Monday, May 3, 2010

Revisiting 'Tales' with Armistead Maupin and Olympia Dukakis

May 1, 2010

 When in San Francisco, do as the San Franciscans do -- indulge in culinary pleasures while enjoying the conversation of freethinking originals.
While in town a couple of weeks ago to review “Girlfriend,” the new Todd Almond-Matthew Sweet musical at Berkeley Rep, I had a bright idea: Why not invite Olympia Dukakis, who was performing in Morris Panych’s play “Vigil” at American Conservatory Theater, and Armistead Maupin, fictional chronicler of San Francisco par excellence, to lunch to talk about the musical version of Maupin’s “Tales of the City,” which will have its world premiere at A.C.T. at the end of next season.

Dukakis, of course, starred in the three television miniseries that were adapted from Maupin’s books.  And though she calls New York home, her open mindedness (luminously evident in her sensitive portrayal of the transsexual landlady from "Tales," Anna Madrigal) matches the ethos of this Northern California Mecca for radicals, renegades and resplendent freaks.

As my Sunday Arts and Books feature fondly reveals, sensibility is a stronger glue than Zip Code in terms of keeping old friends connected.  

-- Charles McNulty (follow me on Twitter @charlesmcnulty)

Photo: Olympia Dukakis and Armistead Maupin. Credit: Randi Lynn Beach / For The Times