Stage listings

Pub date September 14, 2010

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



Anita Bryant Dies For Your Sins New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness; 861-8972, $24-40. Fri/17-Sat/18, 8pm; Sun/19, 2pm; Wed/22-Fri/26, 8pm. Opens Sept 25, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. New Conservatory Theatre Center presents a show by Brian Christopher Williams.

KML Holds the Mayo Zeum Theater, 221 4th St; $10-20. Opens Thurs/16, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Fri, 8pm. Through Oct 3. Killing My Lobster presents its fall comedy show, directed by co-founder Paul Charney.

The Secretaries Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma; 255-7846, $15-25 (pay what you can previews). Previews Sat/18, 8pm; Sun/19, 5pm. Opens Wed/22, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 9. Crowded Fire Theatre brings the irreverent feminist satire by Five Lesbian Brothers to the stage.


Angels in America, Part One Pear Avenue Theatre, 1220 Pear, Mtn View; (650) 254-1148, $15-30. Previews Thurs/16, 8pm. Opens Fri/17, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Oct 16. Pear Avenue Theatre kicks off its fall "Americana" program with the Tony Kushner play.

La Cage Aux Folles San Mateo Performing Arts Center, 600 N. Delaware; (650) 579-5565, $20-48. Dates and times vary. Through Oct 3. Broadway By the Bay presents the gay musical based on the play of the same title.


Aida War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness, 864-1330, $25-320. Thurs/16, 7:30pm; Sun/19, 2pm; Sept 24, 8pm; Sept 29, 7:30pm; Oct 2, 8pm; Oct 6, 7:30pm. San Francisco Opera presents Verdi’s classic, a co-production with English National Opera and Houston Grand Opera.

Bi-Poseur StageWerx Theatre, 533 Sutter; (800) 838-3006, $20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Sept 25. W. Kamau Bell directs a solo piece by Oakland native Paolo Sambrano.

The Brothers Size Magic Theatre, Bldg D, Fort Mason Center; 441-8822, $20-60. Dates and times vary. Through Oct 17. Magic Theatre presents the West Coast premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play, directed by Octavio Solis.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Actors Theatre, 855 Bush; 345-1287, $26-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 2. Actors Theatre presents Tennessee Williams’ sultry, sweltering tale of a Mississippi family, directed by Keith Phillips.

*Dieci Giorni Thick House Theater, 1695 18th; (800) 838-3006, 282-5616. $25. Fri-Sun, 8pm (through Sept 19). Premonitions of the end of the world in Plague-ravaged 14th-century Florence send a group of women and men into hiding in the countryside where lust, betrayal, high spirits and low comedy make for saucy times at the edge of the abyss. Based on the ribald tales of love and death in Boccaccio’s Decameron —with one contemporary riff about some rowdy bachelorettes in Las Vegas and a misplaced box of whip-its—this collaborative chamber opera directed by Jim Cave brings together new work by Bay Area–based composers Erling Wold ( Mordake ), Lisa Scola Prosek ( Belfagor ), Martha Stoddard and Davide Verotta. The wry, boisterous narration (by actor Robert Ernst, his gusto balanced by mute assistance from Roham Sheikhani’s placidly odd stagehand) has a jagged meta-theatrical quality of its own that charms us with self-conscious references to the production, while tacitly underscoring Boccaccio’s resonance for the present, but does not always aid in entering the individual stories, performed by impressive singers Sascha Joggerst, Maria Mikheyenko, Crystal Philippi, William Sauerland, and Wayne Dexter Wong. The musical aspects are generally more successful. Put fluidly into play under conductor Stoddard and five musicians sporting clarinet, cello, accordion, violin, and keyboard, the compositions offer up vivid, moody passages with contemporary flare yet something evocative too of its subject, a combination at times as contagious and fever-inducing as a touch of the Bubonic (without the swelling of the armpits).

Don’t Ask New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, 861-8972; $24-36. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sun/19. New Conservatory Theatre Center presents the West Coast premiere of Bill Quigley’s play about the affair between a Private and his superior.

