Stage listings

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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

A Picasso Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa; (866) 811-4111; www.apicassoonstage.com. $12-28. Previews Thurs/2-Fri/3, 8pm. Opens Sat/4, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Expression Productions presents Jeffery Hatcher's drama about the authenticity of three Picasso paintings.

Bi-Poseur StageWerx Theatre, 533 Sutter; (800) 838-3006; www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. Opens Thurs/2, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sept 25. W. Kamau Bell directs a solo piece by Oakland native Paolo Sambrano.

Olive Kitteridge Z Space at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida; (800) 838-3006; www.zspace.org. $20-40. Previews Wed/1-Thurs/2, 7pm; Fri/3, 8pm. Opens Sat/4, 8pm. Runs Wed-Thurs, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through sept 26. Word for Word presents a premiere production of stories from Elizabeth Strout's award-winning novel.

BAY AREA

Anton in Show Business Marion E. Green Black Box Theater, 531 19th St; (510) 436-5085; www.theatrefirst.com. $10-30. Previews Thurs/2, 8pm. Opens Fri/3, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. TheatreFIRST presents Jane Martin's theater comedy, under the direction of Michael Storm.

She Loves Me Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek; (825) 943-7469; www.CenterREP.org. $36-45. Previews Fri/3-Sat/4, 8pm; Sun/5, 2:30pm. Opens Tues/7, 7:30pm. Runs Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2:30 and 8pm; Sun, 2:30pm. Through Oct 10.Center REPertory company presents a musical choreographed and directed by Robert barry fleming.

 

ONGOING

*Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Actors Theatre, 855 Bush; 345-1287, www.actorstheatresf.org. $26-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 2. Actors Theatre presents Tennessee Williams' sultry, sweltering tale of a Mississippi family, directed by Keith Phillips.

Don't Ask New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972; www.nctcsf.org. $24-36. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sept 19. New Conservatory Theatre Center presents the West Coast premiere of Bill Quigley's play about the affair between a Private and his superior.

The Glass Menagerie Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma; 776-1747, www.boxcartheatre.org. $15-25. Fri/2 and Sat/3, 8pm. The third production in Boxcar Theatre's trio of Tennessee Williams plays in repertory is the biggest disappointment, not only because director Jessica Holt's production comes bloated distractingly by "shadow" versions of the principals and other random characters, but because it's the play that otherwise feels most apt and urgent. The "social background of the play," as narrator Tom (a generally credible Brian Trybom) describes it, is a landscape characterized by depression at home and revolution abroad, as pent-up American energies shuffle along through hangdog subsistence, shallow hedonism and occasional "labor unrest." This is the social projection of Tom's private quandary, but that's just how this partly autobiographical play speaks so eloquently and subtly to larger themes. When the unhelpful, enervating pantomiming and other stage business dies down a bit, you can see the principal roles—rounded out by Hannah Knapp as Tom's too fragile sister, Laura, and Suzan A. Kendall as his indomitable mother, Amanda—breath more genuinely and the play actually take shape on the stage. The arrival of the Gentleman Caller (played with winning solidity by Boxcar's Nick A. Olivero) marks the best part of the evening, even if the gentleman arrives too late to fully redeem the proceeding hour's misconceived shenanigans. (Avila)

*Dreamgirls Curran Theatre, 445 Geary; (888) SHN-1749, www.shnsf.com. $30-99. Wed, 2 and 8pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm, Sun, 2pm; Tues, 8pm. The touring version of director-choreographer Robert Longbottom's revamped revival of the 1981 Broadway sensation (with book and lyrics by Tom Eyen and music by Henry Krieger, under original direction by A Chorus Line's Michael Bennett) is a visually and aurally dazzling spectacle that is also a knowing (if now familiar) take on the history and business of latter-20th-century American pop music from the perspective of African American R&B. The cast, operating with ease against and within a remarkable videoscape projected onto large draped screens center stage, charms from the outset of this story about the rise of a female vocal group called The Dreams (a loose composite of the Supremes and the Shirelles). The first act enthralls with the plot's gathering possibilities, the sparkling music and the irresistible performances—not least Moya Angela's unstoppable Effie and Chester Gregory's heroically soulful, funky Jimmy "Thunder" Early. But the second act stretches things unnecessarily with one too many power ballads (albeit lunged to perfection) and a slowpoke approach to the all but predictable plot resolution. Still, this is a masterful production on many counts and an infectious evening overall. (Avila)

How Lucky Can You Get? New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org. $20-28. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sept 11. Darlene Popovic sings Kander and Ebb under the direction of F. Allen Sawyer.

Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray Eureka Theatre, 215 Howard; 552-4100, www.TheRhino.org. $10-25. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sun/ 5, Sept 12, and Sept 19, 3pm). Through Sept 19. John Fisher adapts the Oscar Wilde novel for the stage and directs the production.

Party of 2 Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; (800) 838-3006, www.partyof2themusical.com. $25-29. Sun, 3pm. Through Sept 12. A new show written by Morris Bobrow.

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 Sun/5. JM Barrie's tale is performed in a specially-built 360-degree CGI theater.

*Posibilidad, or Death of the Worker Dolores Park and other sites; 285-1717, www.sfmt.org. Free. Sat-Sun, 2pm; also Mon/6, 2pm; Sept 17, 8pm. Through Sept 17. 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. (Gluckstern)

*The Real Americans The Marsh MainStage, 1062 Valencia; (800) 838-3006; www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Wed-Fri, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. The fifth extension of Dan Hoyle's acclaimed show, directed by Charlie Varon.

*Streetcar Named Desire Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma; 776-1747, www.boxcartheatre.org. $15-25. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/4. It's no small feat, creating a sultry southern summer circa 1940's smack-dab in the middle of a typically frosty San Francisco summer circa right here right now, but Boxcar Theatre rises admirably to the challenge. Rebecca Longworth's creative staging of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire" includes musical interludes, ghostly apparitions, and the clattering of a cleverly impersonated streetcar that shakes the walls of Matt McAdon's simply-detailed tenement flat and the spirits of one Blanche DuBois (Juliet Tanner), while the deliberately-muted lighting (Stephanie Buchner) and period-appropriate sound (Ted Crimy), add the appropriate layers of southern discomfort to the unfolding action. Especially captivating to watch are the performances of supporting characters Stella (Casi Maggio) and Mitch (Brian Jansen), who seem to almost helplessly orbit the hot flame of Stanley Kowalski's sun (Nick A. Olivero) and the grimly flickering satellite of Blanche's waning moon. As he does in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," Seth Thygesen stands in for one dearly-departed, in this case Blanche's old beau, Allan Gray, whose abrupt suicide de-magnetized her moral compass. And in addition to a saucy turn as next-door neighbor Eunice, Linnea George tracks the fractured emotions of the main characters on her mournful violin. (Nicole Gluckstern)

*This Is All I Need NOHspace, 2840 Mariposa; www.mugwumpin.org. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through Sat/4. $15-20. In our obsession with possessions, just who possesses who? Mugwumpin's inventive, hilarious and repeatedly surprising new work—captivated and captivating—reminds us that a possession isn't just a thing but also a (colonized) state of being. But there's no manifesto here, so much as a multifaceted, deftly staged exploration of a theme so central to this bare and incredibly cluttered existence that we hardly even notice it. The four person ensemble (Madeline H.D. Brown, Joe Estlack, Erin Mei-Ling Stuart, and Christopher W. White), sharply co-directed by Liz Lisle and Jonathan Spector, brings various states of being and relation to life with aplomb—amid swift transformations of time and place, provocative contrasts and parallels, dexterous vocalizations, and supple and satisfyingly offbeat choreography. I'm purposely leaving out the details of the vignettes and the sometimes-startling mise en scène because it's better that way. All you really need now is the price of a ticket. (Avila)

 

BAY AREA

Antony & Cleopatra Forest Meadows Ampitheatre, 1475 Grand, San Rafael; 499-4488, www.marinshakespeare.org. $20-35. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 4pm. Through Sept 25. Marin Shakespeare Company's summer season continues with the tale of the Egyptian queen.

*East 14th: True Tales of a Reluctant Player Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Dates and times vary. Through Nov 21. 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 Wound John Hinkel Park, Berk; (510) 841-6500, www.shotgunplayers.org. $10 (no one turned away). Sat-Sun, 3pm (also Sun/5, 3pm). Through Oct 3. Shotgun Players present a unique take on the Iliad, written and directed by Ian Tracy.

Into the Woods 142 Throckmorton Theatre, 142 Throckmorton, Mill Valley; 383-9600, www.142throckmortontheatre.org. $14-30. Fri-Sat, 7:30pm, Sun, 2pm. Through Sat/4. Marin Youth Performers present James Lapine's and Stephen Sondheim's fractured fairy tale.

