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Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets - Ars Minerva: ‘Messalina’ - SF Playhouse: ‘Twelfth Night’ - Kate Robards: ‘Can’t Afford To’

 Cast members of Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets in the 2018 production.
Matt Haber
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Cast members of Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets in the 2018 production.

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, guest host Kevin Vance talks with choreographer Mark Foehringer and dancer Brian Fisher about Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets (Dec 4-19) at the Cowell Theater in Fort Mason. Also, a conversation with director Céline Ricci about the baroque opera Messalina, presented by Ars Minerva (Nov 19-21; ODC Theater). Plus, actors Sophia Introna and Loreigna Sinclair, who play the female leads Viola and Olivia in the SF Playhouse production of Twelfth Night, a rousing musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s original, starting November 24. And writer/performer Kate Robards, who is back at The Marsh San Francisco with her newest work, Can’t Afford To (through Nov 27). 

This week on Open Air, KALW’s radio magazine for the Bay Area performing arts, guest host Kevin Vance talks with choreographer Mark Foehringer and dancer Brian Fisher about Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets (Dec 4-19) at the Cowell Theater in Fort Mason. Also, a conversation with director Céline Ricci about the baroque opera Messalina, presented by Ars Minerva (Nov 19-21; ODC Theater). Plus, actors Sophia Introna and Loreigna Sinclair, who play the female leads Viola and Olivia in the SF Playhouse production of Twelfth Night, a rousing musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s original, starting November 24. And writer/performer Kate Robards, who is back at The Marsh San Francisco with her newest work, Can’t Afford To (through Nov 27). 

Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets is a unique 50-minute version of the Nutcracker, specifically designed for families with young children. With the 13th edition of this holiday show, which runs from December 4-19 at the Cowell Theater (Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture), the Mark Foehringer Dance Project|SF, returns to in-person performances.

Joining the conversation is former ODC/Dance San Francisco artist, Brian Fisher, who has a long history in the Bay Area dance community. He performed the role of Drosselmeyer for many years in Nutcracker Sweets, but is stepping down from performing to serve as artistic associate and rehearsal director.

Ars Minerva is a young, San Francisco based opera company, devoted to resurrecting forgotten operas from the Italian Baroque. We talk with director Céline Ricci about their current project, the North American premiere of Messalina, originally composed in 1679 by Carlo Pallavicino.

Messalina tells the story of the scandalous young wife of the Emperor Claudius, who was old enough to be her grandfather. Clever and lecherous, she takes a lover, outwitting the spies and inquests at court. The cast includes soprano Aura Veruni as Messalina and mezzo-soprano Deborah Rosengaus as the Emperor Claudius. With this production, November 19 - 21 at ODC Theater (3153 17th St) in San Francisco, Ars Minerva returns to live, in-person performance.

From the SF Playhouse production of Twelfth Night, opening on November 24, we talk with lead actresses Sophia Introna (Viola) and Loreigna Sinclair (Olivia). This is the first time in nineteen seasons that SF Playhouse presents a Shakespeare play, and this Twelfth Night is a rousing contemporary musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy about mistaken identity and self-discovery, featuring an original jazz-funk score by Shaina Taub.

Plus, we talk with writer/performer Kate Robards, who is currently (through Nov 27) at The Marsh San Francisco with her newest workCan’t Afford To. As she described in her previous shows (Ain’t That Rich, PolySHAMory), Robards grew up “broke,” married “rich,” and divorced faster than she could say tax bracket. Having tried the Cinderella-in-need-of-saving route, and failed, she attempts to find worthiness and salvation in a stupid world through something other than money. Is that even possible in this age of status and consumerism?

Open Air with guest host Kevin Vance, heard live on Thursday, November 18 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...