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Susan's City Scene
September 06, 2013, 05:00 AM By Susan Cohn Daily Journal

Lois Tema Photography
A border crossing results in a violent confrontation in Brad Erickson’s American Dream, a play about personal and political boundaries, in its world premiere at New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco through Sept. 15.

WORLD PREMIERE OF BRAD ERICKSON’S AMERICAN DREAM OPENS NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE CENTER’S 2013-14 SEASON. Life is filled with boundaries: political, physical, legal and emotional. The personal costs of crossing them are deftly examined in playwright Brad Erickson’s thoughtful new work American Dream (El sueño del otro lado), in its world premiere at New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco. Two hours with a 15-minute intermission. Directed by Dennis Lickteig. Through Sept. 15.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT. Tom, a recently divorced, and recently out, 40-something San Diego architect finds himself unexpectedly falling in love with his handsome Spanish language teacher, Salvador, during a vacation in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Tom’s ex-wife, Cara, clings to the hope of recovering the life with Tom that has been torn away from her and vows to keep Tom from bringing Salvador home to San Diego. In his attempt to bring Salvador across the border, Tom enlists the help both of an influential Republican attorney, who is Cara’s beau, and of an anti-immigration Minute Man, who has his own agenda in assisting Tom.

AN ASIDE: NCTC Artistic Director Ed Decker said: “Opening the season with American Dream is perfectly aligned with our mission to effect societal growth, enlightenment and change through theater. Having the unique opportunity to tell our stories as history unfolds all around us is something we often take for granted. And this play lands at NCTC during a most auspicious time, so much so we even slightly delayed rehearsals in order for our esteemed playwright to bring the story and characters right up to the minute.”

STAGE DIRECTIONS: New Conservatory Theatre Center is located at 25 Van Ness Ave. in San Francisco (near Market Street, two blocks from Davies Symphony Hall). Enter the formal lobby and walk to the far end. Turn right and go downstairs, through a glass door and right again. At the bottom and brimming with life is a cozy foyer whose walls are lined with framed posters of past NCTC productions. A bar serves drinks and snacks.

TICKET INFORMATION. Wednesday to Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., (415) 861-8972 or A panel discussion with the playwright, director and cast of American Dream will be held after the 2 p.m. performance on Sunday Sept. 8.


TONY AWARD-WINNING MUSICAL 1776 OPENS AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER SEASON. American Conservatory Theater opens its 2013-14 season Sept. 11 through Oct. 6 with the musical 1776, a vivid look at the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. Then, from Oct. 23 through Nov. 17, Academy Award nominee David Strathairn ("Lincoln"; "Good Night, and Good Luck") returns in the solo drama Underneath the Lintel, a ghost story involving an eccentric librarian who finds a weather-beaten book in a return bin—and discovers that it is 113 years overdue. Sparked by a message left in its margins, he sets off on a quest to unravel the secrets of the book and locate the person who borrowed it, following a chain of clues that spans the globe and dates back thousands of years. 415 Geary St., San Francisco. or (415) 749-2228.


U.K.’S PEOPLE SHOW AT FORT MASON. Someone’s been murdered. But there’s no body, no weapon and no motive. There is a Suspect, and the Interrogator is talking to him. The Suspect believes he is innocent, but can only remember three things: 1. He is a compulsive gambler; 2. He is in love with a woman who is an expert on all things Agatha Christie; and 3. He thinks he may be a fictional character in a detective novel. People Show, the U.K.’s longest-running alternative theater company, makes its first Bay Area appearance since 1989. 75 minutes. Sept. 26 – Oct. 5. Southside Theater at Fort Mason in San Francisco. $39 includes show ticket and unlimited wine.


SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY MUSIC FOR FAMILIES. How does music make you feel? Does some music feel different than other music? In this family concert you’ll learn how composers use harmony, different instruments and sometimes even a good story to make you feel happy, sad, excited, scared, amazed ... or maybe everything all at once! San Francisco Symphony invites families to enjoy works by Beethoven, Grieg and Liszt. One hour and 30 minutes with an intermission. Recommended for ages 7 and older. Half price for ages 17 and under. Saturday Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. Davies Symphony Hall. Grove Street between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street in San Francisco. or (415) 864-6000.

Susan Cohn is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle. She may be reached at



Tags: francisco, american, conservatory, theatre, theater, through,

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