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.
The Lion in Winter Actors Theatre, 855 Bush; 345-1287, www.ticketweb.com. $26-38. Opens Fri/26, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Dec 18. Actors Theatre of SF presents James Goldman's play of palace intrigue.
The Velveteen Rabbit Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Novellus Theater, 700 Howard; 978-2787, www.ybca.org. Call for dates and times. Through Dec 12. ODC/Dance presents Margery Williams' holiday favorite.
A Christmas Carol: The Musical Novato Theater Company Playhouse, 484 Ignacio, Novato; 863-4498, www.novatotheatercompany.org. $10-18. Previews Fri/26-Sat/27, 8pm. Opens Dec 3, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Dec 17. Novato Theater Company presents a new adaptation of the holiday classic.
Lemony Snicket's The Composer is Dead Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. Previews Fri/26-Sat/27 and Tues/20, 8pm; Sun/28, 7pm. Opens Dec 2, 8pm. Call for dates and times. Through Jan 15, 2011. Berkeley Rep premieres the new musical, written by Lemony Snicket, with music by Nathaniel Stookey.
Absolutely San Francisco Phoenix Theater Annex, 414 Mason, 4th floor; 433-1235, www.absolutelysanfrancisco.com. $28. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Dec 18. Karen Hirst's one-person musical about lost love.
Caligari Studio 385, 385A Eighth St; www.brownpapertickets.com. $10-30. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Dec 10. HurLyBurLy performs an original adaptation of the 1920 silent film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Cavalia: A Magical Encounter Between Horse and Man White Big Top, adjacent to AT&T Park; www.cavalia.net. $39.50-239.50. Check website for shows and times. Through Dec 12. Over 100 performers, including 50 horses, take the stage in this circus-like show from Montreal.
Christian Cagigal's Obscura: A Magic Show EXIT Cafe, 156 Eddy; 1-800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-25. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Dec 18. Magician Christian Cagigal presents a mix of magic, fairy tales, and dark fables.
It's All the Rage The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $20-50. Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Dec 5. The Marsh presents a new solo show by Marilyn Pittman.
Match Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa; 1-866-811-4111, www.matchonstage.com. $12-28. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through Dec 18. Expression Productions presents Stephen Belber's new suspense drama.
Or, Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna; 441-8822, www.magictheatre.org. $20-60. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2:30pm); Sun, 2:30pm; Tues, 7pm. Through Dec 5. The latest from New York playwright Liz Duffy Adams (Dog Act, One Big Lie) is a neo-Restoration romp with contemporary political overtones, sexual and otherwise, and a lot of winking, verse-bound, hit-and-miss humor. The play imagines Aphra Behn (Natacha Roi) in her modest mid-17th-century London living quarters (a spare, elegantly worn arrangement beautifully conceived by set designer Michael Locher) as she negotiates a notable professional transition from spy for the Crown to the country's first female playwright (best known today for The Rover). But visits by secret and amorous patron King Charles II (Ben Huber), equally smitten leading lady Nell Gwynne (Maggie Mason), on-the-lam fellow spy William Scott (Huber), and several other major and minor people and personages (all played in quick-change style by Huber and Mason), presents Aphra with severe challenges as well as, of course, creative opportunities as a writer. Despite, however, generally sharp and energetic performances under Magic Theater artistic director Loretta Greco's fluid staging, the farce itself feels too forced and thinly layered to really continue mounting as giddily as it should. The play's self-conscious nod to contemporary American politics, meanwhile, unintentionally mimics an all-too-familiar course from enthusiasm for change to stagnant anti-climax.
*Pearls Over Shanghai Thrillpeddlers' Hypnodrome, 575 Tenth St; 1-800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $30-69. Sat, 8pm. Through Dec 19. Thrillpeddlers' acclaimed production of the Cockettes musical continues its successful run.
A Perfect Ganesh New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org. $22-40. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Dec 19. New Conservatory Theatre Center presents the Terrence McNally play, directed by Arturo Catricala.
The Real Americans The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Dec 4 (resuming in Jan 2011). Dan Hoyle's acclaimed one-man show, directed by Charlie Varon, continues its extended run.
A Tale of Two Genres SF Playhouse, Stage Two, 533 Sutter; www.un-scripted.com. $10-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm; no show Thurs/25; additional shows Dec 20-23). Through Dec 23. Un-Scripted Theater Company performs an improvised musical in the style of Charles Dickens.
