Stage Listings

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Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Rita Felciano, and Nicole Gluckstern. Submit items for the listings at listings@sfbg.com. For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks.

THEATER

OPENING

Dog Sees God Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma, SF; www.boxcartheatre.org. $16. Opens Wed/8, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Aug 25. Boxcar Playhouse performs Bert V. Royal's darkly comedic take on a moody, grown-up Charlie Brown and his Peanuts buddies.

Rights of Passage New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Previews Fri/17-Sat/19 and Aug 22-24, 8pm; Sun/20, 2pm. Opens Aug 25, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sept 16. New Conservatory Theatre Center presents the world premiere of Ed Decker and Robert Leone's multimedia play, inspired by global human rights laws in relation to sexual orientation.

BAY AREA

Our Country's Good Redwood Amphiteatre, Marin Art and Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake, Ross; www.porchlight.net. $15-30. Previews Thu/16, 7:30pm. Opens Fri/17, 7:30pm. Runs Thu-Sun, 7:30pm. Through Sept 8. Porchlight Theatre Company presents an outdoor performance of Timberlake Wertenbaker's play about Royal Marines and prisoners in an 18th century New South Wales prison colony.

Precious Little Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; www.shotgunplayers.org. $18-25. Previews Sat/19, 8pm; Sun/19, 5pm. Opens Mon/20, 8pm. Runs Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sept 1 and 8, 3pm); Sun, 5pm. Through Sept 16. Shotgun Players presents Madeleine George's new play about an expectant mother who studies near-dead languages and befriends a "talking" gorilla.

ONGOING

Absolutely San Francisco Alcove Theater, 414 Mason, Ste 502, SF; www.thealcovetheater.com. $32-50. Thu/16-Sat/18, 8pm. A multi-character solo show about the unique residents of San Francisco.

Believers Stage Werx, 446 Valencia, SF; www.wilywestproductions.com. $20-25. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Aug 25. As a couple of research scientists and a former couple to boot, Rocky Wise (Casey Fern) and Grace Wright (Maria Giere Marquis) are simply mad about love in Wily West's world premiere of local playwright Patricia Milton's exuberant but patchy comedy. Employed by a small, less than scrupulous pharmaceutical firm reeling from a product recall and attendant lawsuits, reclusive Rocky toils away after a formula for a drug that will inoculate the user against love — a secret agenda of his own inspired by the broken heart Grace left him with several years earlier. His boss (a comically brassy Jon Fast) thinks he's working on a commissioned "love activator," and to that end woos back former employee Grace to keep the fires burning in the lab. The strained reunion does the trick, if not exactly in the way intended. Meanwhile, a wacky born-again receptionist (Kate Jones) —"only recently come to the Lord" (and her Texan drawl by the sound of it) — fields calls from desperate people in a world despoiled by corporate greed and seemingly already in the throes of the end times. There are some moments worthy of a titter or two, but director Sara Staley's cast is less than precise or compelling with dialogue that is already hit-and-miss. Despite a promising scenario, Believers remains too uneven and muddled to generate much love beyond the stage. (Avila)

Enron Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.enron2012.com. $25. Thu/16-Fri/17, 8pm. In OpenTab's production of British playwright Lucy Prebble's 2009 Enron, tragedy plus time equals comedy plus puppets (in imaginative designs by Miyaka Cochrane), as fast-paced satire delivers a timely reconsideration of yet another infamous financial scandal. Some fictional elements shape the plotline but simplifying strategies serve well to clarify the real-life actions and consequences of Ken Lay (GreyWolf) and Jeffry Skilling's (Alex Plant) deceptive energy-trading juggernaut, the onetime darling of Wall Street and the financial pages. There's also much verbatim information (echoing the book and documentary, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room) enlivening the quick dialogue and underscoring the reckless, hubristic malfeasance that famously preyed on California's electricity grid and threw Enron's own employees under the bus. Director Ben Euphrat gets spirited and engaging performances from his principals, with especially nice work from Plant as a cruelly superior Skilling, Laurie Burke as ambitious straight-shooter Claudia Roe (a fictionalized composite creation of the playwright), and Nathan Tucker as manic sycophant Andy Fastow, feeding poisonous Enron debt into three beloved "raptors" (the pet names for some animated shadow companies arising from Fastow's fast work in "structured finance"). At the same time, the staging can prove rough between concept and execution, with scenic elements sometimes confusing as well as aesthetically ragged (a red fabric serving as a large profit graph, for instance, just looks like some droopy inexplicable drapery at first; and the first puppets to appear are too small to be very effective either). Despite this messiness in terms of mise-en-scène, however, the play is generally clear-eyed and good for more than easy laughs — since no single villain but rather a system and culture are the proper targets here. As Prebble notes, the strategies developed by Enron, far from remaining beyond the pale, are now standard practices throughout the financial and corporate world. That, in some circles, is known as progress. (Avila)

