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.
Carrie: The Musical Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St, SF; www.rayoflighttheatre.com. $25-36. Opens Fri/4, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Oct 26, 11:30pm; Nov 2, 2pm). Through Nov 2. Just in time to complement the Carrie film remake, Ray of Light Theatre performs the musical adaptation (initially a Broadway flop, then a re-tooled off-Broadway hit) of the Stephen King horror novel.
The Disappearance of Mary Rosemary Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, SF; secondwind.8m.com. $15-25. Opens Fri/4, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Oct 26. Writer-director Ian Walker’s ghost story is adapted from J.M. Barrie’s Mary Rose.
Forbidden Fruit Garage, 715 Bryant, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. $25. Previews Thu/3, 8pm. Opens Fri/4, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat and Mon, 8pm. Through Oct 28. Back Alley Theater and Footloose present the West Coast premiere of Jeff Bedillion’s stylized love story that takes on social and religious conformity.
An Indian Summer Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.wehavemet.org. $20-40. Opens Fri/4, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 19. Multi Ethnic Theater performs Charles Johnson’s drama set in the 1980s Deep South.
It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, SF; www.42ndstmoon.org. $25-75. Previews Wed/2-Thu/3, 7pm; Fri/4, 8pm. Opens Sat/5, 8pm. Runs Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri, 8pm; Sat, 6pm (also Oct 12, 1pm); Sun, 3pm. Through Oct 20. 42nd Street Moon kicks off its 21st season with this 1966 musical homage to the Man of Steel.
The Scion Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-100. Opens Fri/4, 8pm. Runs Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Through Oct 26. Popular solo performer Brian Copeland (Not a Genuine Black Man, The Waiting Period) performs a workshop production of his latest, “a tale of privilege, murder, and sausage.” The show has its official world premiere Jan. 9, 2014.
The Taming Thick House, 1695 18th St, SF; www.crowdedfire.org. $10-35. Previews Thu/3-Sat/5, 8pm. Opens Mon/7, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm (no show Oct 9). Through Oct 26. Crowded Fire Theater presents the world premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s modern farce.
The Voice: One Man’s Journey into Sex Addiction and Recovery EXIT Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.theexit.org. $15-25. Opens Fri/4, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 26. David Kleinberg performs his autobiographical solo show.
Acid Test: The Many Incarnations of Ram Dass Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Through Oct 12. Playwright Lynne Kaufman invites you to take a trip with Richard Alpert, aka Ram Dass (Warren David Keith) — one of the bigwigs of the psychedelic revolution and (with his classic book, Be Here Now) contemporary Eastern-looking spirituality — as he recounts times high and low in this thoughtful, funny, and sometimes unexpected biographical rumination on the quest for truth and meaning in a seemingly random life. Directed by Joel Mullennix, the narrative begins with Ram Dass today, in his Hawaiian home and partly paralyzed from a stroke, but Keith (one of the Bay Area’s best stage actors, who is predictably sure and engagingly multilayered in the role) soon shakes off the stiff arm and strained speech and springs to his feet to continue the narrative as the ideal self perhaps only transcendental consciousness and theater allow. Nevertheless, Kaufman’s fun-loving and extroverted Alpert is no saint and no model of perfection, which is the refreshing truth explored in the play. He’s a seeker still, ever imperfect and trying for perfection, or at least the wisdom of acceptance. As the privileged queer child of a wealthy Jewish lawyer and industrialist, Alpert was both insider and outsider from the get-go, and that tension and ambiguity make for an interesting angle on his life, including the complexities of his relationships with a homophobic Leary, for instance, and his conservative but ultimately loving father. Perfection aside, the beauty in the subject and the play is the subtle, shrewd cherishing of what remains unfinished. Note: review from an earlier run of this show. (Avila)
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Curran Theatre, 445 Geary, SF; www.shnsf.com. $55-210. Tue-Sat, 8pm (also Sat and Oct 9 and 16, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7:30pm (no evening show Oct 13 or 20). Through Oct 20. Pre-Broadway premiere of the musical about the legendary songwriter.
Band Fags! New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Oct 13. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs the West Coast premiere of Frank Anthony Polito’s coming-of-age tale, set in 1980s Detroit.
“Bay One Acts Festival” Tides Theatre, 533 Sutter, SF; www.bayoneacts.org. $20-40. Programs One and Two run in repertory Wed/2-Sat/5, 8pm. The 2013 BOA fest presents the world premieres of 13 short plays in partnership with 13 Bay Area theater companies.
BoomerAging: From LSD to OMG Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Tue, 8pm. Extended through Oct 29. Will Durst’s hit solo show looks at baby boomers grappling with life in the 21st century.
