Theater Listings: October 16 – 22, 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 listings@sfbg.com.

THEATER

OPENING

444 Days Z Below, 470 Florida, SF; www.goldenthread.org. $10-45. Previews Thu/17-Fri/18, 8pm. Opens Sat/19, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun, 3pm. Through Nov 3. Golden Thread performs Torange Yeghiazarian’s drama about an Iranian revolutionary and an American diplomat who encounter each other 25 years after first meeting during the hostage crisis at the US Embassy in Tehran.

Lovebirds Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-100. Opens Thu/17, 8pm. Runs Thu-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Through Nov 9. Workshop performances of Marga Gomez’s tenth solo show, about different characters seeking romance in the 1970s.

Shakespeare Night at the Blackfriars (London Idol 1610) Phoenix Arts Association Annex Theatre, 414 Mason, SF; www.subshakes.com. $20-25. Opens Fri/18, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Nov 17. Subterranean Shakespeare performs George Crowe’s comedy about a playwriting contest between Ben Jonson, Thomas Middleton, Frances Beaumont, and the ghost of Christopher Marlowe.

Sidewinders Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor, SF; www.cuttingball.com. $10-50. Previews Fri/18-Sat/19, 8pm; Sun/20, 5pm. Opens Oct 24, 7:30pm. Runs Thu, 7:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 5pm. Through Nov 17. Cutting Ball opens its 15th season with the world premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s absurdist romp through gender queerness.

The Wizard of Oz Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market, SF; www.shnsf.com. $45-210. Opens Wed/16, 7pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 7pm (also Sat-Sun, 1pm); Sun, 6:30pm. Through Oct 27. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new stage adaptation of the classic, complete with a Dorothy (Danielle Wade) chosen through a Canadian reality-show competition.

BAY AREA

Lettice and Lovage Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 East Hillsdale, Foster City; www.hillbarntheatre.org. $23-38. Opens Fri/18, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Nov 3. Hillbarn Theatre, now in its 73rd season, performs Peter Shaffer’s raucous comedy.

Metamorphoses South Berkeley Community Church, 1802 Fairview, Berk; www.infernotheatre.org. $10-25. Opens Sat/19, 8pm. Runs Thu and Sat-Sun, 8pm; Fri, 9pm (no show Nov 9). Through Nov 23. Additional performance Nov 9, 8pm, $5-20, Laney College, 900 Fallon, Oakl. Inferno Theatre performs a multimedia, contemporary adaptation of Ovid’s classic.

Red Virgin, Louise Michel and the Paris Commune of 1871 Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; www.centralworks.org. $15-28. Previews Thu/17-Fri/18, 8pm. Opens Sat/19, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Nov 24. Central Works presents a new play (with live music) by Gary Graves about the Paris Commune uprising.

ONGOING

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical Curran Theatre, 445 Geary, SF; www.shnsf.com. $55-210. Wed/16-Sat/19, 8pm (also Wed/16 and Sat/19, 2pm); Sun/20, 2pm. Pre-Broadway premiere of the musical about the legendary songwriter.

Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo SF Playhouse, 450 Post, SF; www.sfplayhouse.org. $30-100. Tue-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun/20 and Oct 27, 2pm. Through Nov 16. In Rajiv Joseph’s Pulitzer-nominated Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo, the dead quickly outnumber the living, and soon the stage is littered with monologist ghosts lost in transition. In Joseph’s world, at least, death is but another phase of consciousness, a plane of existence where a man-eating tiger might experience a crisis of conscience, and a brash young soldier with a learning disability might suddenly find himself contemplating algebraic equations and speaking Arabic —knowledge that had eluded his comprehension in life. Will Marchetti’s portrayal of the titular tiger is on the static side, though his wry intelligence and philosophical awakening comes as a welcome contrast to the willfully obtuse worldview of the American soldiers (Gabriel Marin and Craig Marker) guarding him. But it’s Musa (Kuros Charney), a translator for the Americans and a former gardener and topiary “artist,” who eventually emerges as the play’s most fully realized character and also the most tragic, becoming that which he dreads the most, a beast in a lawless land, egged on by the ghost of his former employer, the notoriously sadistic Uday Hussein (Pomme Koch). At times, director Bill English’s staging feels too understated and contained for a play that’s so muscular and expansive (an understatement not carried over into Steven Klems’ appropriately jarring sound design) focused less on its metaphysical implications than on its mundane surface, but however imperfect the production and daunting the script, it remains a fascinating response to an unwinnable war — the war against our own animal natures. (Gluckstern)

BooKKeepers: A True Fiction Southside Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; www.generationtheatre.com. $20-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Oct 27. GenerationTheatre presents Roland David Valayre’s Kafka-inspired fantasy.

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.