Humor Abuse American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary, SF; www.act-sf.org. $25-95. Wed/15-Sat/18, 8pm (also Sat/18, 2pm); Sun/19, 2pm. "This is a show about clowning," advises Lorenzo Pisoni 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 enthrallingly in motion. (Avila)

The Merchant of Venice Gough Street Playhouse, 1622 Gough, SF; www.custommade.org. $25-32. Thu/16-Sat/18, 8pm; Sun/19, 7pm. Custom Made Theater presents director Stuart Bousel's generally sharp staging of Shakespeare's perennially controversial but often-misunderstood play. The lively if uneven production ensures the involved storyline cannot be reduced to the problematical nature of its notorious Jewish villain, Shylock (played with a compellingly burdened intensity by a quick Catz Forsman), but rather has to be seen in a wider landscape of desire in which money, status, sex, gender, political and ethnic affiliations, and human bodies all mix, collide, and negotiate. To this end, this Merchant is set amid a contemporary financial district coterie (given plenty of scope in Sarah Phykitt's thoughtfully pared-down scenic design), where titular melancholic businessman Antonio (Ryan Hayes) sticks his neck out (or anyway a pound of flesh) for his beloved friend Bassanio (Dashiell Hillman) — no doubt the unspoken source of Antonio's brooding heart as staged here — as the latter seeks a loan with which to court the lovely and brilliant Portia (a winning Megan Briggs). While the subplot concerning the wooing and flight of Shylock's daughter, Jessica (Kim Saunders), is less adeptly rendered, fluid pacing and a confident sense of the priorities of the drama overall offer a satisfying encounter with this fascinatingly subtle play. (Avila)

Les Misérables Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market, SF; www.bestofbroadway-sf.com. $83-155. Tue-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through Aug 26. SHN's Best of Broadway series brings to town the new 25th anniversary production of Cameron Mackintosh's musical giant, based on the novel by Victor Hugo. The revival at the Orpheum does without the famous rotating stage but nevertheless spares no expense or artistry in rendering the show's barrage of colorful Romantic scenes (with Matt Kinley's scenic design drawing painterly inspiration from Hugo's own oils) or its larger-than-life characters — first and foremost Jean Valjean (a slim but passionate Peter Lockyer), nemesis Javert (Andrew Varela), and rescued orphan beauty Cosette (Lauren Wiley). Chris Jahnke contributes new orchestrations to the rollicking original score by Claude-Michel Schönberg (music) and Herbert Kretzmer (lyrics) in this flagrantly sentimental, somewhat problematic but still-stirring meld of music and melodrama in dutiful overlapping service of box office treasure and powerful humanist aspirations. (Avila)

My Fair Lady SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter, SF; www.sfplayhouse.org. $30-70. Tue-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm). Through Sept 29. SF Playhouse and artistic director Bill English (who helms) offer a swift, agreeable production of the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical, based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. The iconic class-conscious storyline revolves around a cocky linguist named Higgins (Johnny Moreno) who bets colleague Colonel Pickering (Richard Frederick) he can transform an irritable flower girl, Eliza Doolittle (Monique Hafen), into a "lady" and pass her off in high society. A battle of wills and wits ensues — interlarded with the "tragedy" of Alfred Doolittle (a shrewd and gleaming Charles Dean) and his reluctant upward fall into respectability — and love (at least in the musical version) triumphs. The songs ("Wouldn't It Be Loverly," "I Could Have Danced All Night," "Get Me to the Church on Time," and the rest) remain evergreen in the cast's spirited performances, supported by two offstage pianos (brought to life by David Dobrusky and musical director Greg Mason) and nimble choreography from Kimberly Richards. Hafen's Eliza is especially admirable, projecting in dialogue and song a winning combination of childlike innocence and feminine potency. Moreno's Higgins is also good, unusually virile yet heady too, a convincingly flawed if charming egotist. And Frederick, who adds a passing hint of homoerotic energy to his portrayal of the devoted Pickering, is gently funny and wholly sympathetic. (Avila)

The Princess Bride: Live! Dark Room Theater, 2263 Mission, SF; foulplaysf.com/princessbride. $20. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Aug 25. Dark Room Productions presents a live tribute to the cult fairy-tale movie.

