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 email@example.com.
Peter Pan Threesixty Theater, Ferry Park (on Embarcadero across from the Ferry Bldg); www.peterpantheshow.com. $30-125. Previews Tues/27 and April 29, 7pm; April 30-May 1, 7:30pm (also May 1, 2pm); April 28 and May 5, 2pm; May 2, 1 and 5pm. Opens May 8, 7:30pm. Runs Tues and Thurs, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 7:30pm (also Sat, 2pm); Wed, 2pm; Sun, 1 and 5pm. Through August 29. JM Barrie's tale is performed in a specially-built 360-degree CGI theater.
Tartuffe Studio 205 at Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission; 377-5882, http://generationtheatre.com. $20-25. Opens Fri/23, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through May 16. Generation Theatre performs a new English translation of Molière's classic, in Alexandrine verse.
Oliver! Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College, Berk; www.berkeleyplayhouse.org. $24-33. Opens Sat/24, 7pm. Runs Fri, 7:30pm; Sat, 2 and 7pm; Sun, 1 and 6pm. Through May 16. Berkeley Playhouse performs the Dickens-based musical.
An Accident Magic Theatre, Bldg D, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 441-8822, www.magictheatre.org. $25-55. Opens Wed/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.
*...And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi Cutting Ball Theater, 277 Taylor; 1-800-838-3006, www.cuttingball.com. $15-30. Thurs/22-Sat/24, 8pm; Sun/25, 5pm. 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. Renowned monologist Josh Kornbluth is ready to admit his niche is a narrow one: he talks about himself, and more than that, he talks about his relationship to his beloved late father, the larger-than-life old-guard communist of Kornbluth's breakthrough Red Diaper Baby. So it will not be surprising that in his current (and still evolving) work, created with director David Dower, the performer-playwright's attempt to "enter" Warhol's controversial ten portraits of famous 20th-century Jews (neatly illuminated at the back of the stage) stirs up memories of his father, along with a close family friend an erudite bachelor and closeted homosexual who impressed the boyhood Josh with bedtime stories culled from his dissertation. The scenes in which Kornbluth recreates these childhood memories are among the show's most effective, although throughout the narrative Kornbluth, never more confident in his capacities, remains a knowing charmer. But the story's central conceit, concerning his ambivalence over presenting a showing of "Warhol's Jews" at San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum, feels somehow artificial. It's almost a stylized rendition of the secular-Jewish moral quandary and neurotic obsession driving Kornbluth works of the past or in other words, all surface, not unlike the work of another shock-haired artist, but less meaningfully so. (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/23-Sun/25, 8pm. San Francisco's all-women clown troupe, Circus Finelli, performs their comedy show inspired by European circus acts and American vaudeville.
*Loveland The Marsh, 1074 Valencia; 826-5750, www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Sat/24, 8:30pm; Sun/25, 7pm. 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/22-Sat/24, 8pm. 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)
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-Thurs and May 28, 8pm; Sat, 5pm; Sun, 3pm. Through May 30. The Marsh presents the world premiere of Dan Hoyle's new solo show.
SexRev: The José Sarria Experience Mama Calizo's Voice Factory, 1519 Mission; 1-800-838-3006, www.therhino.org. $10-25. Previews Wed/21-Fri/23, 8pm. Opens Sat/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.
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.
Tell It Slant Southside Theater, Fort Mason Center, Bldg D, Marina at Laguna; www.tixbayarea.com. $20-40. 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. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through May 8. 2nd Wind Productions performs Ashes to Ashes and St. Nicholas in repertory.
