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.
Christian Cagigal's Obscura: A Magic Show EXIT Cafe, 156 Eddy; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-25. Opens Thurs/7, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Dec 18. Magician Christian Cagigal presents a mix of magic, fairy tales, and dark fables.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; 255-8207, www.42ndstmoon.org. Previews Wed/6, 7pm; Thurs/7-Fri/8, 8pm. Opens Sat/9, 6pm. Runs Wed, 7pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 6pm; Sun, 3pm (also Oct 16, 1pm). Through Oct 24. 42nd Street Moon presents the Sondheim musical farce, starring Megan Cavanagh.
Love Song Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. Opens Fri/8, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 3 and 8pm. Through Oct 23. An offbeat comedy by John Kolvenbach, directed by Loretta Janca.
Zombie Town Stage Werx Theatre, 533 Sutter; www.stagewerx.org. $24. (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. Opens Thurs/7, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Oct 31, 5pm). Through Oct 31. Catharsis Theatre Collective presents a documentary play about zombie attacks in Texas.
Mary Stuart The Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; (510) 841-6500, www.shotgunplayers.org. $15-30. Previews Wed/6-Thurs/7, 8pm. Opens Fri/8, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. (also Oct 20, Oct 27, Nov 3; 7pm). Through Nov 7. Shotgun Players presents Friedrich Schiller's historical drama, directed by Mark Jackson.
Superior Donuts TheatreWorks at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org. $19-67. Previews Wed/6-Fri/8, 8pm. Opens Sat/9, 8pm. Runs Tues-Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. TheatreWorks presents Tracy Letts' tale of friendship and redemption in a Chicago donut dispensary.
Absolutely San Francisco Phoenix Theatre, Stage 2, 414 Mason; 433-1235, www.absolutelysanfrancisco.com. $20-25. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 23. A one-woman musical starring Karen Hirst, with book and music by Anne Doherty.
Aida War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness, 864-1330, www.sfopera.com. $25-320. Wed/6, 7:30pm. San Francisco Opera presents Verdi's classic, a co-production with English National Opera and Houston Grand Opera.
And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org. Call for reservations. Mon-Thurs, 10 and 11:45am.; Sun, 2pm. Through Sun/10. YouthAware Educational Theatre presents a multimedia play by James Still, directed by Sara Staley.
Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org. $24-40. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Oct 24. New Conservatory Theatre Center presents a show by Brian Christopher Williams.
*The Brothers Size Magic Theatre, Bldg D, Fort Mason Center; 441-8822, www.magictheatre.org. $20-60. Dates and times vary. Through Oct 17. Magic Theatre presents the West Coast premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney's play, directed by Octavio Solis.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Actors Theatre, 855 Bush; 345-1287, www.actorstheatresf.org. $26-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 22. Actors Theatre presents Tennessee Williams' sultry, sweltering tale of a Mississippi family, directed by Keith Phillips.
Disoriented Off-Market Theater, 960 Mission; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. Sun/10 and Oct 17, 7pm (also Wed/6 at CounterPULSE). Through Oct 17. A trio of solo performances by Asian-American women.
*Faux Real Climate Theater at TJT, 470 Florida; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-20. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat/9, 10pm). Through Sat/9. A drag queen stripped bare? Not on your life. But in baring some soul and some truth ("two lies" per), Fauxnique (aka Monique Jenkinson; aka a woman as a man as a woman&ldots;) does some productive and fascinating (re)working of this sly semi-confessional form. In a show that begins by asking, via David Bowie, "whatchya gonna say to the real me?", Fauxnique undresses drag by singing (very ably) as often as syncing and otherwise playing knowingly with the "reveals" inherent in the drag tradition, taking audiences back with her to high school in Denver in the 1980s for a herstory lesson like few others. Questions about identity and art mingle with hip, hilarious, wonderfully "haute," and seriously hardworking solo cabaret (assisted by transgresser-dresser and prop boy Kegan Marling). Originally unveiled in 2009, and fresh from a London debut, Faux Real returns for an extended but still too-brief run courtesy of the mighty little Climate Theater, currently ensconced in the Jewish Theatre's luxurious little space. (Avila)
Futurestyle '79 Off-Market Theater, Studio 250, 965 Mission; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-20. Wed, 8pm. Through Oct 27. A fully improvised episodic comedy played against the backdrop of SF in 1979.
