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.
Crones for the Holidays: The Sequel Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.crackpotcrones.com. $20 (first weekend shows, free). Opens Sat/14, 3 and 8pm. Runs Sat-Sun, 3pm (also Sat, 8pm). Through Dec 29. Vignettes, improv, songs, and more, written by and starring Terry Baum and Carolyn Myers.
It’s Christmas, Carole! Creativity Theater, 221 Fourth St, SF; www.itschristmascarole.com. $10-20. Opens Thu/12, 7pm. Runs Thu-Fri, 7pm; Sat-Sun, 2 and 5pm. Through Dec 22. Thrillride Mechanics performs the world premiere of Michael Phillis’ “human cartoon” that puts an Office Space-style spin on the Dickens classic.
Too Many Tamales: A Holiday Story for the Whole Family Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $8-35. Previews Sat/14-Sun/15, 2pm. Opens Dec 21, 2 and 8pm. Runs Dec 22-23, 27-30, and Jan 2-4, 2pm. Through Jan 4. Marsh Youth Theater and author Gary Soto collaborate on this high-energy holiday show — complete with puppets and Mexican music — based on Soto’s picture book.
Amaluna Big Top at AT&T Park, Third Street at Terry A. Francois Blvd, SF; www.cirquedusoliel.com. $50-175. Check website for schedule, including special holiday showtimes. Through Jan 12. Cirque de Soleil is back in town, this time bringing its Tempest-inspired Amaluna to the big top set up outside AT&T Park. Touted for being a celebration of “women [sic] power,” it seems initially odd that the design elements are so focused on the male peacock feather — all greens and blues and graceful, with curving “fronds” rising up from the stage. Jungle sounds chirp in the background as a bevy of Amazonian women in bejeweled headdresses and a mischievous lizard-man circulate the room until the show starts with the lovely abstraction of a floating red cloud of translucent fabric dancing in a single beam of light. The flimsy plotline is forgettable, a coming-of-age and courtship tale between the island’s young princess, Miranda (Iuliia Mykhailova) and a shipwrecked young Romeo (Evgeny Kurkin), though the parallel courtship between the two comic figures of Jeeves (Nathalie Claude) and Deeda (Shereen Hickman) provides a bit of levity and a novel use for footballs. The most realized character is probably Cali (Victor Kee), the half-lizard, whose prehensile tail and neon body paint give him an otherworldly allure, but it’s the aerialist goddesses and fierce embodiments of the storm that are most memorable from an acrobatic point-of-view, and Lara Jacobs’ unique balancing act from a meditative one. (Gluckstern)
Avenue Q New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Previews Fri/13, 8pm. Opens Sat/14, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Jan 12. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs the Tony-winning comedy.
The Barbary Coast Revue Stud Bar, 399 Ninth St, SF; eventbrite.com/org/4730361353. $10-40. Wed, 9pm. Through Dec 18. Blake Wiers’ new “live history musical experience” features Mark Twain as a tour guide through San Francisco’s wild past.
The Book of Mormon Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market, SF; www.shnsf.com. $60-120. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 1 and 6:30pm. Through Jan 19. When approaching the oeuvre of South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, it’s best to check your political correctness at the door. That’s certainly no less true of their 2011 Broadway musical The Book of Mormon, co-penned with Robert Lopez (of Avenue Q fame), despite the clean-scrubbed appearance of their fumbling albeit well-intentioned missionary protagonists. Sent to Uganda for two years, top mission pupil Elder Price (Nic Rouleau) and his clumsy but affable partner Elder Cunningham (A.J. Holmes) are faced with a village oppressed by a scenery-chewing warlord, a demoralized coterie of fellow missionaries who have yet to have a successful conversion, and their own fraught, odd-couple dynamic. Rouleau’s Price is an appropriate blend of smarm, charm, and secret self-doubt while Holmes excels in his portrayal of a perennial-loser-turned-prophet (his power ballad-esque solo in “Man Up” is one of the show’s best). Of their hosts, the wry Mafala (James Vincent Meredith) and his sweet but strong-willed daughter Nabulungi (Syesha Mercado) get the most stage time, but it’s the crude and caustic General (David Aron Damane) who grabs the most attention. The gleefully profane “Hasa Diga Eebowai,” a Forbidden Zone-style “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream”, and the deliriously blasphemous “Joseph Smith, American Moses,” round out the entertaining, and strangely informative, score. Though it’s (very) unlikely to convert you to the Church of Latter-Day Saints, there’s a good chance you’ll want to convert to the church of Parker and Stone, if you haven’t already. (Gluckstern)
BoomerAging: From LSD to OMG Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Tue/17, 8pm. Will Durst’s hit solo show looks at baby boomers grappling with life in the 21st century.
