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Copeland’s Show Perfect for Holidays
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 22:00
Brian Copeland presents a scene from the show where his grandmother drives the 6-year-old Brian to a job.

By Jim Knowles • San Leandro Times
When he was 6 years old, Brian Copeland set out to buy his mom the perfect Christmas gift – a jewelry box from the White Front store on Hegenberger Road by the Oakland Coliseum.

But first, he had to save up the $11.97 to make the purchase. This sets the wheels in motion for Brian’s adventure, including an interview at a car dealership in San Leandro, since Brian had the notion he had a gift for selling automobiles.

Copeland’s family-friendly holiday show, The Jewelry Box, is playing through Dec. 27 at the Marsh Theater on Valencia Street in the Mission District of San Francisco. Copeland plays all the parts in the one-man show – himself, everybody in his family, as well as the car dealer and the old dudes hanging out by the local liquor store.

The Jewelry Box is a timeless Christmas tale, like an O. Henry story, where the real value of the gift turns out to be something other than the merchandise.

The Jewelry Box is playing at the Marsh through Dec. 27, and it will also play at the San Leandro High Performing Arts Center, 2250 Bancroft Ave., on Sunday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m.

Copeland knows how to tell a story and he keeps the audience entertained throughout the show. He mixes moments of sadness and funny bits, just as he does in his classic show about his family moving to San Leandro in the 1970s, Not a Genuine Black Man.

The same director, Goldie Award winning playwright David Ford, who specializes on solo shows, directed both Genuine and The Jewelry Box.

Copeland drops lots of of ‘70s pop culture references in the story – from the family’s Plymouth to Roller Derby. He has a remarkable recollection of 1970s-era White Front merchandise, which also got laughs from the audience at the Marsh. White Front was one of the original big box stores that sprung up around the East Bay during the Farrah Fawcett era.

Grandma Copeland plays a prominent role, just as she does on other Copeland shows, with her homespun wisdom and no-nonsense approach. As Copeland says, “She could pinch a penny hard enough to give Lincoln a migraine.”

The Jewelry Box plays at The Marsh, 1062 Valencia St., in San Francisco through Dec. 27. Shows are on Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m., and Saturdays at 5 p.m. Double shows will be on Saturdays, Dec. 20 and Dec. 27, at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Tickets are $30 to $40 general, $60 to $100 reserved. For more information or to order tickets, call 415-282-3055 between 1 and 4 p.m., or go to



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