Carrie: The Musical Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St, SF; www.rayoflighttheatre.com. $25-36. 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. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Oct 26. Script-wise, Second Wind Production’s J.M. Barrie adaptation The Disappearance of Mary Rosemary might well be the most unique ghost story of the season. But in contrast to their masterfully suspenseful The Woman in Black (staged in 2009), Disappearance falls to sustain that charged atmosphere of unease that defines the best terror tales. It begins promisingly enough in a purportedly haunted parlor being shown to a young soldier (Ryan Martin) by its taciturn caretaker (Juanita Wyles). After she leaves him alone in the room, lights flicker, his video camera spontaneously begins to play, and a mysterious light emerges from under a locked door, all evidence pointing to either a supernatural event, or to a PTSD-style mental breakdown. Cutting to the same parlor 29 years before, where domestic tranquility prevails, a lot of that initial tension gets lost, and even though the equally unexplainable events which ensue prove to be much bigger in actual scale, they don’t quite manage to scare so much as to puzzle. Of the performances, Gigi Benson’s matter-of-fact matriarch is by far the most nuanced, and her chemistry with her stage husband (Dave Sikula) is far more convincing than that of their daughter and son-in-law (Caroline Elizabeth Doyle and Brian Martin). Finally, a very unexpected twist turns this story of a young woman who never grows old into one who has grown perhaps too fast, uncomfortably invoking V.C. Andrews rather than J.M. Barrie, and not for the better. (Gluckstern)

Dirty Little Showtunes New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Nov 10. New Conservatory Theatre Center presents the return of Tom Orr’s bawdy Broadway parody.

First Stage Werx, 446 Valencia, SF; www.firsttheplay.com. $25-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Nov 3. Altair Productions, the Aluminous Collective, and PlayGround present the world premiere of Evelyn Jean Pine’s play, which imagines a 20-year-old Bill Gates’ experiences at a 1976 personal computer conference.

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.

Forbidden Fruit Garage, 715 Bryant, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. $25. 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.

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.

Gruesome Playground Injuries Tides Theatre, 533 Sutter, SF; www.tidestheatre.org. $20-40. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Nov 9. Tides Theatre performs Rajiv Joseph’s drama about two people who first meet as eight-year-olds in the school nurse’s office.

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.

An Indian Summer Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.wehavemet.org. $20-40. Thu/17-Sat/19, 8pm. 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. Wed/16-Thu/17, 7pm; Fri/18, 8pm; Sat/19, 6pm; Sun/20, 3pm. 42nd Street Moon kicks off its 21st season with this 1966 musical homage to the Man of Steel.

Randy Roberts Live! Alcove Theatre, 414 Mason, SF; www.randyroberts.net. $40. Thu-Sat, 9pm. Through Nov 2. The famed female impersonator performs. He will also perform a different show with jazz pianist Tammy L. Hall: Mon/21 and Oct 28, 7pm, $20, Martuni’s, 4 Valencia, SF.

The Scion Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-100. 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.

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. 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.”

The Taming Thick House, 1695 18th St, SF; www.crowdedfire.org. $10-35. Wed-Sat, 8pm. 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. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 26. David Kleinberg performs his autobiographical solo show.

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.”

BAY AREA

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)

I and You Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; www.marintheatre.org. $37-58. Tue, Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat/19 and Nov 2, 2pm; Oct 24, 1pm); Wed, 7:30pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Nov 3. Lauren Gunderson’s world premiere explores how Walt Whitman’s words affect the lives of two teenagers.

Rich and Famous Dragon Theatre, 2120 Broadway, Redwood City; www.dragonproductions.net. $15-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Nov 3. Dragon Theatre performs John Guare’s surreal musical comedy.

strangers, babies Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; www.shotgunplayers.org. $20-35. Previews Wed/16-Thu/17, 8pm. Opens Fri/18, 8pm. Runs Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Nov 17. Shotgun Players present Linda McLean’s drama about a woman confronting her past.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $35-89. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Wed, 7pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Extended through Oct 25. Berkeley Rep performs Christopher Durang’s comedy about a dysfunctional family in rural Pennsylvania.

Warrior Class Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; www.theatreworks.org. $19-73. Tue-Wed, 7:30pm; Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Nov 3. TheatreWorks performs Kenneth Lin’s incisive political drama.

A Winter’s Tale Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda; www.calshakes.org. $35-72. Wed/16-Thu/17, 7:30pm; Fri/18-Sat/19, 8pm (also Sat/19, 2pm); Sun/20, 4pm. Cal Shakes concludes its 2013 season with the Bard’s fairy tale, directed and choreographed by sister team Patricia and Paloma McGregor.

PERFORMANCE/DANCE

Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program fall showcase Z Space, 450 Florida, SF; www.zspace.org. Oct 22-23, 7:30pm. $20. The company’s artists-in-training perform original and diverse works by Maurya Kerr, Dexandro Montalvo, and other choreographers.

BATS Improv Bayfront Theater, B350 Fort Mason Center, SF; www.improv.org. $20. “Horror Super Scene,” Fri, 8. Through Oct 25. “Improvised Farce,” Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 26.

