Stage Listings

Pub date January 29, 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 For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks.



Not a Genuine Black Man Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $25-50. Opens Fri/1, 8pm. Runs Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm (Sat/2, show at 8pm). Through Feb 23. What, the unapologetically middle-class Brian Copeland asks, is the real meaning behind the phrase “a genuine black man”? By way of an answer, the stand-up comic and KGO radio host offers up a simultaneously funny and disarmingly frank story about growing up African American in the racist suburb that was San Leandro in the early 1970s. Letting his narrative bounce back and forth between his boyhood memories and a period of depression that overtook him as a parent in 1999 — and interlacing the autobiography with verbatim utterances from both sides of the fight his family joined to desegregate the city — Copeland brings admirable chops as a comedian to bear on some difficult and disturbing, if ultimately hopeful, material. Note: review from an earlier run of the same show. (Avila)

You Know When the Men Are Gone Z Space, 450 Florida, SF; $30-55. Previews Wed/30-Thu/31, 7pm; Fri/1, 8pm. Opens Sat/2, 8pm. Runs Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Feb 24. Word for Word performs two short stories by Siobhan Fallon (the author, not the film actor): “The Last Stand” and “Gold Star.”


Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Buriel Clay Theater at the African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton, SF; $10-15. Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Feb 17. African-American Shakespeare Company performs Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer-winning classic.

Dear Harvey New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; $25-45. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 24. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs Patricia Loughrey’s play about Harvey Milk, drawn from over 30 interviews.

Foodies! The Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; $30-34. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. AWAT Productions presents Morris Bobrow’s musical comedy revue all about food.

4000 Miles Geary Theater, 415 Geary, SF; $20-150. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 8pm; Tue, 7pm. Through Feb 10. ACT performs Amy Herzog’s comedy about growing up and growing old, and the moments in between.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma, SF; $25-40. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 5pm). Through March 2. Hold onto your hairpiece, Boxcar Theatre is reprising their all-too short summer run of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and just in case you think you saw it already, be forewarned — you ain’t seen nothing yet. Recast, redesigned, and re-vamped, this outcast-rock musical familiarly follows the misadventures of one Hedwig Robinson (né Hansel Schmidt) with glam, guts, and glitter. But unlike the movie version penned by and starring John Cameron Mitchell as the titular chanteuse, or other staged versions, director Nick A. Olivero splits the larger-than-life, would-be rock sensation into eight different characters, who are each given a solo turn as well as plenty of ensemble harmonizing during the course of the two hour-plus performance. The effect is often electric, and just as frequently hilarious, as when the four female actors playing the role stomp across the stage swinging imaginary dicks in the air to the lyric “six inches forward and five inches back, I got a, I got an angry inch!” Supported by a tight quartet of rock musicians led by Rachel Robinson, and the phenomenal Amy Lizardo as Hedwig’s beleaguered “man Friday” Yitzhak, Hedwig keeps on extending for what appears to be an indefinite run, employing the time-honored Thrillpeddlers’ tradition of rotating cast members and comeback performances, which means you could theoretically go multiple times and never see quite the same show twice. I certainly plan to. (Gluckstern)

The Little Foxes Tides Theatre, 533 Sutter, SF; $20-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 23. Tides Theatre Company performs a modern take on the Lillian Hellman classic.

Se Llama Cristina Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; $22-60. Opens Wed/30, 8pm. Runs Tue, 7pm; Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat/2 and Feb 13, 2:30pm); Sun, 2:30pm. Magic Theatre performs the world premiere of Octavio Solis’ multi-layered drama.

Manic Pixie Dream Girl ACT Costume Shop Theater, 1117 Market, SF; $25-35. Thu-Sun, 8pm. Through Feb 10. Billed as a “graphic-novel” play, first-time playwright Katie May’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl reaches out to a demographic frequently left out of the theatrical conversation — the geek chic, 20-something set. Marrying projected panels of black-and-white graphic novel-style drawings with dialogue and action provided by the actors onstage, this PlayGround co-production attempts to combine two very different mediums into a smooth narrative, a rocky but valiant effort. Much of the live action appears cartoonish rather than nuanced, and the two central protagonists — struggling painter and wannabe graphic novel artist Tallman (Joshua Roberts) and his new muse Lilly (Lyndsy Kail), a waifish mute with pockets full of candy wrappers chance-met in his neighborhood dive bar — are awkwardly incomplete ciphers. If you’re looking for the depth of detail and the visual impact of a Transmetropolitan or a Berlin, you won’t find it in MPDG, but what you will get is a glad eyeful of Rob Dario’s striking graphics, and some impeccable support acting courtesy of Lucas Hatton (who plays several welcome roles including a buttinsky, bro of a bartender and a “evil” real estate agent with all the charm and smarm of an overgrown frat boy), Liz Anderson’s bitch-queen supernova ex-girlfriend, and Michal Barrett Austin’s winsome cynicism as Tallman’s best buddy. (Gluckstern)