Hamlet Alcatraz Island; 547-0189, www.weplayers.org. By donation. Sat-Sun, times vary. Through Nov 21. As part of an artistic residency, We Players presents an island-wide interactive performance of the Shakespeare play.
IPH... Brava Theater, 2781 24th St, 647-2822, www.brava.org. $15-35. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Oct 16. Brava Theatre and African-American Shakespeare Company present the US premiere of an adaptation of Iphigenia at Aulis.
*Jerry Springer the Opera Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th; www.jerrysf.com. $20-36. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 16. Highbrow meets low in one big, boisterous mono-brow middle as one of the baser of daytime talk-show hosts meets his audience and makeror anyway Jesus and Satanin a TV show purgatory that really is purgatory. The form is operatic, the subject matter the stuff of soap, and the resulting tawdry spectacle all but irresistible in Ray of Light Theatre's production of the 2003 British musical by Richard Thomas (music, book and lyrics) and Stewart Lee (book and lyrics). If the conceit feels a bit one-note, it's a note taken very cleverly and ably for all its worth. A smart, smarmy and dyspeptic Patrick Michael Dukeman excels in the title role, as the chorus, meanwhile, comprised of Jerry's rabid studio audience, puts the unbridled hooligan glee in glee club, lending Wagnerian weight to such key phrases as "step-dad" or "chick with a dick." The grand and just slightly sleazy Victoria Theatre makes the perfect venue for this fine irreverence, filling it charmingly with rafter-shaking vulgarity and mayhem.
Kiss of Blood Hypnodrome Theatre, 575 10th; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $25-35. Thurs-Fri, 8pm. Through Nov 19. Thrillpeddlers presents its signature Halloween show, with three one-act Grand Guignol terror plays.
Last Days of Judas Iscariot Gough Street Playhouse, 1620 Gough; (510) 207-5774, www.CustomMade.org. $10-30. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Oct 30. Custom Made Theatre presents Stephen Adly Guirgis' meditation on the meaning of forgiveness.
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 Sun/10. Page-to-stage company Word for Word takes on two chapters' worth of Elizabeth Strout's celebrated 2008 novel, comprised of a loosely connected set of stories surrounding the title character (played with cunning subtlety by Patricia Silver) and her immediate circle in a coastal town in Maine. In "Tulips," we find the thorny but shrewd Olive, a former math teacher, and her patient husband Henry (Paul Finocchiaro), the town's longtime pharmacist, transitioning not so smoothly into their retirement years. Oliveitchy, cantankerous and vaguely at a loss despite her sharp witresents her grown son's (Patrick Alparone) happily distant life in New York and battles with the neighbors until her husband's stroke leaves her at sea, unexpectedly vulnerable and open to the kindness of neighbors and strangers alike (played by an ensemble that includes Jeri Lynn Cohen, Nancy Shelby, and Michelle Belaver). In "River," Olive, now a widow, begins a gradual, unlikely and bumpy romance with a recently widowed former academic (Warren David Keith). Director Joel Mullennix grabs hold of colorful details along the waylike the summer influx of rollerbladers and bicycliststo further enliven the verbatim staging of these stories, but the effort can feel a little forced at times, as if betraying a sense that these well-acted, gently poetical and thoughtful stories and their complex protagonist do not always make for the most stimulating drama. (Avila)
A Picasso Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa; (866) 811-4111, www.apicassoonstage.com. $12-28. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/9. Expression Productions presents Jeffery Hatcher's drama about the authenticity of three Picasso paintings.
Pinocchio Young Performers Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldg C, Third Floor, Room 300; 346-5550, www.ypt.org. $7-10. Sat-Sun, 1 and 3:30pm. Through Sun/10. Young Performers Theatre presents a new production of Carlo Collodi's puppet tale.
*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.
