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.
Absolutely San Francisco Alcove Theater, 414 Mason, Ste 502, SF; www.thealcovetheater.com. $32-50. Opens Thu/28, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm (no show Fri/29 or July 6). Through Aug 18. A multi-character solo show about the characters of San Francisco.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma, SF; www.boxcartheatre.org. $25. Opens Wed/27, 8pm. Runs Wed-Thu, 8pm; Fri-Sat, 7 and 9:30pm; July 8, 5pm. Through July 8. Boxcar Theatre performs John Cameron Mitchell's musical about a transgendered glam rocker.
Jip: His Story Marsh San Francisco, MainStage, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $8-50. Previews Fri/29, 7:30pm. Opens Sat/30, 5pm. Runs Sun/1, 4:30; Thu-Fri, 7:30pm; Sat, 2pm; Sun, 3pm. Through July 15. Marsh Youth Theater remounts its 2005 musical production of Katherine Paterson's historical novel.
Waiting... Larkspur Hotel Union Square, 525 Sutter, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. $69-75. Opens Fri/29, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Aug 5. Comedy set behind the scenes at a San Francisco restaurant.
Aftermath Stagewerx, 446 Valencia, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. $25. Thu/28-Sat/30, 8pm. Theatre, Period presents Jessica Blank and Erik Jenson's docu-drama, based on interviews with Iraqi civilians forced to flee after the US military's arrival in 2003.
A Behanding in Spokane SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter, SF; www.sfplayhouse.org. $20-70. Wed/27-Thu/28, 7pm; Fri/29-Sat/30, 8pm (also Sat/30, 3pm). If Garth Ennis had been asked to write a comic book about a one-handed sociopath with a dark obsession, he might well have written something similar to Martin McDonagh's A Behanding in Spokane. And admittedly, approached from that angle, a lot of the script's dramatic flaws are more easily forgiven. There's not a whole lot of subtle context or languid metaphor to be found in McDonagh's criminal caper about the little-known "hand-dealing" trade, but as in Ennis' best known work, Preacher, the pretty girl (Melissa Quine) is the smartest one in the room; the sociopath (Rod Gnapp) is interested in enacting as vicious a revenge on all humanity while spewing as many blatantly offensive invectives as possible; the boyfriend (Daveed Diggs) has some arrested development issues to work out; and the receptionist (Alex Hurt) takes the caricature of man-child to a whole new level. In fact, while all four actors deliver rock-solid performances of their mostly unsympathetic characters, it's Hurt's that impresses most. His spooky intensity and goofily tone-deaf determination plays like a combination of Adam Sandler and Arno Frisch, and if there's a real sociopath in the room, the evidence suggests it's probably him. Ultimately though the piece relies too heavily on hollow one-liners to remain interesting — a 20-minute farce stretched to 90 minutes — and quite unlike an Ennis comic, it does not leave one wanting more. (Gluckstern)
Bruja Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; www.magictheatre.org. $20-60. Extended run: Wed/27-Fri/29, 8pm; Sun/1, 2:30pm and 7pm. Although San Francisco's Mission District is inexorably morphing into an empire of twee boutiques and haute cuisine, it's still the first port of call for many Latin American migrants, and there are plenty of panaderias and botanicas tucked in between the sushi joints. In the Magic Theatre's production of Bruja, playwright Luis Alfaro transplants the story of Medea to 24th Street by way of Michoacán, exploring the tension between retaining old-country values and staking out a future in a new world. Directed by artistic director Loretta Greco, the title role played by a stunning Sabina Zuniga Varela, this chamber version of the Greek tragedy hits hard, exposing each character's darkest secrets to an unforgiving light. And every character, save the doomed brothers Acan and Acat (played the night I saw it by Daniel Castaneda and Gavilan Gordon-Chavez), has a secret to hide, even Medea, a curandera or healer by trade, whose powers run deeper and darker than her new world acquaintances, or even her old servant (Wilma Bonet) suspect. And when Jason (Sean San José) and his callous boss Creon (Carlos Aguirre), ruthlessly push Medea to her breaking point, her bloody vengeance proves, if little else, that she can play at ruthlessness better than anyone, whatever the consequences. (Gluckstern)
5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, SF; www.tidestheatre.org. $20-38. Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 10pm). Through July 21. Tides Theatre performs Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood's comedy about five women forced into a bomb shelter during a mid-breakfast nuke attack.
