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.
The Dumbwaiter Unscripted Theatre Company, 533 Sutter, SF; http://therabbitholesf.com. $25. Opens Fri/10, 8pm. Runs Sat/11, Mon/13, and Oct 16-18, 8pm; Sun/12, 2pm. Through Oct 18. Rabbit Hole Theater Company performs Harold Pinter’s sinister farce.
Not a Genuine Black Man and The Waiting Period Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $30-100. Opens Thu/9, 8pm. Not a Genuine Black Man runs Thu-Fri, 8pm; The Waiting Period runs Sat, 5pm. Through Nov 22. Brian Copeland performs two of his autobiographical solo pieces in repertory.
Pastorella Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. Opens Thu/9, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 25. No Nude Men Productions presents Stuart Bousel’s “play about un-famous actors,” a comedy set backstage at a small theater production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia.
Shocktoberfest 15: The Bloody Débutante Hypnodrome, 575 10th St, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. $30-35. Opens Thu/9, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat and Oct 28-29, 8pm. Through Nov 22. Thrillpeddlers promise “an evening of horror, carnage, and song” as part of the company’s annual Grand Guignol extravaganza of short plays.
Wrestling Jerusalem Intersection for the Arts, 925 Mission, SF; www.theintersection.org. $25-30. Previews Wed/8-Thu/9, 7:30pm. Opens Fri/10, 7:30pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Oct 26. Aaron Davidman returns to Intersection with his hit solo performance, an exploration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; www.theatreworks.org. $19-74. Previews Wed/8-Fri/10, 8pm. Opens Sat/11, 8pm. Runs Tue-Wed, 7:30pm (also Oct 29, 2pm); Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Nov 2. TheatreWorks performs Stephen Sondheim’s grisly, Tony-winning musical.
The Woman in Black Dragon Theatre, 2120 Broadway, Redwood City; http://dragonproductions.net. $10-30. Previews Thu/9, 8pm. Opens Fri/10, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Nov 2. Dragon Theatre performs Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s horror novella.
Absolutely Fabulous Stage Werx, 446 Valencia, SF; www.eventbrite.com/e/absolutely-fabulous-abfab-tickets-12641718721. $15-35. Thu, 8pm; Fri, 11pm. Through Dec 12. The hit British sitcom takes the stage thanks to the Royal British Comedy Theatre — despite its name, an SF company with a cast that includes Terrence McLaughlin, ZsaZsa Lufthansa, Annie Larson, Dene Larson, and Raya Light.
Adventures of a Black Girl: Traveling While Black Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St, SF; www.brava.org. $15. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Oct 26. Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe performs her funny, poignant exploration of the impact of African migration.
The Barbary Coast Revue Sub/Mission Gallery, 2183 Mission, SF; www.barbarycoastrevue.com. $20. Sat, 8pm. Through Nov 29. Join Mark Twain on an interactive musical tour of Gold Rush-era San Francisco.
Cock New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Wed/8-Sat/11, 8pm; Sun/12, 2pm. English playwright Mike Bartlett’s 2010 Olivier Award-winning drama is a sly form of theatrical bait-and-switch, a play less about gay relationships, sex, or cocks per se (though it does unfold inside a cock-fighting pit) than about the web of power and need in which we can find ourselves ultimately defined — and thus owned — by others. The central character is John (a gradually sympathetic if energetically high-pitched Stephen McFarland), the only character whose name we actually learn, though that (and the generic name itself) amounts to ironic underscoring of his lack of personhood. He’s just left his longtime live-in boyfriend (Todd Pivetti) and begun a romance, for the first time in his life, with a woman (Radhika Raq). But the relative freedom and respect, as well as sexual adventure, he finds in this new relationship competes with the pull of his old ties and he soon waffles in a muddled identity crisis he finds it difficult to articulate — so others do it for him, in a battle of wills that includes John’s boyfriend’s recently widowed father (a sure and subtle Matt Weimer), full of paternal fight and truly crushed by the threatened demise of a relationship he’s long since accepted and now counts on. Director Stephen Rupsch’s production for New Conservatory Theatre Center suffers from uneven performances and takes some time getting started, but the play’s straightforward ideas crystallize nice and chillingly by the end. (Avila)
Die! Mommie, Die! New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Previews Fri/10, 8pm. Opens Sat/11, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Nov 2. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs Charles Busch’s campy comedy.
