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September 23, 2010

On Stage

RED, WHITE & TUNA
**½

While not as funny or as fresh as 1981's smash hit "Greater Tuna," this sequel continues to please audiences. Sierra Repertory Theatre's professional actors Mark Chambers and Bill Mootos easily handle the challenge of performing 20 eccentric characters from a tiny Texas town (population 568). The show is set on the Fourth of July during the town's annual homecoming celebration.

Through Oct. 17 at Fallon House Theatre, Columbia State Historic Park. $18-$28; 532-3120 or www.sierrarep.org.

MASTER CLASS
****

Janis Stevens magnificently portrays opera diva Maria Callas in this stunning Sierra Repertory Theatre drama. In the course of one music lesson given to Juilliard singing students, we learn about Callas' dramatic makeover, her tumultuous affair with shipping millionaire Aristotle Onassis and her triumphs at La Scala. Stevens' performance is a testimony to the power of storytelling and demonstrates once again that you don't need special effects to make exciting theater.

Through Sept. 26 at Sierra Repertory Theatre, 13891 Mono Way, Sonora. $18-$28; 532-3120 or www.sierrarep.org.

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK
***

Director Don Bilotti's staging makes the book so many of us read in school come alive and offers a poignant look at a doomed people trying to enjoy life in impossible circumstances. The play centers on eight Jewish people who hide two years in a secret annex in Amsterdam to escape the persecution of the Nazis during World War II. Though the acting is uneven, the power of the story is undiminished.

Through Oct. 10 at Stage 3 Theatre, 208 S. Green St., Sonora. $12-$20; 536-1778 or www.stage3.org.

**** Excellent

*** Good

** Fair

* Poor

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