CCCT says Dr. Seuss is musical; pot Luck and marriage runs amuck at the Willows, and Berkeley Rep spills the beans on what's behind the "Blue Door".

There are three great shows this week for you to choose from; Seussical, The Musical in the Del Valle Theatre, next door to Rossmoor; a madcap musical, Dearly Beloved at the Willows Theater in Concord; and a thought provoking look at familial heritage and personal identity, with The Blue Door, at Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley.

Dr. Seuss and his wacky family of poetic characters have never been more fun!

Theodur Seuss Geisel penned the name of Dr. Seuss when he dropped out of college to work in advertising, to draw political cartoons, and to write children’s books. His self-ordained title of “Dr.” is now known ‘round the world by millions of adults and children alike. He has been awarded many honorary doctorates and titles galore. Even though his other endeavors were quite successful, it is his children’s books, poetry, and plays that have become timeless, revered, and even translated into 15 languages, and even winning him the Pulitzer prize.

Contra Costa Christian Theater's Director, Eric Nieman, tells us that the creators of “Ragtime” and “Once on this Island” were invited in 1998 to adapt the Seuss stories into a musical. Composer Stephen Flaherty and Lyricist Lynn Aherns worked with Monty Python’s Eric Idle to transform over 15 stories into one magical musical stage experience. The show’s brief Broadway run in 2000-2001was followed by a national tour and then continued with great success throughout regional and community theaters.

I have to commend the marvelous production team for this superb show, specifically giving kudos to director Eric Nieman, Angelique Lucia (musical director), Amy Warner (choreographer), Cindy Sarmiento (costume designer), Kimberly James (scenic design), and Carole Davis (sound design), for pulling together a show that is nothing less than spectacular for a community theatrical production.

Seussical, The Musical., brings us Horton the Elephant (played by a heart-warming Danny Cozart) from the Jungle of Newell, Gertrude McFuzz (the one-feathered bird played by sweet Amy Neiman), plus JoJo (a child of the Who, played by Amanda Neiman), and the boy (his counter-part played by Gail Wilson), and of course, the Cat in the Hat (played in pluperfect fashion by Marc Murai). The story includes the many citizens of Who, discovered by Horton floating adrift and in danger on a particle of dust. Only Horton has hearing sensitive enough to hear their tiny little voices as they cry out for help, and Horton resolves to save them, “because a persons a person, no matter how small!”

In Who-ville, on that tiny floating speck of dust, there are ups and downs and even good things go bust. Problems are problems, some big and some small, and “thinking” is frowned on, says the Mayor, his wife, and citizens all. The Mayor’s son JoJo has committed the ultimate sin, he “thinks” about everything, from outside to in. When their world gets in trouble and turns up-side down, and crashes and smashes and lands on the ground, who comes to their rescue, who saves Who-ville and all? You guessed it my friend, the littlest who in Who-ville, that’s where JoJo stands tall.

I hope my attempt at poetic-verse nonsense has not turned you off to this Seusical Musical opportunity. If you and or your children have ever enjoyed the silly, lyrical poetry of Green Eggs and Ham, Cat in The Hat, and the Grinch, then by all means, do not miss this opportunity to join the wonderful cast in Seussical the Musical and grow young again.

I wish I had the space to give kudos to everyone who deserves them, but I just do not have the space in this article.

This fun-filled musical has outstanding choreography, terrific costumes, and an audience that is thrilled to bring this wonderful experience to you. Seussical the Musical plays Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m., now through Saturday, May 5th. Call (925) 943-7469 (SHOW) for ticket and reservation information. The Del Valle Theater is located at 1963 Tice Valley Blvd, in Walnut Creek.

First came "Dearly Departed", now we have "Dearly Beloved", what will they throw at us next!

The Willows Theater in Concord is currently presenting “Dearly Beloved”, a crazy comedy by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten (the same guys who wrote "Dearly Departed"), touching on the pride, prejudice, and repetitive volatility of the Dubberly/Futrelle Family as they gather for Gina Jo’s wedding, a pot-luck dinner, and a pig roast barbeque, in the fictitious little town of Fayro, Texas.

Three sisters, Frankie (Darcy Brown-Martin), Twink (Diana Boos), and Honey Rose Futrelle (Lorraine Olsen), get together to marry off one of Frankie’s twin daughters and in doing so, dredge up a cacophony of unsettled caustic sibling rivalries, stir up a hatful of hometown hatreds, and even mix in some supercilious southern social sentiments. In other words, it can get real nasty if you want to get the real dirt on what’s going on down at the farm, and you sometimes just gotta get right down in the old hog trough if you wanna get at the reeeaal truth!

The Futrelle sisters used to be very close when they were part of an almost legendary church gospel-singing choral group called the Sermonettes. An ill-fated romance by Honey Rae with a ventriloquist band promoter broke up the girls’ gospel singing careers, bringing years of recriminations and resentments. Honey Rae’s marital bliss has been on the matrimonial marry-go-round six times without her grabbing the golden ring of success.