*Scapin American Conservatory Theatre, 415 Geary; 749-2228, www.act-sf.org. $10-90. Tues-Sun, times vary. Through Oct 23. Bill Irwin, the innovative former Pickle Family clown and neo-vaudevillian turned Broadway star, makes a San Francisco return at the helmand in the title roleof American Conservatory Theater's production of Moliere's classic farce. It's an excuse for some arch meta-theatrical high jinx as well as expert clowning, a love fest really, with many fine moments amid a general font of fun whose heady purity seems like it should fall under some FDA regulation or otherclearly, somebody has paid someone to look the other way, and for once the corruption is unreservedly welcome. Joining the fun is Irwin's old comrade-in-arms and, here, sacks, Geoff Hoyle, as miserly and dyspeptic daddy Geronte. Other ACT regulars and veterans flesh out a winning cast, among them the ever versatile and inimitable Gregory Wallace as Octave, a flouncing Steven Anthony Jones as put-out patriarch Argante, René Augesen as boisterously unlikely "virgin" Zerbinette, and a wonderfully adept and scene-stealing Judd Williford in the role of Scapin sidekick Sylvestre. As for Irwin, his comedic sensibility shows itself scrupulously apt and timeless at once, and his sure, lithesome performance intoxicating and age-defying. As a director, moreover, he gives as generously to each of his fellow performers as he does to his adoring, lovingly tousled audience. (Avila)
The Secretaries Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma; 255-7846, www.crowdedfire.org. $15-25 (pay what you can previews). Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat/9. Crowded Fire revives the 1994 black comedy by New York's Five Lesbian Brothers, a gleefully inappropriate bit of feminist satire that feels like the love child of John Waters and Valerie Solanas. Set in the front offices of the Cooney Lumber Mill in Big Bone, Oregon (delightfully rendered in Nick A. Olivero's scenic design with New Yorker-like illustrations of the surrounding environs), the story follows narrator Patty (Elissa Beth Stebbins) as she recounts her initiation into a snappy coven of office ladies who not-so-secretly fell (rather than fall for) the town's lumberjacks as if they were so much old growth forest. The mayhem and humor amuse, but probably seemed a lot fresher 16 years ago, making the simple plot seem thinly stretched. Nevertheless, the play's details are nicely taken care of in artistic director Marissa Wolf's fluid staging, featuring lots of play with fluids and a robust ensemble. In addition to Stebbins's well-wrought and raunchy innocent, Leticia Duarte rocks her power-suit commandingly as no-nonsense supervisor and pack/pact-leader Susan; Eleanor Mason Reinholdt proves scarily endearing as the deceptively mincing, food-obsessed Peaches; Khamara Pettus has Norma Desmond eyes as Susan's jealous onetime favorite Ashley; and Marilee Talkington approaches comic perfection in lovingly crafted twin roles: the boundingly predatory butch Dawn; and Patty's hetero love interest and sexual-harassment-workshopgraduate, Buzz. (Avila)
The Shining: Live The Dark Room, 2263 Mission; 401-77891, www.darkroomsf.com. $7-10. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 23. The Dark Room becomes the Overlook Hotel in this stage production of the horror classic.
Angels in America, Part One Pear Avenue Theatre, 1220 Pear, Mtn View; (650) 254-1148, www.thepear.org. $15-30. Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Oct 16. Pear Avenue Theatre kicks off its fall "Americana" program with the Tony Kushner play.
*Compulsion Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $29-85. Dates and times vary. Through Oct 31. Director Oscar Eustis of New York's Public Theater marks a Bay Area return with an imaginatively layered staging of Rinne Groff's stimulating new play. Compulsion locates the momentous yet dauntingly complex cultural-political outcomes of the Holocaust in the career of a provocative Jewish American character, Sid Silver, driven by real horror, sometimes-specious paranoia, and unbounded ego in his battle for control over the staging of Anne Frank's Diary. A commandingly intense and fascinatingly nuanced Mandy Patinkin plays the brash, litigious Silver, based on real-life writer Meyer Levin, a best-selling author who obsessively pursued rights to stage his own version of Anne Frank's story. The forces competing for ownership of, and identification with, Anne Frank and her hugely influential diary extend far beyond her father Otto, Silver, or the diary's publishers at Doubleday (represented here by a smooth Matte Osian in a variety of parts; and a vital Hannah Cabell, who doubles as Silver's increasingly alarmed and alienated French wife). But the power of Groff's play lies in grounding the deeply convoluted and compromised history of that text and, by extension, the memory and meanings of the Holocaust itself, in a small set of forceful charactersaugmented by astute use of marionettes (designed by Matt Acheson) and the words of Anne Frank herself (partially projected in Jeff Sugg's impressive video design). The productive dramatic tension doesn't let up, even after the seeming grace of the last-line, which relieves Silver of worldly burdens but leaves us brooding on their shifting meanings and ends. (Avila)
*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 Red and Brown Water Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; 388-5208, www.marintheatre.org. $32-53. Tues, 8pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Wed, 7:30pm, Sun, 7pm. Through Oct 10. Marin Theatre Company presents the West Coast premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney's play.
