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. For complete listings, see www.sfbg.com.
Babes in Arms Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; 255-8207, www.42ndstmoon.org. $24-44. Previews Wed/1, 7pm; Thurs/2-Fri/3, 8pm. Opens Sat/4, 6pm. Runs Wed, 7pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 6pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Dec 19. 42nd Street Moon presents John Guare's adaptation of the musical by Rodgers and Hart.
Christmas in Hell: The Real and True Story About the Guys Who Saved Christmas Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. An original holiday play, written and directed by Jim Fourniadis.
Cinderella African American Art & Culture Complex, 762 Fulton; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $10-30. Opens Fri/3, 8pm.Runs Fri/8pm; Sat, 3 and 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Dec 19. African-American Shakespeare Company presents the classic fairytale, starring Velina Brown.
Cora Values' Christmas Corral Exit Cafe, 156 Eddy; 673-3847, www.brownpapertickets.com. $15-25. Opens Fri/3, 8:30pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8:30pm. Through Dec 11. The holiday hostess leaves the I-19 Gas 'N' Gulp to share her take on Dickens.
Dirty Little Showtunes! A Parody Musical Revue New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org. $24-40. Previews Fri/3-Sat, 4, 8pm; Sun/5, 2pm; Fi/10, 8pm. Opens Sat/11, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Tom Orr's adults-only holiday show returns, with direction by F. Allen Sawyer and musical direction by Scrumbly Koldewyn.
Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission; www.ticketfly.com. $25. Opens Thurs/2, 7pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 7 and 9pm. Through Dec 23. Heklina, Cookie Dough, Matthew Martin, and Pollo Del Mar return with their stage tribute to the sitcom.
The Oddman Family Christwanzaakuh Spectactular! Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. Opens Thurs/2, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Guerrilla Rep and Beards Beards Beards present a new twisted musical farce.
Ruth and the Sea Stage Werx Theatre, 533 Sutter; www.ruthandthesea.com. $18-24. Opens Thurs/2, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Dec 18.Wily West Productions presents Gwyneth Richards in a kooky holiday show, directed by Stuart Bousel.
Shrek The Musical Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market; (888) SHN-1799, wwwshnsf.com. $30-99. Opens Wed/1, 2pm. Runs Tues, 8pm, Wed, 2 and 8pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 2pm (no performances Dec 24, Dec 25, and Dec 31). Through Jan 2.Eric Peterswn stars in the stage version of the animated blockbuster.
Becoming Julia Morgan Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; (510) 984-3864, www.brownpapertickets.com. $24-30. Opens Fri/3, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Jan 9. Janis Stevens stars in Belinda Taylor's play about the trailblazing architect.
A Christmas Memory TheatreWorks at Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org. $19-67. Previews Wed/1-Fri/3, 8pm. Opens Sat/4, 8pm. Runs Tues-Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Dec 26. TheatreWorks presents the holiday tale by Truman Capote.
Of the Earth – The Salt Plays: Part 2 Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby; (510) 841-6500, www.shotgunplayers.org. $17-30. Previews Thurs/2-Fri/3, 8pm. Opens Sat/4, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm (also Wed/7pm beginning Dec 15). Through Jan 30. Shotgun Players present the second half of writer and director Jon Tracy's Odyssey-inspired tale, with music by Brendan West.
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 Sun/5. Longtime comedian and radio host Marilyn Pittman's solo play wrestles with the legacy of her parents' violent deaths in a 1997 murder-suicide initiated by her father. It's disturbing material that Pittman, a stout middle-aged woman with a gregarious and bounding personality, approaches indirectly via a good deal of humor—including recounting the first time she did her growing-up-lesbian bit before her mother in a DC comedy club. But the pain and confusion trailing her for 13 years is never far behind, whether in accounts of her own battle with anger (and the broken relationships its left in its wake) or in ominous memories of her too complaisant mother or her charming but domineering father, whose controlling behavior extended to casually announcing murderous dreams while policing the boundaries of his marriage against family interference. A fine mimic, Pittman deploys a Southern lilt in playing each parent, on a stage decorated with a hint of their Southwestern furnishings and a framed set of parental photographs. In not exactly knowing where to lay blame for, or find meaning in, such a horrifying act, the play itself mimics in subtler form the emotional tumult left behind. There's a too brief but eerie scene in which her veteran father makes reference to a murder among fellow soldiers en route to war, but while PTSD is mentioned (including as an unwanted patrimony), the 60-minute narrative crafted by Pittman and director David Ford wisely eschews any pat explanation. If transitions are occasionally awkward and the pace a bit loose, the play leaves one with an uncomfortable sense of the darker aspects of love, mingled with vague concentric histories of trauma and dislocation in a weird, sad tale of destruction and staying power. (Avila)
The Lion in Winter Actors Theatre, 855 Bush; 345-1287, www.ticketweb.com. $26-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Dec 18. Actors Theatre of SF presents James Goldman's play of palace intrigue.
