Stage Listings: December 25 - 31, 2013
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.
Amaluna Big Top at AT&T Park, Third Street at Terry A. Francois Blvd, SF; www.cirquedusoliel.com. $50-175. Check website for schedule, including special holiday showtimes. Through Jan 12. Cirque de Soleil is back in town, this time bringing its Tempest-inspired Amaluna to the big top set up outside AT&T Park. Touted for being a celebration of "women [sic] power," it seems initially odd that the design elements are so focused on the male peacock feather — all greens and blues and graceful, with curving "fronds" rising up from the stage. Jungle sounds chirp in the background as a bevy of Amazonian women in bejeweled headdresses and a mischievous lizard-man circulate the room until the show starts with the lovely abstraction of a floating red cloud of translucent fabric dancing in a single beam of light. The flimsy plotline is forgettable, a coming-of-age and courtship tale between the island's young princess, Miranda (Iuliia Mykhailova) and a shipwrecked young Romeo (Evgeny Kurkin), though the parallel courtship between the two comic figures of Jeeves (Nathalie Claude) and Deeda (Shereen Hickman) provides a bit of levity and a novel use for footballs. The most realized character is probably Cali (Victor Kee), the half-lizard, whose prehensile tail and neon body paint give him an otherworldly allure, but it's the aerialist goddesses and fierce embodiments of the storm that are most memorable from an acrobatic point-of-view, and Lara Jacobs' unique balancing act from a meditative one. (Gluckstern)
Avenue Q New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Jan 12. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs the Tony-winning comedy.
The Book of Mormon Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market, SF; www.shnsf.com. $60-120. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 1 and 6:30pm. Through Jan 19. When approaching the oeuvre of South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, it's best to check your political correctness at the door. That's certainly no less true of their 2011 Broadway musical The Book of Mormon, co-penned with Robert Lopez (of Avenue Q fame), despite the clean-scrubbed appearance of their fumbling albeit well-intentioned missionary protagonists. Sent to Uganda for two years, top mission pupil Elder Price (Nic Rouleau) and his clumsy but affable partner Elder Cunningham (A.J. Holmes) are faced with a village oppressed by a scenery-chewing warlord, a demoralized coterie of fellow missionaries who have yet to have a successful conversion, and their own fraught, odd-couple dynamic. Rouleau's Price is an appropriate blend of smarm, charm, and secret self-doubt while Holmes excels in his portrayal of a perennial-loser-turned-prophet (his power ballad-esque solo in "Man Up" is one of the show's best). Of their hosts, the wry Mafala (James Vincent Meredith) and his sweet but strong-willed daughter Nabulungi (Syesha Mercado) get the most stage time, but it's the crude and caustic General (David Aron Damane) who grabs the most attention. The gleefully profane "Hasa Diga Eebowai," a Forbidden Zone-style "Spooky Mormon Hell Dream", and the deliriously blasphemous "Joseph Smith, American Moses," round out the entertaining, and strangely informative, score. Though it's (very) unlikely to convert you to the Church of Latter-Day Saints, there's a good chance you'll want to convert to the church of Parker and Stone, if you haven't already. (Gluckstern)
A Christmas Carol Geary Theater, 415 Geary, SF; www.act-sf.org. $20-95. Thu/26-Fri/27, 1pm (also Fri/27, 5:30pm); Sat/28, 1pm. American Conservatory Theater mounts its annual production of the Dickens classic, with James Carpenter as Scrooge and Ken Ruta as Jacob Marley's ghost.
Crones for the Holidays: The Sequel Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.crackpotcrones.com. $20. Sat/28-Sun/29, 3pm (also Sat/28, 8pm). Vignettes, improv, songs, and more, written by and starring Terry Baum and Carolyn Myers.
Disney's Beauty and the Beast Curran Theatre, 445 Geary, SF; www.shnsf.com. $60-160. Wed/25-Sat/28 and Dec 30-Jan 4, 2pm (also Sat/28 and Jan 3-4, 7:30pm); Sun/29 and Jan 5, noon and 5:30pm.Through Jan 5. Disney's version of the classic tale comes to the stage. Bring it, Mrs. Potts!
Foodies! The Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; www.foodiesthemusical.com. $32-34. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. AWAT Productions presents Morris Bobrow's musical comedy revue all about food.
The Jewelry Box: A Genuine Christmas Story The Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-40. Fri/27, 8pm; Sat/28, 5pm. Brian Copeland performs the world premiere of his new, holiday-themed work, an Oakland-set autobiographical tale that's a prequel to his popular Not a Genuine Black Man.
The Oy of Sex Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $20-100. Thu-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Through Jan 18. Comedian Alicia Dattner performs her solo show, based on her stories from her own life and love addiction.