The Full Monty Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, SF; www.roltheatre.com. $25-36. Thu/28-Sat/30, 8pm (also Sat/30, 2pm). In desperate times, how far would you go to turn a buck? The central premise of the 1997 movie and its namesake musical comedy The Full Monty, the answer to this question is right in the title, which limits the suspense, but amps up the expectations. Set not in Sheffield, England as in the movie, but the similarly economically challenged climate of Buffalo, New York circa the late nineties, the comical romp follows a group of unemployed steel workers who decide, rather optimistically, that spending one night as exotic dancers will solve their immediate financial woes. Banish all notions of a Hot Chocolate sing-along; the soundtrack of the stage musical has little in common with its cinematic predecessor, but there are a couple of toe-tappers, particularly the songs writ for the ladies: a belter's anthem for their spry but elderly accompanist Jeanette (Cami Thompson), a snarky commentary on male beauty, "The Goods," for the ensemble. On opening night, Ray of Light's production ran about 15 minutes long after a late start, and the tempo seemed sluggish in parts, but once it hits its stride, The Full Monty should provide a welcome antidote to the ongoing, we're-still-in-a-recession blues, red leather g-strings and all. (Gluckstern) Fwd: Life Gone Viral Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm (July 15, show at 7:30pm). Extended through July 22. The internet becomes comic fodder for creator-performers Charlie Varon and Jeri Lynn Cohen, and creator-director David Ford.
Lips Together, Teeth Apart New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Wed/27-Sat/30, 8pm; Sun/1, 2pm. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs Terrence McNally's play about two straight couples spending July 4 amid Fire Island's gay community.
100 Saints You Should Know Thick House, 1695 18th St, SF; www.therhino.org. $10-30. Fri/29-Sat/30, 8pm; Sun/1, 3pm. Homespun scenic design notwithstanding, Theatre Rhinoceros and artistic director John Fisher offer a fine, engrossing production of this 2007 play by Kate Fodor (Hannah and Martin, RX), a sturdy comedy-drama about two fractured families colliding awkwardly in a sort of spiritual vacuum. Matthew (an intriguingly restrained Wiley Herman) is a desolate but forbearing Catholic priest sent on a leave of absence after a venial transgression involving some artful nude male photographs. Returning home, he endures a pained relationship with his devout, passively domineering Irish mother (Tamar Cohn, channeling a nicely measured mixture of stony discipline and childlike vulnerability). Soon Matthew gets an unexpected visit from single mom Theresa (a bright but shrewdly self-possessed Ann Lawler), a former Deadhead who now cleans the rectory and finds herself overcome with an urge to ask the gentle priest about prayer — just at the moment his faith seems to have left him. Meanwhile, Theresa's too-cool-for-school teenager, Abby (a deft and hilarious Kim Stephenson), waits outside and does some preying of her own on a slower-witted but game young man from the neighborhood (a charmingly quirky Michael Rosen), both of them roiling with confused yearnings. The appealing characters and unexpected storyline come supported by some excellent dialogue, developing a searching theme that ultimately has less to do with formal religion than the ordinary but ineffable need it promises (problematically) to meet. "I think I could be religious or whatever if it made any sense," notes Abby, "but it doesn't make any sense." It's easy to agree with the teenager on this one. 100 Saints is a genuinely funny and compassionate play discerning enough to avoid naming the depths it sounds. (Avila)
Proof NOHspace, 2840 Mariposa, SF; www.proofsf.com. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through July 14. $28. Expression Productions performs David Auburn's Pulitzer-winning play about a mathematician and his daughter.
Reunion SF Playhouse, Stage Two, 533 Sutter, SF; (415) 677-9596, www.sfplayhouse.org. $20. Wed/27-Thu/28, 7pm; Fri/29-Sat/30, 8pm. SF Playhouse presents a world premiere drama by local playwright Kenn Rabin.
