Sage Listings: Dec. 18-24, 2013

Pub date December 18, 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



Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Curran Theatre, 445 Geary, SF; $60-160. Sat/21, 2 and 7:30pm; Sun/22, Dec 29, and Jan 5, noon and 5:30pm; Dec 23-28 and Dec 30-Jan 4, 2pm (also Dec 28 and Jan 3-4, 7:30pm).Through Jan 5. Disney’s version of the classic tale comes to the stage. Bring it, Mrs. Potts!


Amaluna Big Top at AT&T Park, Third Street at Terry A. Francois Blvd, SF; $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; $25-45. 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; $10-40. Wed/18, 9pm. 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; $60-120. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 1 and 6:30pm. Through Jan 19. When approaching the oeuvre of South Parkcreators 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)

A Christmas Carol Geary Theater, 415 Geary, SF; $20-95. Wed/18-Sat/21, 7pm (also Sat/21, 2pm); Sun/22, 1 and 5:30pm; Mon/23, 2 and 7pm; Tue/24 and Dec 26-27, 1pm (also Dec 27, 5:30pm); Dec 28, 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; $12.50-50. Sat/21-Sun/22, 3pm (also Sat/21, 8pm). African-American Shakespeare Company presents this fairy-tale production for the holidays.

Crones for the Holidays: The Sequel Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; $20. Sat-Sun, 3pm (also Sat, 8pm). Through Dec 29. Vignettes, improv, songs, and more, written by and starring Terry Baum and Carolyn Myers.

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.

The Golden Girls: The XMAS Episodes Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th, SF; $30. Thu/19-Sat/21, 8pm; Sun/22, 7pm. 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)

It’s Christmas, Carole! Creativity Theater, 221 Fourth St, SF; $10-20. Thu/19-Fri/20, 7pm; Sat/21-Sun/22, 2 and 5pm. Michael Phillis’s broadly comic, all-ages take on A Christmas Carol proves a sweet, amusing, and admiringly well-acted 60-minute Christmas pudding in the hands of director Andrew Nance and his charmingly offbeat cast, which includes physical comedienne Sara Moore as the eponymous Christmas grouch. Playwright Phillis, with equally sharp timing and rubbery features, plays Carole’s coworker Bob, a young gay urbanite longing to go back home for Christmas and reconnect with his estranged, disapproving mother. Carole drives a hard bargain but eventually agrees to take over his workload for the day —namely Christmas day, a workday by any other measure for their terrifyingly mean old boss, Mr. Scrooge (Dave Garrett). Also working that day is the cloying goody-goody of the office, played with a hilarious excess of syrup by Dawn Meredith Smith, who doubles as the sassy Ghost of Christmas Breaks in the fitful imagination of slumbering Carole. There the Ghost of Christmas Bonuses (Rory Davis) also makes an appearance, and Carole of course makes a discovery about family, friends, and loved ones that turns even her boss’s bitchiness right around. (Avila)

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.

My Beautiful Launderette New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; $25-45. Wed/18-Sat.21, 8pm; Sun/22, 2pm. 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; $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.

Storefront Church San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St, Second Flr, SF; $30-100. Tue-Thu, 7pm (no shows Dec 24-25 or Jan 1); Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun, 2pm (also Sun/22, 7pm). Through Jan 11. Weighty themes come leavened by sharp comedy and engaging characters in this 2012 play from New York’s John Patrick Shanley (Doubt), now enjoying a strong and lively Bay Area premiere at SF Playhouse in director Joy Carlin’s well cast production. Ethan, a gregarious retired accountant and professed secular Jew (a hilarious and endearing Ray Reinhardt) tries to get some relief for his Puerto Rican wife, Jessie (a bubbly Gloria Weinstock), who is perilously behind on her loan payments. But it’s like getting the proverbial blood from a stone during his meeting with her humorless and immobile — indeed, partly paralyzed — loan officer (a quietly shattered Rod Gnapp). Ethan appeals to morality; loan officer Reed sticks to the rules of the system. Enter Donaldo (an admirably sure yet understated Gabriel Marin), the Bronx’s upstanding borough president and the son of Jessie’s old friend. Donaldo has much bigger business with the bank underway (a proposed mall deal that will bring jobs, if at the expense of local character) and at first begs off — until he learns his mother has co-signed the loan. Soon, Donaldo is visiting the source of Jessie’s money problems: a somber Pentecostal preacher and Katrina-refugee named Chester (a gently solemn Carl Lumbly) who has installed a traffic-less church in the storefront below her apartment but remains himself paralyzed by depression and uncertainty. Donaldo, himself a preacher’s son, and Chester soon engage in a fiery and captivating debate that turns on the contradictions between moral conviction and worldly compromise. From there on, a fractured congregation of sorts begins to form around the preacher and Donaldo, including the unctuous yet aloof CEO of the bank (played with bounding confidence by a fine Derek Fischer). It all leads to a rousingly funny and tender scene that makes good on the season’s usual lip service to fraternal feeling and communal values. (Avila)

