After watching Hollywood stars get gigs on the big stage instead of real actors, I nearly cried last night during the preview of TheatreFIRST’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.” Real acting by real actors. The troupe is still working out the kinks before the Saturday opening but overall the show looks promising, especially actor Andrew Hurteau, “The Player” and head of a traveling Tragedians: Aleph Ayin, Paul Festa, John Hilinski and G. Randall Wright. They and the lead actors managed to convey the wry humor and laughable absurdity Stoppard injected into his script. In other words, they were really really funny. Tonight’s preview performance begins 7:30 p.m. Saturday is the premier. Speaking of premiers, the Piedmont Piano Co. is hosting a grand opening today beginning at 4 p.m. and lasting all weekend with performances and toasts and pomp and circumstance at the corner of San Pablo and 18th Street. You’ll know the place by the crowds waiting to get into Hibiscus, part of the entertainment compound filling the old Sweet Jimmie’s spot near City Hall. The adjoining New Parish nightclub started drawing people to the previously forlorn corner when it opened a few months ago. But only late nights. Hibiscus has them showing up in droves from the moment the restaurant opened last week.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” will preview Thursday and Friday. Tickets for those performances are $10. The show opens Jan. 23. Friday is “OSA Day,” when Oakland School for the Arts students will get a firsthand look at the world of professional theater during the performance and an after-show discussion. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Feb. 14. Tickets are $25 on Thursdays and $30 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Go to www.theatrefirst.com for special prices for season tickets, patrons younger than 30 and seniors, or call 510-436-5085.