Theater Listings: April 30 - May 6, 2014
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.
"Des Voix: Found in Translation Biennial 2014" Various venues, SF; www.desvoixfestival.com. Prices vary. May 1-25. In addition to Communiqué N°10 (listed in Ongoing, below), this festival of contemporary French playwrights and cinema includes four new play translations, a "New Play Nightclub," film screenings, and more. Presented by Playwrights Foundation, Tides Theatre, Cutting Ball Theater, French International School, and the French Consulate of San Francisco.
"DIVAfest" Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.divafest.info. Prices and showtimes vary. May 1-24. This 13th annual festival celebrates the work of women artists, with performances including the premiere of Rat Girl (adapted from the memoir by rocker Kristin Hersh), Margery Fairchild's ballet comedy The Pas De Quatre, a reading by acclaimed poet Diane di Prima, and more.
Dracula Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; sfdracula.blogspot.com. $35. Opens Thu/1, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through May 31. Kellerson Productions presents a new adaptation of the Bram Stoker classic.
Du Barry Was a Lady Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, SF; www.42ndstmoon.org. $25-75. Previews Wed/30-Thu/1, 7pm; Fri/2, 8pm. Opens Sat/3, 6pm. Runs Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri, 8pm; Sat, 6pm (also May 10 and 17, 1pm); Sun, 3pm. Through May 18. 42nd Street Moon presents Cole Porter's saucy musical comedy, with comedian and writer Bruce Vilanch starring.
Romeo and Juliet Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, Ste 601, SF; www.eventbrite.com. $20. Previews Thu/1, 8pm. Opens Fri/2, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm; May 11 and 24, 3pm. Through May 24. Ninjaz of Drama performs Shakespeare's tragic romance.
Seminar San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post, Second Flr, SF; www.sfplayhouse.org. $20-100. Previews Wed/30-Fri/2, 8pm. Opens Sat/3, 8pm. Runs Tue-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); May 18 and June 1 and 8, 2pm. Through June 14. San Francisco Playhouse performs Theresa Rebeck's biting comedy.
Waxing West Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St, SF; www.brava.org. $20. Opens Thu/1, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm (Sat/3, show at 3pm); Sun, 3pm. Through May 18. Brava! For Women in the Arts and RasaNova Theater present the West Coast premiere of Saviana Stanescu's tale of a Romanian mail-order bride haunted by her country's past.
Nantucket Marsh Berkeley MainStage, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $25-100 (all tickets include a picnic dinner). Opens Sat/3, 7pm. Runs Thu and Sat, 7pm. Through June 14. Acclaimed solo perfomer Mark Kenward presents his "haunting yet hilarious" autobiographical show about growing up on Nantucket.
Communiqué N°10 Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor, SF; www.cuttingball.com. $10-50. Opens Thu/1, 7:30pm. Runs Thu, 7:30; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 5pm. Through May 25. Cutting Ball Theater closes its 15th season with the American premiere of Samuel Gallet's drama inspired by recent racial tensions in France.
E-i-E-i-OY! In Bed with the Farmer's Daughter NOHSpace, 2840 Mariposa, SF; www.vivienstraus.com. $20. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through May 10. Vivien Straus performs her autobiographical solo show.
Feisty Old Jew Marsh San Francisco Main Stage, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $25-100. Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Starting May 17, performance schedule changes to Sat-Sun, 5pm. Extended through July 13. Charlie Varon performs his latest solo show, a fictional comedy about "a 20th century man living in a 21st century city."
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.
