Bay Area’s Best Bets for the weekend | May 23-26

Maria Giere Marquis portrays groundbreaking scientist Henrietta Leavitt in City Lights Theater Company’s production of “Silent Sky,” running through June 16 in San Jose. (Photo by Taylor Sanders/City Lights Theater Company)

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.

• “Silent Sky”: In-demand playwright Lauren Gunderson is a self-professed science geek and she puts that to good use in this powerful work that centers on the life of early 20th-century scientist Henrietta Leavitt, who persevered in a male-centered culture to develop groundbreaking theories on measuring the distance between planets and stars. San Jose’s City Lights Theater Company presents “Silent Sky” through June 16; tickets are $23-$39 at 408-295-4200 or

Marcus Shelby. (Photo courtesy of SFJazz)

• Marcus Shelby: The bassist, composer and bandleader is a Bay Area treasure, both for his musical prowess and the sheer force of his creative energy on projects tackling a variety of civil rights issues. Having recently been named the resident artistic director at SFJazz, Shelby stages a four-day run at the San Francisco venue with concerts touching on blues, baseball, black feminism and Duke Ellington. Find the schedule and get tickets ($25-$70) at

• BottleRock Napa Valley: It’s one of the biggest shindigs of the Bay Area summer season, a three-day blast of A-List musical acts, celebrity chefs, and sumptuous food and beverage offerings. The event usually sells out, but at last look single-day tickets ($179) were still available at but going fast. The event runs noon-10 p.m. May 24-26 at the Napa Valley Expo in Napa. Musical acts include Neil Young, Mumford & Sons, Imagine Dragons, Logic and many others. Check the website for parking and other essential info.

• “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”: Don’t look now, but the outdoor theater season is up and running. California Shakespeare Theater kicks off its 2019 season with this Shakespeare romantic charmer at the enchanting Bruns Amphitheatre in Orinda. Even if the weather is iffy, we expect the experience will still be magical. The show runs through June 22. Tickets are $43-$99 at 510-548-9666 or

• San Francisco International Arts Festival: The annual event returns May 23 through June 2 at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, presenting a staggering array of dance, theater and music performances from cultures near and far, many of which reflect these unsettling times. Most events cost $15-$38, festival passes run $40-$75; find a complete schedule and reserve tickets at

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