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La Llorona & More Lead Linda Hodges' San Francisco Summer Theatre Picks

These shows in the San Francisco Bay Area will add a little spice to your summer

By: Jun. 24, 2024
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These must-see theatre picks for the San Francisco Bay Area will add a little spice to your summer! Beyond their entertainment value, each of these shows plays a crucial role in uplifting the voices of Hispanic and other people of color, fostering a richer, more inclusive cultural landscape.

La Llorona

Where: Mexican Heritage Plaza Theater
When: June 22-23

Experience the haunting beauty of La Llorona, a musical adaptation of the legendary Mexican folktale. This show combines traditional Mexican music and dance with modern theatrical techniques to tell the poignant story of a ghostly mother searching for her lost children. Directed by a renowned theatre artist, this production features an all-Latinx cast and promises an emotional and culturally enriching experience. As a kid, I missed the nuances of La Llorona since at that early age she was simply a Mexican version of the Boogey-Man. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to dive into rich folklore and vibrant performance!

Mother Road

Where: Berkeley Repertory Theatre
When: June 14 - July 21

Mother Road by renowned playwright Octavio Solis is a compelling continuation of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. The iconic Steinbeck novel was instrumental in bringing national attention to the plight of migrants during the Great Depression, shedding much-needed light on their suffering and exploitation. Fast forward to today and we find that Solis’s Mexican-American sequel draws attention to the new refugees and asylum seekers and the deplorable conditions that they also face. We're left wondering whether things have changed all that much. This powerful play follows the last living Joad on a journey back to Oklahoma, exploring themes of injustice, identity, family, disenfranchisement and redemption. Directed by Berkeley Rep's artistic director Johanna Pfaelzer, the production features a dynamic, multicultural cast and a script that blends poignant drama with moments of humor and hope. It's a must-see for fans of literary adaptations and socially relevant theatre. (Bay Area Bonus: Vist the John Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California where Steinbeck was born. Full disclosure: The Grapes of Wrath is one of my favorite books of all time!)

American Dreams - A New Musical

Where: San Francisco Mime Troupe
When: July 4 - September 8, 2024

Celebrate the spirit of independence with American Dreams - A New Musical by the San Francisco Mime Troupe in this leadup to the November Presidential election. Known for their sharp political satire and vibrant performances, the Mime Troupe (they actually sing!) delivers a timely musical that critiques the American dream through the lens of immigration and social justice. Featuring an original score and a diverse ensemble, this show combines humor and activism to provoke thought and entertain. Join the festivities and engage with this dynamic piece of musical theatre that speaks to today’s world.

Why These Shows Matter

Elevating shows from and about Hispanic Americans, as well as multicultural casts is not just about diversity for its own sake. It’s about recognizing and valuing the rich tapestry of stories and perspectives that make up our world. These productions provide a platform for voices that have historically been marginalized, allowing for a more comprehensive and authentic cultural dialogue. By attending these performances, we support the artists and communities who bring these vital stories to life, promoting empathy, understanding, and unity through the shared experience of theatre. These narratives enrich our cultural fabric, fostering a society that celebrates rather than silences its diversity.

This summer, immerse yourself in the vibrant, thought-provoking, and essential theatre offerings of the San Francisco Bay Area. Let these powerful stories inspire, challenge, and entertain you.


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