Too Many Tamales: A Holiday Story for the Whole Family Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $8-35. Opens Sat/21, 2 and 8pm. Runs Sun/22-Mon/23, Dec 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.


Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; $20-35. 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.”

Little Women Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto; $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; $19-40. Thu/19-Sat/21, 8pm (also Sat/21, 2pm); Sun/22, 2pm. Hillbarn Theatre performs Jerry Herman’s classic musical.

The Pianist of Willesden Lane Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; $29-89. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm; no shows Tue/24 or Dec 31); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm; matinees only Sun/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.


“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.

“A Chanticleer Christmas” St. Ignatius, 650 Parker, SF; Sun/22, 8pm. $30-65. The Grammy-winning vocal ensemble performs profound and joyous seasonal tunes.

“Comedy Bottle with Tom Smith” Purple Onion at Kells, 530 Jackson, SF; Fri/20-Sat/21, 7pm. $10. Headliner Smith performs with Matthew Groom and Ira Summer.

“Exquisite Corpse Theatre: Sci-Fi: Defenders of Intergalactic Donuts” Stage Werx Theatre, 446 Valencia, SF; Fri/20-Sat/21, 7pm. $23. Mikl-em, Stage Werx, and Foul Play present this combination party, writing game, and performance. Dress in sci-fi togs and assist the artists in writing the show.

“Fiesta Navidena” Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; Sat/21-Sun/22 and Dec 27-28, 6:15pm. $15-21. Carolina Lugo and Carolé Acuña’s Ballet Flamenco performs a holiday show.

“From the Bay to Bahia” Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St, SF; Sat/21, 8pm. $5-20. An evening inspired by Loco Bloco’s summer cultural exchange in Bahia, Brazil, with dance, spoken word, and musical performances.

“G. Scott Lacy’s Holiday Cabaret” Society Cabaret at Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter, SF; Fri/20-Sat/21, 8pm; Sun/22, 2pm. $20-40. A seasonal blend of music and song.

“Happy Birthday Jesus: The Alaska Christmas Show” Rebel, 1760 Market, SF; Wed/18-Fri/20, 7:30 and 10pm. $22.50. RuPaul’s Drag Race fan fave Alaska Thunderfuck performs her off-Broadway show.

“Hark, the Herald Angels Swing!” Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness, SF; Sun/22, 8pm. $18-65. The SF Girls Chorus and School, plus Alumnae Chorus, perform jazzy holiday songs arranged by Marcus Shelby.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas: An Evening with Connie Champagne as Judy Garland” Feinstein’s at the Nikko, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; Wed/18, 8pm. $25-35 ($20 minimum food and beverage purchase). The acclaimed performer presents her annual holiday show.

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

“Jackie Beat’s O Holy Hell!” Rebel, 1760 Market, SF; Sun/22, 7 and 9pm. $26. “Everyone’s favorite Grinch” returns to SF for her annual anti-holiday tribute.

“Kung Pao Kosher Comedy” New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific, SF; Dec 24-26, 6pm (dinner show); 9:30pm (cocktail show). $44-64. Stand-up with Gary Gulman, Adrianne Tolsch, Samson Koletkar, and Lisa Geduldig.

“Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets” Southside Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; Fri/20-Tue/24, 11am and 2pm (also Sat/21-Sun22, 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.

“Mittens and Mistletoe: A Winter Circus Cabaret” Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF; Fri/20-Sat/21, 8pm; Sun/22-Tue/24, 2pm (also Sun/22 and Tue/24, 4pm). $15-60. Light-hearted, circus-themed holiday variety show, with juggling, clowning, trapeze acts, and more.

