Stage Listings

Pub date February 9, 2010

Stage listings are compiled by Molly Freedenberg. Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Rita Felciano, and Nicole Gluckstern. Submit items for the listings at



The Greatest Bubble Show on Earth Marsh, 1062 Valencia. (800) 838-3006, $7-$50. Opens Sun/14. Runs Sun, 11am. Through April 3. The Amazing Bubble Man returns with his extraordinary family-friendly show.

Ramona Quimby Zeum: San Francisco Children’s Museum, 221 Fourth St; (510) 296-4433, $14-$18. Opens Sat/13. Runs Sat-Sun, 2 and 4:30pm. Through Feb 21. Active Arts Theatre for Young Audiences presents a theatrical production based on the novels of Beverly Cleary.

Tick, Tick&ldots;Boom! Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson. (800) 838-3006, $15-$30. Previews Wed/10-Fri/1Opens Wed/10. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Feb 28.Theatre Rhinoceros presents Jonathan Larson’s rock musical.


Animals Out of Paper SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter; 677-9596, $30-$40. Tues, 7pm; Wed-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 3 and 8pm. Through Feb 27. SF Playhouse presents Rajiv Joseph’s quirky comedy.

Beauty of the Father Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason; (800) 838-3006, $30. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through March 13. Off Broadway West Theatre Company presents Nilo Cruz’s Pulitzer Prize-winner.

Bright River Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St; (800) 838-3006, Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Feb 20. From the imagination of Tim Barsky comes a journey through a dystopian uderworld.

Eat, Pray, Laugh! Off-Market Theaters, 965 Mission; $20. Wed, 8pm. Through Feb 24. Off-Market Theaters presents stand up comic and solo artist Alicia Dattner in her award-winning solo show.

Eccentrics of San Francisco’s Barbary Coast: A Magical Escapade San Francisco Magic Parlor, Chancellor Hotel Union Square, 433 Powell; 1-800-838-3006. $30. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Ongoing. This show celebrates real-life characters from San Francisco’s colorful and notorious past.

Fabrik: The Legend of M. Rabinowitz Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida; 292-1233, $20-$45. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Feb 28. The Jewish Theatre San Francisco presents a Wakka Wakka Productions presentation of this story of a Polish Jew who immigrated to Norway, told with hand-and-rod puppets, masks, and original music.

Fiddler on the Roof Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor; 512-7770, $30-$99. Tues-Sat, 8pm; Wed, Sat, and Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 21. Harvey Fierstein, who played Tevye in the recent critically acclaimed Broadway production, reprises the role as part of the Best of Broadway series.

Fiorello! Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson; 392-4400, $10-$30. Sat-Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 20. The San Francisco Arts Education Project celebrates the ninth year of its musical theater company with three weekend performances of Broadway’s Pulitzer Prize winning play.

Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa; (866) 811-4111, $28. Thurs/11-Sat/13, 8pm. Royce Gallery presents Terrence McNally’s award-winning play.

Hearts on Fire Teatro ZinZanni, Pier 29; 438-2668, $117-$145. Wed-Sat, 6pm; Sun, 5pm. Through May 16. Teatro ZinZanni celebrates its 10th anniversary with this special presentation featuring Thelma Houston, El Vez, and Christine Deaver.

Oedipus el Rey Magic Theatre, Building D, Fort Mason Center; 441-8822, $20-$55. Days and times vary. Through Feb 28. Luis Alfaro transforms Sophocles’ ancient tale into an electrifying myth, directed by Loretta Greco.

Pearls Over Shanghai Hypnodrome, 575 Tenth St.; 1-800-838-3006, $30-69. Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through April 24. Thrillpeddlers presents this revival of the legendary Cockettes’ 1970 musical extravaganza.

The Real Americans The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 826-5750, $15-$50. Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through March 6. The Marsh presents the world premiere of Dan Hoyle’s new solo show.

Red Light Winter Next Stage, 1620 Gough; (800) 838-3006, $18-$28. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 20. There’s a moment in the second act of Red Light Winter that eerily recalls the plotline of Fugard’s Coming Home, currently playing the Berkeley Rep, but unlike Fugard, playwright Adam Rapp can’t help but to ratchet up the despair without tempering it with a shred of hope, and the resultant script comes off more like misery porn than an authentic exploration of the human spirit. You can’t fault the fearless cast of Custom Made Theatre’s production of it for the script’s overall flaws though; they inhabit their characters wholly, firing off volleys of "dude-speak" "nerd-speak" and "unrequited love-lament" without a hitch, imbuing each scene with subtle quirk and nervous tension. Steve Budd, as Davis, channels the restless energies of a hedonistic jackass (whose brash exterior sadly does not hide a heart of gold), and the neurotic, OCD sorrows of the hopelessly heartbroken Matt are brought to acutely uncomfortable life by Daveed Diggs. But it is the shape-shifting, name-changing, unreliable Christina (powerfully rendered by Britanny K. McGregor) who remains the play’s greatest enigma and bears the brunt of Rapp’s punishing pen, like the weary subject of a Tom Waits ballad, minus the comfort of a redemptive moment, or even just a bottle of whiskey. (Gluckstern)

