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.
410[GONE] Thick House, 1695 18th St, SF; www.crowdedfire.org. $10-35. Previews Thu/6-Sat/8, 8pm. Opens Mon/10, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through June 29. Crowded Fire Theater presents the world premiere of Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s fanciful, Chinese folklore-inspired look at the underworld.
Oleanna Exit’s Studio Theater, 156 Eddy, SF; www.theexit.org. $18-25. Opens Thu/6, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm (also June 15, 2pm); Sun, 4pm. Through June 16. Spare Stage performs David Mamet’s exploration of sexual politics in academia.
Bubbles for Grown-Ups Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Opens Wed/5, 8pm. Runs Wed, 8pm. Through June 19. Louis “The Amazing Bubble Man” Pearl presents a show aimed at adults (see listing for his ongoing show for kids, The World’s Funniest Bubble Show, below).
George Gershwin Alone Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $29-77. Previews Sat/8, 8pm. Opens Sun/9, 7pm. Runs Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through June 23. Hershey Felder stars in his celebration of the music and life of composer George Gershwin.
Wild With Happy TheatreWorks at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; www.theatreworks.org. $23-73. Previews Wed/5-Fri/7, 8pm. Opens Sat/8, 8pm. Runs Tue-Wed, 7:30pm; Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through June 30. TheatreWorks presents the West Coast premiere of Colman Domingo’s new comedy, starring the playwright himself.
Arcadia ACT’s Geary Theater, 415 Geary, SF; www.act-sf.org. $20-95. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat, 2pm; no matinee June 12); Sun, 2pm. Extended through June 16. In Tom Stoppard’s now 20-year-old master work Arcadia, sex and science, and poetry and pastoralism crowd the otherwise uncluttered stage (designed by Douglas W. Schmidt), as two sets of characters separated by 200 years demonstrate themselves to be far more connected then even their immediate descendents suspect. As two modern academics (Gretchen Egolf and Andy Murray) vie over the contents of a country estate library in order to verify their own pet theories about the past occupants — including, briefly, Lord Byron — a 19th-century intellectual prodigy (Rebekah Brockman) discovers the principles of chaos theory more than a hundred years ahead of her time, impressing her raffish tutor (Jack Cutmore-Scott) while the rest of the household busies itself with the mundane intrigues that better typify their aristocratic caste. Although at times the pacing of the nearly three-hour play feels sluggish, the slow unfurling of key plot points and character reveals suits the intricacies of the text, while still allowing for much of Stoppard’s wry humor to shine, if not crackle, through the layers. The delightfully antagonistic chemistry between Egolf and Murray, and the more delicately cerebral connection between Brockman and Cutmore-Scott alone make this a production worth seeing, to say nothing of the rigorous crash course in Latin, landscaping, physics, and Romanticism. (Gluckstern)
Birds of a Feather New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through June 29. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs the San Francisco premiere of Marc Acito’s tale inspired by two gay penguins at the Central Park Zoo.
Black Watch Drill Court, Armory Community Center, 333 14th St, SF; www.act-sf.org. $100. Tue-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through June 16. American Conservatory Theater presents the National Theatre of Scotland’s internationally acclaimed performance about Scottish soldiers serving in Iraq.
The Divine Sister New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Previews Fri/7, 8pm. Opens Sat/8, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 29. Charles Busch’s latest comedy pays tribute to Hollywood films involving nuns.
Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? Costume Shop, 1117 Market, SF; www.therhino.org. $15-30. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through June 16. Theatre Rhinoceros performs Caryl Churchill’s play that asks, “Do countries really behave like gay men?” Included in the program are two one-act plays: Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza and Deborah S. Margolin’s Seven Palestinian Children.
Foodies! The Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; www.foodiesthemusical.com. $30-34. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. AWAT Productions presents Morris Bobrow’s musical comedy revue all about food.
Frisco Fred’s Magic and More Alcove Theater, 414 Mason, Ste 502, SF; www.thealcovetheater.com. $35-50. Thu-Sat, 7pm. Through June 29. Performer Fred Anderson presents his latest family-friendly show, complete with magic, juggling, and “crazy stunts.”
