Curtain up for 2010 

The new year is going to rock Bay Area theaters — literally. Two of the most exciting stage offerings are bona fide rockers, and many of the other noteworthy shows involve music. So warm up those vocal cords and haul out your air guitar. It’s going to be a tuneful 2011.


‘Rock of Ages’

Nothing says musical theater like ’80s hair bands. Wait — what? Yes, the age of the jukebox musical has turned to the likes of Poison, Whitesnake, Twisted Sister, Pat Benatar and Journey for inspiration. The resulting show, now part of the SHN/Best of Broadway season, has been described as the guiltiest of pleasures. “American Idol” finalist Constantine Maroulis reprises his Tony-nominated leading role. [March 8-April 9. $30-$99. Curran Theatre, 445 Geary St., S.F.; (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com]


‘The Lily’s Revenge’

Last year in New York, where it was all the rage, Taylor Mac’s combination of burlesque, circus, ukuleles, dance and activism was five acts and five hours long. And it was proclaimed one of the best shows of the year. Inspired by anti-gay marriage agendas, “The Lily’s Revenge” is equal parts musical, Noh drama, verse play, art installation and film. We’ll have to see it at the Magic Theatre to believe it. [April 21-May 22. $30-$60. Magic Theatre, Building D, Fort Mason Center, Marina Boulevard at Buchanan Street, S.F.; (415) 441-8822, www.magictheatre.org]


‘Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup’

What becomes a legend most? An autobiographical show, dancing boys and a band, of course. Rita Moreno, winner of every award in the book, takes a stroll through her storied career with a script by Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s artistic director, Tony Taccone. From “West Side Story” to “The Electric Company,” Moreno finally lands the role of a lifetime. [May 13-June 12. $29-$73. Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison St., Berkeley, (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org]


‘Tales of the City’

The most eagerly anticipated world premiere of the year begins with Armistead Maupin’s beloved books about our fair city and adds a quirky pop score by Jake Shears and John Garden of Scissor Sisters fame. Casting has not yet been announced for American Conservatory Theater’s “Tales,” but fingers are crossed that Broadway legend Betty Buckley will reprise the role she played in the workshop: the mysterious and wonderful Mrs. Madrigal. [May 17-June 19. $35-$108. American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary St., S.F; (415) 749-2228, www.act-sf.org]


‘The Verona Project’

Few count Shakespeare’s “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” among their favorite plays. That’s why Amanda Dehnert is reinventing it and turning it into something brand new for California Shakespeare Theater. Dehnert aims to deliver a boisterous comedy that could turn “Two Gents” into an audience favorite at long last. [July 6-31, single tickets go on sale May 2, California Shakespeare Theater’s Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda, (510) 548-9666, www.calshakes.org]


‘[title of show]’

Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen are show tune geeks. They love musicals so much they wrote a musical about what it means to love musicals in all their ecstasy and inanity. Even though “[title of show]” is ultra “meta,” even non-show-tune lovers can be charmed by this sharp comic creation. Mountain View’s TheatreWorks brings Bell and Bowen’s quirky valentine to the Bay Area at long last. [June 1-26. $27-$42. Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View, (650) 903-6000, www.theatreworks.org]


‘Billy Elliot’

It seems a movie is turned into a musical every time you turn around. But very few of these adaptations win 10 Tony Awards. “Billy Elliot” delighted moviegoers with its tale of a coal miner’s son and his need to dance. Now the stage version, which reunites the movie’s creative team with an obscure composer named Elton John, continues to captivate audiences in London and on Broadway. The national tour twirls into the Orpheum Theatre as part of the SHN/Best of Broadway series. [Begins Sept. 13, tickets currently available only to subscribers, Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market St., S.F., (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com]

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Chad Jones

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