Do I Hear a Waltz? Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, SF; www.42ndstmoon.org. $25-75. Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri, 8pm; Sat, 6pm; Sun, 3pm (also Sat/11, 1pm). Through Oct 19. 42nd Street Moon opens its 22nd season with this 1960s-set tell of a lonely American tourist (Tony nominee Emily Skinner) vacationing in Venice.
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.
Ideation San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post, SF; www.sfplayhouse.org. $20-120. Tue-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun, 2pm. Through Nov 8. SF Playhouse performs the world premiere of Aaron Loeb’s darkly comic suspense thriller.
The Late Wedding Thick House, 1695 18th St, SF; www.crowdedfire.org. $15-35. Wed/8-Sat/11, 8pm. Crowded Fire Theater performs a world premiere commission by Christopher Chen, a “journey of the soul” inspired by the work of Italian fabulist novelist Italo Calvino.
Noises Off! Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; www.sheltontheater.org. $38. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 25. Shelton Theater performs Michael Frayn’s outrageous backstage comedy.
Old Hats ACT’s Geary Theater, 415 Geary, SF; www.act-sf.org. $20-120. Wed/8-Sat/11, 8pm (also Sat/11, 2pm); Sun/12, 2pm. This is a show I could watch every night: death- and age-defying master clowns Bill Irwin and David Shiner in an evening of updated and re-envisioned vaudeville-style shtick, supported by the bright and irresistible charm of singer-songwriter Shaina Taub and her versatile band (Jacob Colin Cohen, Mike Brun, Mike Dobson, and Justin J. Smith). Steppenwolf Theatre’s Tina Landau directs this buoyant Signature Theatre production, which returns Irwin and Shiner to the Geary after ACT’s 2001 production of Fool Moon. It’s can’t be easy to instill so traditional a formula with this many surprises and genuine laughs, but Irwin, Shiner, and company sure make it look that way. (Avila)
Pippin Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor, SF; www.shnsf.com. $45-210. Tue-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through Oct 19. This new production of Roger O. Hirson and Stephen Schartz’s 1972 musical won the 2013 Tony for Best Revival of a Musical.
Ransom, Texas Tides Theatre, 533 Sutter, SF; www.tidestheatre.org. $10-30. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 18. Virago Theatre Company performs William Bivins’ Texas-set tale of escalating tension between a father and son.
Semi-Famous: Hollywood Hell Tales from the Middle New venue: Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $20-100. Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Oct 19. Don Reed’s latest solo show shares tales from his career in entertainment.
Slaughterhouse Five Gough Street Playhouse, 1620 Gough, SF; www.custommade.org. $20-50. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 3pm). Extended through Oct 26. Eric Simonson’s adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s 1969 classic, performed by Custom Made Theatre Co., could prove a bit of a nonlinear whirlwind for any theatergoers who haven’t read the book. Like Billy Pilgrim (in “a constant state of stage fright … because he never knows what part of his life he is going to have to act in next”), the audience plummets to the futuristic planet of Tralfamadore, flashes back to the gruesome Dresden bombings, even further back to Billy as a fragile and temperamental little boy, and then forward to Billy in a mental hospital. Each of the show’s 11 actors takes on a variety of roles, and scenes last just a few minutes, with abrupt transitions marked by a loud, futuristic thrumming signal that demands attention even during breaks in the action. Minimalist set design and mimed “props” urge audience members to fill in the gaps and use their imaginations, with further enhancements offered by three large panels displaying animated versions of Vonnegut’s line drawings. Among the actors, the supporting cast is particularly effective, including the multifaceted Sal Mattos (as a ferocious German soldier, an American prisoner of war, and a mental patient), and Stephanie Ann Foster, as both Pilgrim’s emotionally eager wife and a compassionate, fatherly prisoner. Sam Tillis also has a nice (if sociopathic) turn as a vengeful war prisoner who promises to murder everyone who has crossed him. (Haley Brucato)
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind Boxcar Theatre, 505 Natoma, SF; www.sfneofuturists.com. $11-16. Fri-Sat, 9pm. Ongoing. The Neo-Futurists perform Greg Allen’s spontaneous, ever-changing show that crams 30 plays into 60 minutes.
