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. For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks. For complete listings, see www.sfbg.com.
"Something C.O.O.L.: The Summer Cabaret Festival" Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; www.brownpapertickets.com. Free-$10. Opens Mon/31, 7:30pm. Runs Mon-Tues, 7:30pm; Wed, 8pm. Through June 27. Cabaret singer Carly Ozard presents six diverse showcases (Mon-Tues nights) and hosts open mics (Wed nights) with professional performers.
"Fireworks Festival" Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $25-35. June 1-July 3, showtimes vary. This performance festival includes work by John Leguizamo, David Sedaris (whose show is already sold out), Dan Hoyle, and Wes "Scoop" Nisker.
1001 Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; (510) 488-4116, www.justtheater.org. $15-30. Previews Fri/28-Sat/29, 8pm. Opens Mon/31, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm (no show June 6). Through June 20. Just Theater performs Jason Groete's Arabian Nights-inspired tale of post-9/11 life.
Woody Guthrie's American Song Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; (415) 388-5208, www.marintheatre.org. $34-54. Previews Thurs/27-Sat/29, 8pm; Sun/30, 2 and 7pm. Opens June 1, 8pm. Runs Tues, Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also June 10, 1pm; June 5 and 20, 2pm); Wed, 7:30pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Marin Theatre Company presents Peter Glazer's musical based on the life and times of the legendary songwriter.
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)
The Apotheosis of Pig Husbandry SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter; www.sfplayhouse.org. $20-30. 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. Opens Thurs/27, 8pm (gala opening Fri/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.
Boys Will Be Boys New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org. $22-40. Wed-Sat, 8pm; June 6, 23, and 20, 2pm. Through June 26. What happens when you realize you have Gay Attention Deficit Disorder? This comedic musical aims to find out.
The Breath of Life NohSpace, 2840 Mariposa; www.brownpapertickets.com. $25. 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.
Company Fat Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy; www.brownpapertickets.com. $20-25. Thurs/27-Sat/29, 8pm. 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/26, 8pm. 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/28-Sat/29, 8pm (also Sat/29, 4pm); Sun/30, 4pm. City Circus premieres an urban fairytale by Tim Barsky.
*Fishing Shotwell Studios, 3252 19th St; www.fishingtheplay.com. $25. Fri/28-Sat/29, 8pm. David J. Duman's piquant and entirely palatable satire of San Francisco foodie culture gets a knowing, deceptively casual staging from savvy newcomers OpenTab Productions in association with Footloose. The story, divided scene-wise into a series of short comic morsels, unfolds in a rising seafood restaurant with a recently branded three-star rating, run by an unusually talented but haplessly oafish chef (Matt Ingle) and his bright but bored manager (Laurie Burke) with her eye on getting the hell out of the restaurant world. (Good luck.) They soon begin a semi-torrid affair — much to the suspicion of their prurient young wait staff, comprised of a bright, gay know-it-all waiter (Ben Euphant) and a coarse, cutie bartender sans scruple (Carla Pauli). Other regular occupants include a fussy, sexually frustrated couple (Molly Gazay and Alex Plant) cocky-proud of their entirely sublimated, half-assed knowledge of food and wine. Director Mark Drumm keeps the pace swimming and the performances are uniformly crisp and captivating in this truth-filled night of "dinner" theater served up on a bed of filthy innuendo and rampant promiscuity. (Avila)
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)
*How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Lost My Virginity SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter; www.sfplayhouse.org. $20. Sun, 7pm. Through June 27. A natural born charmer and a comedic actor with hard-won training behind her, Aileen Clark wins over an audience within about ten seconds. But her stories (co-scripted by John Caldon and ably directed by Claire Rice) turn out to be just as solid: all of them loving, irreverent, and unfailingly hilarious autobiographical accounts of coming of age across three cultures. Born to a Nicaraguan mother and a Scottish father and raised principally in Brazil, Managua and San Francisco, Clark's perfectly pitched monologue comes liberally spiced with Spanish and Portuguese, sweetened by an affecting but never maudlin honesty, and stirred with a feisty humor clearly a lifetime in the making. As well paced and energetic as this Guerilla Rep and Ann Marie co-production is, it could probably be tightened further by shaving some 10 minutes off the 90-minute run time. Nonetheless, you are not likely to regret a minute of this frank and funny, wise and sassy visit to Aileen's world. (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/26-Fri/28, 8pm; Sat/29, 5pm; Sun/30, 3pm. 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/26-Sat/29, 8pm. 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. 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, less subtle imaginings such as the intermittent lockstep marches fell flat. (Gluckstern)
"San Francisco International Arts Festival" Various venues; 1-800-838-3006, www.sfiaf.org. Most shows $25. Through May 31. In its seventh incarnation, the fest hosts dance, theater, and other artists from ten countries.
