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 Pride New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; (415) 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org. $24-40. Opens Fri/27, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through July 10. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs the West Coast premiere of Alexi Kaye Campbell's love-triangle time warp drama.
Let Me Down Easy Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $17-73. Opens Sat/28, 8pm. Runs Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Wed, 7pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 26. Anna Deavere Smith performs her latest solo show.
Welcome Home, Julie Sutter Marion E. Greene Black Box Theater, 531 19th St, Oakl; www.theatrefirst.com. $10-30. Opens Thurs/26, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 19. A combat veteran returns home to figure out her post-Iraq life in Julie Marie Myatt's drama.
Little Shop of Horrors Boxcar Theatre Playhouse. 505 Natoma; www.boxcartheatre.org. $20-50. Opens Wed/25, 8pm. Runs Tues-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 26. Boxcar Theatre presents a new version of the musical.
*Lucky Girl EXIT Studio, 156 Eddy; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $10-25. Thurs/26-Sat/28, 8pm. Honey (Cheryl Smith) talks about "the shoes" first, the shoes repeatedly, against even her analyst's power to retain a common interest in the footwear of her attacker. Why should she so concern herself with this detail of the man who assaulted her, wounding her in ways too subtle and deep to measure—unless through the wayward precision of the poetical imagination some measure might actually be taken. That is the force and beauty of Lucky Girl, a notable new stage adaptation by Tom Juarez of poet Frances Driscoll's 1997 collection, The Rape Poems, which premieres as part of Exit Theatre's DIVAfest 2011. Juarez crafts an engagingly dynamic and delicate narrative arc from Driscoll's thematically joined but otherwise disparate poems, gorgeously formulated verses that delve into a devastating subject with an unexpected range of humor, insight, and compassion. This supple range is acutely grasped and exquisitely interpreted by Smith, whose gripping performance (keenly directed by Kathryn Wood) eschews anything remotely sentimental for a complex and moving portrait of the enduring aftermath of terror. (Avila)
Nobody Move Intersection for the Arts, 925 Mission, Golden Gate; 626-2787, www.brownpapertickets.com. $20-35. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through June 12. Intersection for the Arts and Campo Santo present a play based on the novel by Denis Johnson.
*Queer Southside Theater, Bldg D, Third Floor, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; (415) 399-9554, www.sfiaf.org. $12-25. Fri/27-Sat/28, 8 pm; Sun/29, 7pm. Composer Erling Wold's 2001 chamber opera, based on the early novel by William S. Burroughs, returns as part of this year's San Francisco International Arts Festival. It's a moody, evocative, dreamy, and witty piece, beautiful to listen to and totally worth seeing, first of all for the soulful, salacious showmanship and prowess of Joe Wicht as Burroughs's narrative stand-in Lee, a punchy junk-addicted American (decked in perfect period-setting attire by Laura Hazlett) on the prowl for boys and other highs in 1950s Mexico City. Wicht is magnetic in the part, embodying Lee with complete assurance and proving as potently dynamic in his singing as in the wry, textured delivery and well-wrought physicality of his characterization. Ken Berry as the other principal singer adds further energy and buoyancy in several supporting roles. James Graham, subdued and sly, plays well against Wicht as Lee's obsession, the young Allerton, lured on a trip to South America to seek out the mysterious indigenous psychotropic drug called yage (aka ayahuasca). Graceful dancers Diana Consuelo Hopping Rais and Jorge Rodolfo De Hoyos Jr. meanwhile add an appealingly languid human landscape in a variety of non-speaking parts (in intelligent, sensual choreography by Cid Pearlman). The episodic plot is well-suited to Wold's atmospheric score, which is here played by a five piece ensemble and blends elongated, jagged, whirling lines and harmonies with convincing splashes of Latin color. Minor distractions in some unfortunate technical glitches, uneven sound levels on the actors, and the rustle of body mics aside, this is a small but admirable production directed by Jim Cave and conducted by Bryan Nies. (Avila)
