Now Batting 

Die Fledermaus plays outdoors

SUN 6/29

Anyone who believes she needs a wad of cash and some fancy glasses to enjoy the opera hasn't been to a Community Music Center performance. Since 1921, the center -- a music school with branches in Richmond and San Francisco -- has been striving to make the performing arts accessible to everyone by offering sliding-tuition classes, children's music camps, and weekly free or low-cost public performances. This Sunday at 3 p.m., veteran faculty member Ina Chalis and her opera ensemble present composer Johann Strauss' most famous operetta, Die Fledermaus. The title translates as "the bat," which completely undersells this flight of fancy -- in three acts, a prison sentence, a masquerade ball, a bat costume, and a lot of champagne are whipped into a rollicking musical comedy of mistaken identity and practical jokes gone wrong. Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. $15 general admission,$8 with ArtsCard. 415-647-6015. -- Joy White

SUN 6/29


To the hills with O'Neill

Eugene O'Neill's 1925 stage drama The Great God Brown

is considered one of the playwright's most challenging works, essentially a love triangle in which the two men -- an idealist and a pragmatist, boyhood friends -- wear masks onstage as a pointed reference to their refusal to confront their true natures. Pretty heavy stuff, but the Oakland Public Theatre is up to the task. Sunday only, the Eugene O'Neill Foundation and the National Park Service present The Great God Brown, the final play of their Playwrights' Theatre season, in a staged reading directed by Nicole Galland and starring Playwrights' veteran Colin Hussey. The play is being performed at Tao House, O'Neill's notorious hideaway in the hills of the San Ramon Valley, and since private vehicles are not allowed, a van ride to Tao House is included in the ticket price, $25. 925-943-7469 or -- Kelly Vance

SAT 6/28

Hot Under the Collar

A young woman and her fiancé come to a Roman Catholic priest for prenuptial consultation, but two years later, the woman breaks up with her fiancé and marries the priest, who has renounced his vows to be with her. As a couple, their friends include gay priests and others who have struggled with celibacy. A moderately scandalous yarn, except that in the case of novelist Julia Park , author of Tongues of Angels (Scarlet Letter Press), it's more or less based on her own experience as the wife of a former priest. The Alameda-based Park is making the rounds of Bay Area bookstores reading from her novel, and Saturday evening (7 p.m.), she'll be at the Zocalo Coffeehouse, 645 Bancroft Ave., San Leandro. -- Kelly Vance


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