Stage listings are compiled by Molly Freedenberg. 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.
Beauty of the Father Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason; (800) 838-3006, www.offbroadwaywest.org. $30. Opens Fri/5. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through March 13. Off Broadway West Theatre Company presents Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winner.
Fabrik: The Legend of M. Rabinowitz Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida; 292-1233, www.tjt-sf.org. $20-$45. Previews Thurs/4-Sat/6. Opens Sun/7. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Feb 28. The Jewish Theatre San Francisco presents a Wakka Wakka Productions presentation of this story of a Polish Jew who immigrated to Norway, told with hand-and-rod puppets, masks, and original music.
Fiorello! Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; 392-4400, www.cityboxoffice.com. $10-$30. Opens Fri/5. Runs Fri/5-Sat/6, 7:30pm, Sat-Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 20. The San Francisco Arts Education Project celebrates the ninth year of its musical theater company with three weekend performances of Broadway’s Pulitzer Prize winning play.
Hearts on Fire Teatro ZinZanni, Pier 29; 438-2668, www.zinzanni.org. $117-$145. Opens Thurs/4. Runs Wed-Sat, 6pm; Sun, 5pm. Through May 16. Teatro ZinZanni celebrates its 10th anniversary with this special presentation featuring Thelma Houston, El Vez, and Christine Deaver.
Oedipus el Rey Magic Theatre, Building D, Fort Mason Center; 441-8822, www.magictheatre.org. $20-$55. Opens Thurs/4. Days and times vary. Through Feb 28. Luis Alfaro transforms Sophocles’ ancient tale into an electrifying myth, directed by Loretta Greco.
Akin EXIT Theatre, 156 Eddy; 673-3847, www.theexit.org. $15-$25. Thurs/4-Sat/6, 8pm. The realization that no-one who shares the family bloodline could be exactly classified as mentally stable, becomes more apparent with each explosive accusation and murderous intention, and the definition of love as crisis carries the show to its abrupt, presumed fatal conclusion. (Gluckstern)
Animals Out of Paper SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter; 677-9596, www.sfplayhouse.org. $30-$40. Tues, 7pm; Wed-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 3 and 8pm. Through Feb 27. SF Playhouse presents Rajiv Joseph’s quirky comedy.
Bright River Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St; (800) 838-3006, thebrightriver.com. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Feb 20. From the imagination of Tim Barsky comes a journey through a dystopian uderworld.
Eat, Pray, Laugh! Off-Market Theaters, 965 Mission; www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. Wed, 8pm. Through Feb 24. Off-Market Theaters presents stand up comic and solo artist Alicia Dattner in her award-winning solo show.
Fiddler on the Roof Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor; 512-7770, www.shnsf.com. $30-$99. Tues-Sat, 8pm; Wed, Sat, and Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 21. Harvey Fierstein, who played Tevye in the recent critically acclaimed Broadway production, reprises the role as part of the Best of Broadway series.
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa; (866) 811-4111, www.frankieandjohnnysf.com. $28. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 13. Royce Gallery presents Terrence McNally’s award-winning play.
The Real Americans The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 826-5750, www.themarsh.org. $15-$50. Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through March 6. The Marsh presents the world premiere of Dan Hoyle’s new solo show.
Red Light Winter Next Stage, 1620 Gough; (800) 838-3006, custommade.org. $18-$28. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 20. Custom Made presents the Bay Area premiere of Adam Rapp’s Obie award-winning and Pulitzer nominated play.
Rent Southside Theatre, Fort Mason Center; www.jericaproductions.com. $25-$35. Fri, 8pm; Sat-Sun, 2 and 8pm. Through Feb 21. The Royal Underground presents A Jerica Productions Company rendition of Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning rock opera.
A Round-Heeled Woman Z Space, Theater Artaud, 450 Florida; (800) 8383-3006, www.zspace.org. $20-$50. Wed/3, 7pm; Thurs/4-Sat/6, 8pm; Sun/7, 5pm. Cagney & Lacey alumni Stephen Macht and Sharon Glass reunite as lovers in a new play by Jane Prowse.
The Wave The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 826-5750, www.themarsh.org. $7-$50. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm, through Sun/7. Also Feb 13-14, 2pm. The Marsh presents its Teen Troupe in the world premiere of this musical by Ron Jones.