Pearls Over Shanghai Hypnodrome Theatre, 575 10th St, SF; www.thrillpeddlers.com. $30-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through May 31. Five years ago, Thrillpeddlers breathed new life into a glitter-dusted piece of Sixties flotsam, beautifully reimagining the Cockettes' raunchy mock-operetta Pearls Over Shanghai (in collaboration with several surviving members of San Francisco's storied acid-drag troupe) and running it for a whopping 22 months. Written by Cockette Link Martin as a carefree interpretation of a 1926 Broadway play, the baldly stereotyped Shanghai Gesture, it was the perfectly lurid vehicle for irreverence in all directions. It's back in this revival, once again helmed by artistic director Russell Blackwood with musical direction by Cockette and local favorite Scrumbly Koldewyn. But despite the frisson of featuring some original-original cast members — including "Sweet Pam" Tent (who with Koldewyn also contributes some new dialogue) and Rumi Missabu (regally reprising the role of Madam Gin Sling) — there's less fire the second time around as the production straddles the line between carefully slick and appropriately sloppy. Nevertheless, there are some fine musical numbers and moments throughout. Among these, Zelda Koznofsky, Birdie-Bob Watt, and Jesse Cortez consistently hit high notes as the singing Andrews Sisters-like trio of Americans thrown into white slavery; Bonni Suval's Lottie Wu is a fierce vixen; and Noah Haydon (as the sultry Petrushka) is a class act. Koldewyn's musical direction and piano accompaniment, meanwhile, provide strong and sure momentum as well as exquisite atmosphere. (Avila)
The Provoked Wife Fort Mason Center, Southside Theater, SF; www.generationtheatre.com. $15-35. Thu/1-Sat/3, 8pm; Sun/4, 3pm. Generation Theatre performs Sir John Vanbrugh's Restoration comedy.
Shit & Champagne Rebel, 1772 Market, SF; shitandchampagne.eventbrite.com. $25. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. D'Arcy Drollinger is Champagne White, bodacious blond innocent with a wicked left hook in this cross-dressing '70s-style white-sploitation flick, played out live on Rebel's intimate but action-packed barroom stage. Written by Drollinger and co-directed with Laurie Bushman (with high-flying choreography by John Paolillo, Drollinger, and Matthew Martin), this high-octane camp send-up of a favored formula comes dependably stocked with stock characters and delightfully protracted by a convoluted plot (involving, among other things, a certain street drug that's triggered an epidemic of poopy pants) — all of it played to the hilt by an excellent cast that includes Martin as Dixie Stampede, an evil corporate dominatrix at the head of some sinister front for world domination called Mal*Wart; Alex Brown as Detective Jack Hammer, rough-hewn cop on the case and ambivalent love interest; Rotimi Agbabiaka as Sergio, gay Puerto Rican impresario and confidante; Steven Lemay as Brandy, high-end calf model and Champagne's (much) beloved roommate; and Nancy French as Rod, Champagne's doomed fiancé. Sprawling often literally across two buxom acts, the show maintains admirable consistency: The energy never flags and the brow stays decidedly low. (Avila)
Sleeping Cutie: A Fractured Fairy Tale Musical Thick House, 1695 18th St, SF; sleepingcutiemusical.tix.com. $30-40. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Though May 11. Off a Cliff Productions and PlayGround present Diane Sampson and Doug Katsaros' world-premiere musical.
The Speakeasy Undisclosed location (ticket buyers receive a text with directions), SF; www.thespeakeasysf.com. $70 (gambling chips, $5-10 extra; after-hours admission, $10). Thu-Sat, 7:40, 7:50, and 8pm admittance times. Extended through May 24. Boxcar Theater's most ambitious project to date is also one of the more involved and impressively orchestrated theatrical experiences on any Bay Area stage just now. An immersive time-tripping environmental work, The Speakeasy takes place in an "undisclosed location" (in fact, a wonderfully redesigned version of the company's Hyde Street theater complex) amid a period-specific cocktail lounge, cabaret, and gambling den inhabited by dozens of Prohibition-era characters and scenarios that unfold around an audience ultimately invited to wander around at will. At one level, this is an invitation to pure dress-up social entertainment. But there are artistic aims here too. Intentionally designed (by co-director and creator Nick A. Olivero with co-director Peter Ruocco) as a fractured super-narrative — in which audiences perceive snatches of overheard stories rather than complete arcs, and can follow those of their own choosing — there's a way the piece becomes specifically and ever more subtly about time itself. This is most pointedly demonstrated in the opening vignettes in the cocktail lounge, where even the ticking of Joe's Clock Shop (the "cover" storefront for the illicit 1920s den inside) can be heard underscoring conversations (deeply ironic in historical hindsight) about war, loss, and regained hope for the future. For a San Francisco currently gripped by a kind of historical double-recurrence of the roaring Twenties and dire Thirties at once, The Speakeasy is not a bad place to sit and ponder the simulacra of our elusive moment. (Avila)
The Suit ACT's Geary Theater, 415 Geary, SF; www.act-sf.org. $20-120. Opens Wed/30, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat and May 7 and 14, 2pm); Sun, 2pm (May 18, show at 1pm); Tue, 7pm (May 13, show at 8pm). Through May 18. ACT performs Peter Brook, Marie Hélène Estienne, and Franck Krawcyzk's music-infused drama about betrayal and resentment adapted from the short story by South African author Can Themba.
