature the Company Premieres of “Corvidae” by Limón Dance Company Artistic Director Colin Connor and “Flying Colors” by sjDANCEco’s Choreographic Advisor/Mentor Fred Mathews. The Program will also include World Premieres by company choreographers Maria Basile and Gabriel Mata as well as excerpts from José Limón “Mazurkas” which premiered in 2014. Saturday night's VIP tickets include entry into our aftershow Gala, with a chance to meet the dancers and choreographers of sjDANCEco. 

Artistic Director, Maria Basile, confronts ‘Parallel Universes’ with her World Premiere for sjDANCEco’s 16th Anniversary Fall Season. An abstract story about two people who have one foot in each reality creating a dynamic field between them. With two working titles…htaPReset or htaPParallel, the work is danced to contemporary composer, David Crowell’s Open Road – played live by the San Jose Chamber Orchestra.

Gabriel Mata, a company member since 2012, is a dedicated risk-taking choreographer who has been winning accolades across the country. Chosen at last year’s Minnesota Fringe Festival by the Twin Cities Arts Reader as “Best of the Fringe” and this year the “Audience Pick”, his current solo work Dreaming will be a Company Premiere. Reviewer Tim Wick wrote about this year’s sold out Fringe performances: "What I love about Gabriel Mata is his understanding of the ways dance doesn’t always succeed. At it’s worst, dance can be aloof and impersonal. The audience seems almost like an interloper – there to watch but not to interact. Mata breaks down the walls between audience and dancer. He joins them together in an experience that neither could have without the other. This is what binds together all good theater – an interaction between the audience and the performer. When that bridge is not built, the audience is left wondering why they are even there. Mata has a deep respect for what the audience brings to the equation. He wants us to appreciate his work for the story it tells and he takes the time to help us understand the story though movement but also, sometimes, through words. His stories may come from him but he wants to give them to his audience. More than most, he knows how to make that connection."

Gabriel will also present the World Premiere of In This Time which addresses the heteronormativity that is imposed on lgbtq dancers, their personal dreams, and aspirations. Set to Franz Liszt’s - Benedictus und Offertorium aus der ungarischer Krönungsmesse the work explores the idea of what a "perfect dance" would be for the performers, how they would like to perform the work, what roles they would like to take on and the kind of movement quality they would like to dance. Taking the choreography into their own hands, they begin to reset it while discussing their personal views on normalized gender roles.

Choreographic Advisor/Mentor Fred Mathews’ Flying Colors was originally commissioned by Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers and had it Premiere in 1978. It was a signature work of the Mathews – Masters Dance Company/New York, was the highlight of the company’s tour in France in the 1980’s and has been staged for professional and university Dance companies. 
Set to JS Bach’s Violin Concerto #2, the work has been staged for nine sjDANCEco dancers with Artistic Director Maria Basile in the Solo role.

Hsiang Hsiu Lin’s new work is inspired by the poem -The Road Not Taken -by Frost Robert. A World Premiere
The Road Not Taken
Dancers: Hsiang-Hsiu Lin, Maria Basile
Choreographer: Hsiang-Hsiu Lin
Hsiang-Hsiu Lin, one of the founding sjDANCEco dancers that is still with sjDANCEco today! He is the Director of Lin HH Dance Company of Taipei.


Fall 2018 Program Repertory
The 16th Anniversary Season entitled Flying will again be in collaboration with the San José Chamber Orchestra under the Direction of Barbara Day Turner.
Guest Choreographer Colin Connor (Artistic Director, Limon Dance Company/NYC)
            Corvidae Company Premiere 6 - 9 dancers – 8 min)
             Music: Phillip Glass (Violin Concerto #1, 1st movement)
Fred Mathews (sjDco Choreographic Advisor)
            Flying Colors (1977)
                         Company Premiere (7 - 8 dancers – 15 min)
                        Music: JS Bach (Violin Concert #2)
Maria Basile (Artistic Director)
            TBA -  World Premiere (duet)
                        Music: David Crowell (Open Road) 
Hsiang Hsiu Lin (Company DanceArtist/Choreographer)
            The Road Not Taken –World Premiere (duet) 
Gabriel Mata (Company Dance Artist) 
            In This Time
                        World Premiere (4 dancers - 16 min)
                        Music: Franz Liszt - (Benedictus und Offertorium aus der ungarischer Krönungsmesse)
Gabriel Mata (Company Dance Artist)  
            Boundless Trajectory (2017)                                                            
           Company Premiere (Solo – 12 min)
                        Music & Text: Gabriel Mata (recorded)
José Limón 
            Suite from Mazurkas (1958)
                        Revival (4 sections - 4 dancers – 10 min)
                        Music: Frederic Chopin

sjDANCEco is a year-round contemporary dance company based in San Jose, California that produces world premieres by its core and guest choreographers, and presents the very best of Contemporary and Classic Modern Dance and Masterpieces of the American Modern Dance Repertory. In addition to a full season of dance concerts, sjDANCEco also is a major participant each Spring in free outdoor dance presentations during National Dance Week, international dance festivals, and has a full schedule of contemporary dance classes for the advanced and professional dancer. sjDANCEco ignites the spirit of dance.