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.
Abigail: The Salem Witch Trials Temple SF, 540 Howard; www.templesf.com. $10. July 29, Aug 5, 12, 19, 26, 9pm. Through Aug 26. Buzz Productions, with Skycastle Music and Lunar Eclipse Records, presents an original rock opera based on the Salem witch trials.
Beijing, California Thick House Theater, 1695 18th St; www.asianamericantheater.org. $15-25. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Sat/17. Asian American Theater Company presents a new play by Paul Heller set in the year 2050, when China invades America.
Cindy Goldfield & Scrumbly Koldewyn in Cowardly Things New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctsf.org. $20-28. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through July 31. Cindy Goldfield and Scrumbly Koldewyn in a tribute to Noel Coward.
Comedy Ballet The Garage, 975 Howard; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-25. Thurs-Sat, 8pm, Sun, 3pm. Through Sun/18. Dark Porch Theatre presents an outlandish and unusual dance and theater hybrid.
Dead Certain Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa; (866) 811-4111. $12-28. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through August 14. Expression Productions presents a psychological thriller by Marcus Lloyd.
Foresight Fort Mason Southside Theater, Building D; www.fortmason.org. $22-27. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 8pm. Through July 18. Easily Distracted Theatre presents a new play by Bay Area filmmaker Ruben Grijalva.
Gilligan's Island: Live on Stage! The Garage, 975 Howard; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-20. Sun, 8pm. Through August 29. Moore Theatre and SAFEhouse for the Performing Arts brings the TV show to the stage, lovey.
How the Other Half Loves Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason; (800) 838-3006, www.offbroadwaywest.org. $35, Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through July 31. In Alan Ayckbourn's 1971 comedy, a night of infidelity propels two colliding couples into menacing a third, a pair of innocents unwittingly drawn into the whole affair as alibis. The collisions are made all the more kinetic by the fact that Ayckbourn cheekily drops the two principal couples into overlapping living rooms, where they continually brush by each other in ironic obliviousness. At the outset of this droll two-act, Fiona Foster (a smart, cucumber-cool Sylvia Kratins) has just slept with Bob Phillips (a brilliantly sourpussed James Darbyshire), junior colleague of her husband Frank (Jeff Garrett, exuding the animated splendor of the full-on English twit), on the night of the couple's wedding anniversary (pure coincidence for the forgetful, loveless Fiona). In loose coordination with lover Bob, Fiona explains her late night absence with reference to a pair of vague acquaintances, the Featherstones (Jocelyn Stringer and Adam D. Simpson). Bob does the same with Teresa (a spunky Corinne Proctor), his homebound wife and a new, deeply disgruntled young mother. Naturally, back-to-back dinner parties with said alibis ensue, much to the horror and chagrin of the adulterers. Off Broadway West Theatre Company's production, smoothly helmed by Richard Harder, makes the most of the complex staging as both time and space collapse over intersecting dining tables. If the play is slow to catch fire, it reaches a nice sustained peak that proves worth the going. Shaky accents from Garrett and especially Simpson can distract at times, but Harder's cast is generally solid and engaging, with particularly enjoyable work from Darbyshire and Proctor as the volatile younger Phillips with their crass bickering, canned erotic energy, and barely countenanced off-stage baby. (Avila)
The 91 Owl African American Arts Cultural Complex, 762 Fulton; 574-8908, www.brownpapertickets.com. $10-25. Nightly, 8pm. Through July 22. A production of Bernard Norris's play about the life of a San Francisco bus stop.
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.
Piaf: Love Conquers All Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $25-36. Tues-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm. Through August 7. Tone Poet Productions brings a portrait of Edith Piaf to the stage.
