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.
Aida War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness, 864-1330, www.sfopera.com. $25-320. Opens Fri/10, 8 pm. Also Sept 16, 7:30pm; Sept/19, 2pm; Sept 24, 8pm; Sept 29, 7:30pm; Oct 2, 8pm; Oct 6, 7:30pm. San Francisco Opera presents Verdi's classic, a co-production with English National Opera and Houston Grand Opera.
The Brothers Size Magic Theatre, Bldg D, Fort Mason Center; 441-8822, www.magictheatre.org. $20-60. Magic Theatre presents the West Coast premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney's play, directed by Octavio Solis.
Law and Order San Francisco Unit: The Musical! (sort of) Metreon Action Theater, Metreon Cineplex, second floor, 101 4th St; www.brownpapertickets.com. $10. Opens Mon/13, 8pm. Runs Mon, 8pm. Through Sept 27. Funny But Mean comedy troupe presents an original production.
Jerry Springer the Opera Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th; www.jerrysf.com. $20-36. Opens Fri/10, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 16. Ray of Light Theatre presents the West Coast premiere of the operatic farce by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas.
"San Francisco Fringe Festival" Various venues; www.sffringe.org. $6-10 ($40 for 5 shows; $75 for 10 shows). Dates and times vary. Through Sept 19. The marathon of indie theater returns, with a lineup that includes 43 companies.
Bleacher Bums Contra Costa Civic Theatre, 951 Pomona, El Cerrito; (510) 524-9132, www.ccct.org. $18. Opens Fri/10, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Oct 3. A sports comedy conceived by Joe Mantegna, directed by Joel Roster.
Compulsion Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $29-85. Previews Mon/13-Tues/14, 8pm. Opens Thurs/16, 8pm. Dates and times vary. Through Oct 31. Mandy Patinkin stars in a world premiere of Rinne Groff's play, directed by Oskar Eustis.
In the Red and Brown Water Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; 388-5208, www.marintheatre.org. $32-53. Previews Thurs/9-Sat/11, 8pm and Sun/12, 7pm. Opens Tues/14, 8pm. Runs Tues, 8pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Wed, 7:30pm, Sun, 7pm (also Sept 23, 1pm; Sept 18 and Oct 2, 2pm). Marin Theatre Company presents the West Coast premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney's play.
Bi-Poseur StageWerx Theatre, 533 Sutter; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sept 25. W. Kamau Bell directs a solo piece by Oakland native Paolo Sambrano.
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.
*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. Through Sept 26. 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 performancesnot 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 Sat/11. Darlene Popovic sings Kander and Ebb under the direction of F. Allen Sawyer.
Olive Kitteridge Z Space at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida; (800) 838-3006, www.zspace.org. $20-40. 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.
*Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray Eureka Theatre, 215 Howard; 552-4100, www.TheRhino.org. $10-25. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sun/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 Sun/12. A new show written by Morris Bobrow.
A Picasso Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa; (866) 811-4111, www.apicassoonstage.com. $12-28. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 9. Expression Productions presents Jeffery Hatcher's drama about the authenticity of three Picasso paintings.
*Posibilidad, or Death of the Worker Dolores Park and other sites; 285-1717, www.sfmt.org. Free. Sat-Sun, 2pm (also 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. Through Nov 6. The fifth extension of Dan Hoyle's acclaimed show, directed by Charlie Varon.
Anton in Show Business Marion E. Green Black Box Theater, 531 19th St; (510) 436-5085; www.theatrefirst.com. $10-30. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sept 26. TheatreFIRST presents Jane Martin's theater comedy, under the direction of Michael Storm.
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. Through Oct 3. Shotgun Players present a unique take on the Iliad, written and directed by Ian Tracy.
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 Sat/11, 2pm). Through Sun/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. 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 realbut admirably understatedbite. 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, howeverwith saucy beard, bounding playfulness and mischievous glintis 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)
She Loves Me Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek; (825) 943-7469, www.CenterREP.org. $36-45. 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.
The Taming of the Shrew Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, 1475 Grand, San Rafael; (415) 499-4488, www.marinshakespeare.org. $20-25. Fri-Sun, 8pm; 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.
Alice NOHspace, 2840 Mariposa; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. Wed/8-Sun/12, 8pm (continues through Sept 19). $15. An original revision of Lewis Carroll, devised by a company and directed by Allison Combs.
Aqui no pasa nada Mission Cultural Center, 2868 Mission; 821-1155, www.missionculturalcenter.org. Thurs/9-Sat/11, 8pm. $5-10. A new play by the Mission-based theater troupe Social Irruption.
"Bijou: Take a Walk on the Weill Side" Martuni's, 4 Valencia; 241-0205, www.dragmartunis.com. Sun/12, 7pm. $5. The monthly live cabaret takes on the music of Kurt Weill.
"Blue Tango" SF Community Center, 544 Capp; 647-6015, www.sfcmc.org. Fri/10, 8pm. $10-15. A tango fusion concert by Tango Revolution.
"Call and Response" Meridian Gallery, 535 Powell; 398-7229, www.meridiangallery.org. Wed/8, 7:30pm. $5-10. An improvisational performance by poet Dottie Grossman and musician Michael Vlatkovich.
"Circus Vinelli Revue: Culinary Cabaret" Stage Werx Theatre, 533 Sutter; www.brownpapertickets.com. Wed/8, 8pm (also Sept 22, 8pm). $10-15. The bi-weekly all-women clown troupe takes on the subject of dining.
"Comedy returns to El Rio!" El Rio, 3158 Mission; www.brownpapertickets.com. Mon/13, 8pm. $7-20. Kung Pao Kosher Comedy presents an evening of stand up.
Dieci Giorni Thick House Theater, 1695 18th; (800) 838-3006, 282-5616. Fri-Sun, 8pm (through Sept 19). $25. A new collaborative opera inspired by Boccaccio's Decameron, with music by Erling Wold.
"Dylan Moran Live!" Marines Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter, second floor; www.marinesmemorialtheatre.com. Sat/11, 8pm. $36. The acclaimed Irish "Oscar Wilde of comedy" brings his standup to SF.
"Les Folies Champagne" Bubble Lounge, 714 Montgomery; 434-4204, www.bubblelounge.com. An ongoing monthly vaudevillian variety show.
"The Monthly Rumpus" Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St; www.brownpapertickets.com. Mon/13, 7pm. The lineup includes four authors, music by John Craigie and Shovelman Isaac frankie, and a performance by Chicken John.
"Project BUST" The Garage, 975 Howard; www.brownpapertickets.com. Wed/8-Thurs/9, 8pm. $10-20. RAW and Project THRUST present the latest installment in the weekly performance showcase.
"RAW Presents Christine Bonasea and Paul Laurey" The Garage, 975 Howard; 518-1517, www.975howard.com. Fri/10-Sat/11, 8pm. $10-20. An evening of new contemporary dance.
"2nd Sundays" CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission; www.counterpulse.org. Sun/12, 2pm. Free. A works-in-progress showing co-presented by Dancers' Group and CounterPULSE.
A Time to Dance The Marsh MainStage, 1062 Valencia; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. Tues/14, 7:30pm.A Marsh Rising performance of Libby Skala's one-woman show.
"Word2Word" Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; www.sheltontheater.com. Thurs/9, 8pm. $2-20. A festival celebration of poets, composers, and singer-songwriters.
"Yo Gotta hear This!" Rrazz Room, 222 Mason; 394-1189, www.therrazzroom.com. SF Chamber Orchestra presents a variety show with Michel Taddei, Tod Brody, and Teslim.