Rent Southside Theatre, Fort Mason Center; $25-$35. Fri, 8pm; Sat-Sun, 2 and 8pm. Through Feb 21. The Royal Underground presents A Jerica Productions Company rendition of Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning rock opera.

*The Wave The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 826-5750, $7-$50. Sat/13-Sun/14, 2pm. The Marsh Youth Theater’s teen troupe propels a wholly worthwhile, surprisingly sophisticated world premiere musical, directed with loving attention by Cliff Mayotte, and written by Marsh stage veteran Ron Jones ("Say Ray"), after his own infamous experience as a young history teacher at Palo Alto’s Cubberley High School in 1967. In a year marked by the Summer of Love, an annihilating war in Vietnam, and a Civil Rights Movement that saw, among much else, Cubberley’s first "integrated" student body, Jones (played by Mark Kenward) crafted a lesson plan on the Holocaust that called for the creation of his own authoritarian movement, dubbed the Third Wave. Students—and teacher—soon found their susceptibility to a sense of belonging and the acquisition of power altogether intoxicating, enough to forgo some basic human decencies, and the experiment went infamously out of control, ending Jones’s career as a history teacher where it began. But the lesson—that fascism is a modern social danger present to all and not confined to some aberrant past—has never subsided. Indeed, the real wave proved to be the story’s powerful resonance worldwide for over four decades—inspiring multilingual treatments in articles, literature, teleplays, and films, including a 2008 German drama and a forthcoming English-language doc. There’s palpable heart and a knowing freshness to the staging of this adept musical, however, which features a rewarding score (from David Denny, Kathy Peck and MYT creative director Emily Klion, under the sharp direction of Frederick Harris), bright choreography (by Patricia Lam), and memorably spirited performances by a diverse, versatile cast. It won’t be surprising to see a version of "The Wave" reach Broadway in the near future, but it’s real power lies in the kind of community project beautifully realized right here at the Marsh. (Avila)

What Mama Said About ‘Down There Our Little Theater, 287 Ellis; 820-3250, $15-$25. Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through July 30. Writer/performer/activist Sia Amma presents this largely political, a bit clinical, inherently sexual, and utterly unforgettable performance piece.

Wicked Orpheum Theatre, 1182 Market; 512-7770, $30-$99. Tues, 8pm; Wed, 2pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Ongoing. Assuming you don’t mind the music, which is too TV-theme–sounding in general for me, or the rather gaudy décor, spectacle rules the stage as ever, supported by sharp performances from a winning cast. (Avila)


Antigone Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 649-5999, $12-$15. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 20. Actors Ensemble of Berkeley presents Jean Anouilh’s adaptation of the ancient Greek tragedy.

Coming Home Thrust Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison; (510) 647-2917, Tues, 8pm; Wed, 7pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Feb 28. $33-$71. The rags to riches fantasy of the small town girl who hits the big time after abandoning her hometown for the brighter lights of a big city is one of the most well-worn yet perennially beloved plotlines. Less popular are the tales of the girls who return to their hometowns years later still in rags, their big city dreams crumbled and spent. Such a tale is Athol Fugard’s Coming Home, a cautious sequel to Valley Song, which follows Veronica Jonkers (a versatile Roslyn Ruff) to her childhood home in the Karoo, her own small child in tow and little else. The tragedy of her ignominious return is further compounded by her secret knowledge that she is HIV-positive, and her young son’s future therefore precarious. The slow-moving yet tenacious script stretches over a period of four years, following both the progression of Veronica’s dread decline in health, and the flowering intellectual development of her son, Mannetjie (played by Kohle T. Bolton and Jaden Malik Wiggins), who keeps his "big words" in his deceased Oupa’s pumpkin seed tin. Almost superfluous appearances by the ghost of Oupa (Lou Ferguson) are made enjoyable by Ferguson’s quiet mastery of the role, and Thomas Silcott parlays great empathy and range in his performance as Veronica’s irrepressible childhood companion and circumstantial caretaker Alfred Witbooi. (Gluckstern)

