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.
The Apotheosis of Pig Husbandry SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter; www.sfplayhouse.org. $20-30. Previews Wed/19-Fri/21, 8pm. Opens Sat/22, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through June 12. SF Playhouse presents the world premiere of William Bivins' new play, set at the sleazy Lazy Eight Motel, as part of its stripped-down Sandbox Series.
Bone to Pick and Diadem Cutting Ball Theater, Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor; 1-800-838-3006, www.cuttingball.com. $15-30. Previews Fri/21-Sat/22, 8pm; Sun/23, 5pm. Opens May 27, 8pm (gala opening May 28, 8pm). Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through June 20. Cutting Ball Theater closes its tenth season with a pair of plays by Eugenie Chan.
The Breath of Life NohSpace, 2840 Mariposa; www.brownpapertickets.com. $25. Opens Fri/21, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through June 6. Spare Stage Productions performs David Hare's drama about a wife and mistress dumped by the same man.
How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Lost My Virginity SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter; www.sfplayhouse.org. $20. Opens Sun/23, 7pm. Runs Sun, 7pm. Through June 27. Aileen Clark returns with a special run of her autobiographical comedy.
"San Francisco International Arts Festival" Various venues; 1-800-838-3006, www.sfiaf.org. Most shows $25. May 19-31. In its seventh incarnation, the fest hosts dance, theater, and other artists from ten countries.
God's Ear Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; www.shotgunplayers.org. $15-28. Previews Wed/19, 7pm; Thurs/20, 8pm. Runs Wed, 7pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm; and Sun, 5pm. Through June 20. Shotgun Players perform Jenny Schwartz's drama about grief; Erica Chong Shuch directs.
An Apology for the Course and Outcome of Certain Events Delivered by Doctor John Faustus on This His Final Evening Garage, 975 Howard; 585-1221, http://pustheatre.com. $15. Thurs/20-Sat/22, 8pm. This new, relatively short play with the long title, presented by Performers Under Stress, struts and frets a wearying hour upon the stage as actor Scott Baker's haughty and high-strung Faust, knowing he is bound for hell at the end of the evening, pleads his case before the audience, shadowed all the while by a speechless but expressive Mephistopheles (played with sly showmanship and moody animal intelligence by Valerie Fachman). Free brew aside, there's little merit in playwright Mickle Maher's self-conscious rambling, which more than anything chases its own tale running in semantic circles without progressing anywhere or landing a bite. (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 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. (Avila)
Company Fat Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy; www.brownpapertickets.com. $20-25. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through May 29. Exit Theatre and Pumpjam Productions perform Bill Levesque's darkly comic play, set in the Depression-era South.
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.
Fishing Shotwell Studios, 3252 19th St; www.fishingtheplay.com. $25. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through May 29. David Duman's new play satirizes foodie culture.
Geezer Marsh MainStage, 1062 Valencia; 1-800-838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Fri/21, 8pm; Sat/22, 8:30pm; Sun/23, 7pm. Geoff Hoyle presents a workshop performance of his new solo show about aging.
Giant Bones Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy; (650) 728-8098, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-50. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through June 19. Fantasy author Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) penned the source material for Stuart Bousel's world-premiere play.
*Hot Greeks Hypnodrome Theatre, 575 Tenth St; 1-800-838-3006, www.thrillpeddlers.com. $30-69. Thurs, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 27. On the principle that when you've got it you should really flaunt it, San Francisco's Thrillpeddlers essay their second revival of a musical by the storied Cockettes. Hot Greeks, which premiered in midnight performances at the old Palace Theater in 1972, was the gleefully crazed cross-dressing troupe's only other fully scripted musical besides, of course, Pearls Over Shanghai.
While not the Oresteia or anything, Hot Greeks is more than an excuse for a lot of louche, libidinous hilarity. Okay, not much more. But it is a knowing little romp supported by some infectious songs courtesy of Martin Worman and Richard "Scrumbly" Koldewyn wedding trashy high school romance with the trashy ancient Greece of Aristophanes and the Peloponnesian War. (Avila)
Marga Gomez is Proud and Bothered New Conservatory Theater Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-6988, www.nctcsf.org. $18-40. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (no show June 25); Sun, 2pm. Through June 26. Gomez performs her GLAAD Media award-winning comedy.
*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. 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. 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.