Sandy Hackett's Rat Pack Show Marines' Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter; 771-6900. $30-89. 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.
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. Sun/30, June 6, 20, 7pm; June 4, 11, 18, 9pm; June 12, 8pm. 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)
God's Ear Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; www.shotgunplayers.org. $15-28. Wed, 7pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm; and Sun, 5pm. Through June 20. Shotgun Players perform Jenny Schwartz's drama about grief; Erica Chong Shuch directs.
*In the Wake Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $13.50-71. Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Thurs and Sat, 2pm; no matinees Sat/29, June 3, 12, or 17; no show June 25); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through June 27.
Brilliantly weaving the political and the personal, New York playwright Lisa Kron takes on the myth and mayhem of American exceptionalism through the prism of a compelling lefty smarty-pants named Ellen (Heidi Schreck) and her "alternative" family circle, as it slowly unravels during the first decade of the 21st century. From her modest Manhattan perch — shared with adoring, wise-cracking longtime boyfriend Danny (Carson Elrod) — Ellen rails against the ineptitude of the Democrats in the face of the rising Right and its season of havoc. But she's already told the audience she has a problem with "blind spots," much like the country. Projections of headlines and sound bites, intermittently splayed across the fortified proscenium arch, locate the action at precise moments in the dreary political timeline of the last decade, beginning with the 2000 election coup that has put a damper on Thanksgiving festivities (despite inclusion of Pilgrim smocks). Her sister (Andrea Frankle) and sister's wife (Danielle Skraastad) are there too, along with Ellen's older friend Judy (Deidre O'Connell), a cranky, deceptively oblivious relief worker just back from a refugee camp in Africa. As time goes by, and Ellen turns to an open relationship with a woman filmmaker (Emily Donahoe), our protagonist's bedrock assumptions about the natural order of things get sorely tested. Leigh Silverman directs a top-notch cast in a remarkably engaging mix of political dialogue and personal entanglements, written for the most part with stirring intelligence and incisive humor. If the play loses focus and momentum by the second act — despite a wonderfully charged scene between Ellen and Judy that is the play's most memorable — its wit, real anger and constructive irreverence still make it too good to miss. (Avila)
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)
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.
Dan Carbone Dark Room, 2263 Mission; 401-7987. Fri, 10pm, $10. The absurdist writer-performer presents an encore performance of his new works.
Circus Finelli Revue Stage Werx Theatre, 533 Sutter; www.brownpapertickets.com. Wed, 8pm. $10-15. This variety show features music, circus arts, and comedy.
Dionysian Festival Mary Sano School of Duncan Dancing, 245 Fifth St, Studio 314; 357-1817, www.duncandance.org. Sat, 8pm; Sun-Mon, 6pm. $18. The Mary Sano School of Duncan Dancing presents its annual celebration of Isadora Duncan's birth.
"Formerly Known As: Male Sex Worker Performance" LGBT Center, 1800 Market; www.brownpapertickets.com. Tues, 7pm. $10-20. Kirk Read curates this evening of performance, with Suppositori Spelling, Inbred Hybrid Collective, Adela Vazquez, and more. Scott Wells and Dancers CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission; www.counterpulse.org. Fri-Sun, 8pm (June 19 show, 9:30pm). Through June 19. $22. The high-flying company performs BALL-IST-IC.