"Risk Is This...The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival" Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor, SF; (415) 525-1205, www.cuttingball.com. Free ($20 donation for reserved seating; $50 donation for five-play reserved seating pass). Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through July 14. Cutting Ball's annual fest of experimental plays features two new works and five new translations in staged readings.
The Scottsboro Boys American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary, SF; www.act-sf.org. $20-95. Opens Wed/27, 8pm. Runs Tue-Sat, 8pm (Tue/3 performance at 7pm; also Wed and Sat, 2pm; no matinee July 4); Sun/1 and July 8, 7pm. Through July 15. American Conservatory Theater presents the Kander and Ebb musical about nine African American men falsely accused of a crime they didn't commit in the pre-civil rights movement South.
Slipping New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Wed/27-Sat/30, 8pm; Sun/1, 2pm. Midwestern high-school senior Eli (Evan Johnson), a recent transfer from San Francisco, is a rebellious gay teen with issues — what American teen doesn't have issues? But then Eli's, which include the loss of a beloved father and a Hamlet-like resentment for his recently widowed, sexually liberated academic of a mom (a subtle Stacy Thunes), have already driven him over the ledge. Eli's "slip" into a state of deep grief is further accelerated by the complicated, violently closeted love he left back in San Francisco. In flashbacks, Eli relives this punishing, irresistible relationship with Chris (a coiled, forceful Fernando Navales) as meanwhile new best friend Jake (Benjamin T. Ismail) gradually expresses more than platonic interest and life with mother builds toward a showdown, in New Conservatory's Bay Area premiere of Bay Area–born playwright Daniel Talbott's thoughtfully drawn if dramatically underdeveloped play. In contrast to Ron Gasparinetti's purposefully vague "anywhere" of a monochrome set (consisting of several low or sloped stone slabs), director Andrew Nance's cast are engagingly precise in their clear-eyed take on adolescent anguish. Johnson proves gracefully multifaceted as Eli, at turns unbearable in his loose, simmering rage and disarming in his helplessness and heartbreak. And a charmingly awkward and earnest Ismail makes wholly convincing Jake's innocent moth-to-flame attraction. Indeed, the play's weaknesses — including a dizzying amount of hopping around the time-space continuum and, more critically, a dramatic arc that's too neat and shallow to be really satisfying — do not completely detract from a worthwhile subject that often feels drawn from life. (Avila)
Vital Signs Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Sat, 8:30pm. Through July 21. The Marsh San Francisco presents Alison Whittaker's behind-the-scenes look at nursing in America.
The Waiting Period MainStage, Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Extended through July 7. Brian Copeland (comedian, TV and radio personality, and creator-performer of the long-running solo play Not a Genuine Black Man) returns to the Marsh with a new solo, this one based on more recent and messier events in Copeland's life. The play concerns an episode of severe depression in which he considered suicide, going so far as to purchase a handgun — the title coming from the legally mandatory 10-day period between purchasing and picking up the weapon, which leaves time for reflections and circumstances that ultimately prevent Copeland from pulling the trigger. A grim subject, but Copeland (with co-developer and director David Ford) ensures there's plenty of humor as well as frank sentiment along the way. The actor peoples the opening scene in the gun store with a comically if somewhat stereotypically rugged representative of the Second Amendment, for instance, as well as an equally familiar "doood" dude at the service counter. Afterward, we follow Copeland, a just barely coping dad, home to the house recently abandoned by his wife, and through the ordinary routines that become unbearable to the clinically depressed. Copeland also recreates interviews he's made with other survivors of suicidal depression. Telling someone about such things is vital to preventing their worst outcomes, says Copeland, and telling his own story is meant to encourage others. It's a worthy aim but only a fitfully engaging piece, since as drama it remains thin, standing at perhaps too respectful a distance from the convoluted torment and alienation at its center. (Avila)
Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; www.brownpapertickets.com. $18-25. Thu/28-Sat/30, 8pm; Sun/1, 2pm. Symmetry Theatre Company presents Bay Area playwright Lauren Gunderson's romantic drama centering on the life of 18th-century French physicist and mathematician, Émilie du Châtelet (Danielle Levin) and her (here tempestuous) long-term romance with Voltaire (Robert Parsons). In a familiar conceit left accordingly vague, fate rematerializes Emilie from some hazy afterlife so that she may relive key moments in her life and account for herself. A Cartesian mind/body split rules the replay, with Emilie finding herself painfully attenuated from the world of the senses — her flashback self (played by an impressive Blythe Foster) alone able to enjoy sensual contact with her surroundings. Meanwhile, love and loyalty face the test as Emilie goes head-to-head with a male-dominated scientific establishment over a certain theorem she calls "force vivre" — a formula into which Gunderson cleverly folds theoretical physics and the irrational heart. There's even a visual aid: a running tally is kept throughout on a screen at the back of the stage, where hash marks appear and disappear under the headings "philosophy" and "love" as the scenes wind their desultory way back toward the moment of her demise. Chloe Bronzan directs a cast of strong actors but their work is uneven. Foster alone is consistently commanding in a part that, while minor, suggests what a more muscular approach overall might have accomplished. The normally formidable Parsons seems uncommitted in the part of Voltaire, admittedly a character too simpering and watery as written to merit much credence. Instead of palpable relationships — whether with lovers or ideas — Emilie deploys self-conscious verbiage, strained repartee and heavy thematic underscoring to churn what amounts to thin drama. (Avila)
Emotional Creature Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2025 Addison, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $14.50-73. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm; no show July 13); Wed, 7pm (no show July 4); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through July 15. Berkeley Rep presents Eve Ensler's world premiere, based on her best-seller I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World.
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. Extended through July 15. 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)
Not Getting Any Younger Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Fri/29, 8pm; Sat/30, 5pm. 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. Note: review from the show's 2011 run at the Marsh San Francisco. (Avila)
The Odyssey Angel Island; (415) 547-0189, www.weplayers.org. $40-76 (some tickets include ferry passage). Sat/30-Sun/1, 10:30am-4pm (does not include travel time to island). We Players present Ava Roy's adaptation of Homer's epic poem: an all-day adventure set throughout the nature and buildings of Angel Island State Park.
Salomania Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; www.auroratheatre.org. $30-55. Previews Wed/20, 8pm. Tue, 7pm; Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Throgh July 22. The libel trial of a politically opportunistic newspaper publisher (Mark Andrew Phillips) and the private life of a famous dancer of the London stage — San Franciscan Maud Allan (a striking Madeline H.D. Brown) — become the scandalous headline-grabber of the day, as World War I rages on in some forgotten external world. In Aurora's impressive world premiere by playwright-director Mark Jackson, the real-life story of Allan, celebrated for her risqué interpretation of Oscar Wilde's Salomé, soon gets conflated with the infamous trial (20 years earlier) of Wilde himself (a shrewdly understated Kevin Clarke). But is this case just a media-stoked distraction, or is there a deeper connection between the disciplining of "sexual deviance" and the ordered disorder of the nation state? Jackson's sharp if sprawling ensemble-driven exploration brings up plenty of tantalizing suggestions, while reveling in the complexly intermingling themes of sex, nationalism, militarism, women's rights, and the webs spun by media and politics. A group of trench-bound soldiers (the admirable ensemble of Clarke, Alex Moggridge, Anthony Nemirovsky, Phillips, Marilee Talkington, and Liam Vincent) provide one comedy-lined avenue into a system whose own excesses are manifest in the insane carnage of war — yet an insanity only possible in a world policed by illusions, distractions and the fear of unsettled and unsettling "deviants" of all kinds. In its cracked-mirror portraiture of an era, the play echoes a social and political turmoil that has never really subsided. (Avila)
Wheelhouse TheatreWorks at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org. $19-69. Wed/27, 7:30pm; Thu/28-Sat/30, 8pm (also Sat/30, 2); Sun/1, 2 and 7pm. TheatreWorks' 60th world premiere is a musical created by and starring pop-rock trio GrooveLily.
