Stage listings

Pub date February 23, 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 For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks. For the complete listings, go to



Mirrors In Every Corner Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia; 626-2787, Opens Thurs/25. Runs Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Through March 21. Intersection for the Arts, Campo Santo, and the Living Word Project present the world premiere of Chinaka Hodge’s provocative show exploring race and identity from new perspectives.


Beebo Brinker Chronicles Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St; 641-2822, $20-$30. Opens Thurs/25. Runs Thurs-Sun and March 6, 8pm, through March 13. The regional premiere of Kate Moira Ryan and Linda S. Chapman’s play adapted from a series of pulp novels.

Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, $13.50-$27. Berkeley Rep presents a sexy and intriguing new show from Naomi Iizuka.


Animals Out of Paper SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter; 677-9596, $30-$40. Wed/24-Fri/26, 8pm; Sat/27, 3 and 8pm. SF Playhouse presents Rajiv Joseph’s quirky comedy.

Bay One Acts Festival Boxcar Theatre, 505 Natoma; 776-7427, $12-$24. Dates and times vary. Through March 13. Three Wise Monkeys presents eleven short plays by Bay Area playwrights, including Cris Barth, Stuart Bousel, and Lauren Yee.

Beauty of the Father Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason; (800) 838-3006, $30. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through March 13. Off-Broadway West’s season opener offers the Bay Area a first look at the somewhat messy but ultimately rewarding 2006 drama by Cuban American Pulitzer Prize–winner Nilo Cruz ("Anna in the Tropics"). Set in contemporary Andalusia, in the south of Spain, it’s the story of an aging painter named Emiliano (Durand Garcia) whose best friend and near-constant companion is the ghost of Federico García Lorca (Michael Carlisi), poet and playwright long ago murdered by the fascists during the Spanish Civil War. Emiliano also lives with his mostly platonic sweetheart (Jeanette Sarmiento), whom he plans to marry after she divorces his other housemate, a young Moroccan immigrant named Karim (Chris Holland) who is tied to her for the green card but is also Emiliano’s sometime lover. When his long-estranged ex-wife back in the U.S. dies, he invites his grown daughter (Natasha Chacon) to come live with him, feeling the urge "to father her" again. She arrives for an indefinite stay instead, shedding the gloom of her mother’s death in the embrace of life under the Andalucian sun—and a smitten Karim in particular. There’s some piquancy to the unraveling of this romantic ménage, and real poetry in the language and perspective afforded through the magical realistic presence of Lorca, but despite Cruz’s muscular writing and ambitious thematic canvas, the drama flags at points and sometimes seems unsure of where it would take us or even the proper tone or color to employ. Nevertheless, artistic director Richard Harder helms a strong cast, which helps make the going worthwhile. (Avila)

Don’t Feel: The Death of Dahmer Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory, 1519 Mission; $20. Thurs/25-Sat/27, 8pm.For most of us, Jeffrey Dahmer is a set-up and punch line in one, a byword for the macabre phenomenon of serial killing, as mundane as cereal eating (at least in pop culture terms). He’s the inhuman incarnate, hiding behind boyish white male normality. But what does it mean to us that he was also homosexual? That’s an animating question behind Evan Johnson’s "Don’t Feel: The Death of Dahmer," whose great power lies in its rigorous seriousness, the skill and depth it brings to its subject that makes it unexpectedly complicated, fascinating, terrible, tragic—an altogether human and social drama, centered on a terrifyingly isolated figure, but including many others from immediate family to those of us in the room listening to Dahmer’s shy, earnest, enraged postmortem testimony. The eerie, shadowy setting, perfectly augmented by Sean Malroy’s buzzingly jarring soundscape, has Dahmer still in his orange penitentiary garb, his forehead soaked with blood from the fatal blow received from a fellow inmate nicknamed Christ. The impressive result of writer-performer Johnson’s DIY residency at Mama Calizo’s Voice Factory, beautifully directed by Eric Wilcox, "Don’t Feel" humanizes its subject without recourse to crass sentiment or apology. And Johnson’s supple, multifaceted performance is passionately committed, deft and fearless. It’s a riveting communion with the dead, in several directions at once, and it will leave you troubled and moved. (Avila)

Eat, Pray, Laugh! Off-Market Theaters, 965 Mission; $20. Wed/24, 8pm. 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/25-Sat/27, 8pm; Sun/28, 2 and 7pm. 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.