The First Grade Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, $15-$55. Tues, 7pm; Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Feb 28. Aurora Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Joel Drake Johnson’s new play.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Marion E. Green Black Box Theatre, 531 19th St, Oakl; $10-$30. Thurs/11-Sat/13, 7:30pm; Sun/14, 2pm. Tom Stoppard’s sensational first play will probably never have the impact it had in 1966—partly because it proved so influential—but TheatreFIRST’s generally sturdy production wades in enthusiastically and the results remain ultimately, if more quietly, contagious. In a cheeky, knowing meld of Beckett and Shakespeare, Stoppard crafts a heady as well as deeply silly existential comedy, told from the perspective of two hapless minor characters in Hamlet—the somewhat interchangeable and finally expendable Rosencrantz (Kalli Jonsson) and Guildenstern (Michael Storm)—whose sealed fate is signaled by a changeless sky (manifest in Rick Ortenblad’s scenic design), coins that only come up heads, and their inexplicable inability to leave the stage. Nevertheless, our bemused protagonists—preoccupied with nameless anxiety, word games, and endless summarizing—are the last ones to figure it all out. Leave it to a roving thespian (the excellent Andrew Hurteau) and his amusing caravan of out-of-work players, strutting and fretting along, to gradually drop some knowledge on our heroes. If the first act runs slow and rough, Mary Cavanaugh’s firm direction, graceful choreography, and shrewd use of live and recorded music contribute to a general warming by acts two and three. Meanwhile, the play’s bandying of philosophical ideas and fertile metaphors ensures the monkey business does not escape some poignancy by the end. (Avila)


"The Butterfly Lovers" Palace of Fine Arts Theatre; 392-4400, Tues-Wed, 7:30pm. $35-$70. Chinus Cultural Productions and China Arts and Entertainment Group present the U.S. premiere of China’s Romeo and Juliet, performed by the Beijing

"It Never Gets Old" The Garage, 975 Howard; (510) 684-4294, Fri-Sun, 8pm. $15-$20. Dance/Theater Shannon presents an evening length performance exploring how different relationships provide context to intentions of touch.

"Love Everywhere" Various locations; Fri, 12pm; Sun, 9 and 11am. Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project presents this new, large-scale work as part of Dancers’ Group’s ONSITE series.


"Ecstatic Dance" Sweets Historic Ballroom, 1933 Broadway, Oakl; 505-1112, Sun, 9:30am; Wed, 7pm. Ongoing. Move however you feel inspired with this freeform journey of movement.


"All Star Magic & More" SF Playhouse, Stage 2, 533 Sutter; 646-0776, Sun, 7pm. Ongoing. Magician RJ Owens hosts the longest running magic show in San Francisco.

30th Anniversary Celebration of New Works African American Art and Culture complex, 762 Fulton; 292-1850, Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through March 14. $20. In celebration of Black History Month and National Women’s Month, Cultural Odyssey presents a festival featuring The Love Project, The Breach, and Dancing with the Clown of Love.

"Assuming the Ecosexual Position" The Lab, 2948 16th St. 864-8855, Sat, 8pm. $7-$10 Acclaimed performance artist and sex educator Annie Sprinkle and her partner Elizabeth Stephens explore, generate, and celebrate love through art during this special event that includes an erotic cake contest. Bring your own!

BATS Improv Theatre Bayfront Theater, Fort Mason Center, B350 Fort Mason; 474-6776, Fri-Sat, 8pm. $17-$20. The Theatresports show format treats audiences to an entertaining and engaging night of theater and comedy presented as a competition.

Bijou Martuni’s, 4 Valencia; 241-0205, Sun, 7pm. $5. The eclectic live cabaret showcase features a night of love songs in honor of Valentine’s Day.

"Bee’s Knees" Bollyhood Café, 3372 19th St. Thurs, 7pm. $3. This night of poetry, storytelling, and music celebrates performers who are post-democratic, humanist, sensual, and dedicated artists in the tradition of Walt Whitman.

"Best Feeding" EXIT Theatre, 156 Eddy; 673-3847, StageWerx Theatre, 533 Sutter. Fri, 8pm. $15. W. Kamau Bell presents this comedy written and performed by Martha Rynberg.

"Cora’s Recipe for Love" EXIT Theatre, 156 Eddy; 673-3847, Fri-Sat, 8pm, through Feb 20. $15-$25. Sean Owens’ wacky alter ego returns to address love and longing through the eyes of Gas and Gulp regulars.