A Christmas Carol Geary Theater, 415 Geary, SF; www.act-sf.org. $20-95. Wed-Sat, 7pm (no evening shows Dec 24, 26, or 28; also Wed/11, Sat/14, Dec 21, and 23, 2pm; Dec 24 and 26-28, 1pm; Dec 27 evening show at 5:30pm); Sun, 5:30pm (also Sun/15 and Dec 22, 1pm). Through Dec 28. American Conservatory Theater mounts its annual production of the Dickens classic, with James Carpenter as Scrooge and Ken Ruta as Jacob Marley’s ghost.
Cinderella Buriel Clay Theater, African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton, SF; www.african-americanshakes.org. $12.50-50. Sat, 8pm (also Dec 21, 3pm); Sun, 3pm. Through Dec 22. African-American Shakespeare Company presents this fairy-tale production for the holidays.
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.
The Golden Girls: The XMAS Episodes Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th, SF; www.trannyshack.com. $30. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Dec 22. Plastic Christmas tree, 80s TV jingles, men in muumuus — it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Two new (old) episodes from the classic television sitcom enliven this year’s staging of the seasonal favorite, starring drag luminaries Heklina, as Dorothy; Cookie Dough, as Sophia; Matthew Martin (who also directs), as Blanche; and Pollo Del Mar, as Rose. Decked to the halls in frighteningly festive outfits courtesy of costumers Landa Lakes and Van Hedwall, the ladies bring out the geriatric within, while proving over and over again that nobody ever really grows up anyway. Laurie Bushman, Manuel Caneri, Peter Griggs, and Jordan Wheeler round out the cast, along with a rotating roster of special guests (including opening night’s appearance by Donna Sashet). Yule laugh, Yule cry, mostly Yule laugh. (Avila)
The Jewelry Box: A Genuine Christmas Story The Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $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.
My Beautiful Launderette New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Dec 22. In this stage adaptation of the 1985 Hanif Kureishi-Stephen Frears film, SF newcomer Javi Harnly takes on the role of Omar, a British-Pakistani youth with an eye for business opportunity, while Robert Rushin portrays his former schoolmate and eventual lover Johnny, a working-class tough and erstwhile fascist whose navigation of Thatcher-era London is fraught with poverty and violence. While the play sticks to much of the original’s plot, the cast is reduced to a chamber septet, with the perhaps unintended consequence of creating an extra layer of isolation for Johnny, whose former “mates” remain offstage, leaving him to be defined almost solely by his relationships to Omar and Omar’s family. Director Andrew Nance’s pacing errs on the side of sedate, subduing the more passionate responses of many of the supporting characters: Omar’s restless cousin Tania (Radhika Rao); his widowed, alcoholic father (Ravi Bhatnagar); his mercurial entrepreneur uncle Nasser (Keith Stevenson); and Nasser’s kittenish mistress (Cat Luedtke). Only Daniel Redmond as the unrepentantly shady Salim gets to fully embody his character’s extremist views and actions, while the sweetly awkward chemistry between the two protagonists does produce a nice bit of heat, their refreshingly matter-of-fact relationship encompassing a full spectrum of emotion and circumstance. (Gluckstern)
The Oy of Sex Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $20-100. Thu-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Through Jan 18. Comedian Alicia Dattner performs her solo show, based on her stories from her own life and love addiction.
