Stage on Stage

New Belrose Theater show takes a self-referential look at making theater

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IN BRACKETS '[title of show]' is a play about making a musical.

[title of show] is a play about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical,” explains Fernando Sui, shouting to be heard above the din of 300 happy theater people.

It’s 9:30pm at the Victoria Theater in San Francisco, where the San Francisco Bay Area Theater Critics Circle awards have just ended. Sui, who was nominated for his role as a nonexistent teenager in Next to Normal, takes a moment to talk about his next show, opening this weekend at Belrose Theater in San Rafael.

“It’s kind of crazy,” Sui says, describing [title of show], written by Jeff Bown and Hunter Bell, and presented by Marin Onstage.

Sui raises his voice again to be heard above the nearby Carl Jordan, the director of [title of show], who just won for directing last year’s Return to the Forbidden Planet.

“It’s really a show about creating something out of thin air,” Sui says. “A lot of times, when you start a new creative project, your expectations are low, but then, little by little, you start to believe that something really special might be happening.”

As it so happens, Sui’s three co-actors in [title of show] were all nominated tonight. Abbey Lee took home a win for her supporting role in 6th Street Playhouse’s Victor/Victoria. Phillip Percy Williams and Amanda Morando were both nominated for roles in Forbidden Planet, with Williams winning for playing a dashing rock-singing space captain.

“Half of the songs in the show are about what it’s like to be a theater artist, desperately hoping someone notices what it is we’re doing,” says Sui.

“It’s nice to be noticed for the work you do. I really think audiences will leave [title of show] totally inspired to do whatever it is they want to do, to make what they want to make—to just take a chance and see what happens.”

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