"Emergency Cabaret Relief: Haiti" Community Music Center, 544 Capp. Mon, 7pm. $15-$20. Accidentally Double Booked Presents Jessica Coker, Soila Hughes, and Leanne Borghesi in a benefit for Partners in Health.

"How We First Met" Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness; 392-4400, Sat-Sun, 8pm. $25-$40. Real audience stories are spun into a comedy masterpiece in this one-of-a-kind show, now in its 10th year.

"I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I’m Afraid to Tell You" Off Market Theaters, 965 Mission; Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $20. An American woman of Palestinian descent, San Francisco actor Jennifer Jajeh grew up with a kind of double consciousness familiar to many minorities. But hers—conflated and charged with the history and politics of the Middle East—arguably carried a particular burden. Addressing her largely non–Middle Eastern audience in a good-natured tone of knowing tolerance, the first half of her autobiographical comedy-drama, set in the U.S., evokes an American teen badgered by unwelcome difference but canny about coping with it. The second, set in her ancestral home of Ramallah, is a journey of self-discovery and a political awakening at once. The fairly familiar dramatic arc comes peppered with some unexpected asides—and director W. Kamau Bell nicely exploits the show’s potential for enlightening irreverence (one of the cleverer conceits involves a "telepathic Q&A" with the audience, premised on the predictable questions lobbed at anyone identifying with "the other"). The play is decidedly not a history lesson on the colonial project known as "the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" or, for that matter, Hamas. But as the laudably mischievous title suggests, Jajeh is out to upset some staid opinions, stereotypes and confusions that carry increasingly significant moral and political consequences for us all. (Avila)

"Justin Bond: Close to You" Castro Theatre, 429 Castro; 863-0611, Sun, 8:15pm. $35-75. Accompanied by a lush 10-piece orchestra, the Tony nominee recreates sweet sounds from your favorite Carpenters hits. The evening also features the Thrillpeddlers as special guests.

"The Lieutenant Governor from the State of Confusion" Rrazz Room, Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason; 781-0306, Mon, 8pm. Through Feb 22. $25. Will Durst is back with his quiver chock full of fresh topical barbs.

"Life Unfolding" NOHspace, 2840 Mariposa; Fri-Sat, 8pm. $20-$100. This benefit performance for the Tamalpa Institute features the works of Dohee Lee, G Hoffman Soto, Iu-Hui Chua, and special guest artists.

"Love Bites: All That Jazz" Women’s Building, 3543 18th St; Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Sat. $15-$30. The Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco presents its seventh annual Anti-Valentine’s Day cabaret and musical extravaganza.

"Marga’s Laugh Party" Café Du Nord, 2170 Market; 861-5016, Wed, 8pm. $10. DJ Chelsea Starr spins and host Marga Gomez presents some of the hottest acts in comedy.

"MediaARTS 2010: Algo-rhythms of heart/break/beats" Ninth Street Independent Film Center, 145 Ninth St; Fri, 7pm. $10-$20. Ninth Street Independent Film Center presents an exhibition of the intersection of emerging technology, performance, and the moving image attempting to compute what it means to love and lose.

"Mortified: Doomed Valentine’s Show" Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St.; Thurs-Fri, 8pm. $12-$15. Share the pain, awkwardness, and bad poetry associated with love as performers read from their teen angst artifacts.

"On the Periphery of Love: A Solo Performance Festival with Valentine’s Day Implications" StageWerx Theatre, 533 Sutter. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm, $15-$30. StageWerx presents five new visions of romance, featuring work by Martha Rynberg, Thao P. Nguyen, Zahra Noorbaksh, Bruce Pachtman, and Paolo Sambrano.

PianoFight Studio 250 at Off-Market, 965 Mission; Mon, 8pm. Through March 29. $20. The female-driven variety show Monday Night ForePlays returns with brand new sketches, dance numbers, and musical performances.

"Salute to the World Soccer Cup" Cocomo Café Club, 650 Indiana. 334-0106, Sat, 9pm. $30. The Bay Area Brazilian Club cast their mystic and joyous spell for the 43rd Carnaval Ball.

"Strange Love" Actors Theatre, 855 Bush; 345-1287, Sun, 6:30pm. $10. The Valentine’s Day edition of "A Funny Night for Comedy" features Will Franken, Wegent and Page, and host Natasha Muse.

"Things We Made" Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission; Sat, 10:30pm. Ongoing. $20. The longest-running alternative comedy show premieres an all-new weekly show in its new home.

"Wegent and Page Draw the Line" The Dark Room, 2263 Mission; 401-7987, Fri-Sat, 8pm, $10. Sammy Wegent and Allison Page present new comedic material about breaking up, breaking down, and breaking barriers.

