Stage listings

|
()

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 listings@sfbg.com.

THEATER

OPENING

Abigail: The Salem Witch Trials, A Rock Opera Temple SF, 540 Howard; www.templesf.com. $10. Opens Thurs/6, 9pm. Starting June 3, runs Thurs, 9pm. Through Sept 23. Buzz, Skycastle, and Lunar Eclipse present this original rock opera.

Fishing Shotwell Studios, 3252 19th St; www.fishingtheplay.com. $25. Opens Fri/7, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through May 29. David Duman's new play satirizes foodie culture.

Speed the Plow Royce Gallery, 2910 Mariposa; 1-866-811-4111, www.speedtheplowsf.com. $28. Opens Thurs/8, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through June 19. Expression Productions performs David Mamet's black comedy.

Very Warm for May Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; 255-8207. $38-44. Previews Wed/5, 7pm; Thurs/6-Fri/7, 8pm. Opens Sat/8, 6pm. Runs Wed, 7pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 6pm; Sun, 3pm. Through May 24. 42nd Street Moon kicks off their Jerome Kern Celebration with this Oscar Hammerstein II script that features Kern's final Broadway score.

BAY AREA

Twelfth Night La Val's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; www.impacttheatre.com. $10-20. Previews Thurs/6-Fri/7, 8pm. Opens Sat/8, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through June 12. Impact Theatre sets Shakespeare's romance in Hollywood.

What Just Happened? Cabaret at the Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Wy, Berk; 1-800-838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Opens Fri/7, 9pm. Runs Fri, 9pm; Sat, 8pm (Sat/8 show at 9pm). Through May 27. Nina Wise's show, an improvised work based on personal and political recent events, extends and re-opens at a new venue.

ONGOING

An Accident Magic Theatre, Bldg D, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 441-8822, www.magictheatre.org. $25-55. Wed/5-Sat/8, 8pm (also Sat/8, 2:30pm); Sun/9, 2:30pm. Magic Theatre closes their season with Lydia Stryk's world premiere drama.

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 June 20. 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 15. Custom Made performs Wendy Kesselman's modern take on the classic.
Eat, Pray, Laugh! Off-Market Theaters, 965 Mission; www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. Wed, 8pm. Through May 26. Off-Market Theaters presents stand up comic and solo artist Alicia Dattner in her award-winning solo show.

Echo's Reach Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St; 665-2275, www.citycircus.org. $14-35. Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 4pm); Sun, 4pm. Through May 30. City Circus premieres an urban fairytale by Tim Barsky.

Geezer Marsh MainStage, 1062 Valencia; 1-800-838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm (Sun/9 show at 8pm). Through May 23. Geoff Hoyle presents a workshop performance of his new solo show about aging.

Hot Greeks Hypnodrome Theatre, 575 Tenth St; 1-800-838-3006, www.thrillpeddlers.com. $30-69. Thurs, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 27. Thrillpeddlers work their revival magic on the Cockettes' 1972 musical extravaganza.

*Pearls Over Shanghai Hypnodrome, 575 Tenth St.; 1-800-838-3006, www.thrillpeddlers.com. $30-69. Fri-Sat, 8pm, through June 26; starting July 10, runs Sat, 8pm and Sun, 7pm. Extended through August 1. Thrillpeddlers presents this revival of the legendary Cockettes' 1970 musical extravaganza.

Peter Pan Threesixty Theater, Ferry Park (on Embarcadero across from the Ferry Bldg); www.peterpantheshow.com. $30-125. Previews Wed/5, 2pm. Opens Sat/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.

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. Starting July 8, runs Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm; Sun, 3pm, through Aug 8. The Marsh presents the world premiere of Dan Hoyle's new solo show.

Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack Show Marines' Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter; 771-6900. $30-89. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through May 23. From somewhere before the Beatles and after Broadway "Beatlemania" comes this big band cigarettes-and-high-ball nightclub act, recreating the storied Vegas stage shenanigans of iconic actor-crooners Frank Sinatra (David DeCosta), Dean Martin (Tony Basile), and Sammy Davis Jr. (Doug Starks), and sidekick comedian Joey Bishop (Sandy Hackett). The excuse, if one were needed, is that god (voiced in mealy nasal slang by Buddy Hackett, appropriately enough) has deemed a Rat Pack encore of supreme importance to the continued unfurling of his inscrutable plan, and thus unto us a floorshow is given. The band is all-pro and the songs sound great — DeCosta's singing as Sinatra is uncanny, but all do very presentable renditions of signature songs and standards. Meanwhile, a lot of mincing about the stage and the drink cart meets with more mixed success, and I don't just mean scotch and soda. The Rat Pack is pre-PC, of course, but the off-color humor, while no doubt historically sound, can be dully moronic — and the time-warp didn't prevent someone in opening night's audience from laying into Hackett's opening monologue for a glib reference to suicide. Though talk about killing: thanks to the heckler, the actor — son to Buddy and the show's co-producer (alongside chanteuse Lisa Dawn Miller, who sings a cameo as Frank's "One Love") — got more life out of that joke over the rest of the evening than any other bit. (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.