Hedwig and the Angry Inch Boxcar Theatre, 505 Natoma, SF; www.boxcartheatre.org. $27-43. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. John Cameron Mitchell’s cult musical comes to life with director Nick A. Olivero’s ever-rotating cast.
Into the Woods Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, SF; www.rayoflighttheatre.com. $25-36. Thu-Sat, 8pm (check website for matinee schedule). Through June 29. Ray of Light Theatre performs Stephen Sondheim’s fairy-tale mash-up.
Killing My Lobster Learns a Lesson Stage Werx Theatre, 446 Valencia, SF; www.killingmylobster.com. $10-25. Thu/6-Sat/8, 8pm; Sun/9, 7pm. The sketch troupe performs “comedy vignettes for the avid achievers.”
Krispy Kritters in the Scarlett Night Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor, SF; www.cuttingball.com. $10-50. Thu, 7:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm; no shows Sat/8); Sun, 5pm. Through June 16. Cutting Ball Theater performs Andrew Saito’s Howl-inspired portrait of San Francisco.
Sex and the City: LIVE! Rebel, 1760 Market, SF; trannyshack.com/sexandthecity. $25. Wed, 7 and 9pm. Open-ended. It seems a no-brainer. Not just the HBO series itself — that’s definitely missing some gray matter — but putting it onstage as a drag show. Mais naturellement! Why was Sex and the City not conceived of as a drag show in the first place? Making the sordid not exactly palatable but somehow, I don’t know, friendlier (and the canned a little cannier), Velvet Rage Productions mounts two verbatim episodes from the widely adored cable show, with Trannyshack’s Heklina in a smashing portrayal of SJP’s Carrie; D’Arcy Drollinger stealing much of the show as ever-randy Samantha (already more or less a gay man trapped in a woman’s body); Lady Bear as an endearingly out-to-lunch Miranda; and ever assured, quick-witted Trixxie Carr as pent-up Charlotte. There’s also a solid and enjoyable supporting cast courtesy of Cookie Dough, Jordan Wheeler, and Leigh Crow (as Mr. Big). That’s some heavyweight talent trodding the straining boards of bar Rebel’s tiny stage. The show’s still two-dimensional, even in 3D, but noticeably bigger than your 50″ plasma flat panel. Update: new episodes began May 15. (Avila)
Steve Seabrook: Better Than You Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Thu, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Extended through June 29. Self-awareness, self-actualization, self-aggrandizement — for these things we turn to the professionals: the self-empowerment coaches, the self-help authors and motivational speakers. What’s the good of having a “self” unless someone shows you how to use it? Writer-performer Kurt Bodden’s Steve Seabrook wants to sell you on a better you, but his “Better Than You” weekend seminar (and tie-in book series, assorted CDs, and other paraphernalia) belies a certain divided loyalty in its own self-flattering title. The bitter fruit of the personal growth industry may sound overly ripe for the picking, but Bodden’s deftly executed “seminar” and its behind-the-scenes reveals, directed by Mark Kenward, explore the terrain with panache, cool wit, and shrewd characterization. As both writer and performer, Bodden keeps his Steve Seabrook just this side of overly sensational or maudlin, a believable figure, finally, whose all-too-ordinary life ends up something of a modest model of its own. (Avila)
Talk Radio Actors Theatre of San Francisco, 855 Bush, SF; www.actorstheatresf.org. $26-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through June 15. Actors Theatre of San Francisco performs Eric Bogosian’s breakthrough 1987 drama.
Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma: The Next Cockettes Musical Hypnodrome, 575 10th St, SF; www.thrillpeddlers.com. $30-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Extended through June 29. Thrillpeddlers and director Russell Blackwood continue their Theatre of the Ridiculous series with this 1971 musical from San Francisco’s famed glitter-bearded acid queens, the Cockettes, revamped with a slew of new musical material by original member Scrumbly Koldewyn, and a freshly re-minted book co-written by Koldewyn and “Sweet Pam” Tent — both of whom join the large rotating cast of Thrillpeddler favorites alongside a third original Cockette, Rumi Missabu (playing diner waitress Brenda Breakfast like a deliciously unhinged scramble of Lucille Ball and Bette Davis). This is Thrillpeddlers’ third Cockettes revival, a winning streak that started with Pearls Over Shanghai. While not quite as frisky or imaginative as the production of Pearls, it easily charms with its fine songs, nifty routines, exquisite costumes, steady flashes of wit, less consistent flashes of flesh, and de rigueur irreverence. The plot may not be very easy to follow, but then, except perhaps for the bubbly accounting of the notorious New York flop of the same show 42 years ago by Tent (as poisoned-pen gossip columnist Vedda Viper), it hardly matters. (Avila)
Vital Signs: The Pulse of an American Nurse Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Sun, 7pm. Through June 16. Registered nurse Alison Whittaker returns to the Marsh with her behind-the-scenes show about working in a hospital.