The Gilded Thick House, 1695 18th St. $18-$30. Thurs, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through March 7. The Curiouser Group presents a new musical by Reynaldi Lolong.

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

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.

*Loveland The Marsh, 1074 Valencia; 826-5750, $15-$50. Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Through April 11. Los Angeles–based writer-performer Ann Randolph returns to the Marsh with a new solo play partly developed during last year’s Marsh run of her memorable Squeeze Box. Randolph plays loner Frannie Potts, a rambunctious, cranky and libidinous individual of decidedly odd mien, who is flying back home to Ohio after the death of her beloved mother. The flight is occasion for Frannie’s own flights of memory, exotic behavior in the aisle, and unabashed advances toward the flight deck brought on by the seductively confident strains of the captain’s commentary. The singular personality and mother-daughter relationship that unfurls along the way is riotously demented and brilliantly humane. Not to be missed, Randolph is a rare caliber of solo performer whose gifts are brought generously front and center under Matt Roth’s reliable direction, while her writing is also something special—fully capable of combining the twisted and macabre, the hilariously absurd, and the genuinely heartbreaking in the exact same moment. Frannie Potts’s hysteria at 30,000 feet, as intimate as a middle seat in coach (and with all the interpersonal terror that implies), is a first-class ride. (Avila)

Mahalia Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 450 Post; 474-8800, $18-$40. Thurs/25-Sat/27, 8pm; Sun/28, 4pm. Lorraine Hansberry Theatre presents the inaugural production of Tom Stolz’s gospel musical.

Oedipus el Rey Magic Theatre, Building D, Fort Mason Center; 441-8822, $20-$55. Days and times vary. Through March 14. 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 Position Studio 250, 965 Mission; $20. Thurs/25-Sat/27, 8pm; Sun/28, 7pm. From the ready pen of local playwright William Bivins comes a witty dystopic thriller too good not to be (essentially) true: In the USA’s not-too-distant future, after "the Great Downturn," there’s 80% unemployment, the population lives by scavenging, despair is in the water and air, and there are no more dogs (those little four-legged ambassadors of hope). But there are still one or two job openings in the ultra-powerful, totemic, life-giving corporate universe of The Concern. A search narrows the candidates down to six (types played with palpable soul by Kate Jones, Asher Lyons, Gabi Patacsil, Eric Reid, Dan Williams, and Laura Zimmerman). They’re flown to an exclusive island, paradisial in its accommodations, totalitarian in its panoptic surveillance and haughty obscurantism. Greeted by icy hot Mrs. Radcliffe (Jessica Cortese) and her deliriously agreeable man-servant Baylian (a joyously loopy Even Winchester)—both nattily futuristic in coordinated turquoise outfits—the candidates learn there are no rules but two over the course of the evaluation, and no clue to what’s being evaluated. The contest begins and, in PianoFight’s high-spirited low-budget production, it makes no difference how familiar the themes or scenario. Adeptly suggesting classics new and hoary, from "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" to "The Most Dangerous Game," "The Position" never feels merely derivative, let alone dull or predictable. It’s inspired, rebellious lovemaking with our doom-clouded moment, engrossingly directed by PianoFight’s Christy Crowley. (Avila)

The Real Americans The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; 826-5750, $15-$50. Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through April 18. The Marsh presents the world premiere of Dan Hoyle’s new solo show.

Suddenly Last Summer Actors Theatre, 855 Bush; 345-1287, $15-$35. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through March 27. Actors Theatre presents one of Tennessee Williams’ finest and most famous plays.