Buried Child Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldg D, Third Flr, SF; www.magictheatre.org. $20-60. Tue, 7pm; Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Wed/2, 2:30pm); Sun, 2:30. Extended through Oct 13. A rural family in slow free-fall finally sees the ground rushing up to meet it in Sam Shepard’s raucous, solemn, and spooky American gothic. The 1978 Pulitzer Prize-winner not only secured a place for Shepard in the upper echelons of American playwrights but helped remake the theatrical landscape when it first premiered, 35 years ago, at the Magic Theatre. The Magic’s current revival tends to show the ways in which the play has aged, however, rather than the ways in which it endures. Loretta Greco’s perfunctory direction inadvertently underscores what has since become formula in the resolutely surreal undercurrent beneath its surface naturalism. Meanwhile her cast —though it includes some normally dependable actors like Patrick Alparone, Rod Gnapp and James Wagner — never comes together as a cohesive ensemble, further distancing us from the still vital dynamism in the text (more of that was captured last year in Boxcar Theatre’s admittedly rocky but overall more persuasive production). Alparone (as long-lost son Vince) and Patrick Kelly Jones (as his belligerent one-legged brother Bradley) manage to infuse some momentary energy, but from the opening lines, delivered offstage by chattering matriarch Halie (Denise Balthrop Cassidy), the tension remains mostly slack, the acting haphazard, and the themes muted. (Avila)
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.
Geezer Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $25-50. Wed-Thu, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through Oct 26. Geoff Hoyle’s hit solo show, a comedic meditation on aging, returns to the Marsh.
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.
Macbeth Fort Point, end of Marine Dr, Presidio of San Francisco, SF; www.weplayers.org. $30-60. Thu/3-Sun/6, 6pm. We Players perform the Shakespeare classic amid Fort Point’s Civil War-era fortress.
1776 ACT’s Geary Theater, 415 Geary, SF; www.act-sf.org. $20-160. Wed/2-Sat/5, 8pm (also Wed/2 and Sat/5, 2pm); Sun/6, 2pm. American Conservatory Theater performs the West Coast premiere of Frank Galati’s new staging of the patriotic musical.
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. (Avila)
“Shocktoberfest 14: Jack the Ripper” Hypnodrome, 575 10th St, SF; www.thrillpeddlers.com. $25-35. Opens Thu/3, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat and Oct 29-30, 8pm. Through Nov 23. Thrillpeddlers presents their 14th annual Grand Guignol show, “a evening of horror, madness, spanking, and song.”
To Sleep and Dream Z Below, 470 Florida, SF; www.therhino.org. $15-30. Wed/2-Sat/5, 8pm; Sun/6, 3pm. Theatre Rhinoceros performs writer-director John Fisher’s North Bay-set drama about the challenges of love.
The World’s Funniest Bubble Show Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $8-11. Sun, 11am. Through Oct 27. Soapy, kid-friendly antics with Louis Pearl, aka “The Amazing Bubble Man.”
After the Revolution Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; www.auroratheatre.org. $32-60. Wed/2-Sat/5, 8pm; Sun/6, 2 and 7pm. Emma (Jessica Bates) is a left-wing lawyer from a lefty Jewish family of Communist Party members and fellow travelers who heads an important defense fund for incarcerated Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal. When Emma learns that a book is coming out that pins her revered late grandfather (a CP martyr to McCarthyism for whom the fund is named) as a spy for Stalin, she collapses into an incapacitating personal crisis exacerbated by the revelation that her adored father (an expansive Rolf Saxon) already knew and kept the secret from her. The crisis leads to Emma’s severing ties with her father and, eventually, alienating her boyfriend (Adrian Anchondo) as the rest of the family do their best to negotiate the new dynamic, including her uncle Leo (Victor Talmadge), her rehab habitué of a sister (Sarah Mitchell), and her mother (Pamela Gaye Walker). Meanwhile, Emma faces the fraught temptation of a large donation to the fund by a wealthy old lefty (a fine Peter Kybart). Almost above the fray, by virtue of her unwavering devotion to the political legacy she shared with her husband, is Emma’s unreconstructed Stalinist of a grandmother, Vera (a jarringly affected Ellen Ratner in fakey-fakey old-lady makeup). Aurora Theater’s production of Amy Herzog’s After the Revolution offers another look at the celebrated American playwright whose Obie Award-winning 4000 Miles recently premiered at ACT. But just as the ACT production left one wondering what all the fuss was about, After the Revolution disappoints in its promise of exploring political commitment through the complexities of modern history and familial bonds. Instead, director Joy Carlin marshals a mostly strong cast to little effect against an unconvincing and strained dramatic narrative that seems oddly out of touch with today’s political currents. (Avila)
Can You Dig It? Back Down East 14th — the 60s and Beyond Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Oct 27. Don Reed’s new show offers more stories from his colorful upbringing in East Oakland in the 1960s and ’70s. More hilarious and heartfelt depictions of his exceptional parents, independent siblings, and his mostly African American but ethnically mixed working-class community — punctuated with period pop, Motown, and funk classics, to which Reed shimmies and spins with effortless grace. And of course there’s more too of the expert physical comedy and charm that made long-running hits of Reed’s last two solo shows, East 14th and The Kipling Hotel (both launched, like this newest, at the Marsh). Can You Dig It? reaches, for the most part, into the “early” early years, Reed’s grammar-school days, before the events depicted in East 14th or Kipling Hotel came to pass. But in nearly two hours of material, not all of it of equal value or impact, there’s inevitably some overlap and indeed some recycling. Reed, who also directs the show, may start whittling it down as the run continues. But, as is, there are at least 20 unnecessary minutes diluting the overall impact of the piece, which is thin on plot already — much more a series of often very enjoyable vignettes and some painful but largely unexplored observations, wrapped up at the end in a sentimental moral that, while sincere, feels rushed and inadequate. (Avila)
Ella, the Musical Center REPertory Company, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; (925) 943-SHOW. $37-64. Wed, 7:30pm; Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Oct 12, 2:30pm); Sun, 2:30pm. Through Oct 12. Yvette Cason portrays the legendary Ella Fitzgerald in this Center REP presentation.