*Loveland The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $20-50. Fri, 7pm; Sat, 5pm. Through Nov 13. Ann Randolph's acclaimed one-woman comic show about grief returns for its sixth sold-out extension.
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 Sun/10. Center REPertory company presents a musical choreographed and directed by Robert Barry fleming.
Bijou Martuni's, 4 Valencia; 241-0205, www.dragatmartunis.com. $5. Sun/10, 7pm. The live cabaret showcase celebrates Oktoberfest.
"Blue Room Comedy" Club 93, 93 9th St; 264-5489. Free. Tues/12, 10pm. A weekly series that takes comedy to new lows.
Dancing on Glass CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission. 626-2060, www.counterpulse.org. $20-25. Fri/8-Sat/9, 8pm; Sun/10, 7pm. A dark comedy about outsourcing, by Ram Ganesh Kamathan.
Drag Queens of Comedy Castro Theatre, 429 Castro. 254-3362, www.comedyinthecastro.com. $35-45. Sat/9, 10:30pm. A riotous extravaganza with performances by Miss Coco Peru, Jackie Beat, Lady Bunny, Heklina, and others.
Echo: A Poetic Journey Into Justice City of Refuge United Church of Christ, 1025 Howard; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15. Sat/9, 7pm (also Oct 16, 7pm). Progeny Theater Project presents a drama about sex trafficking by Regina Y. Evans.
Fifi and Fanny Live at the Texas Whorehouse The Garage, 975 Howard; 518-1517, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-20. Fri/8-Sat/9, 8pm. Fifi and Fanny take on the queers of Texas with music and comedy.
Filipino Comedy Improv The Garage, 975 Howard; 518-1517, www.brownpapertickets.com. $10. Wed/6, 8pm. The Garage and Bindlestiff Studio present sketch comedy.
A Funny Night for Comedy Actors Theatre, 855 Bush; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $10. Sun/10, 7pm. Natasha Muse and Ryan Cronin host a standup program with interviews.
How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission; 978-2787, www.ybca.org. $25-30. Thurs/7-Sat/9, 8pm. A new interdisciplinary performance work by Ralph Lemon.
Margaret Jenkins Dance Comedy Kanbar Hall, Jewish Community Center, 3200 California; 292-1233, www.jccsf.org. $18-26. Thurs/7, 8pm. The company celebrates its 37th anniversary with a preview of its latest work.
Standup Comedy Cafe Royale, 800 Post; 641-6033, www.caferoyale-sf.com. Free. Mon/11, 7pm. Cara Tramontano hosts a night of comedy.
Zaccho Dance Theatre Market Street (between Powell and First); 252-4638, www.sfartscommission.org. Free. Thurs/7-Sun/10, 1-5pm. The company presents a site-specific performance devoted to African-American contributions to SF.
Circus Oz Zellerbach Hall, UC campus; (510) 642-9988, www.calperformances.com. $22-52. Thurs/7-Fri/8, 8pm; Sat/9, 2 and 8pm; Sun/10, 3pm. A new production by the Aussie steampunk group.
Drumline Live Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael; www.marincenter.org. $25-45. Fri/8, 8pm. A 40-member stage performance created by the team behind the movie of the same name.
Freeland Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Stage, Berk; (510) 601-0182, www.speakoutnow.org. Call for price. Fri/8, 8pm. A hip-hop journey from the streets of Oakland to the wild west, written and performed by Ariel Luckey and directed by Margo Hall.
Pilobolus Dance Company Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the flags, San Rafael; www.marincenter.org. $20-75. Sat/9, 8pm. A performance by the 40-year-old dance and performance company.