Tartuffe Studio 205 at Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission; 377-5882, http://generationtheatre.com. $20-25. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through May 16. Generation Theatre performs a new English translation of Molière's classic, in Alexandrine verse.

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/6-Sat/8, 8pm. Second Wind and Project 9 Productions co-present a double-bill of twisted and mysterious little-big plays under the umbrella title, "Wanton Darkness." The evening begins with Harold Pinter's Ashes to Ashes, a pas de deux between a fortysomething couple, Rebecca (Lisa-Marie Newton) and Devlin (Lol Levy), wherein Devlin closely questions Rebecca about a certain sadomasochistic relationship and accompanying dreams, in vaguely menacing tones. The scenic design (by Fred Sharkey) suggests a psychiatrist's office as much as "a New York penthouse apartment," which speaks to the ambiguity in the dialogue but also to the slightly heavy-handed approach taken here by the actors under Ian Walker's direction. The touch is far more apt overall in the second play, St. Nicholas, also directed by Walker. An early effort by Irish playwright Conor McPherson (Shining City; The Seafarer), the play unfolds as a two-part monologue by a cynical drink-sodden theater critic (tell it, brother) who follows a spiral of self-loathing right down into the company of a set of fetching young vampires. With something like the quality of a gothic-styled AA testimonial, it proves a somewhat roving but intriguing yarn, nicely delivered by the capable Fred Sharkey. (Avila)

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.

BAY AREA

*East 14th: True Tales of a Reluctant Player Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $20-35. Fri/7, 9pm; Sat/8, 8pm. Don Reed's solo play, making its Oakland debut after an acclaimed New York run, is truly a welcome homecoming twice over. (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 16. 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)

John Gabriel Borkman Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org. $34-55. Wed/5-Sat/8, 8pm; Sun/9, 2 and 7pm. 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)

Oliver! Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College, Berk; www.berkeleyplayhouse.org. $24-33. Fri, 7:30pm; Sat, 2 and 7pm; Sun, 1 and 6pm. Through May 16. Berkeley Playhouse performs the Dickens-based musical.

Terroristka Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; (415) 891-7235, www.brownpapertickets.com. $12-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through May 16. Threshold: Theatre on the Verge performs Rebecca Bella's drama, based on the true story of a Chechen woman trained as a suicide bomber.

To Kill a Mockingbird Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org. $27-62. Wed/5, 7:30pm; Thurs/6-Sat/8, 8pm (also Sat/8, 2pm); Sun/9, 2 and 7pm. TheatreWorks performs Christopher Sergel's adaptation of Harper Lee's literary masterpiece.

The World's Funniest Bubble Show Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Wy, Berk; (415) 826-5750, www.themarsh.org. $10-50. Sun, 11am. Through June 27. The Amazing Bubble Man, a.k.a. Louis Pearl, performs his family-friendly show.

PERFORMANCE/DANCE

"Bare Bones Butoh Presents: Showcase 17" Studio 210, 3435 Cesar Chavez; bobwebb20@hotmail.com. $5-20. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Butoh by Bad Unkl Sister, Ronnie Baker, Liz Saari-Filippone, Vangeline, Bob Webb, and more. Workshops (same location, Sat-Sun, noon-4pm, $50-90) will also be held.

"Bijou" Martuni's, Four Valencia; www.dragatmartunis.com. Sun, 7pm. $5. Trauma Flintstone hosts the fifth anniversary of this eclectic cabaret.

Rozelle Polido Garage, 975 Howard; www.brownpapertickets.com. Sun-Mon, 8pm, $10-20. The choregrapher presents breathe;ing blue in shades of three, two, and one: tomorrow with guest choregrapher Kelly Bowker.

"See Mon, I Didn't Forget!" Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; www.brownpapertickets.com. Sun, 2 and 7pm. $20-30. Celebrate Mother's Day with solo performers Julia Jackson, Thao P. Nguyen, Zahra Noorbakhsh, Martha Rynberg, and Paolo Sambrano.

Smuin Ballet Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard; 978-ARTS, www.smuinballet.org. Fri-Sat, and May 11-14, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm (also Sun/9, 7pm). Through May 16. $18-56. The company performs Petite Mort, the world premiere French Twist, and Songs of Mahler.

"13th Annual United States of Asian America Festival" Various venues; www.apiculturalcenter.org. May 1-June 14. Festival events include art shows, book and poetry readings, dance performances, comedy, music, and more.

"Tender Stone" CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission; 1-800-838-3006, www.counterpulse.org. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through May 16. $20. Artship Ensemble performs a new work about women in ancient Persia.