The Tempest Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor; 1-800-838-3006, www.cuttingball.com. $15-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm (no show Thurs/25). Through Sun/28. In Cutting Ball's latest foray into Shakespearean realms, three entangled subplots and eleven characters are enacted by just three actors, in order to explore the relationships between the principle characters by representing their internal characteristics through the actions of the more minor roles. Set on an enchanted island (or, in Cutting Ball's interpretation, at the bottom of a swimming pool) The Tempest begins with stormy weather, but quickly grows into a full-blown hurricane of shipwrecked nobles, nymphs, and drunks, plus the turbulent awakenings of a teenage daughter's libido, and the rumblings of her over-protective papa. The most effective dual-character is Caitlyn Louchard's Miranda-Ariel, as both characters are quite under the stern control of Prospero (David Sinaiko) and equally deserving of release. Less affecting yet somehow equally congruous is Sinaiko's comic turn as the buffoonish Stephano, who stumbles through the forest in his boxer shorts, yet somehow maintains an air of mock dignity that does parallel Prospero's. Donell Hill's Caliban-Ferdinand endures his lust-love for Miranda and servitude to Prospero alternating between raw physicality and social ineptness. But since "The Tempest" is littered with characters even more minor, the game cast is stretched too thinly to fully inhabit each, and the entire subplot involving King Alonzo, Gonzalo, and Antonio in particular suffers from this ambitious over-extension. (Gluckstern)
The Tender King Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, Sixth Flr; www.secondwindtheatre.com. $20-25. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Dec 11. Second Wind Productions presents Ian Walker's noir-tinged World War II drama.
*West Side Story Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market; www.orpheum-theater.com. $88-378. Check website for dates and times. Through Nov 28. Opening night of the touring Broadway revival coincided with game two of the World Series, and giddy Giants fans were loath to put away their smart phones until the final plea from the house managers. But then the curtain rose on perhaps the finest and most moving display of athleticism, professionalism, and grace to be found outside of AT&T Park. The 1957 musical, which updated Romeo and Juliet with a cross-cultural romance between Tony (Kyle Harris) and Maria (Ali Ewoldt) amid immigrant gangland New York, came instantly alive with all its storied potency—revved up for new millennium audiences with less reserved violence and the addition of a smattering of real Spanish throughout. David Saint's excellent cast—including standout Michelle Aravena as Anita—and a nicely dynamic orchestra under conductor John O'Neill do satisfying justice to the jagged, jazzy modernism of Leonard Bernstein's score, Stephen Sondheim's soaring lyrics, Arthur Laurents' smart book, and Jerome Robbins' mesmerizing choreography (here re-created by Joey McKneely). At intermission, the house manager graciously announced the final winning score from the ballpark, and everyone cheered. It was a win-win situation. (Avila)
Cinderella, Enchanted Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College, Berk; (510) 665-5565, www.berkeleyplayhouse.org. $15-33. Call for run times. Through Dec 5. Frenchie Davis plays the Fairy Godmother in this production of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical.
East 14th – True Tales of a Reluctant Player The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Call for times. Through Dec 19. Don Reed's one-man show continues its extended run.
Happy Now? Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; (415) 388-5208, www.marintheatre.org. $32-53. Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Wed, 7:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Dec 5. Marin Theatre Company performs Lucinda Coxon's stinging comedy about contemporary marriage.
Loveland The Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston Way, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Fri, 7pm; Sat, 8pm. Through Dec 11. Ann Randolph's hit one-woman comic show continues its extended run.
Palomino Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org. $10-55. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm; Tues, 7pm. Through Dec 5. David Cale brings his new solo play about a gigolo to Aurora Theatre for its Bay Area premiere.
*The Play About the Naked Guy La Val's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $10-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (no show Thurs/25). Through Dec 11. Impact Theatre presents an off-Broadway hit, written by David Bell and directed by Evren Odcikin.
Dane Cook Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium, 1111 California; (800) 745-300, www.ticketmaster.com. $49.50-95. Fri/26, 8pm. The comedian kicks off a national tour in SF.
Nutcracker at Zeum Zeum, 221 4th St; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $25. Sat, 11 am, 2 and 4pm; Sun, 11am and 2pm (through Dec 19). Mark foehringer Dance project/SF presents its second annual take on the holiday staple.
"Oy Vey in a Manger" Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness; 392-4400, www.cityboxoffice.com. $25-35. Fri/26, 8pm. The Kinsey Sicks presents a show devoted to stomping out holiday good cheer.
"The Romane Event Comedy Show" The Make Out Room, 3225 22nd St; 647-2888, www.pacoromane.com. $7. Wed/24, 7:30pm. Paco Romne hosts guests John Hoogasian, Ronn Vigh, Edwin Li, and Lynn Ruth Miller.
Aurora Theatre Company Script Club Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org. Free. Mon/29, 7:30pm. The Script Club focuses on Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.
The Christmas Ballet Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; (831) 620-2048, www.smuinballet.org. Call for prices. Fri/26, 8pm; Sat/27, 2 and 8pm. Smuin Ballet presents their holiday show.
Mummenschanz Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley campus, Berk; (510) 642-9988, www.calperformances.org. $22-52. Fri/26, 2pm; Sat/27, 2 and 8pm; Sun/28, 3pm. Get your Mummenschanz on.