Stage listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Rita Felciano, and Nicole Gluckstern. Submit items for the listings at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An Accident Magic Theatre, Bldg D, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 441-8822, www.magictheatre.org. $25-55. Previews Thurs/15-Sat/17, 8pm; Sun/18, 2:30pm; Tues/20, 7pm. Opens April 21, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2:30pm); Sun, 2:30pm; Tues, 7pm. Through May 9. Magic Theatre closes their season with Lydia Stryk's world premiere drama.
SexRev: The José Sarria Experience Mama Calizo's Voice Factory, 1519 Mission; 1-800-838-3006, www.therhino.org. $10-25. Previews Wed/14-Fri/16 and April 21-23, 8pm; Sun/18, 7pm. Opens April 24, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through May 2. Theatre Rhinoceros presents John Fisher's musical celebration of America's first queer activist.
Tell It Slant Southside Theater, Fort Mason Center, Bldg D, Marina at Laguna; www.tixbayarea.com. $20-40. Opens Sat/17, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sun, 8pm (also Sun, 2pm; no 8pm show May 16). Through May 16. BootStrap Foundation presents Sharmon J. Hilfinger and Joan McMillen's musical about Emily Dickinson.
"Wanton Darkness: Two Plays By Harold Pinter and Conor McPherson" Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason; 335-6087. $24-28. Opens Fri/16, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through May 8. 2nd Wind Productions performs Ashes to Ashes and St. Nicholas in repertory.
*...And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi Cutting Ball Theater, 277 Taylor; 1-800-838-3006, www.cuttingball.com. $15-30. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through April 25. In this inspired poetical-historical counter-narrative from Bay Area playwright Marcus Gardley, Greek mythology, African American folklore, personal family history, and Christian theology are all drawn irresistibly along in a great sweep of wild and incisive humor, passion, pathos and rousing gospel music as buoyant and wide as the Mississippi or rather Miss Sippi (the impressive Nicole C. Julien), personification of the mighty and flighty river. The Cutting Ball-Playwrights Foundation coproduction, lovingly directed by Amy Mueller, sports exquisite design touches from Cutting Ball regulars like Michael Locher, whose gorgeous plank-wood set serves as the ideal platform for a work both magnificently simple and eloquently evocative. (Avila)
Andy Warhol: Good For the Jews? Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida; 292-1233, www.tjt-sf.org. $15-45. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through May 16. Josh Kornbluth performs his new comedic show.
Baby: A Musical Off-Market Theatres, 965 Mission; 1-800-838-3006, www.roltheatre.com. $20-32. Thurs/15-Sat/17, 8pm; Sun/18, 2pm. Ray of Light Theatre performs a comedy about pregnancy.
*Den of Thieves SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter; 677-9596, www.sfplayhouse.org. $40. Wed/14-Sat/17, 8pm (also Sat/17, 3pm). Stephen Adly Guirgis has been good to SF Playhouse. The company already scored big with two of the New Yorker's gritty, dark and sharply funny plays, Our Lady of 121st Street and Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train. Director Susi Damilano continues the streak with SF Playhouse's latest, the less heavy but very funny Den of Thieves, about an unlikely foursome of inept bandits caught trying to heist a Mafioso's safe under a discotheque in Queens a simple tale that gives plenty of scope to Guirgis's muscular way with dialogue and the clash of characters. It's a meaty comedy, and the exceptional cast sells the conceit so beautifully they make it a crime to miss. (Avila)
The Diary of Anne Frank Next Stage, 1620 Gough; 1-800-838-3006, www.custommade.org. $10-28. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through May 1. Custom Made performs Wendy Kesselman's modern take on the classic.
"DIVAfest" Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy; 673-3847, www.theexit.org. Check website for dates and times. Through May 1. The ninth annual festival features plays and performances by women artists.
Eat, Pray, Laugh! Off-Market Theaters, 965 Mission; www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. Wed, 8pm. Through April 28. Off-Market Theaters presents stand up comic and solo artist Alicia Dattner in her award-winning solo show.