Sister Twink is bound and determined that she is finally going to get her boyfriend of 15 year, Wiley Hicks (Brian Levy), to the alter. Her taro card, tea leaves, and palm reading, fortune-telling advisor, Nelda Lightfoot, has promised that if Twink can get Wiley to a wedding, where he will witness the actual vows exchange, she will be married within the next few months. Wiley has other plans on the upcoming wedding day, so Twink slips Wiley a love-potion of drugs that put him into a stupefying-stupor and she has to drag him to the chapel in an altered state of mind.

Sister Frankie has been happily married to her husband Dub (Michael Ray Wisely) for eighteen plus years, but now suspects he is having an affair.

The bride and groom fail to show up for the wedding and foul play is suspected as the groom’s haughty mother, Patsy Price (played by Caroline Altman), admits to not wanting her son mixing his wick in the Futrelle gene pool. The gun-slinging sheriff, John Curtis Buntner (played by Nikolai Lokteff), takes off in hot pursuit of the recalcitrant bride and groom hoping to save the wedding day!

UPS driver/minister-in-training Justin Waverly (Ryan Tasker) is pulled off his UPS route to officiate in the ceremony when the regular minister ends up in the county drunk tank on the day of the wedding. Tina Jo Dubberly (Gina’s twin sister, played by Katie Anderson), pretends to be the bride to keep the guests at the chapel while the family tries to round up the missing bride and groom.

All kinds of shenanigans tumble and rumble all over each other as this mad-cap matrimonial farce takes-off. There a lot of exceedingly funny lines, a cast that is exceptionally clever at comedic delivery and timing. If you enjoyed Carol Burnett in her comic hayday, you undoubtedly will love Lorraine Olsen in her Honey Raye character. Several people commented on the similarity as they exited the theater.

While the show is a delightfully funny, there are an endless number of blackouts and scene changes!

This fun-filled evening of entertainment plays Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., with matinees on Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m., now through May 13th. The Willows Theatre is located at 1975 Diamond Blvd, between to Comp USA and REI sporting goods in the Willows Shopping Center, across the street from the Hilton Hotel and one block east of the Willow Pass Road exit from Highway 680. Call (925) 798-1300 or visit their website at for ticket and reservation information.

Also, my guests and I had a superb dinner in the Grissini Restaurant located in that same Hilton Hotel. Our Pork Marsala was excellent, and our friends raved about the Grilled Salmon that was smothered in pecan wild rice pilaf and perfectly cooked vegetables, saying it was probably the best they had ever eaten. I strongly recommend calling them at (925) 680-1700 and making reservations for dinner before the theatre performance.

The Blue Door in Berkeley will certainly open your mind to a personal look at what it meant to be Black in the mind of one Black educator.

Berkeley Repertory Theatre has done it again, brought us new, innovative theatre that is on the cutting edge of current issues and controversy with their production of Tanya Barfield’s extraordinarily thought provoking “Blue Door”. Black history, social evolution and self-identity has never been more popular with audiences hoping to better understand and personally feel the angst and emergence and integration of the Black experience and lifestyle in America today.

Tanya says in the Blue Door’s program that “We all have ancestors. I think it is part of human nature to be pulled by our ancestors, to feel their watchful spirits, to wish we knew their stories, to both scorn and adore them.”

In the Blue Door, Lewis, an African-American professor of mathematics, is struggling with his efforts to be exonerated and separated from the populist’s common vision of Black America by not wishing to participate in the million man march. In addition, he is struggling with the exodus of his white wife from his life, prompted, among other things , by his desire not to be part of that march and what it symbolizes to him.

In a convoluted, frustrating period of self-examination prompted by repetitive nights of insomnia, Lewis is visited by spirits of his deceased relatives, including his great grandfather Simon, his grandfather Jesse, his father Charlie and his brother Rex (all played by Teagle F. Bougere). Lewis (played by David Forteno), hears, experiences, and re-examines his family history through the individual and sporadic visitations of these ancestors. Lewis struggles with these visions, trying to ignore his brother’s chiding for his failure to identify with and embrace his black heritage. Why does Lewis feel alone, rejected, and loveless? Is it in part due to his avoidance of these issues in his life?

This is a very powerful, moving, life and heritage affirming theatrical experience. We are all struggling to know and understand and relate to our ancestry, regardless of what our race or nationality is. Author, Ms. Barfield, is a new emerging energy in the theatrical experience. On the day this production opened, she had just been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

The “Blue Door” plays Tuesdays through Fridays at 8 p.m., with Wednesday and Sunday evening performances at 7 p.m., with matinees on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., now through May 20th in the Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Thrust Stage at 2025 Addison Street in Berkeley. Call (510) 647-2949 for tickets and reservations or visit their website at for more information.