Theater Listings: November 6 – 12, 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



Emmett Till: A River NOH Space in Project Artaud, 2840 Mariposa, SF; www. $20-30. Opens Thu/7, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Nov 17. Theatre of Yugen presents a world premiere by Kevin Simmonds and Judy Halebsky; it uses classical Japanese Noh drama to tell the story of civil rights-era murder victim Emmett Till.

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess Golden Gate Theatre, One Taylor, SF; $60-210. Opens Sun/10, 2pm. Runs Tue-Sat, 8pm (no show Nov 28; check website for matinee schedule); Sun, 2pm. Through Dec 8. The Tony-winning Broadway revival launches its national tour in San Francisco.

My Beautiful Launderette New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; $25-45. Opens

Fri/8, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Dec 22. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs Andy Gram and Roger Parsley’s adaptation of Hanif Kureishi’s award-winning screenplay.

The Rita Hayworth of this Generation Garage, 715 Bryant, SF; $10-15. Opens Wed/6, 8pm. Runs Wed-Thu, 8pm. Through Nov 21. Tina D’Elia performs her multi-character solo play.


A Bright New Boise Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; $32-50. Previews Fri/8-Sat/9 and Nov 13, 8pm; Sun/10, 2pm; Tue/12, 7pm. Opens Nov 14, 8pm. Runs Tue, 7pm; Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Dec 8. Aurora Theatre presents Samuel D. Hunter’s tale of an ex-Evangelical cult member attempting to bond with his estranged son before the end of the world.


The Barbary Coast Revue Stud Bar, 399 Ninth St, SF; $10-40. Wed, 9pm (no show Nov 27). Through Dec 18. Blake Wiers’ new “live history musical experience” features Mark Twain as a tour guide through San Francisco’s wild past.

Bengal Tiger at the Bagdad Zoo SF Playhouse, 450 Post, SF; $30-100. Tue-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm). 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 world view 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)

BoomerAging: From LSD to OMG Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $15-50. Tue, 8pm. Extended through Dec 17. Will Durst’s hit solo show looks at baby boomers grappling with life in the 21st century.

Dirty Little Showtunes New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; $25-45. Wed/6-Sat/9, 8pm; Sun/10, 2pm. Lyricist-performer Tom Orr and director F. Allen Sawyer’s sassy but loving remix of iconic Broadway songs returns in another iteration, this one at the New Conservatory Theatre Center, complete with a willing and able cast of five (Rotimi Agbabiaka, David Bicha, Jesse Cortez, Randy Noak, Orr), piano accompaniment by musical director Scrumbly Koldewyn, and some rudimentary if evocative choreography by Jayne Zaban. Truly silly, sometimes inspired, the show mixes favorite parodies from past productions with some new ones. Orr’s wit shines throughout, even if it does not necessarily outshine every borrowed theme. Gilbert and Sullivan, for example, are hardly upstaged as much as celebrated with Bicha belting out, “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Homosexual.” More sentimental numbers about T cell counts or gay marriage, while an understandable part of the landscape of gay life explored here, can feel a little strained in the context of the generally ribald. But the high-spirited nature of this whimsical show makes pardonable even the less-dirty parts. (Avila)

Driving Miss Daisy Buriel Clay Theater at the African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton, SF; $12.50-37.50. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Nov 17. African-American Shakespeare Company performs Alfred Uhry’s Pulitzer-winning drama.

Foodies! The Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; $32-34. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. AWAT Productions presents Morris Bobrow’s musical comedy revue all about food.

Gruesome Playground Injuries Tides Theatre, 533 Sutter, SF; $20-40. Wed/6-Sat/9, 8pm. 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; $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.

I Married an Angel Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, SF; $25-75. Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri, 8pm; Sat, 6pm (also Sat/9, 1pm), Sun, 3pm. Through Nov 17. 42nd Street Moon performs the Rodgers and Hart classic.

The Jewelry Box: A Genuine Christmas Story The Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $15-40. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through Dec 28. Brian Copeland performs the world premiere of his new, holiday-themed work, an Oakland-set autobiographical tale that’s a prequel to his popular Not a Genuine Black Man.

