Readers of this blog have probably guessed my bias toward live theater—which I’ve probably also expressed directly. I’m always looking for new (or at least new to me) production companies in the Bay Area. (Yes, the Bay Area, not just San Francisco. Because as much as I love the city, there’s a lot more out there.)

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing Broadway By the Bay‘s production of “The Full Monty” at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center. The drive to San Mateo was a bit of a schlep, but the show was more than worth it. I’ve always been a fan of this criminally underrated musical, based on the British film of the same name, but I had no idea what to expect from Broadway by the Bay itself.

And I was wowed by what I discovered: high production values, a wonderful cast, even an appropriately glossy program. There’s something to be said for independent hole-in-the-wall theaters, too, but I was being offered the “Broadway” experience, and I was not let-down! It’s not too late to buy tickets to this show, which runs through October 4.

But if you can’t make “The Full Monty,” there are other shows on the horizon. For four nights in November, you can catch “Broadway Up Close and Personal: A Tribute to Cy Coleman.” And Broadway By the Bay just released their schedule for the 2009-2010 season, kicking off in April with “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.” (That’s like six months away—you have plenty of time to plan.)

Community Broadway By the Bay Lives Up to Its Name