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.
Cabaret Young Performers Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldc C, Room 300, Marina at Laguna, SF; (415) 381-1638, cabaretsf.wordpress.com. $25-45. Previews Thurs/19-Fri/20, 8pm. Opens Sat/21, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Feb 19. Shakespeare at Stinson and Independent Cabaret Productions perform the Kander and Ebb classic in an intimate setting.
Olivia's Kitchen Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.generationtheatre.com. $20-40. Opens Fri/20, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Feb 19. GenerationTheatre offers this "remix" of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
"SF Sketchfest" Various venues, SF; www.sfsketchfest.com. Jan 19-Feb 4. $10-75. The 11th San Francisco Comedy Festival invades 15 venues in 17 days with local and celebrity-packed (and local-celebrity-packed) performances, film events, improv shows, and more.
Waiting for Godot Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa, SF; (415) 336-3522, www.tidestheatre.org. $20-38. Opens Fri/20, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 18. Tides Theatre Company debuts with a bold interpretation of the Beckett classic.
The Pitmen Painters TheatreWorks at Mountain View Center for the Arts, 500 Castro, SF; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org. $19-69. Previews Wed/18-Fri/20, 8pm. Opens Sat/21, 8pm. Runs Tues-Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Feb 12. TheatreWorks performs a new comedy from the author of Billy Elliot about a group of British miners who become art world sensations.
Food Stories: Pleasure is Pleasure Z Space, Theater Artaud, 450 Florida, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. $20-55. Wed-Thurs, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 5. Word for Word presents performances of short stories by T.C. Boyle and Alice McDermott.
Future Motive Power Old Mint, 88 Fifth St, SF; www.mugwumpin.org. $15-30. Fri-Sun, 8pm. Through Jan 29. Mugwumpin takes on the life of Nikola Tesla in its latest performance piece.
Humor Abuse American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary, SF; (415) 749-2228, www.act-sf.org. $10-85. Tues-Sat, 8pm (Tues/24, show at 7pm; also Wed and Sat, 2pm; no matinee Wed/18); Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 5. ACT presents Lorenzo Pisoni and Erica Schmidt's tale (based on Pisoni's life; he is also the sole performer) of a child growing up amid San Francisco's Pickle Family Circus.
*New Fire: To Put Things Right Again Brava Theater, 2781 24th St, SF; (415) 647-2822, www.brava.org. $10-30. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Jan 29. You hear a lot of lip service these days to "community-building," even when that community might represent the merest sliver, unable to reach out or expand beyond its own narrow parameters. That is not the kind of community playwright Cherrie Moraga is interested in paying lip service to, and her latest work New Fire reaches out in all possible directions, most notably digging deep into sacred spaces frequently left out of the conversation altogether. Structured not as a conventional (by Western standards) play, but as a healing ceremony centered around the story's single protagonist, Vero (Dena Martinez), Celia Herrera Rodriguez' staging and design blend seamlessly with Alleluia Panis' ecstatic choreography to create a world where the sacred and the mundane coexist, almost unremarked, but certainly remarkably. Combining new media such as video by Emily Encina, with ancient ritual, the most electrifying moments are those rendered wholly without spoken words — the steady heartbeat of percussion, the ululation of Charlene O'Rourke's magnificent chanting, the stealthy creeping of spirit figures whose faces are hidden by the wide brims of vibrantly painted hats. But don't go in expecting a woo-woo, earth mother love fest: New Fire, is heavy with dark moments. But as El Caminante (Robert Owens-Greygrass) points out, such darkness can be beautiful too. (Gluckstern) Not Getting Any Younger Marsh San Francisco, Studio Theater, 1062 Valencia, SF; (415) 826-5750, www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5 and 8:30pm. Extended through Feb 25. Marga Gomez is back at the Marsh, a couple of too-brief decades after inaugurating the theater's new stage with her first solo show — an apt setting, in other words, for the writer-performer's latest monologue, a reflection on the inevitable process of aging for a Latina lesbian comedian and artist who still hangs at Starbucks and can't be trusted with the details of her own Wikipedia entry. If the thought of someone as perennially irreverent, insouciant, and appealingly immature as Gomez makes you depressed, the show is, strangely enough, the best antidote. (Avila)
Ghost Light Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $14.50-73. Tues, Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, Thurs/19, and Feb 16, 2pm; no matinee Sat/21); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through Feb 19. Berkeley Rep performs Tony Taccone's world-premiere play about George Moscone's assassination, directed by the late San Francisco mayor's son, Jonathan Moscone.
