A new version of famed director Peter Brook’s acclaimed “Battlefield,” plus PJ Harvey and YouTube sensation Dan TDM, top our list of cool stuff to do in the Bay Area.
1 “Battlefield”: Peter Brook has widely been called the “greatest living director,” not just because he’s been credited with presenting entertaining and illuminating shows, but also because his 70-year career has been something of an international sojourn exploring ways to advance the bond between live theater and the audience. His latest project has been a return to “The Mahabharata,” the epic Indian poem he first adapted with Jean-Claude Carriere into an award-winning play and television series. Now Brook and Marie-Helene Estienne have turned portions of his earlier work into a 90-minute production about a victorious-in-battle king dealing with the fearsome responsibility of “now what.” The traveling production is playing at American Conservatory Theater in what for theater lovers is a must-see.
Details: Through May 21; Geary Theater, San Francisco; $25-$115; 415-749-2228, www.act-sf.org.
2 PJ Harvey: Few singer-songwriters have earned as much praise and reverence as the British-born Polly Jean Harvey, whose haunting, dark, confounding rock meditations on love, sex, spirituality and other matters of consequence have her followers feverishly awaiting her every move. She’s touring behind the 2016 release “The Hope Six Demolition Project” and comes to San Francisco’s The Masonic on May 9.
Details: 8:30 p.m.; $49.50-$75; www.livenation.com.
3 Dan TDM: Parents, the next time you start nagging your kids about spending too much time playing video games, consider the career trajectory of Dan Middleton, aka Dan TDM. He’s a 25-year-old YouTube sensation with more than 14 million subscribers and a net worth of some $2 million, all generated by his videos aimed at kids about video games and the fun times he has with his friends. He’s on tour now with a stage show built from his life and YouTube stories and comes to San Jose’s City National Civic on May 6.
Details: 2 and 6:30 p.m. (early show listed as sold out); $35-$95; sanjosetheaters.org.
4 Diablo Ballet: The talented Walnut Creek company wraps up its 23rd season with a promising program featuring Trey McIntyre’s “The Blue Boy,” set to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 1; Val Caniparoli’s mirthful “Gustav’s Rooster” and the world premiere of “Magnificent Void” by Robert Dekkers, performed to live music.
Details: 8 p.m. May 5, 2 and 8 p.m. May 6; Del Valle Theatre, Walnut Creek; $27-$47; 935-943-7469, diabloballet.org.
5 Sofya Gulyak: The Russian pianist is the only woman to capture the Leeds Piano Competition prize and has won praise around the globe for her delicate and dazzling artistry. She comes to San Jose’s Trianon Theatre May 7 to perform a program of Clementi, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and more. She’ll be available for a meet-and-greet after the recital.
Details: Presented by the Steinway Society; 2 p.m.; $40-$60; 408-990-0872, www.steinwaysociety.com.
6 Toshi Reagon: The singer-songwriter and musician is known for her earthy and passionate songs that envelope classic blues, gospel, rock and 1960s folk and range in theme from liberal politics to deeply confessional stories about her life. She comes to Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage on May 6 with her band BigLovely.
Details: 8 p.m.; $35-$38; 510-644-2020, thefreight.org.
7 The Flaming Lips: Wayne Coyne, frontman for this Oklahoma art-rock band, has somehow managed to fashion himself as the world’s strangest rock star, and not just because he’s major buds with Miley Cyrus. The band’s sound has been embraced as wildly creative and derided as painfully precious. Its shows have been known to feature Coyne performing in a large plastic bubble and people crowding the stage in crazy costumes. The Lips are touring behind the new album “Oczy Mlody” and come to Oakland’s Fox Theater May 10. Klangstof opens.
Details: 8 p.m.; $49.50; www.apeconcerts.com.
8 Pear Slices: Pear Theatre presents this show consisting of eight brand new short plays by writers whose works have graced the stage in the past: Paul Braverman, Max Gutmann, Leah Halper, Susan Jackson, Elyce Melmon, Bridgette Dutta Portman and Douglas Rees.
Details: May 5-28; Pear Theatre, Mountain View; $28-$32; thepear.org.
9 Macy Blackman: The popular Bay Area singer and pianist is known for his lively and faithful renditions of New Orleans blues and soul standards. He and his band comes to Armando’s nightclub in Martinez on May 5 to showcase their new album, “Shoorah Shoorah — The Songs of Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint.”
Details: 8 p.m.; $15; 925-228-6985, armandosmartinez.com.
10 Awesome Orchestra: The 4-year-old Bay Area outfit is known for its Open Sessions concerts, in which any musician can sign up and participate and pick up their sheet music right before the performance. Concerts — always free — can sometimes features 100 musicians, and the idea is to make the performance a fun, communal experience. The orchestra performs its 50th Open Session, featuring works by Copland, Harry Nilsson and Bay Area composer Alex Van Gils, on May 5, as part of Oakland’s First Fridays celebration.
Details: 7 p.m.; Brooklyn Preserve, Oakland; free; find more information (and a signup link for musicians) at www.awesomeorchestra.org.
Contact Randy McMullen at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter.com/randymac57.