“Okeanos Intimate” Aquarium of the Bay, Pier 39, SF; 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)

Paula Poundstone Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon, SF; Fri/20, 8pm. $35. The comedian and NPR personality performs.

“Point Break Live!” DNA Lounge, 373 11th St, SF; 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)

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

“Santa Claus is Coming Out” Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, SF; Thu/19-Fri/20, 8pm; Sat/21, 9:30pm; Sun/22, 5pm; Mon/23, 6pm; Tue/24, 3pm. $20-35. Jeffrey Solomon performs his solo play exploring “the secret romantic life of the holiday icon.”

“The Santaland Diaries” Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, SF; Sat/21, 7pm; Sun/22-Mon/23 and Dec 26-29, 8pm (also Sun/22 and Dec 29, 2pm); Mon/23, 8pm; Tue/24, 1pm. David Sinaiko performs David Sedaris’ tale of working as an elf, adapted to the stage by Joe Mantello.

“Shotz: Orwellian Consumer-mas” Tides Theare, 533 Sutter, SF; Wed/18, 8pm. $10. AmiosSF presents five short plays relating to the theme of “Orwellian Consumer-mas.” Each is required to include the line “It’s free. Freee!”

“Sing You A Merry Christmas” Grace Cathedral, 1100 California, SF; Sat/21, 11am. $5-25. A sing-along for younger children and their families

“Speechless Faux Holiday Christmas Event” Public Works, 161 Erie, SF; Thu/19, 7:30pm. $20. Entertainers, entrepreneurs, and audience members present spontaneous PowerPoint presentations. In keeping with the season, this edition is formatted as a faux holiday party, complete with an ugly sweater contest.

“A Verry Merry Murder Mystery” Bayfront Theater, B350 Fort Mason Center, SF; Fri/20-Sat/21, 8pm. $20. This concession to the holiday season has more red in it than green. The return of the popular improv show by Bay Area Theatre Sports (BATS) technically has Christmas in it: Along with the 1930s English manor house, it’s part of the setting for murder, as well as the sleuthing and shenanigans that must invariably ensue. Nothing else is certain, however. The audience provides the necessary ingredients to get this full-length completely improvised who-knows-who’ll-have-dunit up and running, including the murder weapon (a dirty sock, the night I went, fiendishly enough). The fine cast (which changes slightly each night) includes the highly imaginative, lightening quick Tim Orr along with fellow BATS veterans like William Hall (who did exceptional work in a Scottish brogue and imaginary kilt), Kasey Klemm, Jenny Rosen, and Regina Saisi; as well as relative newcomers like Ben Johnson and company guest Ethan Karson, both of whom are outstanding. The masterful Joshua Raoul Brody improvises the musical score. (Avila)

“XXmas: The Christmas Ballet, 2013 Edition” Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Lam Research Theater, 700 Howard, SF; Wed/18-Sat/21, 8pm (also Sat/21, 2pm); Sun/22, 2 and 7pm; Tue/24, 2pm; Dec 26-28, 8pm (also Dec 26, 2pm). $24-64, Smuin Ballet’s annual holiday show boasts festive ballet, tap, and swing-dance numbers.


“The Biggest Gift” Lesher Center for the Arts, Margaret Lesher Theatre, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; Thu/19, 11:30am; Fri/20, 9:30am, 11am, and 6:30pm; Sat/21, 10am, 11:30am, 1pm, and 4pm; Sun/22, 11am and 1pm. $14. Fantasy Forum Actors Ensemble presents a Christmas-themed, family-friendly musical.

“The Nutcracker” Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, SF; Sat/21-Sun/22, 2pm; Tue/24, 11am. $20-59.50. Oakland Ballet performs Graham Lustig’s version of the classic ballet, with music by the Oakland East Bay Symphony.

“Scrooge: The Haunting of Ebenezer” Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; Mon/23-Tue/24, 8pm. $15. Jeff Garrett plays all the Christmas Carol parts in this solo version of the classic tale.

“A Swell Noël” Aurora Theatre Company, 2081 Addison, Berk; Wed/18-Sat/21, 7:30pm; Sun/22, 5pm. $25-32. Cabaret star Craig Jessup performs songs by Noël Coward, Jacques Brel, Stephen Sondheim, and other composers. *