Princess Ivona Performance Art Institute, 75 Boardman, SF; $20-30. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 9. The first play by the great Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969) receives its first professional Northern California production in this admittedly uneven, sometimes sluggish but always intelligent and frequently inspired staging by newcomers the Collected Works. Set in the foyer and back room of co-presenter Performing Art Institute’s spacious SOMA warehouse, the action — peppered throughout by old-time American ballads enchantingly rendered by musician-singer Meredith Axelrod — initially unfolds amid an audience milling around a pond. There a haughty prince (the sharp, charismatic Ryan Tacata) and his aristo pals make sport of the plebs until the Prince takes things too far by impetuously proposing marriage to a slow, anemic, deeply dull and disheveled young woman, the anti-heroine of the title (played with a moody lethargy and savage intelligence by Tonyanna Borkovi). As the audience and the characters, including the worried King (Barry Kendall) and Queen (Florentina Mocanu-Schendel), all retire to the court, the presence of Ivona becomes a catalyst for the unsettling of ill-feelings, bad memories, and ugly impulses formerly buried beneath a surface of the luxury, grandeur, and privilege of the beautiful people. The absurdity of their lives revealed, how will harmony be restored? Astutely staged by director and company-cofounder Michael Hunter, with excellent design support — including from costumer Latifa Medjdoub — this captivating play makes for a worthwhile outing and a very promising company debut. (Avila)

“Risk Is This…The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival” Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor, SF; Free ($20 for reserved seating; $50 for five-play reserved seating festival pass). Through Feb 9. Three new works (by Sean San José, Dipika Guha, and Basil Kreimendahl) and two new “Risk Translations.”

Sex and the City: LIVE! Rebel, 1760 Market, SF; $25. Wed, 7 and 9pm. Open-ended. Lady Bear, Trixie Carr, Heklina, and D’Arcy Drollinger star in this drag tribute to the long-running HBO show.

SF Sketchfest: The San Francisco Comedy Festival Various venues, SF; Ticket prices vary according to event. Through Feb 10. The popular fest returns for its 12th year, featuring an array of comedy programs including tributes to Portlandia, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, and Bruce Campbell; a series of Reggie Watts performances; film screenings; sketch and improv shows; and more.

The World’s Funniest Bubble Show Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $8-50. Sun, 11am. Extended through March 17. The Amazing Bubble Man (a.k.a. Louis Pearl) continues his family-friendly bubble extravaganza.


Acid Test: The Many Incarnations of Ram Dass Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; $15-50. Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Extended through Feb 17. Lynne Kaufman’s new play stars Warren David Keith as the noted spiritual figure.

Hippy Icon, Flower Geezer and Temple of Accumulated Error Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; $15-50. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 10. Wavy Gravy holds forth on his legendary life and times.

Our Practical Heaven Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; $32-60. Previews Wed/30, 8pm. Opens Thu/31, 8pm. Runs Tue and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm); Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through March 3. Aurora Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Anthony Clarvoe’s play about a family that gathers in a home they’ll soon lose due to a rising sea.

Somewhere Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; $23-73. Tue-Wed, 7:30pm; Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Feb 10. TheatreWorks performs Matthew Lopez’s play about a 1960s Puerto Rican family caught up in the filming of West Side Story.

Troublemaker, or the Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatwright Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; $29-77. Wed/30 and Sun/3, 7pm (also Sun/3, 2pm); Thu/31-Sat/2, 8pm (also Sat/2, 2pm). Berkeley Rep presents the world premiere of a play — about a 12-year-old wannabe superhero — it commissioned from writer Dan LeFranc.

Waiting for Godot Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; $36-52. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat/2 and Feb 16, 2pm; Feb 7, 1pm); Wed, 7:30pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Feb 17. Marin Theatre Company performs Samuel Beckett’s modern classic.

The Wild Bride Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; $35-89. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through Feb 17. Berkeley Rep performs a return engagement of Emma Rice’s grown-up fairy tale.


“Adult” CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; Fri/1-Sun/3, 8pm. $10-30. Performance duo Jarry (Jesse Hewit and Laura Arrington) present a new, two-act work.

“Cabaret Showcase Showdown, Year #4: Contest for Best Comedic Cabaret Act” Martuni’s, 4 Valencia, SF; (415) 241-0205. Sun/3, 7pm. With up-and-coming acts judged by Lisa Geduldig, Trauma Flintstone, and Katya Smirnoff-Skye, plus guest performer Darlene Popovic.

“David Mills is Smart Casual” Stage Werx, 446 Valencia, SF; Sun/3, 8pm. $12. the comedian performs.

“In a Room Full of Strangers” Garage, 715 Bryant, SF; Wed/30-Thu/31, 8pm. $10-20. Erik Wagner presents a new dance-theater work.

“In and Out of Shadow” Marsh, 1062 Valencia, SF; Sat/2, 5pm; Sun/3, 3pm; Feb 8-9, 8pm (also Feb 9, 2pm); Feb 10 and 17, 3pm; Feb 16, 2pm. $12-35. Marsh Youth Theater’s teen troupe performs Gary Soto’s musical play, based on oral histories gathered by the young actors themselves.

“The One Year Anniversary and Sweetheart Edition of The News” SOMArts Cultural Center, 934 Brannan, SF; Tue/5, 7:30pm. $5. The new and experimental performance works series celebrates its first anniversary with hosts WithLove and Peter Max Lawrence, plus performers Peter Griggs with Aurora Switchblade, Lambert, Erin Malley, and more.

“San Francisco Magic Parlor” Chancellor Hotel Union Square, 433 Powell, SF; Thu-Sat, 8pm. Ongoing. $40. Magic vignettes with conjurer and storyteller Walt Anthony.

“San Francisco Symphony Lunar New Year Concert and Celebration” Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness, SF; Sat/2, 4pm. $25-72. Celebrate the Lunar New Year and Year of the Snake with pre-concert festivities (3pm) including lion dancing and children’s arts and crafts, followed by a performance of traditional Asian music and orchestral works composed by Asian and Asian American artists.

“[title of show]” Band Candy Theatre Company, 125A Hyde, SF; Fri/1-Sat/2, 8pm; Sun/3, 2pm. $18. Band Candy performs a musical about … two guys writing a musical.