Tick, Tick&ldots;Boom! Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson. (800) 838-3006, $15-$30. Wed/24-Sat/27, 8pm; Sun/28, 3pm. "Rent" creator Jonathan Larson’s small autobiographical musical theater piece receives a modestly scaled but enthusiastic, generally sound staging from Theatre Rhinoceros and director Christopher Herold. The play, set in 1990 and written as Larson was still struggling to make a name for himself, revolves around the protagonist’s (Scott Gessford) impending 30th birthday and the crisis of confidence it triggers, as girlfriend (Holly Nugent) drifts away and best friend (Brian Yates Sharber)—in a supreme wake-up call to the heretofore self-absorbed artist—gets diagnosed with AIDS. The music—despite some sour notes and body mic problems on opening night—comes across most forcefully, especially one or two devilishly clever songs, but the storyline is thin and hard to care too much about on its own (it’s real dramatic power coming from the knowledge we have of Larson’s poignant end a few years later, dying on the eve of "Rent"’s phenomenal take-off). (Avila)

What Just Happened? The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; (800) 838-3006, $20-$50. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through March 13. The Marsh presents Nina Wise’s improvisation-based sow about personal and political events which have transpired over the previous 24 hours.

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)


An Anonymous Story by Anton Chekhov Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; (510) 558-1381, $14-$25. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Central Works presents a new play adapted from the Checkhov novella.

Coming Home Thrust Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison; (510) 647-2917, Wed/24, 7pm; Thurs/25-Sat/27, 8pm; Sun/28, 2 and 7pm. $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)

*East 14th Laney College Theatre, 900 Fallon St, Oakl. $10-$50. Fri/26-Sat/27, 8:30pm. Also at the the Marsh Berkeley in March. Don Reed’s solo play, making its Oakland debut after an acclaimed New York run, is truly a welcome homecoming twice over. It returns the Bay Area native to the place of his vibrant, physically dynamic, consistently hilarious coming-of-age story, set in 1970s Oakland between two poles of East 14th Street’s African American neighborhood: one defined by his mother’s strict ass-whooping home, dominated by his uptight Jehovah’s Witness stepfather; the other by his biological father’s madcap but utterly non-judgmental party house. The latter—shared by two stepbrothers, one a player and the other flamboyantly gay, under a pimped-out, bighearted patriarch whose only rule is "be yourself"—becomes the teenage Reed’s refuge from a boyhood bereft of Christmas and filled with weekend door-to-door proselytizing. Still, much about the facts of life in the ghetto initially eludes the hormonal and naïve young Reed, including his own flamboyant, ever-flush father’s occupation: "I just thought he was really into hats." But dad—along with each of the characters Reed deftly incarnates in this very engaging, loving but never hokey tribute—has something to teach the talented kid whose excellence in speech and writing at school marked him out, correctly, as a future "somebody." (Avila)

The First Grade Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, $15-$55. Wed/24-Sat/27, 8pm; Sun/28, 2 and 7pm. Aurora Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Joel Drake Johnson’s new play.

*Learn to be Latina La Val’s Subterrnean, 1834 Euclid, Berk. $10-$20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Impact Theatre continues its 14th season with the world premiere of Enrique Urueta’s play.


"The Butterfly Lovers" Palace of Fine Arts Theatre; 392-4400, 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 Dance Academy Youth Dance.

"Intercontinental Collaborations" CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission; (800) 838-3006, Thurs-Sun, 8pm. Check for ticket prices. This evening features the U.S. premiere of Claire Cunninghma’s award-winning solo and a preview excerpt of Jess Curtis/Gravity’s Dances for Non-Fictional Bodies.

"Olympus Rising" Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St. Sun, 7pm. DanceWright Project appears in the Black Choreographers Festival to preview an excerpt from this sci-fi rock ballet.

"When Dreams are Interrupted" City Hall Rotunda. Wed, noon. Purple Moon Dance Project presents a special performance of this inspiring work about the forced removal of Japanese Americans in San Francisco.