Storefront Church San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St, Second Flr, SF; www.sfplayhouse.org. $30-100. Tue-Thu, 7pm (no shows Wed/25 or Jan 1); Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun, 2pm. Through Jan 11. Weighty themes come leavened by sharp comedy and engaging characters in this 2012 play from New York's John Patrick Shanley (Doubt), now enjoying a strong and lively Bay Area premiere at SF Playhouse in director Joy Carlin's well cast production. Ethan, a gregarious retired accountant and professed secular Jew (a hilarious and endearing Ray Reinhardt) tries to get some relief for his Puerto Rican wife, Jessie (a bubbly Gloria Weinstock), who is perilously behind on her loan payments. But it's like getting the proverbial blood from a stone during his meeting with her humorless and immobile — indeed, partly paralyzed — loan officer (a quietly shattered Rod Gnapp). Ethan appeals to morality; loan officer Reed sticks to the rules of the system. Enter Donaldo (an admirably sure yet understated Gabriel Marin), the Bronx's upstanding borough president and the son of Jessie's old friend. Donaldo has much bigger business with the bank underway (a proposed mall deal that will bring jobs, if at the expense of local character) and at first begs off — until he learns his mother has co-signed the loan. Soon, Donaldo is visiting the source of Jessie's money problems: a somber Pentecostal preacher and Katrina-refugee named Chester (a gently solemn Carl Lumbly) who has installed a traffic-less church in the storefront below her apartment but remains himself paralyzed by depression and uncertainty. Donaldo, himself a preacher's son, and Chester soon engage in a fiery and captivating debate that turns on the contradictions between moral conviction and worldly compromise. From there on, a fractured congregation of sorts begins to form around the preacher and Donaldo, including the unctuous yet aloof CEO of the bank (played with bounding confidence by a fine Derek Fischer). It all leads to a rousingly funny and tender scene that makes good on the season's usual lip service to fraternal feeling and communal values. (Avila)
Too Many Tamales: A Holiday Story for the Whole Family Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $8-35. Fri/27-Mon/30 and Jan 2-4, 2pm. Through Jan 4. Marsh Youth Theater and author Gary Soto collaborate on this high-energy holiday show — complete with puppets and Mexican music — based on Soto's picture book.
Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; www.shotgunplayers.org. $20-35. Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Jan 11. Shotgun Players performs Anthony Neilson's comic romp set in "a sensual Edwardian world of top hats, fantastical puppets, and flash powder."
Little Women Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto; www.theatreworks.org. $19-79. Tue-Wed and Mon/30, 7:30pm (no show Wed/25; Tue/31, show at 2pm only; no show Jan 1); Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, Thu/26, and Jan 4, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Jan 4. TheatreWorks performs the musical adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott tale.
The Pianist of Willesden Lane Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $29-89. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm; no show Tue/31); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm; no show Wed/25; matinee only Jan 5). Extended through Jan 5. Mona Golabek stars in this solo performance inspired by her mother, a Jewish pianist whose dreams and life were threatened by the Nazi regime.
Tristan & Yseult Berkeley Rep's Roda Theatre, 2025 Addison, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $17.50-81. Tue, Thu-Sat, and Jan 6, 8pm (also Thu and Sat, 2pm; no show Jan 7; no matinee Jan 18); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm; no show Wed/25). Extended through Jan 18. Kneehigh presents an innovative take on the ancient love-triangle tale.
"America's Next Top Bachelor Housewife Celebrity Hoarder Makeover Star Gone Wild!" Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, SF; www.cityboxoffice.com. Sat/28, 8pm. $25-40. The Kinsey Sicks ("America's favorite dragapella beautyshop quartet") perform a new musical comedy.
"Boswick the Clown's Variety Show" Un-Scripted Theatre, 533 Sutter, SF; www.boswick.net. Fri/26-Sun/29, 11am (also Sun/29, 2pm). $19. Kids ages 4-8 are the target audience for this show, performed by a former Ringling Brothers clown.
"Club Chuckles Ten Year Anniversary Bash" Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF; www.hemlocktavern.com. Sat/28, 9pm. $5. Comedy with Chris Thayer, Donny Divanian, Caitlin Gill, Sean Keane, Jesse Elias, Joey Devine, Couples, musical guest Freakotronic, and more.
"Fiesta Navidena" Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; www.carolinalugo.com. Fri/27-Sat/28, 6:15pm. $15-21. Carolina Lugo and Carolé Acuña's Ballet Flamenco performs a holiday show.
"Howard Stone Comedy Show with the Danny Dechi Orchestra" Neck of the Woods, 406 Clement, SF; www.dannydechi.com. Sat/28, 8pm. $10. Stand-up with live music and guests Kurt Weitzmann, Kaseem Bentley, Eric Ward, and others.
"Hysterical Historical San Francisco, Holiday Edition" Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; www.sheltontheater.org. Sun/29, 7pm. $30-40. Comic Kurt Weitzman performs.