The World’s Funniest Bubble Show Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $8-50. Sun, 11am. Through July 21. Louis “The Amazing Bubble Man” Pearl returns after a month-long hiatus with his popular, kid-friendly bubble show.
The Beauty Queen of Leenane Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; www.marintheatre.org. $36-52. Tue, Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Thu/6, 1pm; June 15, 2pm); Wed, 7:30pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through June 16. Marin Theatre Company performs Martin McDonagh’s award-winning black comedy about a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship.
By & By Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; www.shotgunplayers.org. $20-30. Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through June 23. Shotgun Players presents a new sci-fi thriller by Lauren Gunderson.
Dear Elizabeth Berkeley Rep’s Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $24-77. Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun and July 3, 2pm); Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat and Thu/6, 2pm; no matinee Sat/8; no show July 4). Through July 7. Berkeley Rep performs Sarah Ruhl’s play in the form of letters between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell.
Hanging Georgia, a play with music about Georgia O’Keefe Pear Avenue Theatre, 1220 Pear, Mtn View; www.thepear.org. $10-30. Thu/6-Sat/8, 8pm (also Sat/8, 2pm); Sun/9, 2pm. Pear Avenue Theatre marks its 75th show with Sharmon J. Hilfinger and Joan McMillen’s world premiere, a co-production with BootStrap Theater Foundation.
The Medea Hypothesis Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; www.centralworks.org. $15-28. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through June 23. Medea is perhaps one of the most problematic tragic protagonists in theater history, as even the most flexibly sympathetic viewpoint is severely challenged when faced with a filicidal mother. But at Central Works, rather than just updating an old tale of bloody vengeance, The Medea Hypothesis further takes a page from the pop science book of the same name written by Peter Ward, in which he speculates on the latent suicidal and self-destructive tendencies of the planetary superorganism. As the brittle, middle-aged Em, Jan Zvaifler dominates the stage, holding herself and her glamorous career in fashion together as her husband leaves her for a woman with a “perfect neck” and her daughter Sweetie (Dakota Dry), who appears only as a video projection, becomes contested property in an angry custody battle. Relentlessly egged on by her Mephistophelian flunky Ian (Cory Censoprano), and enraged by the interference of her ex-husband’s prospective father-in-law (Joe Estlack), Em does lash out at the happy couple in the Euripides-approved manner (though with flunky-provided “Plutonium 210” instead of plain old poison) but when it comes to the expected act of ultimate violence playwright Marian Berges provides a surprising twist to the familiar Grecian formula, giving Em a shot at a redemption never allowed the Euripidean matriarch. It’s still undeniably a tragedy, but concurrently, also a triumph. Kind of like the continued presence of multicellular life on earth. (Gluckstern)
Caroline Lugo and Carolé Acuña’s Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; www.carolinalugo.com. Sat/8, June 16, 22, 30, July 13, 21, and 27, 6:15pm. $15-19. Flamenco performance by the mother-daughter dance company, featuring live musicians.
“Comedy Returns to El Rio” El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF; www.elriosf.com. Mon/10, 8pm. $7-20. With Karinda Dobbins, Bobby Golden, Bob McIntyre, Maggie Dolan, and Lisa Geduldig.
“Free: Queer and Trans People of Color Visions of Freedom” African American Arts and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Tue/11, 7:45pm. $12-20. The National Queer Arts Festival and Mangos With Chili present collaborative performances by Cherry Galette, Juba Kalamka and Joshua Merchant, and more.