*Dreamgirls Curran Theatre, 445 Geary; (888) SHN-1749, $30-99. Wed, 2 and 8pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm, Sun, 2pm; Tues, 8pm. Through Sept 26. The touring version of director-choreographer Robert Longbottom’s revamped revival of the 1981 Broadway sensation (with book and lyrics by Tom Eyen and music by Henry Krieger, under original direction by A Chorus Line‘s Michael Bennett) is a visually and aurally dazzling spectacle that is also a knowing (if now familiar) take on the history and business of latter-20th-century American pop music from the perspective of African American R&B. The cast, operating with ease against and within a remarkable videoscape projected onto large draped screens center stage, charms from the outset of this story about the rise of a female vocal group called the Dreams (a loose composite of the Supremes and the Shirelles). The first act enthralls with the plot’s gathering possibilities, the sparkling music and the irresistible performances—not least Moya Angela’s unstoppable Effie and Chester Gregory’s heroically soulful, funky Jimmy "Thunder" Early. But the second act stretches things unnecessarily with one too many power ballads (albeit lunged to perfection) and a slowpoke approach to the all but predictable plot resolution. Still, this is a masterful production on many counts and an infectious evening overall. (Avila)

Jerry Springer the Opera Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th; $20-36. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 16. Ray of Light Theatre presents the West Coast premiere of the operatic farce by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas.

Law and Order San Francisco Unit: The Musical! (sort of) Metreon Action Theater, Metreon Cineplex, second floor, 101 4th St; $10. Mon, 8pm. Through Sept 27. Funny But Mean comedy troupe presents an original production.

Olive Kitteridge Z Space at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida; (800) 838-3006, $20-40. Wed-Thurs, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Sept 26. Word for Word presents a premiere production of stories from Elizabeth Strout’s award-winning novel.

*Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray Eureka Theatre, 215 Howard; 552-4100, $10-25. Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sun/19, 3pm). Through Sept 19. John Fisher adapts the Oscar Wilde novel for the stage and directs the production.

A Picasso Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa; (866) 811-4111, $12-28. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 9. Expression Productions presents Jeffery Hatcher’s drama about the authenticity of three Picasso paintings.

*Posibilidad, or Death of the Worker Dolores Park and other sites; 285-1717, Free. Fri/17, 8pm). Through Sept 17. It may have been just a coincidence, but it certainly seems auspicious that the San Francisco Mime Troupe, itself collectively run since the 1970’s, would preview their latest show Posibilidad on the United Nations International Day of Cooperatives. The show, which centers around the struggles of the last remaining workers in a hemp clothing factory ("Peaceweavers"), hones in on the ideological divide between business conducted as usual, and the impulse to create a different system. Taking a clip from the Ari Lewis/Naomi Klein documentary The Take, half of the play is set in Argentina, where textile-worker Sophia (Lisa Hori-Garcia) becomes involved in a factory takeover for the first time. Her past experiences help inform her new co-workers’ sitdown strike and takeover of their own factory after they are told it will close by their impossibly fey, new age boss Ernesto (Rotimi Agbabiaka). You don’t need professional co-op experience to find humor in the nascent collective’s endless rounds of meetings, wince at their struggles against capitalistic indoctrination, or cheer the rousing message of "Esta es Nuestra Lucha" passionately sung by Velina Brown, though in another welcome coincidence, the run of Posibilidad also coincides with the National Worker Cooperative conference being held in August, so if you get extra inspired, you can always try to join forces there. (Gluckstern)

*The Real Americans The Marsh MainStage, 1062 Valencia; (800) 838-3006; $20-50. Wed-Fri, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Nov 6. The fifth extension of Dan Hoyle’s acclaimed show, directed by Charlie Varon.

*"San Francisco Fringe Festival" Various venues; $6-10 ($40 for 5 shows; $75 for 10 shows). Dates and times vary. Through Sun/19. The marathon of indie theater returns, with a lineup that includes 43 companies.


Anton in Show Business Marion E. Green Black Box Theater, 531 19th St; (510) 436-5085; $10-30. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Sept 26. TheatreFIRST presents Jane Martin’s theater comedy, under the direction of Michael Storm.

Antony & Cleopatra Forest Meadows Ampitheatre, 1475 Grand, San Rafael; 499-4488, $20-35. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 4pm. Through Sept 25. Marin Shakespeare Company’s summer season continues with the tale of the Egyptian queen.