Frau Bachfeifengesicht's Spectacle of Perfection Stage Werx Theatre, 533 Sutter; 1-800-838-3006, www.circusfinelli.com. $15-20. Fri-Sun, 8pm. Through April 25. San Francisco's all-women clown troupe, Circus Finelli, performs their comedy show inspired by European circus acts and American vaudeville.
Lady, Be Good! Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; 255-8207, www.42ndstmoon.org. $8-44. Wed/14, 7pm; Thurs/15-Fri/16, 8pm; Sat/17, 6pm; Sun/18, 3pm. 42nd Street Moon presents George and Ira Gershwin's madcap tale of a brother-sister vaudeville team in the 1920s.
*Loveland The Marsh, 1074 Valencia; 826-5750, www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Through April 25. Starting May 8, runs Sat, 5pm and Sun, 2pm at the Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk. Through June 13. Los Angelesbased writer-performer Ann Randolph returns to the Marsh with a new solo play partly developed during last year's Marsh run of her memorable Squeeze Box. Randolph plays loner Frannie Potts, a rambunctious, cranky, and libidinous individual of decidedly odd mien, who is flying back home to Ohio after the death of her beloved mother. The flight is occasion for Frannie's own flights of memory, exotic behavior in the aisle, and unabashed advances toward the flight deck brought on by the seductively confident strains of the captain's commentary. The singular personality and mother-daughter relationship that unfurls along the way is riotously demented and brilliantly humane. (Avila)
Macho Bravado Thick House, 1695 18th St; http://machobravado.eventbee.com. $15-25. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through April 24. Asian American Theater Company performs Alex Park's drama about a Korean-American soldier dealing with life on the home front after fighting in the Middle East.
*Master Class New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org. $22-40. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through May 2. Terrence McNally's lovingly clever and thoroughly engaging portrait-play about opera icon Maria Callas takes the inspired notion of post-career Callas (Michaela Greeley) teaching a Julliard master class of eager young singers, while naturally finding herself unable to resist dominating the stage once more. Through a set of arias performed to piano accompaniment (by Kenneth Helman) by a cast of actor-singers (Alyssa Stone, Holly Nugent, Gustavo Hernández), Callas's unselfconsciously curt and even brutal interactions with the students finally evoke for this deeply proud yet insecure woman both past theatrical glories and backstage heartaches. The play receives an impressive, all-around satisfying production at New Conservatory Theatre under Arturo Catricala's astute direction. Of course, even with decent to excellent work on and off stage by the entire production team including a stately mood-setting scenic design by Kuo-Hao Lo it would no doubt amount to little without a formidable lead actor to fill Callas's elegant but slightly over-the-top shoes. Here a marvelously imposing yet charming Greeley delivers the part as if she were born to play it, and all goes swimmingly as a result. (Avila)
Othello African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton; 1-800-838-3006, www.african-americanshakes.org. $20-30. Wed/14-Thurs/15, 10am (school matinees); Sat/17, 8pm; Sun/18, 3pm. African-American Shakespeare Company closes its 15th season with this adaptation of Shakespeare's play, set during a modern-day military tribunal in Iraq.
Pearls Over Shanghai Hypnodrome, 575 Tenth St.; 1-800-838-3006, www.thrillpeddlers.com. $30-69. Fri-Sat, 8pm; starting July 10, runs Sat, 8pm and Sun, 7pm. Extended through August 1. Thrillpeddlers presents this revival of the legendary Cockettes' 1970 musical extravaganza.
The Real Americans The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 826-5750, www.themarsh.org. $18-50. Wed-Fri, 8pm (Fri/16, show at 9pm; starting April 24, no Fri shows except May 28, 8pm); Sat, 5pm; Sun, 3pm. Through May 30. The Marsh presents the world premiere of Dan Hoyle's new solo show.