The Tempest Pear Avenue Theatre, 1220 Pear, Mtn View; www.thepear.org. $10-35. Thu/3-Sat/5, 8pm; Sun/6, 2pm. Pear Avenue Theatre performs Shakespeare’s play in a new staging by director Jeanie K. Smith.
A Winter’s Tale Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda; www.calshakes.org. $35-72. Tue-Thu, 7:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Oct 19, 2pm); Sun, 4pm. Through Oct 20. Cal Shakes concludes its 2013 season with the Bard’s fairy tale, directed and choreographed by sister team Patricia and Paloma McGregor.
“Bay Area Flamenco Festival” Brava Theater, 2781 24th St, SF; www.bayareaflamencofestival.com. Fri/4, 8pm. $25-65. Also Sat/5, 8pm, $30-75, Thrust Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison, Berk. Spain’s Gema Moneo performs gypsy flamenco dance.
Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; www.ybca.org. Oct 8-9, 8pm. $50. The company performs the world premiere of /Time: Study I.
“Broadway Bingo” Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; www.feinsteinssf.com. Wed, 7-9pm. Ongoing. Free. Countess Katya Smirnoff-Skyy and Joe Wicht host this Broadway-flavored night of games and performance.
“Brutal Sound Effects Festival #76” Lab, 2948 16th St, SF; www.thelab.org. Fri/4, 7:30-10pm. $7-40. Performances by Blue Sabbath, Black Cheer, Magnetic Stripper, Dental Work, and more.
Caroline Lugo and Carolé Acuña’s Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; www.carolinalugo.com. Sun/6, Oct 12, 20, and 26, 6:15pm. $15-19. Flamenco performance by the mother-daughter dance company, featuring live musicians.
Dimensions Dance Theater Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; www.ybca.org. Sat/5, 8pm. $25-30. The company celebrates its 40th anniversary with highlights from past years, as well as the world premiere of Rhythms of Life: Down the Congo Line.
“First Annual @endHIV SF Drag Ball” BeatBox SF, 314 11th St, SF; www.endhiv.com. Sat/5, 7-10pm. $50. Drag competitions (including an “animal fashion” category, in keeping with the event theme: “The Animal Inside”) to raise money for testing a new AIDS vaccine.
“HeART of Market: Dance, Create, Connect” Mint Plaza, 2 Mint Plaza, SF; www.mintplazasf.org. Sat/5, noon-3pm. Free. Alonzo King LINES Dance Center presents a free, participatory, family-friendly performance.
“The Kepler Story” Morrison Planetarium, California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr, SF; www.calacademy.org. Sun, 6:30pm. Through Oct 27. $15. Cal Academy and Motion Institute team up to produce this “immersive performance work” about astronomer Johannes Kepler.
“The King of Hearts is Off Again” Joe Goode Performance Annex, 401 Alabama, SF; www.sfiaf.org. Wed/2-Fri/4, 8pm. $18-25. Also Sat/5, 8pm, $18-25, University Theatre, CSU East Bay, 25800 Carlos Bee, Hayward. Poland’s Studium Teatralne performs the stage adaptation of Hannah Krall’s novel Chasing the King of Hearts, set in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II.
“Mission Position Live” Cinecave, 1034 Valencia, SF; www.missionpositionlive.com. Thu, 8pm. Ongoing. $10. Stand-up comedy with rotating performers.
“Rotunda Dance Series: Ballet Folklórico Costa de Oro” San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, SF; www.dancersgroup.org. Fri/4, noon. Free. Traditional Mexican dances.
“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.
Smuin Ballet Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon, SF; www.smuinballet.org. Fri/4-Sat/5 (also Sat/5, 2pm); Sun/6, 2pm; Oct 10-12, 8pm. $25-72. Smuin Ballet kicks off its 20th anniversary season with its “Xxtremes” fall program, including Jiri Kylian’s Return to a Strange Land and Amy Seiwert’s Dear Miss Cline.
“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.
“Angel Heart” Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley, Berk; calperfs.berkeley.edu. Sun/6, 5pm. $36. This family-friendly Cal Performances “musical storybook” is written by best-selling children’s author Cornelia Funke, with a score by Luna Pearl Woolf and narration by Malcolm McDowell.
Paufve Dance Hillside Swedenborgian Community Church, 1422 Navallier, El Cerrito; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri-Sat and Oct 6, 6pm. Through Oct 12. $15-20. Randee Paufve and company present Soil, a quintet of new and revised solo works. *