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Photograph by Dave Lepori
EAST L.A. CONFIDENTIAL: Teatro Visión explores family and the Latino dream in 'Water & Power,' opening this weekend.

First Nights And More

By Michael S. Gant

WITH AN EYE to some serious social relevance, Teatro Visión opens Water & Power on March 14, with previews March 12–13. The play, written by Richard Montoya and directed by Herbert Sigüenza of the smartly satiric Chicano performance group Culture Clash, looks at the conjoined fates of two L.A. brothers, one part of the political power structure and the other a member of the police department. Montoya calls the play a "stage noir ... about our own Latino demons, ambitions and desires, our very American ideals." The show, which runs through March 29 at the Mexican Heritage Plaza Theater, is part of Teatro's 25th anniversary. On Friday at 6pm, Montoya will talk about his work before the preview performance. The Saturday gala includes an afterparty with Culture Clash and music by Los Soneros del Este (fans of Dr. Loco's Rockin' Jalapeño Band will recognize some familiar faces). There will also be a free matinee, at 2pm on Sunday. Call 408.272.9926 for info.

On Wednesday (March 11), TheatreWorks opens a month-long run of It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues, a Broadway musical dedicated to the history of the genre, from its African origins to the Mississippi Delta to Chicago nightclubs. The cast is bolstered by bluesmen "Mississippi" Charles Bevel (one of the show's co-writers) and UC–Santa Cruz grad Chic Street Man, and includes nearly 40 songs. The show plays at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto; call 650.903.6000 for tickets.

Several intriguing shows continue their runs their weekend. Tabard Theatre Company is in the midst of a lively, gospel-inflected musical, Crowns, by Regina Taylor. The show highlights the expressive exuberance of African-American church ladies and their spectacular hats. It runs through March 28 at Theatre on San Pedro Square; call 408.679.2330. Pear Avenue Theatre explores geek culture in Anthony Clarvoe's Pick Up Ax, which winds up this weekend in Mountain View. The show should evoke some choked-back emotion from programmers who were there in the beginning, when computers really were made in garages; 650.254.1148. Just the other day, Bucky in the comic strip Get Fuzzy was reminded of the time he threw a fit because Rob took him to Cats and there were no real cats in the show. That shouldn't keep saner theater fans from West Valley Light Opera's version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's long-running hit, which continues through April 4 at the Saratoga Civic Theatre; call 408.268.3777. And finally, the Campbell Theatre Company brings Thornton Wilder's Our Town to town this weekend for five shows; see for details.

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