*Scalpel! Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St; 647-2822, www.brava.org. $20-35. Wed/14-Sat/17, 8pm. Only a face full of Botox will prevent you beaming at Scalpel!, the best time you'll ever have at the surgeon's, a political fundraiser, or Bergdorf Goodman. A must-see evening of arch escapism from multitalented writer-director D'Arcy Drollinger (Above and Beyond the Valley of the Ultra Showgirls, etc.), it's the kind of balls out, chin tucked musical camp-comedy Off-Broadway legends are made of. After her husband leaves her for a younger woman, New York socialite Jacquelyn Tilton (a graceful, fabulous Cindy Goldfield) succumbs to peer pressure and goes under the knife of eternal youth, wielded by leading plastic surgeon Dr. Bulgari (Drollinger, subbing expertly for Mike Finn). But the Svengali Bulgari has more than liposuction on his mind, surreptitiously drawing Jac into a plot to take over the world, from ugly people. In addition to the post-op infectiousness of the badass score backed by a band perched atop either side of a massive split-level set wonderfully low-tech special effects and a dream cast combine to bring Jac's sordid nightmares, and more than one walking-talking daymare, memorably to life. The wowing supporting work includes razor sharp Arturo Galster, as (Manchurian) candidate for California senate Pepper Van Allen; Leanne Borghesi as Jacquelyn's loyal, indomitable Puerto Rican maid; and the comically incandescent Sarah Moore as poop-raking TV reporter Kitty Kelly Brown. (Avila)
Shopping! The Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; 1-800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $27-29. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Ongoing. The musical is now in its fifth year at Shelton Theater.
Vigil American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary, SF; 749-2228, www.act-sf.org. $10-82. Wed/14-Sat/17, 8pm (also Wed/14 and Sat/17, 2pm); Sun/18, 2pm. Olympia Dukakis and Marco Barricelli star in Morris Panych's comedy about a self-involved bachelor and his dying aunt.
What Mama Said About Down There Our Little Theater, 287 Ellis; 820-3250, www.theatrebayarea.org. $15-25. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through July 30. Writer-performer-activist Sia Amma presents this largely political, a bit clinical, inherently sexual, and utterly unforgettable performance piece.
*East 14th: True Tales of a Reluctant Player Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $20-35. Fri/16, April 30, and May 7, 9pm; May 1 and 8, 8pm; Sun/18 and April 25, 2pm. Through May 8. Don Reed's solo play, making its Oakland debut after an acclaimed New York run, is truly a welcome homecoming twice over. (Avila)
Equivocation Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; (415) 388-5208, www.marintheatre.org. $34-54. Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat/17 and April 24, and May 1, 2pm; no show April 30); Wed, 7:30pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through May 2. Marin Theatre Company presents playwright Bill Cain's award-winning hit, a sparksy drama that steeps itself in the history of Shakespeare's life, labors and times to, among other things, draw pointed references to a barbaric period of fear, witch-hunting and state-sponsored torture ("Politics is religion for people who think they're god," as one character has it). As staged by artistic director Jasson Minadakis, the play is nervously kinetic and pitched rather high by a cast of first-rate actors delivering surprisingly lackluster performances. The fact is Cain also bites off quite a bit in Equivocation, including "Shagspeare"'s (Charles Shaw Robinson) fraught relationship with his morosely clever daughter (Anna Bullard), neglected twin of the beloved son he lost which is perhaps why some of it seems only half chewed by the end. The play set in designer J.B. Wilson's metallic two-tiered semi-circle representing the storied Globe Theatre, where the Bard wrote and occasionally acted alongside his fellow King's Men as co-proprietor has also a wearying tendency to spell its morals in block letters. Some genuine insight into the plays and their meaning then and now lifts interest in the fictionalized action, which otherwise skirts by on mild amusement, somewhat strained dialogue and familiar post-9/11 indignation. (Avila)
Girlfriend Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $27-71. Opens Wed/14, 8pm. Runs Wed, 7pm; Thurs-Sat and Tues, 2pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through May 9. Berkeley Rep presents a new musical written around Matthew Sweet's love songs.
A History of Human Stupidity LaVal's Subterranean Theatre, 1834 Euclid, Berk; (510) 499-0356, www.randt.org. $16-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through April 25. Rough and Tumble performs Andy Bayiates' intellectual vaudeville, an examination of stupidity.
John Gabriel Borkman Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org. $34-55. Tues and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm); Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through May 9. Aurora Theatre Company performs Henrik Ibsen's pointed indictment of capitalism.