The Life Machine DanzHaus, 1275 Connecticut, SF; $15-20. Fri/8-Sat/9, 8pm; Sun/10, 2pm. A naïve and restive young woman (Gwen Kingston), working as admin for a high-powered and ethically questionable business firm, marries her pig-headed and lecherous boss (Nick Medina) in a desperate bid to escape the drudgery of the work-a-day world. Instead, she finds her suffocating marriage and unwanted motherhood its own prison. An extramarital affair with a latter-day beatnik (Jon Oleson) gives her a first taste of life and freedom, for which she pays the ultimate price when things go south. Set in a palpably near future, this socially rich dystopic drama acknowledges several “reflective texts” as influences, including Donna Haraway’s “A Cyborg Manifesto” and (as evidenced in some of Maxx Kurzunshki and Clive Walker’s wide-ranging and remarkable video design) Godfrey Reggio and Philip Glass’s Koyaanisqatsi. But the piece remains in large part an astute revamping and updating of Sophie Treadwell’s Machinal. Director Cole Ferraiuolo’s inspired retooling of that 1928 expressionist stage classic proves a potent contemporary lens on the persistent anomie of the people, and growing enemies of the state, in a self-congratulatory high-tech and hyper-connected world. Sophie Needelman’s mercurial choreography for five dancers, meanwhile, evokes everything from the crush of the daily commute to the cyborg cogs of the post-industrial work world or the drift of the moon across a fathomless sky. At the heart of this worthwhile production from impressive newcomers FaultLine are a handful of strong and intelligent performances. These are led by Kingston’s dynamic, rigorously unsentimental performance as a tragically alienated every-woman, who must suffer any number of mundane indignities before her apotheosis as a deeply violent and repressed society’s convenient cipher. (Avila)

Lovebirds Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $15-100. Thu/7-Fri/8, 8pm; Sat/9, 8:30pm. Workshop performances of Marga Gomez’s 10th solo show, about different characters seeking romance in the 1970s.

Peter and the Starcatcher Curran Theatre, 445 Geary, SF; $40-160. Tue-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat, 2pm; no show Nov 28); Sun, 2pm. Through Dec 1. Fanciful, Tony-winning prequel to Peter Pan.

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

“Shocktoberfest 14: Jack the Ripper” Hypnodrome, 575 10th St, SF; $25-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Nov 23. It’s lucky 14 for the Thrillpeddlers’ annual Halloween-tide Shocktoberfest, and while there are few surprises in this year’s lineup, there’s plenty of reliable material to chew on. Opening with A Visit to Mrs. Birch and the Young Ladies of the Academy, a ribald Victorian-era “spanking drama,” the fare soon turns towards darker appetites with a joint Andre De Lorde-Pierre Chaine work, Jack the Ripper. Works by De Lorde — sometimes referred to as the “Prince of Fear” — have graced the Hypnodrome stage over the years, and this tense Victorian drama, though penned in the 30s, is suitably atmospheric. Although it becomes pretty evident early on who dunnit, it’s the why that lies at the heart of this grim drama, and in the course of that discovery, the play’s beleaguered lawmen reveal themselves to be no less ruthless than the titular Ripper (John Flaw) in pursuit of their quarry. Norman Macleod as Inspector Smithson particularly embodies this unwholesome dichotomy, and Bruna Palmeiro excels as his spirited yet doomed bait. Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s Salome, the Thrillpeddlers’ piece by the same name is perhaps the weak link in the program, despite being penned by the ever-clever Scrumbly Koldewyn, and danced with wanton abandon by Noah Haydon. Longtime Thrillpeddlers’ collaborator Rob Keefe ties together the evening’s disparate threads under one sprawling big top media circus of murder, sex, ghosts, and sensationalism with his somewhat tongue-in-cheek, San Francisco-centric The Wrong Ripper. (Gluckstern)

