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 email@example.com. For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks. For complete listings, see www.sfbg.com.
Act One, Scene Two SF Playhouse, Stage Two, 533 Sutter, SF; (415) 869-5384, www.un-scripted.com. $10-20. Opens Thurs/7, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Aug 20. Un-Scripted Theater Company hosts a different playwright each night, performing the first scene of an unfinished play and then improvising its finish.
Not Getting Any Younger Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Opens Thurs/7, 8pm. Runs Thurs, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Through July 24. Marga Gomez presents a workshop production of her new comedy, her ninth solo show.
Salty Towers Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; (415) 673-3847, www.theexit.org. $15-25. Opens Thurs/8, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through July 23. Thunderbird Theatre Company performs a farce that combines Greek mythology with a tale of sea creatures running a two-star hotel.
Twilight Zone Live: Season 8 Dark Room, 2263 Mission, SF; www.ticketturtle.com. $20 ($5 discount if you use the code word “maggie”). Opens Fri/8, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through July 29. The Dark Room Theater presents its eighth annual tribute to classic Twilight Zone episodes.
Macbeth Dominican University of California, Forest Meadows Amphitheater, 1475 Grand, San Rafael; (415) 499-4488, www.marinshakespeare.org. $20-35. Previews Fri/8-Sun/10, 8pm. Opens July 15, 8pm. Performance times vary; check website for schedule. Through Aug 14. Marin Shakespeare Company takes on the Scottish play, opening under a full moon, no less.
The Verona Project Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda; (510) 548-9666, www.calshakes.org. $35-66. Previews Wed/6-Fri/8, 8pm. Opens Sat/9, 8pm. Runs Tues-Thurs, 7:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also July 30, 2pm); Sun, 4pm. Through July 31. California Shakespeare Theater performs a world-premiere play (inspired by The Two Gentlemen of Verona) by Amanda Dehnert.
All Atheists Are Muslim Stage Werx, 533 Sutter, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. $20. Sun/10, 7pm. Zahra Noorbakhsh returns with her timely comedy.
Assisted Living: The Musical Imperial Palace, 818 Washington, SF; 1-888-88-LAUGH, www.assistedlivingthemusical.com. $79.59-99.50 (includes dim sum). Sat-Sun, noon (also Sun, 5pm). Through July 31. Rick Compton and Betsy Bennett’s comedy takes on “the pleasures and perils of later life.”
Billy Elliot Orpheum Theater, 1192 Market, SF; www.shnsf.com/shows/billyelliot. $35-200. Tues-Sat, 8pm (also Wed, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through Sept. 17. As a Broadway musical, Billy Elliot proves more enjoyable than the film. The movie’s T. Rex score may have been a major selling point, but it was a bit maudlin for a story that needed no help in that department. The musical naturally has a sentimental moment or three, but it’s much more often funny, muscular in its staging (with repeatedly inspired choreography from Peter Darling), and expansive in its eclectic score (Elton John) and well-wrought book and lyrics (Lee Hall). Moreover, Stephen Daldry (who also directed the 2000 film) plays up bracingly the too-timely class politics of the modest 1980s English mining town besieged by Margaret Thatcher’s neoliberal regime in the latter’s ultimately successful bid to crush the once-powerful miners union. The cast is likewise very strong, beginning with opening night’s impressive J.P. Viernes in the title role. Broadway’s Faith Prince is an especially engaging presence as the ballet teacher who takes an interest in Billy’s inherent talent, setting him on a course out of the doomed town and into London’s Royal Ballet School — much to the violent disgust of his predominantly male and prickly household. The first act is a nearly perfect balance of bawdy humor, aggressive staging, adept scene-setting and character development and a potent tide of song and group choreography that is hard to resist. There are some unfortunate choices later on, like a bit of Peter Pan wire work that has Billy twirling over the stage (an excessive display that hovers awkwardly over dullsville) and in general the second act is not as strong as the first. It’s also the point where the working-class politics paid homage to by the script gets seriously blunted by a concomitant streak of middle-class individualism. But as crowd-pleasing entertainment the musical burrows deep and more often than not comes up with gold. (Avila)
The Book of Liz Custom Made Theatre, 1620 Gough, SF; www.custommade.org. $10-29. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through July 31. Custom Made Theatre performs David and Amy Sedaris’ comedy about an unconventional nun.
“Fury Factory 2011” Various venues and prices; www.brownpapertickets.com. Through Tues/12. Over 30 Bay Area and national companies participate in this bi-annual theater festival.
Indulgences in the Louisville Harem Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, SF; 1-800-838-3006, www.offbroadwaywest.org. $20-40. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through July 30. Two spinster sisters find unlikely beaux in Off Broadway West Theatre’s production of John Orlock’s play.
The Pride New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; (415) 861-8972, www.nctcsf.org. $24-40. Wed/6-Sat/9, 8pm; Sun/10, 2pm. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs the West Coast premiere of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s love-triangle time warp drama.