Project: Lohan Costume Shop, 1117 Market, SF; www.projectlohan.com. $25. Thu/16-Sat/18, 8pm; Sun/19, 7pm. D'Arcy Drollinger pays tribute to the paparazzi target with this performance constructed solely from tabloids, magazines, court documents, and other pre-existing sources.

"Un-Abridged: The Best of Ten Years of Un-Scripted" SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter, SF; www.un-scripted.com. $10-20. Thu/16-Sat/18, 8pm. The veteran Bay Area company celebrates its tenth anniversary season with a four-week retrospective of its favorite long- and short-form improv shows. Check website for schedule.

Vital Signs Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Sat, 8:30pm. Extended through Aug 25. 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 Aug 25. 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)

War Horse Curran Theatre, 445 Geary, SF; www.shnsf.com. $31-300. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through Sept 9. The juggernaut from the National Theatre of Great Britain, via Broadway and the Tony Awards, has pulled into the Curran for its Bay Area bow. The life-sized puppets are indeed all they're cracked up to be; and the story of a 16-year-old English farm boy (Andrew Veenstra) who searches for his beloved horse through the trenches of the Somme Valley during World War I, while peppered with much elementary humor too, is a good cry for those so inclined. The claim to being an antiwar play is only true to the extent that any war-is-hell backdrop and a plea for tolerance count a melodrama as "antiwar," but this is not Mother Courage and no serious attempt is made to investigate the subject. Closer to say it's Lassie Come Home where Lassie is a horse — very ably brought to life by Handspring Puppet Company's ingenious puppeteers and designers, and amid a transporting and generally riveting mise-en-scène (complete with pointedly stirring live and recorded music). But the simplistic storyline and its obvious, somewhat ham-fisted resolution (adapted by Nick Stafford from Michael Morpurgo's novel) are too formulaic to be taken that seriously. And at two-and-a-half-hours, it's a long time coming. A shorter war, the Falklands say, would have done just as well and gotten people out before the ride began to chafe. (Avila)

BAY AREA

Circle Mirror Transformation Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; www.marintheatre.org. $20-57. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Thu/16 and Aug 25, 2pm); Wed, 7:30pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Though Aug 26. Marin Theatre Company and Encore Theatre Company co-present the regional premiere of Annie Baker's comedy about a drama class.

A Doll's House Willows Theatre, 1975 Diamond, Concord; www.willowstheatre.com. $20-29. Wed/15-Thu/16, 7:30pm (also Wed/15, 3:30pm); Fri/17-Sat/18, 8pm (also Sat/18, 2pm). The large stage at Willows Theatre is a sunken living room with walls the color of butterscotch pudding, a long rumpled powder-blue sofa, scattered seasonal decorations, and a single translucent panel that brings to mind a Bob Barker-era game show set. It's like a cross between a showroom and homeroom without meaning to be either, but that less than winsome amalgam hits the right note for Irish playwright Frank McGuiness's modern adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play. Here, the Helmers are just a couple of upstate New Yorkers with slightly funny-sounding names circa Christmas 1959: Nora (a captivatingly buoyant yet subtly shaded Lena Hart) is a bubbly young mother of three, and Torvald (a credibly oblivious Mark Farrell) is a smug but affable bank executive on the rise. A secret intervention in Torvald's career by a devoted Nora, his up-to-now happily caged "little songbird," once saved them from ruin (via a reckless loan borrowed on a forged signature), but now it invites a calamitous mixing of formerly separate spheres as the man who loaned Nora the money, once-disgraced Nils Krogstad (a fine, persuasively desperate yet smooth Aaron Murphy), blackmails her to insure his precarious position at her husband's bank. A panicked Nora confides in old friend and reluctant single-lady Christine (an impressively stoic, subtly wounded Kendra Oberhauser). Meanwhile, terminally ill family friend Dr. Rank (an initially wooden, later warmer Dale Albright) watches Nora from a devoted but helpless vantage. If the plot feels at times like a mirthless episode of I Love Lucy, that again may speak to the aptness of McGuiness's transposition as much as the sometimes forced way playwright Ibsen has of rearranging the dramatic furniture. But the generally strong cast under Eric Inman's able direction offers enough vivid dramatic tension to keep us engaged, while suggesting the continuing relevance and limits of the play's robust critique of marriage and patriarchy. (Avila)