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 Sun/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.
Party of 2 – The New Mating Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; (800) 838-3006, www.partyof2themusical.com. $27-29. Sun, 3pm. Open-ended. A musical about relationships by Shopping! The Musical author Morris Bobrow.
*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 Sat/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; 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. Through Dec 19. 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.
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. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Dec 17. Novato Theater Company presents a new adaptation of the holiday classic.
Cinderella, Enchanted Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College, Berk; (510) 665-5565, www.berkeleyplayhouse.org. $15-33. Call for run times. Through Sun/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 Sun/5. Marin Theatre Company performs Lucinda Coxon's stinging comedy about contemporary marriage.
Lemony Snicket's The Composer is Dead Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. Call for dates and times. Through Jan 15, 2011. Berkeley Rep premieres the new musical, written by Lemony Snicket, with music by Nathaniel Stookey.
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 Sun/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. Through Dec 11. Impact Theatre presents an off-Broadway hit, written by David Bell and directed by Evren Odcikin.
"Balls to Balzac: A Journey From Testicles to Women in the Bourbon Restoration" cellSPACE, 2050 Bryant; 323-0246, www.cellspace.org. Sun/5, 8pm. $10. Choreogrpaher Amy Lewis presents a performance art dance lecture.
"Booze, Boys, and Brownies: A Musical Journey" Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy; (800) 838-3006. $9-12. Fri/3-Sat/4, 8pm (through Dec 11). A one-woman show about an actress who traveled from SF to Tinseltown.
The False and True Are One Z Space, Theater Artaud, 450 Florida; www.lissfaindance.org. $12.50-25. Fri/3-Sat/4, 8pm. Liss Fain Dance presents a performance installation featuring Jeri Lynn Cohen.
"Holiday Humbug Clown Cabaret" TJT – The Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida; 522-0786, www.tjt-sf.org. $15. Mon/6, 7 and 9pm. The Clown Cabaret of the Climate Theatre presents a holiday show.
Human Creature and Jessica Damon The Garage, 975 Howard; 518-1517, www.975howard.com. $10-20, Fri/3-Sat/4, 8pm. Human Creature and Jessica Damon and Dancers present works as part of RAW.
"Kinetic Reality" Studio Theater, USF Lone Mountain Campus, 2800 Turk; 422-3888, PASJtickets@esfca.edu. $5-10. Thurs/2-Sat/4, 8pm. USF's fall dance show, with work by Laura Arrington, Jo Kreiter, and others.
"Left Coast Leaning Festival" YBCA Forum, 701 Mission; 978-2787, www.ybca.org. $10-20. Thurs/2-Sat/4, 8pm. YBCA and Youth Speaks presents the second fest, with performances by Jogja Hip-Hop Foundation, the 605 Collective, and others.
"Lipstick and Kisses 2010: A Flaming Lotus Girls Extravaganza" SOMArts, 934 Brannan; www.flaminglotus.com. Free. Fri/3, 7pm-2am. The fire art mavens present an evening of art, music, and fun.
The Other Woman The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. Tues/7, 8pm. $10-15. Marsh Rising presents a performance by Victoria Zackheim.
"Pilot Light" ODC Theater, 3153 17th; www.odcdance.org. $12. Sat/4-Sun/5, 8pm. An evening of new work by six emerging choreographers.