South Bay theater companies stage shows dealing with identity – The Mercury News

This spring, South Bay theater companies are putting on a variety of shows all about identity. Through comedy, music, and drama, the characters in these shows struggle to carve out their place in American society while maintaining connections to other cultures. Family ties are also tested, as are ties to outdated gender roles.


Modern hip-hop meets 1970s America in Qui Nguyen’s musical “Vietgone,” playing through April 24 at the City Lights Theater Company in downtown San Jose. Set in 1975, the show follows Vietnamese refugees Quang and Tong as they attempt to settle in Arkansas after each losing family members to the fall of Saigon. As a character in his own play, Nguyen insists that “Vietgone” is by no means the story of how his parents met.

Showtimes are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the City Lights Theater Company, 529 S. Second St., San Jose. Tickets cost between $25 and $52 at or call 408-295-4200.

‘August: Osage County’

In Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer and Tony winning play, three sisters come together to console their razor-tongued, drug-addicted mother after their alcoholic father goes missing. Artistic director Randall King says the San Jose Stage Company’s production of the darkly comedic work is being staged after “a two-year pandemic postponement.”

“August: Osage County” runs through April 24 at The Stage, 490 S. First St., San Jose. Tickets cost between $32 and $72 at

‘Jewel of the Ocean’

Part of Wilson’s famous 10-piece American Century cycle that explores the African-American experience in the 20th century, “Gem of the Ocean” is set in 1904, when a young black man seeks out 285-year-old Aunt Ester. , the spirituality of the community. counselor, who takes him on a supernatural journey aboard a slave ship to learn the truth about the history of his ancestors.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s production of the Tony Award-nominated play marks Artistic Director Tim Bond’s directorial debut with the company. Bond was a close friend of the late playwright and is a leading exponent of his work.

“Gem of the Ocean” runs April 6 through May 1 at the Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View. Ticket prices start at $30 at or 877-662-8978.

‘West Side Story’

Opera San Jose will close its 2021-2022 season with its first-ever musical theater production, both of which theatrical versions featured Oscar-winning performances from the two actresses playing Anita.

The stage version of Opera San Jose will run from April 16 to May 1 and will be directed by Christopher James Ray, directed by director Crystal Manich and choreographed by Michael Pappalardo. The cast includes soprano Teresa Castillo as Maria, tenor Noah Stewart as Tony, mezzo-soprano Natalie Rose Havens as Anita, baritone Trevor Martin as Riff, tenor Jared V. Esguerra as Chino, baritone Antony Sanchez as Bernardo and Philip Skinner as Doc.

Performances are at the California Theater, 345 S. First St., San Jose. Tickets cost between $55 and $195 at or 408-437-4450.


Broadway San Jose is hosting the Northern California premiere of the Tony-winning musical April 19-24. The show, with a book by Robert Horn and a score by David Yazbek, is based on the 1982 film starring Dustin Hoffman as an unemployed actor who embraces his feminine side for a role on a soap opera.

Performances are held at the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 S. Almaden Blvd. Tickets cost between $38 and $103 at broadwaysanjose.com408-792-4111 or in person at the San Jose Civic Box Office, 150 W. San Carlos St., San Jose.

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