"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.

"here, look" Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, 2704 Alcatraz, Berk; (510) 654-5921, Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 6pm. The Shawl-Anderson’s Dance Up Close/East Bay Series, ahdanco, presents an evening of new works by Abigail Hosein.

"Saints and Angels" Temescal Arts Center, 511 48th St, Oakl. Fri, 6:30 and 9pm. Dance Elixir presents an evening of beautiful, austere, athletic, and comic contemporary dance.


"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.

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.

"Black History Month Blacktacular&ldots; Black!" StageWerx Theatre, 533 Sutter. Thurs-Fri, 8pm. $20-$50. W. Kamau Bell aims to finally figure out what the big deal is about BHM.

Don Carbone and Rick Shapiro Dark Room, 2263 Mission; 401-7987, Sat. The Bay Area absurdist writer/performer shares an evening with the comic.

"La Cenerentola" Legion of Honor; 972-8930, Sat-Sun, 2pm. Also March 7 in Napa. $31-$37. Pocket Opera presents Rossini’s twist on Cinderella.

"The Cinderella Principle" Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission; 978-2787, Thurs-Sat, 8pm. $20-$35. Robert Moses’ Kin presents the world premiere of this show with Hush and Toward September.

"The Legendary Lions vs. the Fists of Fury" Southern Exposure, 3030 20th St; 963-2141, Fri, 8pm. Free. Mike Lai presents a one-night performance that juxtaposes traditional and contemporary Chinese culture.

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.

"Talk to Me" The Marsh, 1062 Valencia; (800) 838-3006, Wed, 7:30pm. $10-$15. The Marsh presents a performance of Hernan Ximenez’ funny and riveting play.

"Unscripted: unscripted" Off-Market Theater, Studio 205, 965 Mission; 869-5384, Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through March 13. The Un-Scripted Theater Company kicks off its eighth season with an improvised improv show.

"Six" Commonwealth Club, 595 Market. Mon, 6pm. Free. Magic Theatre presents the Martha Heasley Cox Virgin Play Series, this time featuring a piece by Zohar Tirosh-Polk.


"Come Home" La Pena, 3105 Shattuck, Berk; (510) 849-2568, Sat, 8pm. $15-$18. In celebration of Black History Month, La Pena Cultural Center presents Jovelyn Richards in her solo performance theater piece.

"Once Upon a Mattress" Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, 2640 College Ave, Berk; (510) 595-5514, Feb 26, and 27, 7:30pm; Feb 21, 27, 2pm; Feb 28, 3pm. $10-$20. Young Musical Theater Company presents the Broadway classic.

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.


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.

Cobbs 915 Columbus; 928-4320.

"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.

"The Howard Stone Show – 100th Show Celebration" SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter; 646-0776, Sun, 8:30pm. $20. The Playhouse presents an off-beat comedy talk show hosted by Howard Stone and featuring the Danny Detchi Orchestra.

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

Punch Line San Francisco 444 Battery;

Purple Onion 140 Columbus; (800) 838-3006, Featuring Brent Weinbach and Will Franken Thurs.

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.

"SF State Comedy Night" Creative Arts Building, McKenna Theatre, San Francisco Stat University; 338-2467, Sat, 7:30pm. $35-$70. Ronnie Schell brings comedy back to the campus for the 10th annual comedy night.

"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.
"Sick Comedy" Berkeley Central Library, 2090 Kittredge, Berk; (510) 981-6100. Sun, 2pm. Free. See four professional comedians tell stories of the emotional and mental challenges brought on by illness.

"Black History Month Open Mic" Revolution Books, 2425 Channing Way, Berk; (510) 848-1196. Thurs, 7pm. Free. The theme is "What does liberation look like?" for tonight’s performance and discussion.
"Grateful Tuesday" Ireland’s 32, 3920 Geary; 386-6173, Tues, 8pm. Ongoing. Grasshopper hosts this weekly open mic featuring folk, world, and country music.