Rhino Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma; 776-1747, www.boxcartheatre.org. $14-25. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through May 29. A stark spotlight, a vibrant cellist, masked players, and a chairless theatre space greet audience members attending Boxcar Theatre's Ionesco adaptation, Rhino. Though encouraged to move about freely, most audience members (the night I attended) settled for turning their otherwise static bodies to follow the action occurring in every corner of the small room: a hypersomniac's nightscapes, a lethargic love affair between a pair of petit bourgeoisie, the slowly unraveling radio announcer reporting on the encroaching tide of rhinoceres, a fraught spinster hysterical over the fate of her pussy (cat). Though a courageous choice in staging, it didn't quite provide the feeling of the familiar under siege that it could have with more overt interaction with the not-quite-captive-enough public. And while certain of the short snipped scenes were tense and evocative in particular the homesick lamentations and anxiety-laden dreams of Eugene (Ross Pasquale) less subtle imaginings such as the intermittent lockstep marches fell flat. Bad German accents have a well-respected place in Monty Python sketches and the like not so much in a play whose original strength of metaphor doesn't need such obvious machinations. However, in keeping with an already-established Boxcar Theatre tradition, design elements such as lighting (Nick A. Olivero) and sound design (Sara Huddleston) were impeccable. (Nicole Gluckstern)
*Round and Round the Garden American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary; 749-2228, www.act-sf.org. $10-82. Wed/19-Sat/22, 8pm (also Wed/19 and Sat/22, 2pm); Sun/23, 2pm. American Conservatory Theater offers a canny and contagious production of Alan Ayckbourn's 1973 sex farce, one of the gems in the British playwright's well-loved trilogy, "The Norman Conquests," which variously lands on the same group of related characters centered on the loveable and lovelorn reprobate Norman (a charmingly unstrung Manoel Felciano) during the course of a single weekend spent in giddy, desperate, troubled infidelities. Director John Rando and a razor-sharp cast deliver a very entertaining evening. (Avila)
Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack Show Marines' Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter; 771-6900. $30-89. Thurs/20-Sat/22, 8pm (also Sat/22, 2pm); Sun/23, 2pm. Starting May 28, runs Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through June 27. 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 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. (Avila)
Speed the Plow Royce Gallery, 2910 Mariposa; 1-866-811-4111, www.speedtheplowsf.com. $28. 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. Wed/19, 7pm; Thurs/20-Fri/21, 8pm; Sat/22, 6pm; Sun/23, 3pm. 42nd Street Moon kicks off their Jerome Kern Celebration with this Oscar Hammerstein II script that features Kern's final Broadway score.
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. $20-50. Fri/21, June 4, 11, 18, 9pm; Sat/22, June 12, 8pm; May 30, June 6, 20, 7pm. Through June 20. Don Reed's solo play, making its Oakland debut after an acclaimed New York run, is truly a welcome homecoming twice over. (Avila)
In the Wake Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $13.50-71. Opens Wed/19, 8pm. Runs Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Thurs and Sat, 2pm; no matinees Thurs/20, May 29, June 3, 12, or 17; no show June 25); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through June 27. Berkeley Rep and Center Theatre Group perform Lisa Kron and Leigh Silverman's drama about a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown after she begins to question her faith in country, relationships, and herself.
Twelfth Night La Val's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; www.impacttheatre.com. $10-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through June 12. You've got to hand it to Impact Theatre: they make reimagining Shakespeare look so darned easy. To set a crass comedy about class, obsession, and mistaken identity at "Illyria Studios" in the heart of tawdry Tinseltown seems like such an obvious take, you wonder why it took someone so long to get around to doing it. True, the execution is not as vivacious as last year's A Midsummer Night's Dream, but overall, the enthusiastic cast and timeless humor win the night. (Gluckstern)
What Just Happened? Cabaret at the Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; 1-800-838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Fri/21, 9pm; Sat/22, 8pm. Nina Wise's show, an improvised work based on personal and political recent events, extends and re-opens at a new venue.
The World's Funniest Bubble Show Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, 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.
"Baggage Allowance" Z Space at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida; www.brownpapertickets.com. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. $16-20. Composer and artist Pamela Z presents her world-premiere multi-layered performance work.
"BorderOUT Collaborative: Noche de Inspiracion y Tradicion" Red Poppy Art House, 2698 Folsom; 826-2402. Fri, 8pm. $10-15. Music, theater, spoken word, acrobatics, stilt walking, and more from BorderOUT's LGBTQ immigrant artists.
Crooked Jades with Kate Weare Dance Co. Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez; 454-5238, www.noevalleymusicseries.com. Sat, 8pm. $20. The old-time music group performs with the modern dance company.
"Dream Come True: All-Female Battle and Showcase" City Dance Studios, 10 Colton; www.myspace.com/allfemalebattle. Sat, 8pm. $10-15. MCs, DJs, musicians, and dancers participate in this b-girl competition.
Sara Shelton Mann and David Szlasa Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Novellus Theater, 700 Howard; 978-2787, www.ybca.org. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $30. The choreorgrapher and media artist present a world premiere collaboration, tribes/dominion.
"2010 Rhino Benefit Spectacular" Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; 1-800-838-3006, www.therhino.org. Tues, 8pm. $20. Raise money for queer theater pioneers Theatre Rhinoceros by attending this show, featuing Leanne Borghese, Connie Champagne, Matthew Martin, and other performers.
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