Archive for April 12th, 2012

Tax-detox with the American Conservatory Theater: Darren Criss on Sunday night, Maple & Vine on the main stage all week

April 12th, 2012 Comments off

Darren Criss, live on Sunday night (Photo: Rebecca Sanabria)

Finally slogging your way through your taxes this weekend? Why not celebrate getting it over with by supporting a great local cause, racking up a deduction for next year, and easing your pain by staring into the limpid eyes of a singing heartthrob?

On Sunday night, Glee dreamboat and local native Darren Criss headlines the American Conservatory Theater’s annual season gala. Criss, who will perform half a dozen numbers throughout the fundraiser’s original production, is an alumnus of the A.C.T. actor training program, the gala’s beneficiary. Two-time Tony winner and MacArthur fellow Bill Irwin—who stars in A.C.T.’s upcoming mainstage production of Becket’s Endgame—will also be featured in the evening’s performance

Meanwhile, A.C.T.’s  current main stage offering—a smartly designed production of the high concept comedy Maple & Vine—continues through next Sunday, April 22. The fast-paced play finds a contemporary couple trading in their manic Manhattan lifestyle to join a midwestern community of full-time 1950s reenactors. The sleek, period-perfect set and costume designs by Ralph Funicello and Alex Jaeger are terrific.

Gay playwright Jordan Harrison cleverly weaves pointed commentary on good old fashioned racism, homophobia, and misogyny into his portrait of the superficially idyllic Leave It To Beaver era. But he gets a bit tangled in the limits of his premise—how does a thirtysomething Japanese American in 2010 have a sister who was in a WWII internment camp? This is supposed to be about reenactment, not time travel.

Nonetheless, Maple & Vine makes for a zippy, quippy evening’s entertainment, especially at the discounted ticket prices you can find on the web for next week’s performances. It’s like seeing the world through RomneyVision goggles.

A '50s coffee klatsch in Maple & Vine (Photo: Kevin Berne)