Younger theatergoers have lots to choose from this summer. Town Hall Theatre's education program presents a talented group of middle and high school students in the challenging drama "The Laramie Project" at 8 p.m. July 18 and 19; and at 2 and 7 p.m. July 20.
On a lighter note, second- and third-graders perform the musical "The Best Little Theater in Town" at 6 and 7:30 p.m. July 26, while fourth- and fifth-graders bring Disney's "Peter Pan Jr." to life at 6 and 8 p.m. Aug. 2.
Town Hall's kid extravaganza concludes with the middle and high school students' production of "The Drowsy Chaperone" at 8 p.m. Aug. 8-9; and at 2 and 7 p.m. Aug. 10. Call 925-283-1557 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diablo Theatre Company will also present "Peter Pan Jr." at 2 and 7 p.m. Aug. 2, at the Village Theatre, 233 Front St., in Danville. Call 925-314-3463 or go to www.villagetheatreshows.com.
The Youth Musical Theater Company closes its ninth season with Rodgers and Hammerstein's "South Pacific." Directed by Jennifer Boesing, the cast features 36 students from seventh grade through college age, as well as a 35-piece orchestra.
The show runs July 18-27 at the El Cerrito Theater for the Performing Arts, 540 Ashbury Ave., in El Cerrito. Call 510-595-5514 or go to www.ymtcberkeley.org.
Lynne Elizondo promises "no male bashing" as she and her fellow "Women of Experience" present a special evening of theater at 8 p.m. July 25, 26, 31 and Aug. 1.
The new theater group for, by and about women will also perform a 2 p.m. show July 27.
Members include local actors Elizondo, Babette Bilger, Claudia Gallup, Diane McRice, Sheilah Morrison and Susan Wansewicz.
"It's a show full of fun and truthfulness," Elizondo adds.
The show takes place at the Campbell Theatre, 636 Ward St. in Martinez. To reserve a seat, email Elizondo at email@example.com.
"What country, friend is this?" asks Viola in Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." Feste answers, "This is Illyria, lady."
And what an exciting country it is in Shotgun Players' bold version of "Twelfth Night," which runs through Aug. 17, at the Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave., in Berkeley.
Director Jon Tracy has made music a central part of the story as the shipwrecked Viola disguises herself as a man and finds employment with Duke Orsino. A complicated love triangle ensues, as Viola falls in love with the Duke, who is in love with Olivia, who falls in love with Cesario (Viola's manly disguise).
To achieve his vision, Tracy found a strong ensemble that could act, sing and play instruments as well as create all the music. They utilized the music already in "Twelfth Night" and then added Shakespearean sonnets and poems.
"This production has been alive in workshops and showcases for some time," says Tracy. "It has become a story of perseverance and what can be accomplished with collective strength."
The result is an extremely lively, enthusiastic production with the actors -- many of whom play multiple instruments -- always on stage watching the action, adding percussion and much more.
Ben Euphrat (Duke Orsino, and the music director) is especially impressive on both guitar and piano, while Rebecca Pingree (Viola) has a truly lovely voice. The large cast has no problem assuming a variety of roles in addition to playing and singing with Jeremy Vik (Feste), adding some impressive acrobatics to his role.
Nina Ball once again creates an imaginative set for the performers' creativity to take flight, with Christine Crook providing the sensual costumes.
For tickets, call 510-841-6500 or go to www.shotgunplayers.org.
Alameda's Altarena Playhouse will hold auditions for "Little Shop of Horrors" at 7 p.m. Aug. 24-25. The show runs Oct. 10-Nov. 23.
Performers should prepare a legato Broadway or rock song and bring sheet music in the correct key. Fred Chacon directs.
Contact Sally Hogarty at firstname.lastname@example.org