The World's Funniest Bubble Show Marsh Berkeley, TheaterStage, 2120 Allston, Berk; (415) 826-5750, www.themarsh.org. $8-50. Fri/29, 6pm; Sat/30, 11am. Louis "The Amazing Bubble Man" Pearl returns with this kid-friendly, bubble-tastic comedy.
Alicia Dattner Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.theexit.org. Thu/28-Sat/30, 8pm. $26. The comedian performs.
"DEEPER, Architectural Meditations at CounterPULSE" CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; www.counterpulse.org. Fri/29-Sun/1, 8pm. $25. Lizz Roman and Dancers perform a site-specific work.
"Elect to Laugh" Studio Theater, Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org. Tue, 8pm. Through Nov 6. $15-50. Will Durst and friends perform in this weekly political humor show that focuses on the upcoming presidential election.
"I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You" Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri/29-Sat/30, 8pm. $20. Jennifer Jajeh performs her solo show, soon to be presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
"Jillarious Tuesdays" Tommy T's Showroom, 1000 Van Ness, SF; www.jillarious.com. Tue, 7:30. Ongoing. $20. Weekly comedy show with Jill Bourque, Kevin Camia, Justin Lucas, and special guests.
"Majestic Musical Review Featuring Her Rebel Highness" Harlot, 46 Minna, SF; www.herrebelhighness.com. Sun, 5pm. Through Aug 12. $25-65. Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, performers in Baroque-chic gowns, music, and more.
"Mission in the Mix" Dance Mission Theatre, 3316 24th St, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri/29-Sat/30, 8pm; Sun/1, 7pm. $17. SF Hip-Hop DanceFest producer Micaya presents new work by her SoulForce Dance Company, plus guest performances.
"Nerdgasm" Garage, 715 Bryant, SF; wonderdave.wordpress.com. Thu/28, 8pm. $12. Poetry, storytelling, and more, for nerds and by nerds. Part of the National Queer Arts Festival.
"One Night Only Benefit Cabaret" Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter, SF; www.richmondermet.org. Mon/2, 7:30pm. $25-65. Cast members from the American Idiot tour perform original music and comedy to raise money for the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
"Picklewater Clown Cabaret: Robot's Revenge!" Stage Werx Theatre, 446 Valencia, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Mon/2, 8pm. $15. Picklewater and guests perform physical comedy and other circus acts.
"Same Amor" Shotwell Studios, 3252-A 19th St, SF; www.ftloose.org. Fri/29-Sat/30, 8pm; Sun/1, 3pm. $10-20. Flamenco and contemporary dance, comedy, and live music, featuring Acuña Danza Teatro.
San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival Novellus Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard, SF; www.worldartswest.org. Sat/30-Sun/1, 3pm (also Sat/30, 8pm). $18-58. This final weekend of programming includes dance from Hawaii, India, Indonesia, Japan, Liberia, Mexico, the Philippines, Spain, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
Sex and the City: Live!" Rebel, 1760 Market, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Tue, 7 and 9pm. Through June 26. $25. Heklina, D'Arcy Drollinger, Lady Bear, Trixxie Carr play the fab four in this drag-tastic homage to the HBO series.
"This Is What I Want Performance Festival" SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan, SF; thisiswhatiwant.eventbrite.com. Wed/27-Fri/29, 8pm. $20. Part of the National Queer Arts Festival, this event features different bills each night of new, multidisciplinary performances from San Francisco and Los Angeles-based artists.
"Walking Distance Dance Festival" ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; www.odctheater.org. Fri/29-Sat/30, 6:30pm; Sun/1, 2pm. $20-75. LEVYdance, inkBoat, Kunst-Stoff, and more participate in this new festival, featuring dance artists performing throughout ODC's two-building campus.
"When We Fall Apart" Z Space, 450 Florida, SF; www.zspace.org. Wed/27-Sat/30, 7pm (also Fri/29-Sat/30, 9pm). $25-35. Joe Goode Performance Group presents a world premiere, an exploration of "home" with a set designed by architect Cass Calder Smith.