Bleacher Bums Contra Costa Civic Theatre, 951 Pomona, El Cerrito; (510) 524-9132, $18. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Oct 3. A sports comedy conceived by Joe Mantegna, directed by Joel Roster.

Compulsion Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison; (510) 647-2949, $29-85. Dates and times vary. Through Oct 31. Mandy Patinkin stars in a world premiere of Rinne Groff’s play, directed by Oskar Eustis.

*East 14th: True Tales of a Reluctant Player Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; $20-50. Dates and times vary. Through Nov 21. Don Reed’s solo play, making its Oakland debut after an acclaimed New York run, is truly a welcome homecoming twice over. (Avila)

In the Red and Brown Water Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; 388-5208, $32-53. Tues, 8pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Wed, 7:30pm, Sun, 7pm (also Sept 23, 1pm; Sat/18 and Oct 2, 2pm). Marin Theatre Company presents the West Coast premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play.

In the Wound John Hinkel Park, Berk; (510) 841-6500, $10 (no one turned away). Sat-Sun, 3pm. Through Oct 3. Shotgun Players’ annual free performance in Berkeley’s John Hinkel Park is this year an impressively staged large-cast reworking of the Illiad from playwright-director Jon Tracy. In the Wound is actually the first of two new and related works from Tracy collectively known as the Salt Plays (the second of which, Of the Earth will open at Shotgun’s Ashby stage in December). Its distinctly contemporary slant on the Trojan War includes re-imagining the epic’s Greek commanders as figures we’ve come to know and loath here in the belly of a beast once know by the quaint-sounding phrase, "military-industrial complex." Hence, Odysseus (Daniel Bruno) as a devoted family man in a business suit with a briefcase full of bloody contradictions emanating from his 9-to-5 as a "social architect" for the empire; or Agamemnon (an irresistibly Patton-esque Michael Torres) as the ridiculously macho, creatively foul-mouthed redneck American four-star commander-clown ordering others into battle. While the alternately humorous and overly meaningful American inflections can feel too obvious and dramatically limiting, they’re delivered with panache, amid the not unmoving spectacle of the production’s energetic, drum-driven choreography and cleverly integrated mise-en-scène. (Avila)

The Light in the Piazza TheatreWorks at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; (650) 463-1960, $19-67. Tues-Wed, 7:30pm, Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2 and 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Sun/19. TheatreWorks presents Craig Lucas’s tale of love under the Tuscan sun.

MilkMilkLemonade La Val’s Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; $10-20. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 2. Impact Theatre presents Joshua Conkel’s off off Broadway play about a lonely gay man trapped in a chicken farm.

She Loves Me Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek; (825) 943-7469, $36-45. Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 2:30 and 8pm; Sun, 2:30pm. Through Oct 10. Center REPertory company presents a musical choreographed and directed by Robert Barry fleming.

The Taming of the Shrew Forest Meadows Amphitheatre, 1475 Grand, San Rafael; (415) 499-4488, $20-25. Fri-Sun, 8pm; Sun, 4pm and 5pm. Through Sept 26. Marin Theatre Company presents a swashbuckling version of the classic.

Trouble in Mind Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, $10-55. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm; Tues, 7pm. Through Oct 3 Aurora Theatre presents Alice Childress’ look at racism through the lens of theater.


Alice NOHspace, 2840 Mariposa; (800) 838-3006, Wed-Sun, 8pm (continues through Sun/19). $15. An original revision of Lewis Carroll, directed by Allison Combs.

The Book The garage, 975 Howard; 518-1517, Sat/18, 8pm, $10-20. RAW presents an audio-visual wotk by Erika Tsimbrovsky and Vadim Pyundaev.

"Previously Secret Information" StageWerx Theatre, 533 Sutter; (800) 838-3006, Sun/17, 7pm. $15.The comedic storytelling series returns for a monthly installment.

"WestWave Dance" Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center; 345-7575, Mon/20, 8pm. The 19th annual season of contemporary choreography kicks off with Amy Seiwert, Kat Worthington, and three others.

Zhukov Dance Theater Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center; 345-7575, Thurs-16-Sat/18, 8pm. $25. The company presents its third annual season.