Gas and Gulp regulars.


Upright Citizens Brigade Pan Theater, 2135 Broadway, Oakl; Fri, 8 and 9:10pm. Ongoing. $14-$18. Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Co. brings the NYC funny to Oakland with this improve comedy show with guest performing troupes.

"The Vagina Monologues" La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave, Berk; (510) 849-2568, Thurs, 8pm. Also Sun at The Warehouse. V-Day East Bay presents a two-night benefit reading of Eve Enselr’s award-winning play.

"Whipped" La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave, Berk; (510) 849-2568, Fri. $8-$12. Mango w/ Chile presents true life stories of love through music, spoken word, theater, dance, burlesque, drag, and video.


Annie’s Social Club 917 Folsom, SF; Tues, 6:30pm, ongoing. Free. Comedy Speakeasy is a weekly stand-up comedy show with Jeff Cleary and Chad Lehrman.

"All Star Comedy and More with Tony Sparks" SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter; 646-0776, Sun, 8:30pm. Ongoing. SF’s favorite comedy host brings a showcase of the Bay’s best stand-up comedy and variety.

"Big City Improv" Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; (510) 595-5597, Fri, 10pm, ongoing. $15-$20. Big City Improv performs comedy in the style of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

Brainwash 1122 Folsom; 861-3663. Thurs, 7pm, ongoing. Free. Tony Sparks hosts San Francisco’s longest running comedy open mike.

Club Deluxe 1511 Haight; 552-6949, Mon, 9pm, ongoing. Free. Various local favorites perform at this weekly show.

Clubhouse 414 Mason; Prices vary. Scantily Clad Comedy Fri, 9pm. Stand-up Project’s Pro Workout Sat, 7pm. Naked Comedy Sat, 9pm. Frisco Improv Show and Jam Sun, 7pm. Ongoing. Valentine’s Day special features Reggie Steele and JJ Johnson.

Cobbs 915 Columbus; 928-4320. Thurs, 8pm; Fri, 8 and 10:15pm. $20. Featuring "Arabs Gone Wild," including Dean Obeidallah, Aron Kader, and Maysoon Zayid. Also Robert Schimmel with Mark Pitta on Sat and Sun.

"Comedy Master Series" Blue Macaw, 2565 Mission; Mon, 6pm. Ongoing. $20. The new improv comedy workshop includes training by Debi Durst, Michael Bossier, and John Elk.

"Danny Dechi and Friends" Rockit Room, 406 Clement; 387-6343. Tues, 8pm. Free. Danny Dechi hosts this weekly comedy showcase through October.

"Frisco Fred’s Comedy Hour" Chancellor Hotel in the Luques Restaurant, 433 Powell; 646-0776, Sat, 7 and 8:30pm. Through March 27. $25. Frisco Fred presents this fun-filled hour of comedy, magic, crazy stunts and special guests.

"Improv Society" Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter; Sat, 10pm, ongoing, $15. Improv Society presents comic and musical theater.

"Legwork!" Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory, 1519 Mission; Fri, 8pm. New comedic work from Beth Lisick and Tara Jepsen, Kirk Read, and Erin Markey.

Punch Line San Francisco 444 Battery; Featuring Grant Lyon on Wed and Dana Gould Fri-Sat.

Purple Onion 140 Columbus; (800) 838-3006,

Rrazz Room Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason; 781-0306,

"Raw Stand-up Project SFCC, 414 Mason, Fifth Flr; Sat, 7pm, ongoing. $12-15. SFCC presents its premier stand-up comedy troupe in a series of weekly showcases.


"Comedy Off Broadway Oakland" Ms. Pearl’s Jam House, 1 Broadway, Oakl; (510) 452-1776, Thurs-Fri, 9pm. Ongoing. $8-$10. Comedians featured on Comedy Central, HBO, BET, and more perform every week.

"Identity Crisis Tour" Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakl; (510) 569-2121, Sun, 5pm. $45.50. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Jeff Dunham.

"Grateful Tuesday" Ireland’s 32, 3920 Geary; 386-6173, Tues, 8pm. Ongoing. Grasshopper hosts this weekly open mic featuring folk, world, and country music.
"Literary Death Match" Elbo Room, 647 Valencia. Fri, 6:30pm. $5-$10. A lineup of all-star judges pit writers against each other.
"Writers with Drinks" Make-Oput Room, 3225 22nd St; Sat, 7:30pm. $5-$10. Charlie Jane Anders hosts this spoken word variety show, this time featuring Vikram Chandra, Cherie Priest, James Rollins, Andrew Porter, and Derek Powazek.