The Bay Area is a hub of artistic expression, attracting artists, writers and musicians from around the globe to live, work and create. We highlight some of the offerings here.
• “House of Joy”: Madhuri Shekar’s play, getting its world premiere at California Shakespeare Theater, blends action, romance, history, myth and some nifty fight scenes in a swashbuckling trip to 17th-century India that addresses the #MeToo era. Cal Shakes’ mission these days seems to create theater that transcends traditional genres and this production is right up that alley. It runs through Sept. 1 at Bruns Amphitheatre in Orinda. Tickets are $19-$99; 510-548-9666; calshakes.org.
• A piano fest plus: Pianist and impresario Jeffrey LaDeur closes out his impressive San Francisco International Piano Festival Sunday afternoon at the Herbst Theatre with a concert featuring the fabulous Bay Area mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich singing Mozart’s famed concert aria “Ch’io mi scordi di te” (You ask that I forget you). Other performers include LaDeur himself, the Alexander String Quartet, San Francisco Symphony principal bassist Scott Pingel and some special guests. Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite” for four-hand piano is on the program, as are Mozart’s Concerto No. 13 in C Major and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. 2 p.m., 401 Van Ness, San Francisco; $40; 415-392-4400; www.sfpiano.org.
• “The 39 Steps”: It’s possible to lose your breath watching this stage comedy, both from laughing so hard as well as from just witnessing the energy of four actors tackling some 139 roles while frenetically spoofing Hitchcockian murder mysteries and all things British. Patrick Barlow’s play is about as silly and escapist as a trip to the theater can be, which is one reason why “39 Steps” seems to be performed around the Bay Area so frequently. Now it’s TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s turn, with a production that runs in previews through Aug. 23, and a main run of Aug. 24-Sept. 15. All performances are at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $30-$100 at 650-463-1960 or theatreworks.org.
• Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington: This is one huge double bill in the jazz world. Keyboardist and composer Hancock’s legendary career is in its fifth decade and he still works a concert like a rock star. Sax man and composer Washington might be the hottest young name in jazz right now, and his collaborations with the likes of rapper Kendrick Lamar have certainly not hurt his reputation. The two perform in separate sets in this show, with the wildly inventive pianist Robert Glasper as the opener. Music starts at 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at UC Berkeley’s Greek Theatre. Tickets are $49.50-$125 at theatreberkeley.org.
• Italian Family Festa: If you’re looking to immerse yourself in authentic Italian culture, head to San Jose’s History Park this weekend. This festival offers all kinds of culinary attractions, live music, grape-stomping, Italian arts and crafts and the centuries-old art of flag tossing. The fest runs 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 24 and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 25; admission is free. More information is at www.italianfamilyfestasj.org.