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Photograph by Joe Niem

Branching Out: Leave it to autumn to present a swirling season of sequel-stealing ballet, film, theater and concerts--just ask Beth Ann Namey of Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley.

Fall 2003 Arts Guide

[ Stage | Opera | Dance | Classical Music | Concerts | Academic Angles | Movies | Jazz | More ]

WITH THE California Arts Council's budget lying naked on the chopping block in Sacramento, it's no wonder arts groups feel like sacrificial virgins waiting for the "opportunity" to appease King Deficit. In the teeth of a recession that refuses to admit it's over, what can you do but laugh and soldier on?

That attitude explains the preponderance of flat-out comedies to be found in the schedules of most of the area's theater groups this season, from San Jose Rep's Noises Off to San Jose Stage's premiere of Ug: A Stone-Age Musical Comedy to City Lights' Don Juan in Chicago--and even Opera San José's buffa-style dose of Donizetti, Don Pasquale.

The laughter is both nervous and a bit defiant. Despite the kind of unemployment figures that might eventually push most people into the low-wage misery depicted in TheatreWorks' current production, Nickel and Dimed, local theater companies can point to some shining successes that buck the trend: City Lights drew near-capacity crowds for the entire extended run of Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show; San Jose Stage Company is still filling seats with Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story; San Jose Rep's Cookin' at the Cookery had the feel of a hit that could be reprised on a regular basis; and TheatreWorks delighted audiences with, of all things, a musical based on a mythical supermarket-tabloid hero, Bat Boy. In a slightly different vein, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley took a chance on resurrecting the old San Jose Symphony, and the new Symphony Silicon Valley looks like it's here to stay.

Fall is the third season on the calendar, but it's really the beginning of the year for most arts groups as they announce their 2003-04 programs. So, our Fall Arts Preview really runs through winter and spring as well, with highlights of the whole season for many groups--a lot of productions and concerts are worth marking down on the calendar early. In addition, Metro's critics took the pulse of some of the performing-arts groups, asking their artistic directors to explain the thinking behind their upcoming seasons.

This preview, which focuses on classical music, dance, stage, pop concerts and movies, is very much a work in progress and is by no means complete (if we missed something good, let us know). Look to this site for continuous updates, and in upcoming issues we'll provide guides to the fall's best bets in readings, museum and gallery exhibits and jazz concerts.

Michael S. Gant

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From the September 11-17, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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