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After a summer of hiking, biking and swimming, are you looking for things to do that don’t require any physical exertion? Maybe it’s time to plan some one-day trips that allow you to just sit back, relax and be entertained. With that in mind, we scoured the region for the best upcoming performances in theater, music, spectacle and the spoken word. Consider this your essential guide to the fall entertainment season.
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
“Tale as old as time, true as it can be.” Disney’s musical retelling of this timeless story, about a beauty repulsed by a grotesque beast, was a blockbuster animated film before it became a Broadway hit. The Broadway touring company comes to Reno Nov. 5–7, appearing at the 1,500-seat Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. FYI, the show won’t be in Sacramento anytime soon. So if you want to see it, get thee to Reno.
Tickets: $45–$80; pioneercenter.com
Before the show: Treat the kids to carnival games at the Midway of Fun at Circus Circus Reno Hotel and Casino (500 N. Sierra St.)
Rain, A Tribute to The Beatles
This musical multimedia tribute to The Beatles takes the Fab Four from their early days on “The Ed Sullivan Show” to the Abbey Road years, complete with costumes, scenery, vintage film footage and note-by-note re-creations of Beatles songs. Begun as an offshoot of Broadway’s Beatlemania, it’s now one of the most popular touring shows in history. Rain will be at San Jose Center for the Performing Arts Oct. 25–31 for the production’s only Northern California engagement.
Tickets: $20–$66; broadwaysanjose.com
Before the show: Sip a Gin-Gin Mule at singlebarrel (43 W. San Salvador St.), a hip new faux speakeasy in San Jose’s downtown SoFA district
The thrilling jazz vocalist and Grammy Award winner will perform one night only—Oct. 1—at the historic Napa Valley Opera House in Napa. Reeves will sing standards from her most recent CD, When You Know, in the intimate, 460-seat Margrit Biever Mondavi Theatre, known for its near-perfect acoustics. “Artists love to come here,” says opera house marketing director Julie Dalrymple. “It’s not like a club or roadhouse. It’s a high-class experience. Plus, you get really up close and personal with the performer.”
Tickets: $40–$45; nvoh.org
Before the show: Make dinner reservations at the hottest restaurant in town: the newly opened Morimoto Napa (610 Main St.)
The Broadway legend will speak Oct. 4 at Herbst Theatre in San Francisco as part of the City Arts & Lectures series. A star who’s chewed up the scenery in some of Broadway’s greatest female roles (Les Miz’s Fantine, Evita’s Eva Perón, Gypsy’s Mama Rose), LuPone will talk about her amazing career and upcoming memoir in a conversation with former San Francisco Chronicle theater critic Steven Winn. The lecture will be broadcast later on public radio.
Tickets: $20; cityarts.net
Before the show: Have an authentic French meal (steak frites, anyone?) at nearby Absinthe Brassiere & Bar (398 Hayes St.)
Think Cirque du Soleil with an Aussie accent. This family-friendly circus troupe from Australia performs Oct. 7–10 at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley. Fast-paced and funny, the show has it all: acrobatics, aerial acts, comedy, live music. It’s “weird and beautiful,” says New York Daily News. Your kids will love it. Speaking of kids, Saturday matinee tickets are 50 percent off for those 16 and younger.
Tickets: $22–$52; calperfs.berkeley.edu
Before the show: Check Facebook or Twitter for the location of Cupkates, the Bay Area’s first cupcake truck
Ed Asner, best known for playing TV’s lovably grouchy newsman Lou Grant, stars in this one-man play Oct. 10 at the 440-seat Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto. FDR depicts Franklin Delano Roosevelt during his White House years, touching on his fireside chats, his affair with Lucy Mercer, the Depression, the attack on Pearl Harbor and World War II. “The source material is wonderful,” says Doug Hosner, the center’s director of marketing. “And Ed Asner . . . well, he’s Ed Asner. He won seven Emmys.”
Tickets: $20–$50; galloarts.org
Before the show: Grab a Gorgonzola Bleu Burger and sweet potato fries at Barkin’ Dog Grill (940 11th St.)
West Side Story
The revival of this American musical masterpiece opened on Broadway in 2009 to rave reviews; The New York Times’ Ben Brantley praised it as “credible and affecting.” A tragic love story set against the conflict between two rival gangs in 1950s New York, West Side Story has been updated for modern audiences with the translation into Spanish of some dialogue and songs. The Broadway touring company hits the road this fall, making its California debut at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theater Oct. 27–Nov. 28.
Tickets: $30–$99; shnsf.com
Before the show: Check out the highly anticipated exhibition Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces From the Musée d’Orsay at the de Young Museum (Golden Gate Park)
Music in the Mountains’ Holiday Choral Concert
Every December, the 80-voice MIM Festival Chorale puts on a holiday concert at the 450-seat Amaral Family Festival Center on the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley. This year, the chorale will perform three times, with evening performances Dec. 3 and Dec. 11 and a matinee Dec. 12. Accompanied by brass, organ and piano, the volunteer chorister group will sing John Rutter’s “Gloria,” a stunning piece of sacred music. But the concert’s highlight is the carol singalong that rounds out the program.
Tickets: $5–$30; musicinthemountains.org
Before the show: Savor the spirit of Christmas past at two street fairs: Grass Valley’s Cornish Christmas (Dec. 3) and Nevada City’s Victorian Christmas (Dec. 12)
This Canadian folk/country singer and raconteur is a rollickingly fun performer whose die-hard fans are known as Fredheads. He performs Oct. 1 at Sutter Creek Theatre in Sutter Creek. “Oh, my gosh, I love that guy,” gushes Laura Damiani, who owns the theater with her husband, Byron. “He’s a great musician, but he’s also a very entertaining storyteller.” Built in 1919, the theater has only 214 seats—none of them bad. “You can practically touch the artist,” says Damiani.
Tickets: $19–$21; suttercreektheater.com
Before the show: Take a guided underground tour of Sutter Gold Mine (13660 Highway 49), just north of Sutter Creek