Dolores: Out from the Void Subterranean Arthouse, 2179 Bancroft, Berk; www.subterraneanarthouse.org. $10-15. Thu/16, 8:30pm. On a bare floor at one end of Subterranean Art House's Berkeley storefront, physical theater maker Carolina Duncan, as her Colombian grandmother, pops opens her cranium like a steamer trunk and retrieves the scrapbook of a boundless life. Here memory and imagination exist in equal measures, as Duncan traces key moments and fleeting images from an arc of days defined by family, romance, and at least one titanic battle between an Amazonian dinosaur and a new secret-agent boyfriend. Combining mime, scattered dialogue, physical comedy, and a live soundscape (a sinuous score courtesy of musician Carlos Kampff, stage left), this loving and whimsical homage, directed by Nikolas Strubbe, comes gracefully delivered and almost always vividly expressed. All the while, Duncan (a recent graduate of SF's Clown Conservatory and James Donlon and Leonard Pitt's Flying Actor Studio) exudes an infectious enthusiasm for her subject, who proves as alive in a passing but concrete image of first childhood steps as she does in her final outing, a prolonged spacewalk into the familiar and unknown. (Avila)

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum Woodminster Amphitheater, Joaquin Miller Park, 3300 Joaquin Miller Rd, Oakl; www.woodminster.com. $12-56. Thu/16-Sun/19, 8pm. Woodminster Summer Musicals presents the Sondheim comedy.

Happy Hour with Kim Jong Il Cabaret at the Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; (415) 826-5750,l www.themarsh.org. Free. Fri, 6pm. Through Aug 24. Comedy work-in-progress by Kenny Yun, with live music by cabaret singer Candace Roberts.

Henry V Sequoia High School, 1201 Brewster, Redwood City; www.redwoodcity.org. Free. Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Aug 26. San Francisco Shakespeare Festival presents the Bard's history play as part of its "Free Shakespeare in the Park" series.

Keith Moon/The Real Me TheaterStage at the March Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Fri/17, Sept 13, 20, and 27, 8pm. Mike Berry workshops his new musical, featuring ten classic Who songs performed with a live band.

The Kipling Hotel: True Misadventures of the Electric Pink '80s Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Extended through Aug 26. 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)

A Midsummer Night's Dream Forest Meadows Amphitheater, 890 Belle, Dominican University of California, San Rafael; www.marinshakespeare.org. $20-35. Check website for schedule. Through Sept 30. Marin Shakespeare Company performs the Bard's classic, transported to the shores of Hawaii.

Noises Off Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck, Berk; www.aeofberkeley.org. $15. Fri/17-Sat/18, 8pm. Actors Ensemble of Berkeley performs Michael Frayn's backstage comedy.

Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Julia Morgan Theatre, 2640 College, Berk; www.berkeleyplayhouse.org. $17-35. Thu/16 and Sat/18, 7pm (also Sat/18, 2pm); Sun/19, noon and 5pm. Berkeley Playhouse performs a musical based on the candy-filled book, with songs from the 1971 movie adaptation.

"TheatreWorks 2012 New Works Festival" TheatreWorks at Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto; www.theatreworks.org. $19-25 (fest pass, $65). Various times, through Sun/19. The 11th annual festival features a developmental production of The Trouble With Doug by Will Aronson and Daniel Maté and staged readings of Sleeping Rough by Kara Manning, The Loudest Man on Earth by Catherine Rush, Being Earnest by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska, and Triangle by Curtis Moore and Thomas Mizer.

PERFORMANCE/DANCE

BATS Improv Bayfront Theater, B350 Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; www.improv.org. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Sept 8. $10-25. This week: "Five Deadly Improvisors and No Gnus is Good Gnus" (Thu/16); "Director's Cut" (Fri/17); "Theatresports: Battle to Play LA" (Sat/18).