Tipped & Tipsy Marsh Studio Theater, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Sat, 5pm; Sun, 7pm. Extended through May 17. Last fall's San Francisco Fringe Festival began on a high note with Jill Vice's witty and deft solo, Tipped & Tipsy, and the Best of Fringe winner is now enjoying another round at solo theater outpost the Marsh. Without set or costume changes, Vice (who developed the piece with Dave Dennison and David Ford) brings the querulous regulars of a skid-row bar to life both vividly and with real quasi-Depression-Era charm. She's a protean physical performer, seamlessly inhabiting the series of oddball outcasts lined up each day at Happy's before bartender Candy — two names as loaded as the clientele. After some hilarious expert summarizing of the dos and don'ts of bar culture, a story unfolds around a battered former boxer and his avuncular relationship with Candy, who tries to cut him off in light of his clearly deteriorating health. Her stance causes much consternation, and even fear, in his barfly associates, while provoking a dangerous showdown with the bar's self-aggrandizing sleazeball owner, Rico. With a love of the underdog and strong writing and acting at its core, Tipsy breezes by, leaving a superlative buzz. (Avila)
The World's Funniest Bubble Show Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $8-11. Sun, 11am. Extended through May 25. The popular, kid-friendly show by Louis Pearl (aka "The Amazing Bubble Man") returns to the Marsh.
Fences Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; www.marintheatre.org. $37-58. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat/3 and May 10, 2pm); Wed, 7:30pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through May 11. Marin Theatre Company performs August Wilson's Pulitzer- and Tony-winning drama, with an all-star cast of Bay Area talent: Carl Lumbly, Steven Anthony Jones, and Margo Hall.
The Letters Harry's UpStage, Aurora Theatre Company, 2081 Addison, Berk; www.auroratheatre.org. $28-32. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 1. Aurora Theatre Company showcases its new second-stage performance space with John W. Lowell's suspenseful thriller.
Not a Genuine Black Man Osher Studio, 2055 Center, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $30-45. Wed, 7pm (no shows May 14, 21, or 28); Thu-Sat, 8pm (no shows Sat/3 or May 9-10). Through May 31. Brian Copeland brings his acclaimed, long-running solo show to Berkeley Rep for a 10th anniversary limited run.
Smash Dragon Theatre, 2120 Broadway, Redwood City; www.dragonproductions.net. $30. Thu/1-Sat/3, 8pm; Sun/4, 2pm. Dragon Theatre performs Jeffrey Hatcher's political comedy.
Tribes Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $29-99. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm; no 2pm show May 18). Through May 18. Berkeley Rep performs Nina Raine's family drama about a young deaf man who comes of age.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Julia Morgan Theater, 2640 College, Berk; www.berkeleyplayhouse.org. $18-60. Thu/1-Fri/2, 7pm; Sat/3, 1 and 6pm; Sun/4, noon and 5pm. Berkeley Playhouse performs the Tony-winning musical comedy.