The Lysistrata Project Regent House, 2836 Regent, Berk; www.crowdedfire.org. $10-15. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through April 23. Crowded Fire presents Elana McKernan's Aristophanes-inspired tale as part of its Matchbox Production development program for new works.
*A Seagull in the Hamptons Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; www.shotgunplayers.org. $15-30. Wed, 7pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through April 25. Emily Mann's free adaptation of Chekhov's Seagull captures the essence of his early "comedy" very much a human comedy, brimming with pain, turmoil and tragedy in equal measure with laughter, love and folly and yet manages to be completely of its own (our own) time and place, so effortlessly as to seem a little miraculous. It helps, naturally, that director Reid Davis has assembled a very solid and enjoyable ensemble cast for this wonderfully tailored Shotgun Players production. (Avila)
To Kill a Mockingbird Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org. $27-62. Tues-Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through May 9. TheatreWorks performs Christopher Sergel's adaptation of Harper Lee's literary masterpiece.
Alonzo King LINES Ballet Novellus Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard; 978-2787, www.linesballet.org. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm; April 21-22, 7pm. Through April 25. The company performs its 2010 spring season.
"Bawdy Storytelling" Blue Macaw, 2565 Mission; www.thebluemacawsf.com. Wed, 8pm, $10. Off-color stories by "lascivious luminaries."
"CubaCaribe Festival of Dance and Music" Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St; www.cubacaribe.org. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm; April 25, 3pm. Through May 2. $12-22. The sixth annual fest showcases Cuban and Caribbean performers from the U.S. and abroad.
"Erotic Friction" Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission; 255-1155. Sat, 8pm, $5-25. With performance artist Frank Moore.
"Hello, Folly Revue 2" Amnesia, 853 Valencia; www.amnesiathebar.com. Tues, 8pm, $5. Cabaret-style variety show with host Ginger Murray, contortionist Tara Quinn, the Cheese Puffs dance troupe, and more.
"Holy Sh*t!" Punchline Comedy Club, 444 Battery; www.punchlinecomedyclub.com. Wed, 8pm. $15. Sammy Wegent hosts this comedy night, with Lynn Ruth Miller, Mary Van Note, and Drennon Davis.
*"Love, Humilitation, and Karaoke" Stage Werx, 533 Sutter; http://stagewerx.org. Thurs, 7pm, $20. Writer and solo performer Enzo Lombard looks, by his own admission, a little like Tony Soprano, which amounts to something of a delightful incongruity given the spectrum of characters and eccentric stretch of cultural ground he covers in this smart and witty, no-frills autobiographical show. Even while adeptly embodying a stage full of distinct characters, Lombard, a gay married forty-something with a legitimately colorful past, is ever comfortable in his own skin, exuding a confident, quick-witted, and personable demeanor as he hops from one side of the country to the other in search of, what else, love tugged at all the while by a messy and troubling relationship with his mother, a karaoke impresario, as it happens. That makes the punctuation of various vignettes by Lombard's own karaoke stylings more than standard camp and something of a birthright. His renditions of Air Supply, and other seemingly questionable choices, in fact nimbly walk a tightrope line between camp and genuine interpretation. The small stage and the show's humble properties, meanwhile, give Love, Humiliation, and Karaoke a fringe-fest feel, fresh and intimate, while director W. Kamau Bell ensures the pace is lively, the transitions neat, and the focus sharp. (Avila)
"Porchlight All Stars" San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin; 626-7500. Fri, 10pm. $50. Benefit performance for Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, with urban legend tales from Wilkes Bashford, Frank Portman, Kelly Beardlsey, and more.
"The Self Rose" Climate Theater, 285 Ninth St; www.brownpapertickets.com. Wed, 8pm. $10. Ally Johnson performs her solo show.
Shadow Circus Vaudeville Theater Climate Theater, 285 Ninth St; www.shadowcircus.com. Fri-Sat, 8pm, $15. Puppet pop-culture parodies and more.
Sicilian puppet theater Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 345-7575. Thurs, 7pm. $20. The historic company Associazone Figli di Cuticchio performs.