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Jesus Christ Superstar 50th Anniversary - Angel Island Oratorio - At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen - Lit Crawl

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, guest host Kevin Vance talks with actors Aaron LaVigne and Jenna Rubaii, who star as Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the 50th anniversary production of Jesus Christ Superstar (pic 1) at the Golden Gate Theatre (thru Nov 7).
We meet with conductor Robert Geary (pic 2) and violinist Sam Weiser, about the premiere (Oct 22-23) of Angel Island - Oratorio for Voices and Strings by vocal ensemble Volti, and the Del Sol Quartet (pic 3).
Plus, discussions about At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen (pic 4) at San Francisco’s Theater Rhinoceros (Oct 28); and about Lit Crawl, the big literary pub crawl through San Francisco’s Mission District, with which literary festival Litquake 2021 concludes on October 23.

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, guest host Kevin Vance talks with actors Aaron LaVigne and Jenna Rubaii, who respectively star as Jesus and Mary Magdalene in the 50th anniversary production of Jesus Christ Superstar (pic 1) at the Golden Gate Theatre (thru Nov 7). We meet with conductor Robert Geary (pic 2) and violinist Sam Weiser, about the premiere (Oct 22-23) of Angel Island - Oratorio for Voices and Strings by vocal ensemble Volti, and the Del Sol Quartet (pic 3). Plus, discussions about At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen (pic 4) at San Francisco’s Theater Rhinoceros (Oct 28); and about Lit Crawl, the big literary pub crawl through San Francisco’s Mission District, which concludes literary festival Litquake 2021 on October 23.

Broadway SF’s Golden Gate Theatre on Taylor Street in San Francisco reopens with the 50th Anniversary North American Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar. Created as a rock opera album musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics) in 1970 (because they couldn’t get funding for a stage production), Jesus Christ Superstar eventually made it to Broadway in 1971.

The production visiting San Francisco (through Nov 7) won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival, is the 50th anniversary production from London, where it won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival.

San Francisco’s vocal ensemble and the Del Sol Quartet join forces in the premiere of Angel Island - Oratorio for Voices and Strings, which is based on poems carved into the dormitory walls of the Angel Island Immigration Station, set to music by composer Huang Ruo. We talk with Volti’s conductor Robert Geary and with Del Sol’s second violinist Sam Weiser about the project.

The 60-minute oratorio for string quartet and chamber choir weaves a story of immigration, discrimination, and confinement. Performances are on October 22, (8pm) at the Presidio Theatre in San Francisco and the next day, October 23 on Angel Island (11:30am and 2:00pm).

We talk with playwright Terry Guest and director Tanika Baptiste about At the Wake of a Dead Drag Queen, a one-act play about Blackness, southern queerness, and the fine art of drag, which opens the new season at San Francisco’s Theater Rhinoceros on October 28, and runs through November 14 at Spark Arts (4229 18th St.) in San Francisco.

Plus, we talk about Lit Crawl, the big literary pub crawl at various venues in San Francisco’s Mission District, on October 23. This is the crowning event of the 2021 edition of San Francisco's annual literary festival, Litquake.

Open Air with guest host Kevin Vance, heard live on Thursday, October 21 at 1pm, to be archived thereafter at this very location until the Internet dies. Listen now or anytime… 

Niels Swinkels is a freelance journalist, musicologist, sound engineer, and radio producer. Born and raised in the Netherlands, he studied English and Musicology at the University of Nijmegen. Before moving to San Francisco, he was the Arts Editor, and Senior Classical Music & Opera critic for Brabants Dagblad, a Dutch daily newspaper. In addition to producing KALW’s Open Air, a weekly radio magazine for the Bay Area Performing Arts, he is also a wine guy at Trader Joe’s Nob Hill in San Francisco...