Yeast Nation (the triumph of life) Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St, SF; www.rayoflighttheatre.com. $25-36. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Oct 25 and Nov 1, 2pm). Through Nov 1. Ray of Light Theatre performs the West Coast premiere of the new rock musical by Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann (Urinetown).
An Audience with Meow Meow Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $29-89. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat and Oct 16, 2pm); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through Oct 19. This self-styled “musical play” by a winking “post-post-modern” diva (the vocally and comically talented Australian chanteuse Meow Meow) is in fact much thinner than either category suggests — more like a tired music hall variety act. Written by Meow Meow and adapted and directed by Kneehigh’s Emma Rice, the routines are premised on the imperiousness and insecurities of a soi-disant megastar whose band and stage crew gradually abandon her, leaving her alone with her adoring audience. While there are one or two musical moments worth perking up a little for — in particular a vocally potent version of “Ne Me Quitte Pas,” and a mood-shifting rendition of Hans Eisler and Bertolt Brecht’s “The German Miserere” that feels incongruous here, like part of another and better show — the going is otherwise tough, the narrative forced and clunky in the extreme. Rice’s staging not only lacks inspiration but comes with a dismal abundance of low-hanging call-out-the-audience participation laughs. Barry Humphries’ Dame Edna (presumably an inspiration here) could get away with this get-the-guests approach, being a weightier and far wittier character. But here it comes across as a desperate attempt to sell a poorly written sketch supporting some unevenly appealing musical numbers. (Avila)
Fire Work Live Oak Theatre, Live Oak Park, 1301 Shattuck, Berk; www.theatrefirst.com. $10-30. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Oct 19. TheatreFirst presents the world premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s romantic comedy.
Lovebirds Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $20-100. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Through Oct 18. Marga Gomez brings her solo show to Berkeley after runs in SF and NYC.
The Whale Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; www.marintheatre.org. $35-58. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm; Wed, 7:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Oct 26. Marin Theatre Company performs Samuel D. Hunter’s drama about a 600-pound man who reconnects with his troubled teenage daughter.
Year of the Rooster La Val’s Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; http://impacttheatre.com. $10-25. Thu/9-Sat/11, 8pm; Sun/12, 7pm. Impact Theatre performs Eric Dufault’s comedy, told from the point of view of a rooster that enters cockfights.
BATS Improv Bayfront Theater, B350 Fort Mason, SF; www.improv.org. $20. This week: “Improvised Twilight Zone,” Fri, 8pm, through Oct 24; “Zombie Horror Serial,” Sat, 8pm, through Oct 25.
“Blush Comedy” Blush! Wine Bar, 476 Castro, SF; (415) 558-0893. Wed/8, 8pm. Free. With Stefani Silverman, Ben Feldman, Jessica Sele, Drew Harmon, Steve Lee, and Emily Epstein White.
Caroline Lugo and Carolé Acuña’s Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; www.carolinalugo.com. Sat/11, 16, 26, 6:30pm. $15-19. Flamenco performance by the mother-daughter dance company, featuring live musicians.
Doc’s Lab 124 Columbus, SF; www.docslabsf.com. This week: “Learn From Me: Comedy Showcase,” Thu/9, 8pm, $8-10; comedy with headliner Laurie Kilmartin, Sat/11, 9pm, $15-90; “Doc’s Comedy Open Mic,” Tue/14, 7pm, free.
“Dream Queens Revue” Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, 133 Turk, SF; www.dreamqueensrevue.com. Wed/8, 9:30pm. Free. Drag with Collette LeGrande, Ruby Slippers, Sophilya Leggz, Bobby Ashton, and more.