“Gwah Guy: Crossing the Street” ODC Theater, 351 Shotwell, SF; www.odcdance.org. Fri/7-Sat/8, 8pm. $15-20. Musician Marcus Shelby and visual artist Flo Oy Wong collaborate on this performance inspired by memories from Wong’s husband, Edward K. Wong, a Chinese American who grew up in racially-segregated Georgia.
David Huntsberger and friends Café Royale, 800 Post, SF; www.caferoyale-sf.com. Wed/5, 8pm. $5. Stand-up comedy hosted by Zach Chap.
“Kunst-Stoff Arts Fest 2013” Kunst-Stoff Arts, One Grove, SF; www.kunst-stoff.org. Through Fri/7. Most events $10-15. Morning classes, afternoon workshops, and evening performances are the focus of this festival of dance, film, music, and more.
“L.O.A.D.E.D.” Dance Ground Keriac, 1805 Divisadero, SF; email@example.com (space is limited, so RSVP is required). Sat/8, 7:30pm. $5-25 suggested donation. A new live performance collaboration by Cali & Co dance and the Welcome Matt.
“Mission Position Live” Cinecave, 1034 Valencia, SF; www.missionpositionlive.com. Thu, 8pm. Ongoing. $10. Stand-up comedy with rotating performers.
“Moonlight Cocktail” Feinstein’s at the Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; (415) 394-1111. Fri/7, 8pm; Sat/8, 7pm. $65-95. Cabaret star Andrea Marcovicci performs.
“Pageantry” CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; www.counterpulse.org. Fri/7-Sun/9, 8pm. $15. An evening of dance split by Liz Tenuto and Justin Morrison.
Red Hots Burlesque El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF; www.redhotsburlesque.com. Wed, 7:30-9pm. Ongoing. $5-10. Come for the burlesque show, stay for OMG! Karaoke starting at 8pm (no cover for karaoke).
“San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival: Weekend One” San Francisco City Hall Rotunda, SF; www.sfethnicdancefestival.org. Fri/7, noon. Free. Opening performance with Ballet Folklorico Netzahualcoyotl (presenting a Catholic processional dance) and Fogo Na Roupa Performing Company (Brazilian Carnaval dance and percussion). Also Sat/8, 8pm, $38, Florence Gould Theater, Legion of Honor Museum, 100 34th Ave, SF. With Charya Burt Cambodian Dance.
“San Francisco Magic Parlor” Chancellor Hotel Union Square, 433 Powell, SF; www.sfmagicparlor.com. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Ongoing. $40. Magic vignettes with conjurer and storyteller Walt Anthony.
“Shafted: The Blaqxsploitation Project” African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri/7-Sat/8, 7:30pm. $12-20 (no one turned away for lack of funds). Live theater show about 1970s African American cinema; part of the National Queer Arts Festival.
“Take 5” ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; www.odctheater.org. Fri/7, 5pm. $5. Works-in-progress by dance artists Milissa Payne Bradley, Caitlin Hafer, and Astrid Bas, followed by discussion.
“Union Square Live” Union Square, between Post, Geary, Powell, and Stockton, SF; www.unionsquarelive.org. Through Oct 9. Free. Music, dance, circus arts, film, and more; dates and times vary, so check website for the latest.
“Unlock” Zaccho SF, 1777 Yosemite, #330, SF; www.zaccho.org. Fri/7-Sun/9, 8pm. $15-25. Push Dance Company presents its 2013 home season, featuring a world premiere by choreographer-director Raissa Simpson.
“Yerba Buena Gardens Festival” Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission between 3rd and 4th Sts, SF; www.ybgfestival.org. Through Oct 15. Free. This week: AXIS Dance Company (Sun/9, 1-2pm).
“The Shout: Life’s True Stories” Grand Lake Coffee House, 440 Grand, SF; www.theshoutstorytelling.com. Mon/10, 7:30-9:30pm. $5-20. Amazing but true ten-minute tales from various storytellers.
“Stagebridge Class Showcase” Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 Ninth St, Second Flr, Oakl; www.stagebridge.org. Mon/10, 7pm. $10. Musical theater and other skills are showcased by Stagebridge students aged 50 to 90.
“Swearing in English: Tall Tales at Shotgun” Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; www.shotgunplayers.org. June 17, 8pm. $15. Shotgun Cabaret presents John Mercer in a series of three stranger-than-fiction dramatic readings.