Peter/Wendy Gough Street Playhouse, 1620 Gough, SF; www.custommade.org. $15-33. Thu/12-Sat/14, 8pm; Sun/15, 7pm. J.M. Barrie’s familiar and much-revisited children’s story, about a boy who refuses to grow up, has always had its darker aspects, including the violent streak in its hero, forever-child Peter (Sam Bertken). Unfortunately, any underlying social or psychological complexity in the story — originally published in 1902 in The Little White Bird — is of no consequence in adapter-director Jeremy Bloom’s relentlessly cheerful and quickly monotonous retelling. The production, which narrates and acts out the story in somewhat condensed form, says it’s designed for adults of all ages and children over 12, but it seems pitched to an audience much younger still. Custom Made Theater’s lackluster staging does little to make the time go faster. There’s a mischievous energy in Bertken’s Peter and a bright intelligence in Anya Kazimierski’s Tinker Bell that together produce the play’s only emotional heat, but it’s fleeting. As Wendy, Elissa Beth Stebbins is generally solid but too mild to elicit much sympathy for her unrequited affections for Peter. Clad exclusively in striped jammies, the uneven ensemble (which also includes Terry Bamberger, Jessica Rudholm, Kim Saunders, and Jeunee Simon in multiple roles) rarely encourages focus on the finer points of character and plot, which anyway come with a soporific dose of trifling detail amid generally awkward physical choreography. Indeed, any “happy thoughts” one walks in with would risk vanishing entirely, were it not that the cast harvests them immediately and writes them down for future reference on the stage floor. (Avila)
Snoopy!!! Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, SF; www.42ndstmoon.org. $25-75. Wed/11-Thu/12, 7pm; Fri/13, 8pm; Sat/14, 6pm; Sun/15, 3pm. 42nd Street Moon performs the sequel to You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.
Storefront Church San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St, Second Flr, SF; www.sfplayhouse.org. $30-100. Tue-Thu, 7pm (no shows Dec 24-25 or Jan 1); Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun, 2pm (also Dec 22, 7pm). Through Jan 11. A modern-day Scrooge finds redemption in San Francisco Playhouse’s production of John Patrick Shanley’s uplifting comedy.
The Vixens of Broadway Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; www.feinsteinssf.com. $50-80. Thu/12-Fri/13, 8pm; Sat/14-Sun/15, 7pm. A recipe for beating the cold outside: A few Sazeracs and this intimate cabaret-style show featuring Broadway star Betty Buckley, interpreting iconic and unusual songs from Broadway’s “other women” — characters who inhabit the darker, naughtier, or at least more complex side of musical-theater femininity in germinal gems like Kander and Ebb’s “When You’re Good to Mama” (from Chicago) or Cole Porter’s “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” (from Leave It To Me!). Arranged by pianist and accompanist Christian Jacob (heading up a smooth jazz trio), the set includes amusing parodies, and comes sprinkled with stories that include its star’s own Fort Worth, Texas roots and earliest showbiz memories. Delivered with personality as well as consummate skill by Buckley (whose remarkable career includes at least 15 records as well as legendary roles in shows like Cats or TV’s Eight Is Enough), The Vixens of Broadway is a warm, playful, lightly mischievous class act. (Avila)
Can You Dig It? Back Down East 14th — the 60s and Beyond Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Sat/14, 8:30pm; Sun/15, 7pm. 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)
Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; www.shotgunplayers.org. $20-35. Previews Wed/11-Thu/12, 7pm. Opens Fri/13, 8pm. Runs Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Jan 11. Shotgun Players performs Anthony Neilson’s comic romp set in “a sensual Edwardian world of top hats, fantastical puppets, and flash powder.”
Harvey Barn Theatre, 30 Sir Francis Drake, Ross; www.rossvalleyplayers.com. $10-22. Thu/12, 7:30pm; Fri/13-Sat/14, 8pm; Sun/15, 2pm. Ross Valley Players perform the Pulitzer-winning play by Mary Chase.
Little Women Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto; www.theatreworks.org. $19-79. Tue-Wed and Dec 30, 7:30pm (no shows Dec 24-25; Dec 31, show at 2pm only; no show Jan 1); Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat and Dec 26 and Jan 4, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Jan 4. TheatreWorks performs the musical adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott tale.
Mame Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 East Hillsdale, Foster City; www.hillbarntheatre.org. $19-40. Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat/14 and Dec 21, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through Dec 22. Hillbarn Theatre performs Jerry Herman’s classic musical.
The Pianist of Willesden Lane Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $29-89. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm; no shows Dec 24 or 31); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm; matinees only Sun/15, Dec 22, and Jan 5; no show Dec 25). Extended through Jan 5. Mona Golabek stars in this solo performance inspired by her mother, a Jewish pianist whose dreams and life were threatened by the Nazi regime.
