Celebrating its 40th season, the nonprofit Lyric Theatre regales the public with extravagantly staged productions of classic light operas. Feast ear-buds on sweet sounds performed by a volunteer troupe of opera-trained actor-singers, a full chorus, a 24-piece live orchestra, and one extremely skilled conductor's baton. The Lyric Theatre's The Sorcerer begins the quartet by mixing Victorian comedic stylings with Bollywood-inspired staging. The Gondoliers, Gilbert and Sullivan's lively tale of royal mix-ups, makes a melodic mockery of the British social system. The nautical chuckle-fests H.M.S. Pinafore and season-closer The Pirates of Penzance tickle funny bones of all ages with peppy maritime music and historically accurate knot-tying jargon.
Trained by legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner, Christy English Wioncek opened the Bay Area Acting Studio to teach a new generation of actors how to?in the words of her mentor?"live truthfully under imaginary circumstances." Her stable of equally Meisner-steeped instructors leads classes including introductory adult courses, intensive courses for working thespians, and children's classes for young'uns looking to break into the industry early or convince babysitters they've been diagnosed with a life-threatening ice-cream deficiency.
Award-winning dancer Hans Schmitt founded Dance Boulevard back in 1997 as "The Floor." Since then, he has coached students of all sashaying abilities, enlisting the expertise of several instructors and the gravity-reducing power of NASA wallpaper to hold group and private lessons. The studio comes alive every weeknight with styles ranging from tango to swing, and regularly scheduled dance parties give guests and teachers the chance to schmooze between spins. Promoting educational outreach through rhythm, youth programs instill a passion for ballet, jazz and tap among newer generations.
When you think about Asian-inspired food, pizza probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind. But at Nomikai, such preconceived notions are tossed aside for a menu centered on pies with an Eastern influence loaded with non-traditional ingredients, from teriyaki meatballs and shiitake mushrooms to kimchi, nori, and crispy shallots. Still, they fall in line with the restaurant's mission to serve as a place where friends can come together and bond around easy-to-share food instead of tying all their shoelaces together. Nomikai's cuisine also pairs well with its extensive drink selection, which includes handcrafted cocktails and a variety of Japanese whiskeys and sake. These elixirs are especially handy on Friday and Saturday nights, when live DJs and musicians fill the chic space.
At this all-ages venue, eight-balls sink into upwards of 165 pockets inside South First Billiards, which houses nearly 30 9-foot pool tables. But they only take up a fraction of South First's 14,000-square-feet: the rest plays host to ping-pong and beer-pong tables, as well as foosball and air hockey. Despite the potpourri of games, South First isn't just a gaming venue. Rotating pieces by local artists adorn the walls, while an eclectic lineup of musicians, from rockers to rappers, grace the stage on live music nights. South First's bartenders complement any activity—whether playing, looking, or listening—with 12 microbrews on tap, as well as fruity and chocolaty handcrafted cocktails.