What Mama Said About ‘Down There Our Little Theater, 287 Ellis; 820-3250, www.theatrebayarea.org. $15-$25. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through July 30. Writer/performer/activist Sia Amma presents this largely political, a bit clinical, inherently sexual, and utterly unforgettable performance piece.
Antigone Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 649-5999, www.aeofberkeley.org. $12-$15. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 20. Actors Ensemble of Berkeley presents Jean Anouilh’s adaptation of the ancient Greek tragedy.
Coming Home Thrust Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison; (510) 647-2917, www.berkeleyrep.org. Tues, 8pm; Wed, 7pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Feb 28. $33-$71. This cautious sequel to Valley Song follows Veronica Jonkers (a versatile Roslyn Ruff) to her childhood home in the Karoo. (Gluckstern)
*East 14th Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allison, Berk; (800) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org. $20-$50. Fri/12, 9pm; Sat/13, 8pm. Don Reed’s solo play returns the Bay Area native to the place of his vibrant, physically dynamic, consistently hilarious coming-of-age story. (Avila)
The First Grade Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, auroratheatre.org. $15-$55. Tues, 7pm; Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Feb 28. Aurora Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Joel Drake Johnson’s new play.
Phèdre American Conservatory Theatre, 415 Geary, SF. 749-2228, www.act-sf.org. $10-$82. Wed/3, 2 and 8pm; Thurs/4-Fri/5, 8pm; Sat/6, 2 and 8pm; Sun/7, 2pm. You’d be forgiven for forgetting that the story of Phèdre is a steamy tale of sexual intrigue, betrayal, and unspeakable desires, at ACT’s tepid production of it. True, a classical tragedy merits being given the classical treatment, and who better to render it than a cast of Shakespearean actors imported from Stratford(Ontario)? But when “classical” is interpreted as merely bloodless, it makes one long for the rougher beasts of post-modernism. Even worse, not content to fully invest in classicism, by staging the play in ancient Greece, director Carey Perloff tries to create a sense of timelessness through design, but only succeeds in distraction. Among the puzzling design elements include period costumes from the 17’th century, a set of futuristic industrial pillars fashioned out of what appear to be vacuum cleaner hoses, and stage direction heavy on grand entrances and hurried exits out through the audience. These confusing elements combined with stiff-limbed monologues, imbalanced delivery (Tom McCamus as Theseus easily out-elocutes the rest of the cast to no good effect), and a complete lack of sexual chemistry between any of the principles, make this a Phèdre best left to its own tragic consequences. (Nicole Gluckstern) Ramona Quimby Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College Ave, Berk; (510) 296-4433, activeartstheatre.org. $14-$18. Sat/6-Sun/7, 2pm. Active Arts Theatre for Young Audiences presents a theatrical production based on the novels of Beverly Cleary.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Marion E. Green Black Box Theatre, 531 19th St, Oakl; www.theatrefirst.com. $10-$30. Thurs-Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 14. Tom Stoppard’s sensational first play will probably never have the impact it had in 1966—partly because it proved so influential—but TheatreFIRST’s generally sturdy production wades in enthusiastically and the results remain ultimately, if more quietly, contagious. In a cheeky, knowing meld of Beckett and Shakespeare, Stoppard crafts a heady as well as deeply silly existential comedy, told from the perspective of two hapless minor characters in Hamlet—the somewhat interchangeable and finally expendable Rosencrantz (Kalli Jonsson) and Guildenstern (Michael Storm)—whose sealed fate is signaled by a changeless sky (manifest in Rick Ortenblad’s scenic design), coins that only come up heads, and their inexplicable inability to leave the stage. Nevertheless, our bemused protagonists—preoccupied with nameless anxiety, word games, and endless summarizing—are the last ones to figure it all out. Leave it to a roving thespian (the excellent Andrew Hurteau) and his amusing caravan of out-of-work players, strutting and fretting along, to gradually drop some knowledge on our heroes. If the first act runs slow and rough, Mary Cavanaugh’s firm direction, graceful choreography, and shrewd use of live and recorded music contribute to a general warming by acts two and three. Meanwhile, the play’s bandying of philosophical ideas and fertile metaphors ensures the monkey business does not escape some poignancy by the end. (Avila)