"Carmina Burana" Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness, SF; www.cityboxoffice.com. Fri/17-Sat/18, 8pm. $28-34. The San Francisco Choral Society promises "no ordinary" rendition of the classic, presented as a semi-staged rendition featuring Perceptions Contemporary Dance Company, the Contra Costa Children's Choir, and other guests.

"Comikaze Lounge" Café Royale, 800 Post, SF; www.comikazelounge.com. Wed/15, 8pm. Free. Comedy showcase with headliner Natasha Muse.

"Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction" Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF; www.hemlocktavern.com. Wed/15, 6pm. $10. Ten comedians write and perform erotic fan fiction, with audience input.

Ian Edwards Punchline, 444 Battery, SF; www.punchlinecomedyclub.com. Wed/15-Fri/17, 8pm (also Fri/17, 10pm); Sat/18, 7:30 and 9:30pm. $15-21. The stand-up comedian performs.

"Elect to Laugh" Studio Theater, Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org. Tue, 8pm. Through Nov 6. $15-50. Veteran political comedian Will Durst emphasizes he's watching the news and keeping track of the presidential race "so you don't have to." No kidding, it sounds like brutal work for anyone other than a professional comedian — for whom alone it must be Willy Wonka's edible Eden of delicious material. Durst deserves thanks for ingesting this material and converting it into funny, but between the ingesting and out-jesting there's the risk of turning too palatable what amounts to a deeply offensive excuse for a democratic process, as we once again hurtle and are herded toward another election-year November, with its attendant massive anticlimax and hangover already so close you can touch them. Durst knows his politics and comedy backwards and forwards, and the evolving show, which pops up at the Marsh every Tuesday in the run-up to election night, offers consistent laughs born on his breezy, infectious delivery. One just wishes there were some alternative political universe that also made itself known alongside the deft two-party sportscasting. (Avila)

"Electile Dysfunction: The Kinsey Sicks for President" Rrazz Room, 222 Mason, SF; www.therrazzroom.com. Wed/15-Sat/18, 8pm; Sun/19, 7pm. $35-40. The "dragapella beautyshop quartet" satirizes the upcoming election.

"House Special" ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; www.odctheater.org. Sat/18, 8pm. $10-30. ODC Theater presents works-in-progress by David Schleiffers, Anna Sullivan, and Kim Yaged.

"Landscape of the Body" Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Thu/16-Sat/18, 8pm (also Sat/18, 3pm). $15. Bigger Than a Breadbox Theatre Co. presents John Guare's play about a single mother in 1970s Greenwich Village.

"Live at Deluxe" Club Deluxe, 1511 Haight, SF; comedyatdeluxe.wordpress.com. Mon/20, 9pm. $5. Comedy showcase with headliner Sammy K. Obeid.

"Measure for Measure" Café Royale, 800 Post, SF; sftheaterpub.wordpress.com. Aug 20-21 and 27, 8pm. Free ($5 suggested donation). SF Theater Pub performs the Shakespeare play.

"Merola Grand Finale" War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness, SF; www.sfopera.com. Sat/18, 7:30pm. $25-45. The operatic training program celebrates its final concert of the summer season.

"Richmond-Ermet AIDS Foundation presents a Special One-Night Only Benefit Concert" Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter, SF; www.helpisontheway.org. Mon/20, 7:30pm. $25-45. With Katya Smirnoff-Skye, SF Gay Men's Chorus ensemble Vocal Minority, and cast members from Les Misérables.

"Ricky Star's Planet: One-Man Comedy Show" Actors Theatre of San Francisco, 855 Bush, SF; youtube.com/rickystar5. Mon/20, 8pm. The stand-up comedian performs.

"San Francisco Improv Festival" Eureka Theater, 215 Jackson, SF; www.sfimprovfestival.com. Aug 16-25. $5-35. With local improv talent including BATS Improv, Un-Scripted Theater Company, San Jose ComedySportz, and more.

"Stepology presents the 2012 Bay Area Rhythm Exchange" Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness, SF; www.cityboxoffice.com. Sat/18, 8pm. $17-25. This dance and live music performance is part of the Bay Area Tap Festival's 10th anniversary celebration.

"Sunk in Sleep" CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; www.counterpulse.org. Fri/17-Sun/19, 8pm. $20. Bianca Cabrera's Blind Tiger Society presents a new evening-length dance work.

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