Sidewinders Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor, SF; $10-50. 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. In a cartoonish, desolate wasteland (designed by Michael Locher), Dakota (Sara Moore), a bleached-blonde gunslinger in buckskin fringes, and Bailey (DavEnd), a possibly AWOL soldier rocking high-heeled boots and a single drop earring, wrestle with the conundrum of what to call their respective genitals. And more to the point, what to do with them after they figure it out. Or as Bailey bluntly puts it, “Who am I supposed to fuck?” But there’s more to being stranded in the uncharted wilderness at stake than “organ confusion,” and soon they must channel their uncommon alliance into finding a way back out. What they find instead include a regal figure of indeterminate gender possessed of extra limbs (Donald Currie), a suicidal servant with surgical skills (Norman Muñoz), and a growing realization that wilderness, like identity, is relative. Moore and DavEnd make a good comedic team, their endless banter, circular logic and exaggerated facial gymnastics giving them the philosophical gravitas of a Looney Tunes episode, while Currie’s turn as mutated muse is unexpectedly moving. Recent winner of the prestigious Rella Lossy award, this intriguing world premiere marks playwright Basil Kreimendahl’s first professional production, though it seems safe to say that it won’t be the last. (Gluckstern)


Can You Dig It? Back Down East 14th — the 60s and Beyond Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; $15-50. Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Extended through Dec 15. 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)

Don’t Dress For Dinner Center REPertory Company, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; $33-52. Wed, 7:30pm; Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Nov 23, 2:30pm); Sun, 2:30pm. Through Nov 23. Center REP performs Marc Camoletti’s sequel to his classic farce Boeing-Boeing.

A King’s Legacy Pear Avenue Theatre, 1220 Pear, Mtn View; $10-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Nov 24. Pear Avenue Theatre performs Elyce Melmon’s world premiere, a drama about King James VI of Scotland.

A Little Princess Julia Morgan Theater, 2640 College, Berk; $17-60. Thu-Fri, 7pm (Nov 28, shows at 1 and 6pm); Sat, 1 and 6pm; Sun, noon and 5pm (no 5pm show Dec 1). Through Dec 8. Berkeley Playhouse opens its sixth season with Brian Crawley and Andrew Lippa’s musical adaptation of the Frances Hodgson Burnett story.

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

The Pianist of Willesden Lane Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; $29-89. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Thu/7, Dec 5, and Sat, 2pm; no matinee Sat/9; no show Nov 28); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through Dec 8. Mona Golabek stars in this solo performance inspired by her mother, a Jewish pianist whose dreams and life were threatened by the Nazi regime.

Red Virgin, Louise Michel and the Paris Commune of 1871 Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; $15-28. 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.

Social Security Muriel Watkin Gallery, 1050 Crespi Drive, Pacifica; (650) 359-8002. $10-25. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Nov 24. Pacifica Spindrift Players performs Andrew Bergman’s classic comedy.

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

Swing Shift Onboard the SS Red Oak Victory, 1337 Canal, Berth 6A, Richmond; $18-20. Fri/8-Sat/9, 8pm; Sun/10, 3pm. Galatean Players Ensemble Theatre perform Kathryn G. McCarty’s adaptation of Joseph Fabry’s novel, performed aboard a ship in the yards where Fabry once worked.


BATS Improv Bayfront Theater, B350 Fort Mason Center, SF; $20. This week: “DuoProv Championship,” Fri, 8pm, through Nov 29; “Family Drama,” Sat, 8pm, through Nov 30.

“Best of the 2013 San Francisco Fringe Festival” Exit Studio, 156 Eddy, SF; Fri/8-Sat/9, 8pm. $15-25. This week: 53 Letters (“Best of” series continues through Nov. 23)

Jim Brickman Venetian Room, Fairmont San Francisco, 950 Mason, SF; Sun/10, 5pm (with David Burnham) and 8pm (solo). $48. Romantic piano sensation Brickman plays, joined at the earlier show by Broadway tenor David Burnham.

“Broadway Bingo” Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; Wed, 7-9pm. Ongoing. Free. Countess Katya Smirnoff-Skyy and Joe Wicht host this Broadway-flavored night of games and performance.