Reborning SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter; 677-9596. www.sfplayhouse.org. Tues-Wed, 7pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm). Through June 11. Though emphatically fictional, Zayd Dohrn's play Reborning, currently receiving its world premiere at the SF Playhouse, provides an intriguing introduction to a decidedly fringe occupation. That of reborning: the art of crafting photo-realistic doll children commissioned by collectors, and sometimes by grieving parents. The play opens with an act of creation, as Kelly (Lauren English) tidies up a closed eye with a sculptor's blade while a joint burns in the ashtray beside her. Enter Lorri Holt as Emily, a crisp, efficient businesswoman, and a client, come to check on the progress of her "baby" Eva. Things start to go South when Emily suggests some modifications and Kelly's own obsession with the project eventually spirals out of control. Amiable foil, Alexander Alioto as Kelly's boyfriend Daizy, exudes eager, golden retriever-like loyalty, but as Emily coolly observes, has "nothing to offer someone who is drowning." All three actors are top-notch and do a fine job processing thoroughly uncomfortable moments, and the crack design team set the stage and mood precisely. Unfortunately the script itself skews towards melodrama and certain themes (dildo-design, drug abuse, "the dumpster darling") imbue Reborning with an almost seedy, Jerry Springer vibe that seems inconsistent with director Josh Costello's strictly straightforward approach to the charged material. (Gluckstern)
Risk is This...The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival EXIT on Taylor, 227 Taylor; (800) 838-3006, www.cuttingball.com. $20-50. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through June 25. Cutting Ball Theater closes its 11th season with a festival of experimental plays, including works by Eugenie Chan, Rob Melrose, and Annie Elias.
The Stops New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org. $24-40. Previews Wed/25-Thurs/26, 8pm. Opens Fri/27, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 25. New Conservatory Theater Center presents a musical comedy set in San Francisco.
A Streetcar Named Desire Actors Theatre, 855 Bush; 345-1287, www.actorstheatresf.org. $26-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through June 25. Actors Theatre of San Francisco presents the Tennessee Williams tale.
*Vice Palace: The Last Cockettes Musical Thrillpeddlers' Hypnodrome, 575 10th St; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $30-35. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through July 31. Hot on the high heels of a 22-month run of Pearls Over Shanghai, the Thrillpeddlers are continuing their Theatre of the Ridiculous revival with a tits-up, balls-out production of the Cockettes' last musical, Vice Palace. Loosely based on the terrifyingly grim "Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe, part of the thrill of Palace is the way that it weds the campy drag-glamour of Pearls Over Shanghai with the Thrillpeddlers' signature Grand Guignol aesthetic. From an opening number set on a plague-stricken street ("There's Blood on Your Face") to a charming little cabaret about Caligula, staged with live assassinations, an undercurrent of darkness runs like blood beneath the shameless slapstick of the thinly-plotted revue. As plague-obsessed hostess Divina (Leigh Crow) and her right-hand "gal" Bella (Eric Tyson Wertz) try to distract a group of stir-crazy socialites from the dangers outside the villa walls, the entertainments range from silly to salacious: a suggestively-sung song about camel's humps, the wistful ballad "Just a Lonely Little Turd," a truly unexpected Rite of Spring-style dance number entitled "Flesh Ballet." Sumptuously costumed by Kara Emry, cleverly lit by Nicholas Torre, accompanied by songwriter/lyricist (and original Cockette) Scrumbly Koldewyn, and anchored by a core of Thrillpeddler regulars, Palace is one nice vice. (Gluckstern)
Care of Trees Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; (510) 841-6500, www.shotgunplayers.org. $17-26. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through June 26. Shotgun Players presents a play about love and belief by E. Hunter Spreen, directed by Susannah Martin.
Distracted 529 South Second St, San Jose; (408) 295-4200, www.cltc.org. $15-35. Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sun/29, 7pm; June 5, 12, and 19, 2pm). Through June 19. City Lights Theater Company of San Jose presents a drama written by Lisa Loomer and directed by Lisa Mallette.