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. Sun/25, 2pm; April 30 and May 7, 9pm; May 1 and 8, 8pm. 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/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. Wed, 7pm; Thurs-Sat and Tues, 2pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through May 9. If you like Matthew Sweet's songs you'll probably like the spirited renditions in this new boy-meets-boy musical, which borrows its title from Sweet's famous 1991 album. The songs, backed by a solid band in a recessed fake-wood-paneled den at the back of the stage, underscore the fraught but exhilarating emotional bond between two Nebraska teens at the end of their high school careers and the cusp of an anxious, ambiguous independence. The performances and chemistry generated by actors Ryder Bach and Jason Hite under Les Waters' sharp direction are marvelous, delivering perfectly the inherent honesty and feeling in Todd Almond's book, while Joe Goode's beautifully understated choreography adds a fresh, youthful insouciance to the staging. But the story is a small one, not just a small town story, and its short, predictable arc makes for a slackness not altogether compensated for by the evocative tension between the lovers. (Avila)
A History of Human Stupidity LaVal's Subterranean Theatre, 1834 Euclid, Berk; (510) 499-0356, www.randt.org. $16-20. Thurs/22-Sat/24, 8pm; Sun/25, 7pm. Rough and Tumble presents a new play about an old subject, human folly. Actually, Andy Bayiates' play which under Cliff Mayotte's direction takes the form of an out-to-the-audience physicalized history lesson before a blackboard wall is less than comprehensive, leaping from a Dawn-of-Man slugfest to a familiar recounting of Western imperial history under an evolving definition of stupidity initially, "a good idea gone bad." Performed unevenly by a five-member female cast, the wordier humor leans toward the quirky or goofy, while the slapstick lacks much of a punch, despite a fair amount of punching. In the end, the insights and irreverence are too pedestrian to sustain even those theoretically receptive to a wacky lecture on familiar themes. (Avila)
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. A former bank manager (James Carpenter) who did time for illegally speculating with customer accounts to the ruin of all now paces like a lone wolf (in the operative metaphor) in his upstairs study, planning a return to respectability, as his estranged wife (Karen Grassle) occupies the rooms below along with a testy housekeeper (Lizzie Calogero), where her sister (Karen Lewis) competes for the love and loyalty of the patriarch's grown son (Aaron Wilton), who contrary to the designs of all his elders is determined to marry a charming widow (Pamela Gaye Walker) and "live," as he is compelled to reiterate. Ibsen's play has an enduring topicality that is hard to miss of course, but Aurora's production, directed by veteran hand Barbara Oliver, also inadvertently suggests why this leaden, slightly ridiculous work is so rarely produced, despite some solid acting, especially from an imposing yet slyly comical Carpenter in the title role. (Avila)
The Lysistrata Project Regent House, 2836 Regent, Berk; www.crowdedfire.org. $10-15. Thurs/22-Fri/23, 8pm. 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/21, 7pm; Thurs/22-Sat/24, 8pm; Sun/25, 5pm. 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. Wed-Thurs, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. The company performs its 2010 spring season.
"Bay Area National Dance Week" Various locations; www.bayareadw.org. April 23-May 2. Over 400 free events, including performances and classes, hightlight this 12th annual celebration of dance.
"The Cat's Pajamas" Make-Out Room, 2335 22nd St; www.makeoutroom.com. Mon, 8pm, $5. Cabaret show featuring a variety of acts under the theme "ModMambo."
"CubaCaribe Festival of Dance and Music" Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St; www.cubacaribe.org. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm; Sun/25, 3pm. Through May 2. $12-22. The sixth annual fest showcases Cuban and Caribbean performers from the U.S. and abroad.
"Diaspora Tales #2: 1969" CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri-Sat, 8pm. $15. Asian Improv Arts, Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center, and Oakland Asian Cultural Center collaborate on this interdisciplinary work.
"Evolution of a Kiss" Shotwell Studios, 3252-A 19th St; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through May 1. $10-15. Cynthia Brinkman performs her solo show based on real-life accounts of first kisses.
"Kindergarde: Avant-Garde Poems, Plays, Stories, and Songs for Children" California College of Arts, 1111 Eighth St; www.sptraffic.org. Sun, 5:30pm, $5. Small Press Traffic presents this eclectic performance.
"Performance Art in Front of an Audience Ought to Be Entertaining" Marsh Studio Theater, 1062 Valencia; www.themarsh.org. Wed, 7:30pm. $10-20. Phillipe Coquet and Carla Pauli perform Sean Fletcher and Isabel Reichert's drama set amid the 1980s avant garde art scene.
"La Semilla Caminante/The Traveling Seed" Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia; 626-2787. Fri-Sun, 8pm. $5-15. Intersection and Campo Santo present a new multimedia performance work by Celia Herrera Rodriguez, Cherrie Moraga, and Alleluia Panis.
"Springboard V" Meridian Gallery, 535 Powell; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. $10-25. Jump! Theater presents this staged reading of excerpts from plays by local writers.