Feinstein’s at the Nikko 222 Mason, SF; www.feinsteinssf.com. This week: “Broadway Bingo,” Wed/8, 7pm, $15; Joey Arias, Fri/10, 8pm, $25-40; Marlena Shaw in “California Soul,” Sat/12-Sun/11, 7pm, $35-50.
“Hell in the Armory” Armory, 1800 Mission, SF; www.hellinthearmory.com. Tue-Sat, 7pm-midnight. Through Nov 1. $45. Kink.com celebrates Halloween with this decidedly adult, immersive, BDSM-themed haunted-house tour.
“Hubba Hubba Revue’s Pirates!” DNA Lounge, 375 11th St, SF; www.dnalounge.com. Fri/10, 9:30pm. $15-30. Burlesque and variety show with a pirate theme.
“Jump Ship Mid Way” CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; www.counterpulse.org. Fri-Sat and Oct 16, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Oct 19. $20. Kegan Marling’s new performance (with Mica Sigourney) explores image struggles in the gay community.
“Lakansyel: Fifth Annual Haitian Dance, Music, and Arts Festival” Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri/10-Sat/11, 8pm. $25. Visiting and local artists perform in this celebration of Haitian culture.
Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Sun/12, 7:30pm. $18-20. Improvised theater works created from personal stories shared by audience members.
“Magic at the Rex” Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter, SF; www.magicattherex.com. Sat, 8pm. Ongoing. $25. Magic and mystery with Adam Sachs and mentalist Sebastian Boswell III.
“Out of Line Improv” Stage Werx, 446 Valencia, SF; outoflineimprov.brownpapertickets.com. Sat, 10:30pm. Ongoing. $12. A new, completely improvised show every week.
Portals Tavern Open Mic Comedy Portals Tavern, 179 West Portal, SF; (415) 731-1208. Mon, 9pm. Ongoing. Free. Locals perform at this comedy night hosted by Justin Alan.
“Red Hots Burlesque: Burlesque in Your Neck of the Woods” Neck of the Woods, 406 Clement, SF; redhotsburlesque.com. Thu, 8-10pm. $10-20. Ongoing. Dottie Lux and company bring burlesque to the Richmond District for this weekly show.
San Francisco Comedy College Purple Onion at Kells, 530 Jackson, SF; www.purpleonionatkells.com. Ongoing. $5-15. “Weekly New Talent Shows,” Wed-Thu, 7pm. “Purple Onion All-Stars,” Wed-Thu, 8:15pm. “The Later Show,” Wed-Thu, 10pm. “The Cellar Dwellers” Fri-Sat, 7:30pm.
“Terminator Too: Judgment Play” and “Point Break LIVE!” DNA Lounge, 375 11th St, SF; www.dnalounge.com. Nov 7 and Dec 5, Terminator at 7:30pm; Break at 11pm. $20-50. The raucous, interactive staged recreations of two of 1991’s greatest action films return to the DNA Lounge.
“Walk the Plank Comedy Competition” Neck of the Woods, 406 Clement, SF; www.neckofthewoodssf.com. Sun, 7pm. Through Oct 26. Free. With host Danny Dechi.
Bay Area Flamenco Festival La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck, Berk; http://bayareaflamencofestival.org. Thu/9, 8pm. Additional events held Fri/10-Sat/11, 8pm, Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, SF, and in Santa Cruz (check website for details). $30-50. Top flamenco performers from Seville, Spain take the stage; the fest also includes workshops and master classes.
“MarshJam Improv Comedy Show” Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. Fri, 8pm. Ongoing. $10. Improv comedy with local legends and drop-in guests.
“Paul C.’s Homeroom Journal” Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, 2704 Alcatraz, Berk; www.brownpapertickets.com. Sat/11-Sun/12, 8pm. $15-30. Dance Up Close/East Bay presents this dance theater collage choreographed and performed by Stranger Lover Dreamer. *