Troilus and Cressida La Val’s Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; www.impacttheatre.com. $10-25. Thu/12-Sat/14, 8pm; Sun/15, 7pm. One of Shakespeare’s more difficult and under-produced plays, Troilus and Cressida does wax in popularity during protracted times of war, so it’s about the right time for Impact Theatre to tackle it. Set during the seventh year of the Trojan War, the players are all either soldiers or spoils of war, and both morale and morals are at a low ebb. So-called heroes hide in their tents, the fair Helen (Julie Kuwabara) is a callow bawd, and everyone just wants the war to be over. Troilus (Eric Kerr), a Trojan, and Cressida (Sarah Coykendall), a Greek, meet-cute thanks to the machinations of the flamboyant Pandarus (Shawn J. West), only to be quickly separated by circumstances beyond their control, and thrust abruptly to the sidelines of their own tragedy, their eventual betrayal of each other lost within the greater treacheries of the battlefield. It’s a problematic script, not least of all because the only truly moral character is the very innocent, very mad Cassandra (Akemi Okamura), whose prophecies are written off as mere ravings, subtly mirrored by the nihilistic fool, Thersites (Miyaka Cochrane), who delivers his frontline ravings as prophecies. Director Melissa Hillman makes some bold choices, however, including casting Lauren Spencer as the level-headed Ulysses, and father-son team Jon Nagel and Jonah McClellan as Aeneas and Antenor, turning the walk-on role of a pawn into a tragic symbol of war’s all too-human cost. (Gluckstern)
“Attractive Camp” Lost Weekend Video, 1034 Valencia, SF; lostweekendcinecave.eventbrite.com. Sun/15, 7pm. $10. Featuring work by stand-up comedians, sketch writers, and short filmmakers.
“Aura Fischbeck Dance presents: Two Evenings of Deborah Hay Solo Adaptations” NOHspace, 2840 Mariposa, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri/13-Sat/14, 7pm. $15. Choreography by Deborah Hay, presented as part of the Solo Performance Commissioning Project.
“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.
“Christmas in San Francisco” Pa’ina Lounge and Restaurant, 1865 Post, SF; www.christmasinSF.com. Fri/13-Sat/14, 7:30pm. $25-45. Singer Russ Lorenson performs jazz standards with guests Wesla Whitfield, Mike Greensill, and Veronica Klaus.
“Cirque Dreams Holidaze” Curran Theatre, 445 Geary, SF; www.shnsf.com. Wed/11-Sat/14, 7pm (also Fri/13-Sat/14, 1pm); Sun/15, 1 and 6:30pm. $45-160. Energetic, acrobatic fantasy set in a winter wonderland.
“Color Dance” a.Muse Art Gallery, 614 Alabama, SF; facebook.com/ranghouseproductions. Sat/14-Sun/15, 8pm. $12 suggested donation. Non-profit dance theater company Rang House Productions presents its debut performance.
“Comedy Bottle with Eddie Brill” Purple Onion at Kells, 530 Jackson, SF; www.purpleonionatkells.com. Fri/13-Sat/14, 7pm. $10 plus one-drink minimum. Stand-up with headliner Brill and opener Red Scott.
“Cozzie Maurice” Mariposa Studio, 2808 Mariposa, SF; www.mariposastudio.org. Wed/11-Sat/14, 7pm; Sun/15, 3pm. Donations accepted. Music, poetry, and stories of “the weird West.”
“Dance-Along Nutcracker: Nutcrackers of the Caribbean!” Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; www.dancealongnutcracker.org. Sat/14, 2 (preview) and 7pm (gala); Sun/15, 11am and 3pm. $10-50. The beloved Bay Area tradition, with music performed by the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, returns, with shows aimed at both kids and grown-ups (this year: the nautical theme includes a piratical “Captain’s Ball Gala”).
“Dolores: The Temporary Life of a 220-Year-Old Bionic Woman” Stage Werx Theater, 446 Valencia, SF; www.stagewerx.org. Wed/11, 7:30pm. $15-20. On a bare floor, physical theater maker Carolina Duncan, as her Colombian grandmother, pops opens her cranium like a steamer trunk and retrieves the scrapbook of a boundless life. Here memory and imagination exist in equal measures, as Duncan traces key moments and fleeting images from an arc of days defined by family, romance, and at least one titanic battle between an Amazonian dinosaur and a new secret-agent boyfriend. Combining mime, scattered dialogue, physical comedy, and a live soundscape, this loving and whimsical homage comes gracefully delivered and almost always vividly expressed. All the while, Duncan (a graduate of SF’s Clown Conservatory and James Donlon and Leonard Pitt’s Flying Actor Studio) exudes an infectious enthusiasm for her subject, who proves as alive in a passing but concrete image of first childhood steps as she does in her final outing, a prolonged spacewalk into the familiar and unknown. Note: review from an earlier run of this show. (Avila)
“Dream Queens Revue” Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, 133 Turk, SF; www.dreamqueensrevue.com. Wed/11, 9:30-11:30pm. Free. With Collette LeGrande, Ruby Slippers, Sophilya Leggz, and more.