The Light in the Piazza TheatreWorks at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org. $19-67. Tues-Wed, 7:30pm, Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Sept 19. TheatreWorks presents Craig Lucas's tale of love under the Tuscan sun.

Macbeth Bruns Ampitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Way, Orinda; (510) 548-9666, www.calshakes.org. $34-70. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 4pm (also Sept 11, 2pm). Through Sept 12. Minneapolis's Joel Sass returns to Cal Shakes to direct Macbeth with a pared down cast of 12, lead by Jud Williford in the title role of the prophesy-driven regicidal social climber and Stacy Ross as his ambitious and then guilt-crazed Lady M. The towering, two-tiered set (by Daniel Ostling) is a suitably eerie, decrepit-looking place, a "murky hell" with a sort of Old World clinical sleaze about it. The three witches come gowned (by costumer Christal Weatherly) in dingy white nurses habits and sickly green surgical gloves with black voids where their faces should be (their spectral speech projected over the audio system). But Cal Shakes's production doesn't really measure up to the atmospheric mise-en-scene, being more dutiful than heat-generating. A wily cut-and-paste job with one of the more famous lines doesn't quite come off either, since it jars by its initial absence and then rings a bit self-consciously when it does surface as a downbeat coda. (Avila)

MilkMilkLemonade La Val's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; www.impacttheatre.com. $10-20. Previews Thurs/26-Fri/27, 8pm. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 2. Impact Theatre presents Joshua Conkel's off off Broadway play about a lonely gay man trapped in a chicken farm.

*The Norman Conquests The Ashby Stage, 901 Ashby, Berk; (510) 841-6500, www.shotgunplayers.org. $20-25. Dates and times vary. Through Sun/5. Shotgun Players has a way with modern classics like few other theaters its size. When the company gets it right, as not long ago with David Hare's Skylight, the production can hold its own with just about any other anywhere. Judging by a visit to two of the three plays currently up, this is again the case with the ambitious repertory run of Alan Ayckbourn's celebrated trilogy, The Norman Conquests, a shrewd and consistently hysterical sex farce about modern romance and relationships with real—but admirably understated—bite. Table Manners and Living Together feature the same brilliant cast (who also reappear in the third play, not yet reviewed, Round and Round the Garden) under astute direction by Joy Carlin and Molly Aaronson-Gelb, respectively. Each play is another vantage on the same rollicking weekend at an English country house, where our philandering hero Norman (a superlative Rich Reinholdt), alternately brooding and expansive, pitches woo with preternatural determination and consummate wit to two sisters-in-law (Zehra Berkman and Kendra Lee Oberhauser) as well as his own frosty wife (Sarah Mitchell), while a brother-in-law (Mick Mize) and a painfully shy local vet (Josiah Polhemus) move about more or less ineffectually. On a set (by Nina Ball) admirably atmospheric in its detailed solidity, the cast enchants from the first with special chemistry and exceptional chops. Reinholdt, however—with saucy beard, bounding playfulness and mischievous glint—is downright revelatory in the titular role, delivering a performance that not only gives boisterous heft to the proceedings but probes the moral dimensions of love in an age of crass individualism and lingering prudery. (Avila)

The Taming of the Shrew Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, 1475 Grand, San Rafael; (415) 499-4488, www.marinshakespeare.org. $20-25. Fri-Sun, 8pm; also Sun, 4pm and 5pm. Through Sept 26. Marin Theatre Company presents a swashbuckling version of the classic.

Trouble in Mind Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org. $10-55. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm; Tues, 7pm. Through Sept 26. Aurora Theatre presents Alice Childress' look at racism through the lens of theater.

PERFORMANCE/DANCE

"The Extreme Animals Sit Down" Southern Exposure, 3030 20th St; 863-2141; www.soex.org. Free. Tues/7, 9pm. Jacob ciocci and David Wightman of Paper Rad's new project presents a mashup of live music, video, and theatrics.

The Front Row The Dark Room, 2263 Mission; www.TheFrontRow4.com. Sat/4, 7:30pm. $7. The all-female sketch comedy group is accompanied by Jesse Elias and Donny Davinian.

"RawDance Presents the Concept Series: 7" James Howell Studio, 66 Sanchez; www.rawdance.org. Sat/4, 8pm; Sun/5, 3 and 8pm. Pay what you can. An informal and intimate salon of contemporary dance, complete with popcorn.

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