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Top Tickets: January 29-February 4

Can’t-miss events of the week: Center Rep brings book clubs to stage, Bill Clinton in Oakland, Swan Lake, a bee exhibit, and more.

Kodo / photo by Takashi Okamoto


It’s a great week for theater lovers, as several local troupes kick off new productions. Berkeley Rep brings back The Pianist of Willesden Lane, which was a huge hit for them in 2013. Pacific Coast Rep, the resident company of Pleasanton’s Firehouse Arts Center, launches an ambitious two concurrent musicals, both set in the 1950s. And Walnut Creek’s Center Rep presents a comedy about book clubs that is sure to be a hit with the book-loving East Bay. There’s more information on all three below, plus more great event picks. So grab your calendar, and schedule some fun!


THEATER // January 30–February 15: Forever Plaid and The Taffetas
Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre offers a musical theatre duo, performing two 1950s-set productions at the same time. The only question is: Do you prefer four recently deceased male singers getting their posthumous chance at fame, or four women paying tribute to Sunday night television? Firehouse Arts Center, Pleasanton, firehousearts.org.

The Book Club PlayTHEATER // January 30–February 28: The Book Club Play
Book clubbers and bibliophiles will get a kick out of this contemporary comedy presented by Center Rep about “books, the people who love them, and what can happen when friends start reading between the lines.” Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, lesherartscenter.org.


EXHIBIT // January 31–September 20: Bees – Tiny Insect, Big Impact
What’s the buzz on bees? In this new exhibit, don a beekeeper suit, crawl through a human-sized beehive, learn about the bee population decline, and leave with tips on planting your own bee-friendly garden. Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, museumca.org.

WORLD STAGE // January 31–February 1: Kodo
This acclaimed troupe merges Japanese taiko drumming with dance and visual effects to create a spectacular new production, Mystery, that takes the audience on journey through a dark world filled with sacred beasts. Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley, calperformances.org.


Swan Lake / photo by Larissa PendenchukDANCE // February 2: Swan Lake
The Russian National Ballet stops in Livermore on a world tour of one of the greatest works in classical ballet repertoire, about a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer’s curse. Bankhead Theater, Livermore, livermoreperformingarts.org.


LECTURE // February 3: Bill Clinton
President Bill Clinton is next up in the 25th Annual MPSF Speaker Series. Subscriptions for the series are sold out, but sometimes you can find single tickets for sale, especially since there are multiple opportunities: Clinton will be speaking on the Peninsula and in Marin the next two evenings. Paramount Theatre, Oakland, speakerseries.net.

THEATER // February 3–22: The Pianist of Willesden Lane
Berkeley Rep brings back this moving true story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish musician in the late 1930s whose dreams are interrupted by the Nazi regime. It stars her daughter, virtuoso Mona Golabek, performing some of the world’s most beautiful piano music. Roda Theatre, Berkeley, berkeleyrep.org.


STREET FEST // February 4: Walnut Creek Wednesdays
“Shake off winter’s chill” with early-evening street parties for the whole family, on the first Wednesday of the month (through May). The first, this week, includes live R&B from The Last Minute Band, an inflatable forest of giant flowers, and food trucks Canasta Kitchen, Ceviche & Co., and Tonli Dumpling. Cypress Street, Walnut Creek, walnutcreekdowntown.com.

For even more events happening this week, or to submit an event for consideration, visit Diablo’s Community Calendar. Follow Diablo on Twitter or Facebook, or subscribe to the A-List e-newsletter, and you’ll be notified when Top Tickets is posted each Wednesday. Questions? Comments? E-mail events(at)maildiablo(dot)com.