Going Rogue At Last

FURTHER UPDATE! As of June 2019, I am now the theatre critic for the Sonoma County Gazette. Happy to make the switch to a media outlet that is both print and online, and that has a wide readership throughout the County. I’ve been faithfully reading the Gazette for over six years, enjoying its compilation of resources for literally everything that’s happening in our region, and excited now to be part of the team bringing information about live theater to the public. Editor Vesta Copestakes built the publication from the ground up, and manages both print and online editions with a generous spirit– she’s given me such a nice welcome. As always, I will still post excerpts from reviews here, and other articles as well. See my new page HERE.

UPDATE: In mid-January 2018, I was named a North Bay theatre correspondent for Talkin’ Broadway, charged with seeing as much theatre as I can in the North counties and posting reviews for this revered source of theatre news and reviews. I will continue to post reviews on my own site when there’s no conflict; and, I’m permitted to post the first two paragraphs of a Talkin’ Broadway review, with a link to the full review, after it has been published. I’m delighted to have this platform for my reviews, and eager to work again with the TBC team of Patrick Thomas, Richard Connema, Eddie Reynolds, and editor Ann Miner.  Go here to check out the amazing national website:  Talkin’Broadway.com

December, 2017:  It’s finally time to launch my own website as a venue for sharing my reviews of theatre productions, my thoughts on culture and the arts, and some fun stuff too. After decades of writing for media outlets such as the Palo Alto Weekly, Mountain View Voice, Talkin’Broadway.com, and the San Jose Metro, I’m happy to transition to At Large status, where I won’t worry about word count or other limitations.*

Comments welcomed as long as they’re in the spirit of respectful suggestion or collegial debate. I reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason and to block unruly visitors.

I hope you enjoy reading the posts as much as I enjoy posting them.



The Tasting Room

Lucky Penny Productions
Runs in Napa through August 18

Danielle DeBow, Barry Martin, and Taylor Bartolucci watch as Michael Ross judges a wine. Photo Courtesy Lucky Penny Productions.

Tucked away in a converted warehouse in a Napa business/industrial area is a gem of a theatre producing quality shows for those willing to make the short hop. Lucky Penny Productions, the brainchild of co-founders Barry Martin and  Taylor Bartolucci, has been going strong for ten years now, mounting classics, contemporary works and musicals for delighted audiences. The Tasting Room, a revival from 2018 written by Martin himself, showcases some of the company’s associate artists and delivers happy hilarity that locals will especially appreciate.

That’s because it’s set right here in wine country, in the tasting room of a small vineyard owned and run by the Lusch family (pronounced “Loosh,” of course), currently managed by two sisters— Emily (Danielle DeBow) and Becca (Taylor Bartolucci). Their efforts to keep the winery afloat despite lackluster reviews and sluggish sales are aided by expert wine-seller Tony (Barry Martin). Shady sales tactics are tolerated in favor of a bottom line that isn’t at rock bottom.

A dreary day is turned upside down with the entrance of Sid Taylor (Michael Scott Wells), who reveals he’s a wine writer employed by the famous reviewer Elbert Fleeman (Michael Ross), a harsh critic who has the power to make or break wineries— and who’s due to arrive that very day. . . .

To read more about this production, see the full review at Sonoma County Gazette, here:
The Tasting Room