Posibilidad, or Death of the Worker Dolores Park and other sites; 285-1717, www.sfmt.org. Free. Sat-Sun, 2pm; also Sept 6, 2pm; Sept 17, 8pm. It may have been just a coincidence, but it certainly seems auspicious that the San Francisco Mime Troupe, itself collectively run since the 1970's, would preview their latest show Posibilidad on the United Nations International Day of Cooperatives. The show, which centers around the struggles of the last remaining workers in a hemp clothing factory ("Peaceweavers"), hones in on the ideological divide between business conducted as usual, and the impulse to create a different system. Taking a clip from the Ari Lewis/Naomi Klein documentary The Take, half of the play is set in Argentina, where textile-worker Sophia (Lisa Hori-Garcia) becomes involved in a factory takeover for the first time. Her past experiences help inform her new co-workers' sitdown strike and takeover of their own factory after they are told it will close by their impossibly fey, new age boss Ernesto (Rotimi Agbabiaka). You don't need professional co-op experience to find humor in the nascent collective's endless rounds of meetings, wince at their struggles against capitalistic indoctrination, or cheer the rousing message of "Esta es Nuestra Lucha" passionately sung by Velina Brown, though in another welcome coincidence, the run of Posibilidad also coincides with the National Worker Cooperative conference being held in August, so if you get extra inspired, you can always try to join forces there. (Nicole Gluckstern)
Reading My Dad's Porn and French Kissing the Dog The Marsh Studio Theater, 1074 Valencia; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/17. The title of San Francisco writer-performer Cherry Zonkowski's confessional solo show gives only a little awaya passing detail from the Nordic diversions of a spirited army brat and daughter of an alcoholic fatherbut the rest of the narrative leaves even less to the imagination. An account of Zonkowski's initiation into the sex party and BDSM scene, Reading My Dad's Porn bounces gleefully between comically graphic depictions of sweaty, writhing Bay Area meet-and-greets and a childhood and young adulthood buried in family dysfunction, a loveless marriage, and the grueling teaching load of a recent English PhD. Ultimately, it's the story of a woman finding her own identity and community, and if the outlines sound familiar they also feel that way. The straightforward plotpeppered with humorous details and asides (as well as the odd song, accompanied by accordionist Salane Schultz, alternating nights with Aaron Seeman)lacks both urgency and characters of much complexity. The story's patina of outré sex, meanwhile, is far from revelatory and too superficial and jokey to offer much dramatic heft. Nevertheless, the show, developed with director David Ford, draws a limited appeal from the force of Zonkowski's extroverted personality, whose orientation sexual and otherwise skews toward funalthough her more aggressive attempts to corral the audience into participating (mainly vocally) in the show's narrative high jinx may put some off even more than the fisting by the snack table. (Avila)
What Mama Said About Down There Our Little Theater, 287 Ellis; 820-3250, www.theatrebayarea.org. $15-25. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through August 28. Writer-performer-activist Sia Amma presents this largely political, a bit clinical, inherently sexual, and utterly unforgettable performance piece.
Young Frankenstein Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor; 551-2000, www.shnsf.com. $30-99. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm, also Tues/13, July 20, 8pm; Wed/7, July 24, 21, 2 and 8pm. Through July 25.
For all its outlandish showmanship, Mel Brooks's other movie-turned-musical is not quite as grand a beast as The Producers . Still, the adventures of Victor Frankenstein's reputation-conscious grandson, Frederick Frankensteinplayed with exceeding charm and surgeon-like skill by major cut-up Roger Bart, originator of the role on Broadwayremains a monster of a show, in more ways than one. The rapid-fire repartee, for starters, is scarily deft, the comic timing among a first-rate cast all but flawless (even when milking a line shamelessly), the fancy footwork (choreographed by director Susan Stroman) pretty fancy, and the mise en scène holds some attractive surprises as well. At the same time, and despite the fecund humor revolving around questions of size and virility, the show's actual two-and-a-half-hour length proves a bit wearying, especially as many of the best jokes (though by no means all) are the much-loved and universally much-repeated gags from the film. Moreover, Brooks's songs, while very able, rarely rise to memorable and sometimes feel perfunctory or a bit busy. One of the glorious exceptions is the blind hermit scene (played brilliantly by Brad Oscar), which combines the hilariously plaintive song "Please Send Me Someone" with a lovingly faithful rendition of the original spoof for a sequence that literally smokes. (Avila)
*East 14th: True Tales of a Reluctant Player Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $20-50. July 24, 31, 8pm; Sun/18, July 25, Aug 1, 7pm; Fri/16, 9pm. Through August 1. Don Reed's solo play, making its Oakland debut after an acclaimed New York run, is truly a welcome homecoming twice over. (Avila)
Left of Oz Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $25-50. Fri-Sat, 8pm, Sun, 7pm. Through Sun/18. Stephanie's Playhouse presents a lez-queer musical comedy following the out west adventures of Dorothy.
Speech & Debate Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; www.auroratheatre.org. $34-55. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm, 7pm; Tues, 7pm. Through Sun/18. Aurora Theatre closes its 18th season with Stephen Karam's comedy about three teen misfits connected to a small town sex scandal.
BATS Improv Theatre Bayfront Theater, Fort Mason Center, B350 Fort Mason; 474-6776, www.improv.org. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through July 31. Bay Area Theatresports presents an evening of theater and comedy.
The Bowls Project: Secrets of the Apocalyptic Intimate Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Sculpture Court, 701 Mission; 978-2787, www.ybca.org. Various times. Through August 22. Charming Hostess presents a series of performances in conjunction with an interactive sound sculpture.
Liz Grant Variety Pack Comedy Show Purple Onion, 140 Columbus; 200-8781, www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri, 4:30pm. Through Sept 3. $10. A changing lineup of stand up comedy.
"San Francisco Olympians Festival" Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy; www.sfolympians.com Fri/16-Sat/17, 8pm, $10. A series of one-act perfomances by No Nude Men Productions.