“Fiesta Navidena” Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; www.carolinalugo.com. Sun/15, Dec 21-22, and 27-28, 6:15pm. $15-21. Carolina Lugo and Carolé Acuña’s Ballet Flamenco performs a holiday show.
“G. Scott Lacy’s Holiday Cabaret” Society Cabaret at Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter, SF; www.societycabaret.com. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Dec 22. $20-40. A seasonal blend of music and song.
“Global Dance Passport Showcase” ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; www.odctheater.org. Fri/13-Sat/14, 8pm (also Sat/14, 5:30pm). $10. World dance sampler, with styles from across the globe.
“House of Matter” ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; www.embodimentproject.org. Fri/13-Sun/15, 8pm. $18-38. Embodiment Project performs its latest multi-media street dance drama, with live music by Valerie Troutt and MoonCandy.
“Hysterical Historical San Francisco, Holiday Edition” Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; www.sheltontheater.org. Sun, 7pm. Through Dec 29. $30-40. Comic Kurt Weitzman performs.
“Killing My Lobster Winter Follies” Z Below, 470 Florida, SF; www.killingmylobster.com. Thu/12-Sat/15, 8pm (also Sat/15, 10pm). $20. Sketch comedy for the season.
“Making Spirits Bright” St. Matthew’s Lutheran, 3281 16th St, SF; www.ggmc.org. Thu/12-Fri/13 and Tue/17, 8pm; Sun/15, 3pm. $25-35. The Golden Gate Men’s Chorus performs its annual holiday program.
“Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets” Southside Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Sat/14-Sun/15, Dec 20-24, 11am and 2pm (also Sat/14-Sun/15 and Dec 21-22, 4pm). $18-28. Contemporary ballet company Mark Foehringer Dance Project SF performs its fifth annual production of this Nutcracker-inspired work aimed at families with young children.
“Max and Nicky” Merchants of Reality, 285 Ninth St, SF; maxandnicky.wordpress.com. Sat/14, 8pm. $10. “Music and comedy variety hour spectacular” from twins Max and Nicky Weinbach.
“Mine” Joe Goode Annex, 401 Alabama, SF; www.rawdance.org. Wed/11-Sun/15, 8pm. $21-25. RAWdance performs a world premiere by company founders Ryan T. Smith and Wendy Rein.
“Mortified” DNA Lounge, 375 11th St, SF; www.getmortified.com. Fri/13, 7:30pm. $21. Also Sat/14, 7:30pm, $20, Uptown Nightclub, 1928 Telegraph, Oakl. First-person storytelling, of the extremely cringe-inducing variety. This month’s show has a “Best of 2013” theme.
“Nicole Kidman is Fucking Gorgeous” CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; www.counterpulse.org. Thu/12-Sun/15, 8pm. $20. Mica Sigourney, John Foster Cartwright, and Maryam Rostami perform.
“NSA Comedy Tour” Internet Archives, 300 Funston, SF; blog.archive.org. Wed/11, 6pm. $10-250. A night of comedy and ethics and technology discussion with comedian Will Durst and “a lively panel of nerds.” Benefits a variety of organizations including CodePink, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and EthicsInTech.
“Okeanos Intimate” Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39, SF; www.capacitor.org. Sat, 8pm. $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)
“One-Minute Play Festival” Thick House, 1695 18th St, SF; www.playwrightsfoundation.org. Sat/14-Sun/15, 8pm (also Sun/15, 3pm). $25. The Playwrights Foundation presents this fourth annual fest of 70 one-minute plays.