“Cabinet of Wonders” Jewish Community Center of SF, Kanbar Hall, 3200 California, SF; Mon/11, 8pm. $30-40. Musician-author Wesley Stace curates and hosts this variety show, featuring Eugene Mirman, Alec Ounsworth, Dean & Britta, Bobcat Goldthwaite, and others.

“Comedy Returns to El Rio!” El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF; Mon/11, 8pm. $7-20. With Micia Mosely, David Hawkins, Sampson McCormick, Emily Epstein White, and Lisa Geduldig.

“Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction” Punchline, 444 Battery, SF; Tue/12, 8pm. $15. Ten comics (Nato Green, Caitlin Gill, Sean Keane, and others) perform erotic fan fic.

CounterPULSE 1310 Mission, SF; This week: Instrument by Monique Jenkinson (aka Fauxnique), Fri/8, 8pm and Sat/9, 7pm, $20-30; “Beware the Band of Lions (They’re Dandy Lions),” with Bandelion, Sun/10 and Nov 17, 3pm, free (reservations required as space is extremely limited; to request an invitation, email

Flyaway Productions Joe Goode Annex, 401 Alabama, SF; Fri/8-Sat/9 and Nov 13-16, 7:30 and 9:30pm. $25. Choreographer Jo Kreiter and designer Sean Riley present the world premiere of Give a Woman a Lift.

“Hysterical Historical San Francisco, Holiday Edition” Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; Sun, 7pm. Through Dec 29. $30-40. Comic Kurt Weitzman performs.

Roslyn Kind Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; Fri/8, 8pm; Sat/9, 7pm. $30-60 ($20 food and beverage minimum per person). The Broadway star performs.

Kunst-Stoff Dance Company ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; Fri/8-Sat/9, 8pm; Sun/10, 7pm. $25-45. The company marks its 15th anniversary with retrospectives, contained in two different programs: recreated old works and new works inspired by repertory.

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

“ODC/Dance Unplugged” ODC Dance Commons Studio B, 351 Shotwell, SF; Fri/8, 7pm. $25. Get a unique, behind-the-scenes look at Triangulating Euclid, a new collaboration between Brenda Way, KT Nelson, and Kate Weare.

“Okeanos Intimate” Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39, SF; Sat, 4:30 and 7pm. $20-30 (free aquarium ticket with show ticket). Extended through Dec 28. 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)

Point Break Live!” DNA Lounge, 373 11th St, SF; Dec 6 and Jan 3, 7:30 and 11pm. $25-50. Interactive interpretation of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 classic. (Some tickets include meatball sandwiches!)

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

“Solitude” Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St, SF; Thu/7-Sat/9, 8pm (also Sat/9, 3pm). $15-35. LA’s Latino Theater Company performs Evelina Fendandez’s critically acclaimed play about Chicaco life and culture.

“Upside-Downton Abbey” Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon, SF; Sun/10, 4pm (silent auction at 3pm). $35-97. Also Nov 24, 4pm, $58-83, Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; Lamplighters Musical Theatre’s annual gala performance spoofs the popular British soap opera.

“WERK! Performance Festival 2013” Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF; Fri/8-Sun/10, 8pm (also Sun/10, 4pm). $20. Choreographers Alyce Finwall, Samantha Giron, Timothy Rubel, and Ashley Trottier share the weekend.


Diablo Ballet Smith Center, Ohlone College, 43600 Mission, Fremont; Sat/9, 2 and 8pm. Also Nov 15-16, 8pm (also Nov 16, 2pm), Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; $20-52. The company’s 20th season kicks off with Our Waltzes Trilogy and A Swingin’ Holiday.

“Dogugaeshi” Zellebach Playhouse, Dana at Bancroft, UC Berkeley, Berk; Wed/6-Fri/8, 8:30pm (also Thu/7-Fri/8, 6pm); Sat/9-Sun/10, 2 and 7pm. $48-76. The latest from innovative puppeteer Basil Twist.

“Rapunzel” Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; Sat/9-Sun/10, 10am and 12:30pm. $15-20. Marin Theatre Company performs a fairy-tale play for all ages. *