Wittenberg Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; www.auroratheatre.org. $32-60. Tue, 7pm; Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Extended through May 11. Aurora Theatre Company performs David Davalos' comedy about reason versus faith.
"Acting Out: For the Health of It" Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St, SF; bcation.org/actingout2014. Thu/1, VIP reception 6-7pm; show 7:15-9pm. $35-75. Breast Cancer Action benefits from this variety show featuring author Peggy Orenstein, the Sarah Bush Dance Project, comedian Irene Tu, bluegrass band Beauty Operators, and host Tania Katan.
"Baile en la Calle: The Mural Dances" Precita Eyes Mural Center, 2981 24th St, and Balmy Alley, SF; www.brava.org. Sun/4, tours at 11am, noon, 1pm, and 2pm. Free. Epiphany Productions, CuicacallDance Company, Cuicacalli Escuela de Danza, and Loco Bloco offer dance interpretations of the murals along the Mission's historic Balmy Alley.
"Bay Area National Dance Week" Various locations; www.bayareadance.org. Wed/30-Sun/4. Free. This year's theme is "iconic dance moves from pop culture," and includes film screenings, free classes, outdoor dance performances, and more.
Caroline Lugo and Carolé Acuña's Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; www.carolinalugo.com. Sun/4, May 10, 17, and 25, 6:15pm; May 11, 1pm. $15-19. Flamenco performance by the mother-daughter dance company, featuring live musicians.
Company C Contemporary Ballet ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; www.odcdance.org. Thu/1-Sat/3, 8pm. $25-48. Also May 8-10, 8pm; May 11, 2pm, $25-48, Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; www.lesherartscenter.org. With two world premieres by Maurice Causey and Charles Moulton.
"Dancing on the Edge of the World" Dance Mission, 3316 24th St, SF; www.dancemission.com. Fri/2, 8pm; Sat/3-Sun/4, 3pm (also Sun/4, 7pm). $15-20. Grrrl Brigade performs an homage to Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.
"Dirty Little Ditties" Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri/2-Sat/3, 8pm. $20. Miss Jane Aquilina and Miss Robusta Capp perform a show that promises to be "not your mother's cabaret."
"The Eye of Horus" Jessie Square, 736 Mission, SF; www.dancersgroup.org. Wed/30 and Sat/3, 12:30pm. Free. Dancers' Group and Yerba Buena Gardens Festival present a new, site-specific work by Sara Shelton Mann.
Feinstein's at the Nikko 222 Mason, SF; www.feinsteinssf.com. This week: Jeremy Jordan, Thu/1-Fri/2, 8pm; Sat/3-Sun/4, 7pm, $45-60.
"Five Funny Females" Great Star Theater, 636 Jackson, SF; 5funnyfemales.eventbrite.com. Fri/2-Sat/3, 8 and 10pm. $20. A different bill of five female comedians at each show.
"Leonard Cohen Love Fest" Mechanics' Institute Library and Chess Room, 57 Post, SF; www.milibrary.org. Wed/30, 7pm. $10-20. A capella choir Conspiracy of Beards and author-musician Sylvie Simmons pay tribute to the music of Leonard Cohen.
"The Lusty Month of May" Martuni's, 4 Valencia, SF; www.tomshawtrio.com. Sat/3, 7pm. $10. Vocalist Karen Hirst salures spring, the Great American Songbook, and more, with singer-pianist Tom Shaw, drummer Roberta Drake, and violinist Donny Lobree.
"Magic at the Rex" Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter, SF; www.magicattherex.com. Sat, 8pm. Ongoing. $25. Magic and mystery with Adam Sachs and mentalist Sebastian Boswell III.
"Out of Line Improv" Stage Werx, 446 Valencia, SF; outoflineimprov.brownpapertickets.com. Sat, 10:30pm. $12. Ongoing. A new, completely improvised show every week.
"Purple: A Circus Tribute to Prince" Circus Center, 755 Frederick, SF; purpleshow.eventbrite.com. Sat/3, 7:30pm. $15-20. Circus acts set to Prince hits like "1999" and "Raspberry Beret."