“Point Break Live!” DNA Lounge, 373 11th St, SF; www.dnalounge.com. Jan 3, Feb 7, March 7, and April 4, 7:30 and 11pm. $25-50. Dude, Point Break Live! is like dropping into a monster wave, or holding up a bank, like, just a pure adrenaline rush, man. Ahem. Sorry, but I really can’t help but channel Keanu Reeves and his Johnny Utah character when thinking about the awesomely bad 1991 movie Point Break or its equally yummily cheesy stage adaptation. And if you do an even better Keanu impression than me — the trick is in the vacant stare and stoner drawl — then you can play his starring role amid a cast of solid actors, reading from cue cards from a hilarious production assistant in order to more closely approximate Keanu’s acting ability. This play is just so much fun, even better now at DNA Lounge than it was a couple years ago at CELLspace. But definitely buy the poncho pack and wear it, because the blood, spit, and surf spray really do make this a fully immersive experience. (Steven T. Jones)
“Queen of Knives” Z Space, 450 Florida, SF; www.sharpandfine.com. Thu/12-Sat/14, 8pm; Sun/15, 2pm. $30. Sharp & Fine performs an evening-length dance adaptation of a Neil Gaiman poem.
“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.
“Sing You A Merry Christmas” Grace Cathedral, 1100 California, SF; www.gracecathedral.org. Sat/14 and Dec 21, 11am. $5-25. A sing-along for younger children and their families
“The Velveteen Rabbit” Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Lam Research Theater, 700 Howard, SF; www.odcdance.org. Thu/12-Fri/13, 11am; Sat/14, 1 and 4pm; Sun/15, 2pm. $20-75. ODC/Dance performs its popular holiday show, directed with fresh perspective this year by ODC founder Brenda Way.
“A Very Merry Murder Mystery” Bayfront Theater, B350 Fort Mason Center, SF; www.improv.org. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Dec 21. $20. BATS Improv performs a holiday-themed murder tale.
“A Chanticleer Christmas” Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison, Oakl; www.chanticleer.org. Fri/13, 8pm. $30-65. The Grammy-winning vocal ensemble performs profound and joyous seasonal tunes. Visit the group’s website for additional concerts in Berkeley, SF, and other NorCal locations through Dec 23.
“Following the Wrong God Home” Osher Studio in the Arts Passage of Berkeley Central, 2055 Center, Berk; www.brownpapertickets.com. Mon/16, 8pm. $15-25. Company 212 presents a physical theater piece choreographed and directed by MaryBeth Cavanaugh that imagines six Shakespeare characters on alternate journeys beyond the plays they appear in.
“Home, Holidays and Harmony” First Unitarian Church of Oakland, 685 14th St, Oakl; www.uuoakland.org. Sat/14, 7-9pm. $5-25. Songs from various holiday traditions with the Crescendo Choir, Joyful Noise, and other groups and soloists.
“Hungry for Yiddish: A Mitzvah Project” Subterranean Arthouse, 2179 Bancroft, Berk; www.subterraneanarthouse.org. Thu/12, 8pm. $10-20 donation. With Heather Klein’s Inextinguishable Trio, performing lost works of the Yiddish art song repertoire, and other Jewish music acts.
“Let Us Break Bread Together: A Holiday Celebration” Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakl; www.oebs.org. Sun/15, 4pm. $15-50. Unconventional holiday concert with new gospel works commissioned by OEBS and the James Irvine Foundation and performances by the Oakland Symphony Chorus, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, klezmer band Kugelplex, Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, and others.
“The Marsh’s Third Annual Holiday Bash” Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. Sat/14, 7pm. $20-100. Holiday tales recounted by notable local solo performers: Marga Gomez, Don Reed, Josh Kornbluth, and more.
“Shirly’s Variety Show Extraordinaire” Studio Quercus, 385 26th St, Oakl; www.studioquercus.com. Sat/14, 8pm. $12. Entertainment for audiences 18 and up with clown antics and Tin Pan Alley songs.
“A Swell Noël” Aurora Theatre Company, 2081 Addison, Berk; www.auroratheatre.org. Dec 17-21, 7:30pm; Dec 22, 5pm. $25-32. Cabaret star Craig Jessup performs songs by Noël Coward, Jacques Brel, Stephen Sondheim, and other composers.
“The World of Webber: A Cabaret Tribute to the Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber” Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; (925) 943-SHOW. Sun/15, 2:30pm. $25-30. Musical theater stars perform songs from Cats, Evita, Phantom of the Opera and other shows, performed to benefit the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano.
“XXmas: The Christmas Ballet, 2013 Edition” Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; www.smuinballet.org. Wed/11-Sat/14, 8pm (also Sat/14, 2pm); Sun/15, 2pm, $49-65. Also Dec 18-28, $24-64, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Lam Research Theater, 700 Howard, SF. Smuin Ballet’s annual holiday show boasts festive ballet, tap, and swing-dance numbers. *