"Intimate Illusions" Venetian Ballroom, Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason, SF; www.ivanamodei.com. Thu/26-Sat/28, 7 and 9:30pm. $65-75. Award-winning illusionist Ivan Amodei performs.
"Kung Pao Kosher Comedy" New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific, SF; www.koshercomedy.com. Wed/25-Thu/26, 6pm (dinner show); 9:30pm (cocktail show). $44-64. Stand-up with Gary Gulman, Adrianne Tolsch, Samson Koletkar, and Lisa Geduldig.
"Okeanos Intimate" Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39, SF; www.capacitor.org. Sat/28, 8pm. $20-30 (free aquarium ticket with show ticket). Choreographer Jodi Lomask and her company, Capacitor, revive 2012's Okeanos — a cirque-dance piece exploring the wonder and fragility of our innate connection to the world's oceans — in a special "intimate" version designed for the mid-size theater at Pier 39's Aquarium of the Bay. The show, developed in collaboration with scientists and engineers, comes preceded by a short talk by a guest expert — for a recent Saturday performance it was a down-to-earth and truly fascinating local ecological history lesson by the Bay Institute's Marc Holmes. In addition to its Cirque du Soleil-like blend of quasi-representational modern dance and circus acrobatics — powered by a synth-heavy blend of atmospheric pop music — Okeanos makes use of some stunning underwater photography and an intermittent narrative that includes testimonials from the likes of marine biologist and filmmaker Dr. Tierney Thys. The performers, including contortionists, also interact with some original physical properties hanging from the flies — a swirling vortex and a spherical shell — as they wrap and warp their bodies in a kind of metamorphic homage to the capacity and resiliency of evolution, the varied ingenuity of all life forms. If the movement vocabulary can seem limited at times, and too derivative, the show also feels a little cramped on the Aquarium Theater stage, whose proscenium arrangement does the piece few favors aesthetically. Nevertheless, the family-oriented Okeanos Intimate spurs a conversation with the ocean that is nothing if not urgent. (Avila)
"Point Break Live!" DNA Lounge, 373 11th St, SF; www.dnalounge.com. Jan 3, Feb 7, March 7, and April 4, 7:30 and 11pm. $25-50. Dude, Point Break Live! is like dropping into a monster wave, or holding up a bank, like, just a pure adrenaline rush, man. Ahem. Sorry, but I really can't help but channel Keanu Reeves and his Johnny Utah character when thinking about the awesomely bad 1991 movie Point Break or its equally yummily cheesy stage adaptation. And if you do an even better Keanu impression than me — the trick is in the vacant stare and stoner drawl — then you can play his starring role amid a cast of solid actors, reading from cue cards from a hilarious production assistant in order to more closely approximate Keanu's acting ability. This play is just so much fun, even better now at DNA Lounge than it was a couple years ago at CELLspace. But definitely buy the poncho pack and wear it, because the blood, spit, and surf spray really do make this a fully immersive experience. (Steven T. Jones)
"The Santaland Diaries" Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, SF; www.combinedartform.com. Thu/26-Sun/29, 8pm (also Sun/29, 2pm). David Sinaiko performs David Sedaris' tale of working as an elf, adapted to the stage by Joe Mantello.
"Through the Eyes of a Clown" Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma, SF; www.boxcartheatre.org. Fri/27-Sun/29, 7pm. $25. Entertainer David Magidson performs a show about his "life in grease paint." Suitable for teens and older.
"The Vice Principals of Comedy: Musical Revue" 50 Mason Social House, 50 Mason, SF; Facebook: Vice Principals of Comedy: Musical Revue. Sat/28, 7pm. Free. Music and comedy with Jane Harrison, Moore/Devine, Carl & Beatrice, and Andrew Roberts.
"Well-Strung: The Singing String Quartet" Feinstein's at the Nikko, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; www.feinsteinssf.com. Fri/27, 8pm; Sat/28, 7pm. $25-40 ($20 food and beverage minimum). The group performs classical (Mozart, Bach) and pop (Adele, Rihanna) songs.
"XXmas: The Christmas Ballet, 2013 Edition" Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Lam Research Theater, 700 Howard, SF; www.smuinballet.org. Thu/26-Sat/28, 8pm (also Thu/26, 2pm). $24-64, Smuin Ballet's annual holiday show boasts festive ballet, tap, and swing-dance numbers.
"Champions of Magic Live!" Berkeley Playhouse at Julia Morgan Theater, 2640 College, Berk; www.championsofmagiclive.com. Sat/28, 7:30pm; Sun/29, 2pm. $20-60. Five world-class magicians perform: Christopher Hart, Jason Andrews, Jade, Dana Daniels, and Mark Kornhauser.
"Fiesta de Navidad" Rhythmix Cultural Works, 2513 Blanding, Alameda; www.rhythmix.org. Sun/29, 7pm. $10-20. Flamenco performances and Spanish Christmas carols with Yaelisa and other artists. *