"Rotunda Dance Series" San Francisco City Hall, 1 Carlton B. Goodlett Place, SF; www.dancersgroup.org. Fri/2, noon. Free. This month: La Tania Baile Flamenco performs dances from Spain.
"San Francisco Comedy College" Purple Onion at Kells, 530 Jackson, SF; www.purpleonionatkells.com. $5-10. "New Talent Show," Wed-Thu, 7. Ongoing. "The Cellar Dwellers," stand-up comedy, Wed-Thu, 8:15pm and Fri-Sat, 7:30pm. Ongoing.
"Shiner" Mojo Theater, 2940 16th St, SF; www.faultlinetheater.com. Thu/1-Sat/3, 8pm; Sun/4, 7pm. $10-20. FaultLine Theater performs Christian Durso's grunge-era drama.
"Terminator Too: Judgment Play" DNA Lounge, 373 11th St, SF; www.dnalounge.com. Thu/1, 9pm. $25-50. The creators of Point Break Live! take on James Cameron's 1991 sci-fi classic, with an audience member picked on the night of the show to embody Schwarzenegger's iconic role.
"Yerba Buena Gardens Festival" Yerba Buena Gardens, 760 Howard, SF; www.ybgfestival.org. Sun/4, 1pm. Free. Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra kicks off the annual outdoor performance festival, which runs through Oct 26.
"Cinderella" Lesher Center for the Arts, Margaret Lesher Theatre, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; www.fantasyforum.org. Thu/1-Fri/2, 9:30 and 11am (also Fri/1, 7pm); Sat/3, 10am, noon, 2pm, and 4pm; Sun/4, 11am and 1pm. $14. Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble performs a family-friendly musical based on the fairy tale, with audience participation encouraged.
"Dance on Center" Osher Studio, 2055 Center, Berk; www.dlkdance.com. Sat/3, 8pm. $15-25. Kathryn Roszak's Danse Lumiere kicks off a new series with dance works by Lissa Resnick, Dalia Rawson, and Kathryn Roszak, plus a film by Amy Seiwert.
"Doapcoev: A Town Where Dancing Was Not Allowed" Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, 1428 Alice, Oakl; www.brownpapertickets.com. Sun/4, 3pm. $15-25. Dimensions Dance Theater and Rites of Passage present this dance performance inspired by Footloose.
"The Fifth String: Ziryab's Passage to Cordoba" Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California, 1433 Madison, Oakl; www.goldenthread.org. Fri/2-Sat/3, 7pm; Sun/4, 3pm. $15-22. Also May 15-17, 8pm; May 18, 3pm, Brava Theatre Center, 2781 24th St, SF. Golden Thread continues its "Islam 101" performance series with this family-friendly play with live music.
"Lilith, The Night Demon in One Lewd Act" Hoytt Theater, Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro, San Rafael; www.marinjcc.org. Thu/1, 7:30pm. $39-49. Also Sat/3, 8pm, $30-35, JCC of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut, Berk; www.jcceastbay.org. Also Sun/4, 3pm, $39-49, Menlo-Atherton High School, 555 Middlefield, Atherton; www.thecenteratma.org. "The bawdy alternate Jewish story of creation," presented in folk-opera form.
"MarshJam Improv Comedy Show" Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. Fri, 8pm. Ongoing. $10. Improv comedy with local legends and drop-in guests.
"Pele Ma" Hamilton Amphitheater Park, Hamilton Parkway, Novato; www.hulaon.org. Sat/3, 1-3pm. $10. Hula performance directed by Kumu Hula Shawna Alapa'i and featuring the students of Halau Hula Na Pua O Ka La'akea.
"Piñata Dance Ritual" Shawl Anderson Dance Center, 2704 Alcatraz, Berk; www.lizboubion.org. Sun/4, 4pm. $5-50. Piñata Dance Collective presents this performance to benefit artistic director Liz Boubion's 350 Xochi Quetzal Artist Residency. *