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North Bay Theaters Plan In-Person Seasons

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FAMILIAR FACE Acclaimed actor Denmo Ibrahim—seen here in Marin Theatre Company’s January 2020 production of ‘Noura’—returns to Marin Theatre Company to perform for a live audience in ‘The Sound Inside’ next month. Photo by Kevin Berne; courtesy Marin Theatre Company.

After a year of performing to virtual audiences, North Bay theater companies are ready to welcome people back to the theater, and several local companies have announced their 2021–2022 seasons of shows, ranging from classics to world premieres.

Earlier this summer, Left Edge Theatre in Santa Rosa became the first organization to perform indoors again, at the production of the comedy Slow Food

Now, Left Edge is taking advantage of the return of social gatherings by premiering a season entirely made up of both local and world premieres. Opening the season, North Bay playwright Kelly Gray pens the new experimental one-act play Beautiful Monsters, succinctly described as an “obituary for the year 2020 with music and dance.” The one-act actually makes its world premiere outdoors at Horse & Plow Winery in Sebastopol Aug. 20–22, before moving indoors to Left Edge Theatre Sept. 4–19.

When Beautiful Monsters does premier indoors in September, it will join another one-act, I and You, written by Bay Area playwright Laura Gunderson, about two classmates who bond over Walt Whitman. leftedgetheatre.com

Also in Santa Rosa, 6th Street Playhouse is planning a full in-person season with five shows in the 184-seat GK Hardt Theater and five in the 99-seat Monroe Stage Theater. The season, which opens Aug.12 with the Nora and Delia Ephron-written comedy Love, Loss and What I Wore, is curated for mass appeal and features classic plays like A Raisin in the Sun, zany murder whodunnits like Murder for Two and crowd-pleasing musicals like Scrooge in Love in the holiday season. 6thstreetplayhouse.com

Sonoma Arts Live, which performs on the Rotary Stage in Andrews Hall in the Sonoma Community Center, is calling this a season to celebrate. 

“Governor Newsom’s June 15th announcement was such a celebratory day for all of us,” says Sonoma Arts Live Artistic Director Jaime Love. “It was then that we knew we could finally announce what we’d been hoping for; the ability to open our doors and provide entertainment for a live audience. I feel that people are ready to gather safely and share an experience again.”

The season will begin Sept. 24 with Sunset Boulevard, directed by Carl Jordan and featuring local star Dani Innocenti Beem (Merman’s Apprentice, Hello, Dolly!) as the silent film star Norma Desmond. Sonomaartslive.org

Sebastopol’s Main Stage West will also re-emerge from the unexpected hiatus with a season of six plays that all speak to the post-pandemic landscape. The season opens with the workplace comedy Patty from HR on Aug. 27. mainstagewest.com

Marin Theatre Company is still putting the final touches on its 2021–2022 season, though the season is starting strong with its September opening production, the Ivy-league dramatic mystery The Sound Inside, penned by Pulitzer Prize finalist Adam Rapp and directed by Marin Theatre Company Artistic Director Jasson Minadakis. marintheatre.org

Also in September, the Ross Valley Players kicks off its 92nd season with the clash-of-wills comedy Ripcord, running Sept. 10 to Oct. 10. Next, Ross Valley Players teams with Marin’s longrunning Mountain Play Association for an indoors production of the musical Camelot in November. rossvalleyplayers.com