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.
Vice Palace: The Last Cockettes Musical Thrillpeddlers' Hypnodrome, 575 10th St, SF; (415) 377-4202, www.thrillpeddlers.com. $30-35. Opens Fri/27, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through March 3. Thrillpeddlers revives the Cockettes' 1972 musical extravaganza.
Arms and the Man Lesher Center for the Arts, Margaret Lesher Theater, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; (925) 943-7469, www.centerrep.org. $38-43. Previews Fri/27-Sat/28, 8pm; Sun/29, 2:30pm. Opens Tues/31, 7:30pm. Runs Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2:30pm. Through Feb 25. Center REPertory Company presents George Bernard Shaw's classic romantic comedy.
Body Awareness Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org. $34-55. Previews Fri/28-Sat/28 and Feb 1, 8pm; Sun/29, 2pm; Tues/31, 7pm. Opens Feb 2, 8pm. Runs Tues, 7pm; Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through March 4. Aurora Theatre performs Annie Baker's comedy.
Cabaret Young Performers Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldc C, Room 300, Marina at Laguna, SF; (415) 381-1638, cabaretsf.wordpress.com. $25-45. 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.
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/27-Sun/29, 8pm. 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 (also Wed and Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 5. "This is a show about clowning," Lorenzo Pisoni advises his audience at the outset of his graceful solo performance, "and I'm the straight man." It's a funny line, actually — funny because it's true, and not true. In the deft routines that follow, as well as in the snapshots cast on the atmospherically dingy curtain hung center stage, the career of this Pickle Family Circus brat (already alone in the spotlight by age two) never veers far from the shadow of his father. That fact remains central to the winning comedy and wistful reflection in Humor Abuse. Reared in the commotion and commitment of the famed San Francisco circus founded by his parents Larry Pisoni and Peggy Snider, Lorenzo had a childhood both enviable and unusually challenging. The fact that he shares his name with both a grandfather and his dad's famous clown persona is instructive. His trials and his triumphs are further conflated — along with his father's —in such elegant catastrophes as falling down a long flight of stairs. And in his good-humored and honest reflections, the existential poignancy at the heart of such artful buffoonery begins to rise to the surface. The spoken narrative feels a little pinched or abbreviated, in truth, but there are no shortcuts to the skill or wider perspective inculcated by the charming Pisoni and (under direction of co-creator Erica Schmidt) set enthralling in motion. (Avila)
*New Fire: To Put Things Right Again Brava Theater, 2781 24th St, SF; (415) 647-2822, www.brava.org. $10-30. Thurs/26-Sat/28, 8pm; Sun/29, 3pm. 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 Cherríe 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)
Olivia's Kitchen Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.generationtheatre.com. $20-40. 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. $10-75. Through Feb 4. 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. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 18. Tides Theatre Company debuts with a bold interpretation of the Beckett classic.
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 and Feb 16, 2pm); 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 Pitmen Painters TheatreWorks at Mountain View Center for the Arts, 500 Castro, SF; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org. $19-69. 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.
The World's Funniest Bubble Show Marsh Berkeley, TheaterStage, 2120 Allston, Berk; (415) 826-5750, www.themarsh.org. $8-50. Extended run: Feb 12, 19, 26, March 11, and 18, 11am. Louis "The Amazing Bubble Man" Pearl returns with this kid-friendly, bubble-tastic comedy.
"The Best of Times" Alcazar Theatre, 650 Geary, SF; www.42ndstmoon.org. Thurs/26, 7pm. $70. 42nd Street Moon salutes Tony-winning Broadway composer-lyricist Jerry Herman.
"The Eric Show" Milk Bar, 1840 Haight, SF; www.milksf.com. Tues, 8pm (ongoing). $5. Local comedians perform with host Eric Barry.
"Father Panic!" Garage, 975 Howard, SF; (415) 518-1517, www.975howard.com. Fri/27-Sat/28, 8pm, $15. Dan Carbone's latest autobiographical performance piece.
"Hidden Classics Reading Series" Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor, SF; www.cuttingball.com. Sun/29, 3pm. Free. Cutting Ball Theater presents two August Strindberg readings: Miss Julie and A Dream Play.
"Loved By You: A Self-Love Story" TJT, 470 Florida, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Sat/28-Sun/29, 8pm. $15. Lori Shantzis performs her solo show about self-acceptance.
"Musicircus" Walt Disney Family Museum, 104 Montgomery, the Presidio, SF; www.calartsf.net. Sat/28, 1:30-5:30pm and 6-9pm. Free. CalArts Alumni and the Walt Disney Family Museum present this marathon performance event and showcase concert.
Paufve Dance Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri/27-Sat/28, 8pm; Sun/29, 7pm. $15-18. The company premieres the dance theater work So I Married Abraham Lincoln.
"The Rivalry" Kanbar Hall, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California, SF; www.jccsf.org. Sun/29, 4pm. $42-55. LA Theaterworks presents this performance of Norman Corwin's depiction of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.
"The XXX Factor" Eureka Theater, 215 Jackson, SF; www.ticketweb.com. Tues/31, 8pm, $15. Comedy Noir performs a new show satirizing televised talent contests (with "mentors" Sarah Palin and John Wayne Gacy, among others).
Company C Contemporary Ballet Castro Valley Center for the Arts, 19501 Redwood, Castro Valley; (510) 889-8961. Sat/28, 7:30pm and Sun/29, 2pm. $15-27. 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.
"The Gondoliers" Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; www.lamplighters.org. Fri/27-Sat/28, 8pm (also Sat/28, 2pm); Sun/29, 2pm. $20-53. Lamplighters Music Theatre performs the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.
"Lycanthropos: The Werewolf in Story and Song" Parish Hall, St. Alban's Church, 1501 Washington, Albany; (510) 528-1685. Sun/29, 7pm. $25-30. Tim Rayborn uses spoken word, song, and exotic instruments to illuminate the werewolf legend, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance.
"Saturday Night Special: Broken Resolutions" Nick's Lounge, 3218 Adeline, Berk; www.nickslounge.com. Sat/28, 7-9:30pm. Free. Open mic featuring LJ Moore and Chanel Timmons.
"What's Strunk and White, and Read All Over?: The Elements of Style" Pegasus Books Solano, 1855 Solano, Berk; www.1stpersonsingular.com. Wed/25, 7:30pm. Free. Calling all copy editors: First Person Singular dramatizes The Elements of Style.