“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.

“The Buddy Club Children’s Shows” Randall Museum Theater, 199 Museum Wy, SF; www.thebuddyclub.com. Sun/20, 11am-noon. $8. Magician Jay Alexander performs for kids and families.

“Canta Napoli” First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin, SF; www.ticketriver.com. Sun/20, 7pm. $35-45. Tenor Pasquale Esposito performs at this benefit to bring artists from Teatro of San Carlo, Naples to perform in San Francisco.

Caroline Lugo and Carolé Acuña’s Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; www.carolinalugo.com. Sun/20 and Oct 26, 6:15pm. $15-19. Flamenco performance by the mother-daughter dance company, featuring live musicians.

“An Evening With Linda Eder” Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; www.feinsteinssf.com. Thu/17-Fri/18, 8pm; Sat/19, 7pm. $45-80 (plus $20 food and beverage minimum). The acclaimed vocalist performs Broadway songs as well as standards, pop, country, and jazz.

Neil Hamburger and the Too Good For Neil Hamburger Band Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF; www.hemlocktavern.com. Thu/17, 7:30 and 9:30pm. $15. A variety show starring “America’s Funnyman.”

“The Hula Show 2013” Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon, SF; www.cityboxoffice.com. Sat/19 and Oct 25-26, 8pm; Sun/20 and Oct 27, 3pm (children’s matinee Oct 27, noon). $15-90. Patrick Makuakane and his Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu dance troupe perform 20 world premieres, a blend of traditional hula and hula performed to modern music.

“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.

“Mission Position Live” Cinecave, 1034 Valencia, SF; www.missionpositionlive.com. Thu, 8pm. Ongoing. $10. Stand-up comedy with rotating performers.

“Okeanos Intimate” Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39, SF; www.capacitor.org. Sat, 4:30 and 7pm. $20-30 (free aquarium ticket with show ticket). Extended through Dec 29. Choreographer Jodi Lomask and her company, Capacitor, revive 2012’s Okeanos — a cirque-dance piece exploring the wonder and fragility of our innate connection to the world’s oceans — in a special “intimate” version designed for the mid-size theater at Pier 39’s Aquarium of the Bay. The show, developed in collaboration with scientists and engineers, comes preceded by a short talk by a guest expert — for a recent Saturday performance it was a down-to-earth and truly fascinating local ecological history lesson by the Bay Institute’s Marc Holmes. In addition to its Cirque du Soleil-like blend of quasi-representational modern dance and circus acrobatics — powered by a synth-heavy blend of atmospheric pop music — Okeanos makes use of some stunning underwater photography and an intermittent narrative that includes testimonials from the likes of marine biologist and filmmaker Dr. Tierney Thys. The performers, including contortionists, also interact with some original physical properties hanging from the flies — a swirling vortex and a spherical shell — as they wrap and warp their bodies in a kind of metamorphic homage to the capacity and resiliency of evolution, the varied ingenuity of all life forms. If the movement vocabulary can seem limited at times, and too derivative, the show also feels a little cramped on the Aquarium Theater stage, whose proscenium arrangement does the piece few favors aesthetically. Nevertheless, the family-oriented Okeanos Intimate spurs a conversation with the ocean that is nothing if not urgent. (Avila)

“Recovering Home” CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; www.counterpulse.org. Fri/18-Sun/20, 8pm. $18-22. Afrique Sogue and Jaara Dance Project perform a work about the “convergence of quests for connection.”

“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.

“San Francisco Trolley Dances 2013” Guided tours leave from Market Street Museum, 77 Steuart, SF; www. epiphanydance.org. Sat/19-Sun/20, tours leave every 45 minutes from 11am -2:45pm. Free with Muni fare. Epiphany Productions Sonic Dance Theater and guests participate in the 10th annual incarnation of this rolling performance tour.

“A Show of Hands” Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California, SF; www.garrettmoulton.org. Thu/17, noon; Fri/18 and Oct 25, 3:30pm; Sat/19 and Oct 24 and 26, 1pm. Free. Garrett and Moulton Productions present a site-specific New Music USA commission that explores the powers and possibilities of human hands.

“Smack Dab” Magnet, 4122 18th St, SF; www.magnetsf.org. Wed/16, 8pm. Free. Open mic with headliner David Miller and his Paradox Magic show.

“Speechless” Public Works, 161 Erie, SF; www.speechlesslive.com. Thu/17, 7:30pm. $20. Improv meets PowerPoint in this new comedy show from the minds behind storytelling series Mortified SF.

“These Are Our Stories” Intersection for the Arts, 925 Mission, Ste 109, SF; theseareourstories.eventbrite.com. Mon/21, 7pm. $5-15. Part of Intersection for the Arts’ Califas Festival, this roving series of site-specific performances is led by playwright Eugenie Chan. *