*The Kipling Hotel: True Misadventures of the Electric Pink '80s New venue: Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Feb 12. This new autobiographical solo show by Don Reed, writer-performer of the fine and long-running East 14th, is another slice of the artist's journey from 1970s Oakland ghetto to comedy-circuit respectability — here via a partial debate-scholarship to UCLA. The titular Los Angeles residency hotel was where Reed lived and worked for a time in the 1980s while attending university. It's also a rich mine of memory and material for this physically protean and charismatic comic actor, who sails through two acts of often hilarious, sometimes touching vignettes loosely structured around his time on the hotel's young wait staff, which catered to the needs of elderly patrons who might need conversation as much as breakfast. On opening night, the episodic narrative seemed to pass through several endings before settling on one whose tidy moral was delivered with too heavy a hand, but if the piece runs a little long, it's only the last 20 minutes that noticeably meanders. And even with some awkward bumps along the way, it's never a dull thing watching Reed work. (Avila)
*The Wild Bride Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $14.50-73. Wed/18, 7pm; Thurs/19-Sat/21, 8pm (also Sat/21, 2pm); Sun/22, 2pm. In the first act of Kneehigh Theatre's The Wild Bride, the destinies of an innocent girl (Audrey Brisson), her moonshine-making father (Stuart Goodwin), and a predatory devil in a cheap suit (Stuart McLoughlin) become inextricably entwined by an ill-fated bargain. Steeped in European fairytale logic and American folk and blues music, Bride is inventively staged at the base of a giant tree, combining mime, puppetry, dance, live music, Cirque du Soleil-style vocals, acrobatics, and taut verse into a swooping, expressionistic fable. Accidentally promised to the devil by her doting but drink-dulled dad, "The Girl" suffers first the creepy indignity of being perved on by her preternatural suitor, and secondly the horror of having her hands chopped off by her own father, actions which drive her to flee into the woods, morphing into a character known only as "The Wild" (played by Patrycja Kujawska). After a stint as an unlikely, Edward Scissorhands-esque queen, The Wild too is driven from comfort and morphs a second time into a third character "The Woman" (Éva Magyar), an experience-toughened mother bear who kicks the devil's ass (literally), and triumphs over adversity, without even uttering a single word. At turns dark, dexterous, fanciful, and fatal, Bride rises above the usual holiday fare with a timeless enchantment. (Gluckstern)
The World's Funniest Bubble Show Marsh Berkeley, TheaterStage, 2120 Allston, Berk; (415) 826-5750, www.themarsh.org. $8-50. Extended run: Sat/21, Feb 12, 19, 26, March 11, and 18, 11am. Louis "The Amazing Bubble Man" Pearl returns with this kid-friendly, bubble-tastic comedy.
Caroline Lugo and Carolé Acuña's Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Sun/22, 6:15pm. $15-19. Flamenco song and dance from a mother-daughter team.
Davalos Dance Company CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; www.counterpulse.org. Fri/20-Sat/21, 8pm. $20. The contemporary dance company performs "A Wintry Mix."
"The Gondoliers" Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; www.lamplighters.org. Fri/20-Sat/21, 8pm (also Sat/21, 2pm); Sun/22, 2pm. $15-48. Also Jan 27-28, 8pm (also Jan 28, 2pm); Jan 29, 2pm. $20-53. Lamplighters Music Theatre performs the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.
"Nameless forest" Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; (415) 978-2787, www.ybca.org. Thurs/19-Sat/21, 8pm. $5-25. Multidisciplinary performance matching the talents of choreographer Dean Moss with sculptor-poet Sungmyung Chun.
San Francisco Cabaret Opera Café Royale, 800 Post, SF; (415) 641-6033. Wed/18, 8pm. Free. Performance of "The Kurt Weill Project."
"The Screwtape Letters" War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness, SF; (415) 392-4400, www.screwtapeonstage.com. Sat/21, 4 and 8pm; Sun/22, 3pm. $29-59. Adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel about spiritual warfare from a demon's POV.
Company C Contemporary Ballet Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; (925) 943-7469. Fri/20-Sat/21, 8pm (also Sat/21, 3pm). $23-45. Also Jan 28, 7:30pm and Jan 29, 2pm, $15-27. Castro Valley Center for the Arts, 19501 Redwood, Castro Valley; (510) 889-8961. Also Feb 17, 8pm; Feb 18, 6:30pm (gala benefit); and Feb 19, 3pm, $23-175. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; (415) 978-2787. The company opens its 10th anniversary season.
Peking Acrobats Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft at Telegraph, UC Berkeley, Berk; www.calperformances.org. Fri/20-Sat/21, 8pm; Sun/22, 3pm. $20-52. The Chinese folk acrobatic company performs.