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Mary Poppins @ SF Playhouse ~ Cinderella @ AASC ~ Kung Pao Kosher Comedy ~ Avenue Q

Jessica Palopoli

This week, on 2018’s last edition of Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, guest host Sarah Cahill talks with actors El Beh and Wiley Naman Strasser, who play the parts of Mary Poppins and Bert, respectively, in the San Francisco Playhouse production of the musical Mary Poppins, currently on stage through January 12, 2019. 

The musical Mary Poppins is based on the Mary Poppins children's books by British writer P.L. Travers (1899 - 1996), as well as on the 1964 Disney film of the same name. The musical combines elements from both. The production opened in 2004 in London’s West End, and ran on Broadway from 2006 through 2013 for a total of 2619 performances. Susi Damilano directs the SF Playhouse production, with music direction by Katie Coleman and choreography by Kimberly Richards. 

From the African-American Shakespeare Company, we talk with executive director Sherri Young about the company’s annual holiday offering of Cinderella. Actress Clara McDaniel, who plays the evil stepmother, will join the conversation. This Cinderella is the AASC’s 17thproduction of a story that transcends cultures, continents, and language, about a girl who is fully aware of the inequalities in her life, but doesn't allow them to define her. Cinderellaruns for 4 performances, on December 21, 22 and 23 at the Herbst Theater (401 Van Ness Ave.) in San Francisco. 

We talk with comedian and creator/founder Lisa Geduldig about the 26th Annual Kung Pao Kosher Comedy: Jewish Comedy on Christmas in a Chinese Restaurant. Kung Pao, one of San Francisco’s longest running comedy shows,  answers the age-old question, "What are Jews supposed to do on Christmas?" This year’s headliner is LA-based comedian Carol Leifer (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm Consulting Producer, and others). Joining her are San Francisco based Vietnamese Jewish comedian Joseph Nguyen, Jordon Ferber (New York), and Kung Pao’s creator, Lisa Geduldig, herself. With two shows a day, Kung Pao Kosher Comedy takes place on December 23, 24 and 25 in San Francisco’s Chinatown. 

Plus, we talk to actors Nick Rodrigues and Chelsea Carruesco about Avenue Q, the laugh-out-loud, Tony Award-winning, puppet-populated musical that tells the timeless story of a recent college grad named Princeton who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. Extended through January 13 at the New Conservatory Theatre Center (25 Van Ness Avenue @ Market) in San Francisco. 

Open Air with guest host Sarah Cahill, heard live on Thursday, December 20, 2018, at 1pm. Listen now or anytime…