*Vice Palace: The Last Cockettes Musical Thrillpeddlers’ Hypnodrome, 575 10th St; (800) 838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. $30-35. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through July 31. Hot on the high heels of a 22-month run of Pearls Over Shanghai, the Thrillpeddlers are continuing their Theatre of the Ridiculous revival with a tits-up, balls-out production of the Cockettes’ last musical, Vice Palace. Loosely based on the terrifyingly grim “Masque of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe, part of the thrill of Palace is the way that it weds the campy drag-glamour of Pearls Over Shanghai with the Thrillpeddlers’ signature Grand Guignol aesthetic. From an opening number set on a plague-stricken street (“There’s Blood on Your Face”) to a charming little cabaret about Caligula, staged with live assassinations, an undercurrent of darkness runs like blood beneath the shameless slapstick of the thinly-plotted revue. As plague-obsessed hostess Divina (Leigh Crow) and her right-hand “gal” Bella (Eric Tyson Wertz) try to distract a group of stir-crazy socialites from the dangers outside the villa walls, the entertainments range from silly to salacious: a suggestively-sung song about camel’s humps, the wistful ballad “Just a Lonely Little Turd,” a truly unexpected Rite of Spring-style dance number entitled “Flesh Ballet.” Sumptuously costumed by Kara Emry, cleverly lit by Nicholas Torre, accompanied by songwriter/lyricist (and original Cockette) Scrumbly Koldewyn, and anchored by a core of Thrillpeddler regulars, Palace is one nice vice. (Gluckstern)
What Mamma Said About Down There SF Downtown Comedy Theater, 287 Ellis, SF; www.sfdowntowncomedytheater.com. $15. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through August 20. Sia Amma returns with her solo comedy.
All My Children Cabaret at Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Through July 23. Not the soap opera — it’s Seattle Improv co-founder Matt Smith in his comedy about a middle-aged man with boundary issues.
East 14th: True Tales of a Reluctant Player Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Aug 7. Don Reed’s hit solo comedy receives one last extension before Reed debuts his new show (a sequel to East 14th) in the fall.
Metamorphosis Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org. $10-55. Tues and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm); Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through July 17. Aurora Theatre Company performs a terrifying yet comic adaptation of Kafka’s classic by David Farr and Gísli Örn Gardarsson.
A Raisin in the Sun Pear Avenue Theatre, 1220 Pear, Mtn. View; (650) 254-1148, www.thepear.org. $15-30. Thurs/7-Sat/9, 8pm; Sun/10, 2pm. Lorraine Hansberry’s classic play comes to life on the Pear Avenue Theatre stage.
2012: The Musical! Cedar Rose Park, 1300 Rose, Berk; www.sfmt.org. Free. Sat/9-Sun/10, 2pm. Continues through Sept. 25 at various Bay Area venues. San Francisco Mime Troupe mounts their annual summer musical; this year’s show is about a political theater company torn between selling out and staying true to its anti-corporate roots.
*Working for the Mouse La Val’s Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; www.impacttheatre.com. $10-20. Thurs/7-Fri/8, 8pm. It might not come as a surprise to hear that even “the happiest place on earth” has a dark side, but hearing Trevor Allen describe it during this long overdue reprise of 2002’s Working for the Mouse, will put a smile on your face as big as Mickey’s. With a burst of youthful energy, Allen bounds onto the tiny stage of Impact Theatre to confess his one-time aspiration to never grow up — a desire which made auditioning for the role of Peter Pan at Disneyland a sensible career move. But in order to break into the big time of “charactering,” one must pay some heavy, plush-covered dues. As Allen creeps up the costumed hierarchy one iconic cartoon figure at a time, he finds himself unwittingly enmeshed in a world full of backroom politics, union-busting, drug addled surfer dudes with peaches-and-cream complexions, sexual tension, showboating, job suspension, Make-A-Wish Foundation heartbreak, hash brownies, rabbit vomit, and accidental decapitation. Smoothly paced and astutely crafted, Working for the Mouse will either shatter your blissful ignorance or confirm your worst suspicions about the corporate Disney machine, but either way, it will probably make you treat any “Casual Seasonal Pageant Helpers” you see running around in their sweaty character suits with a whole lot more empathy. (Gluckstern)
Front Line Theatre CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri/8-Sun/10, 8pm. Also July 21-23, 8pm, Garage, 975 Howard, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Both venues, $20. The company presents the world premiere of Rare Earth, a verse-and-movement comedy about waste and the past.
Miguel Gutierrez Garage, 975 Howard, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri-Sun, 8pm. $15. The choreographer performs his 2010 work Heavens What Have I Done as part of Verge, the Garage’s workshop series.
LINES Ballet Summer Program Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; www.linesballet.org. Tues/12, 7:30pm. $15. The LINES Ballet Summer Program celebrates its 10th anniversary with the first of two student showcases.
“OMFG! The Internet Dating Musical” ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; www.odctheater.org. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through July 17. $15-18. ODC Theater Resident Artist Chris Winslow presents his new comedy about a couple who both fear they can’t live up to reality after meeting online.
“Project Bust” Z Space, 450 Florida, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Wed/6 and Aug 3, 8pm. $15. Malinda LaVelle presents her evening-length dance-theater piece.
“Sympathetic: An Aerial Dance Performance Honoring Labor” Rincon Annex Post Office, 121 Spear, SF; (415) 564-4010. Sat, 1 and 3pm. Free. The Labor Archives and Research Center, San Francisco State University, and Flyaway Productions present this work honoring the 1934 San Francisco General Strike by choreographer Jo Kreiter and musician Pamela Z.
“The Tinker Show” Stage Werx, 533 Sutter, SF; www.thetinkershow.com. Thurs-Fri, 8pm. $18-20. “Old school immaturity” via live sketch comedy and improv, plus original short films.
Yubiwa Hotel Performing Arts Company NOHspace, 2640 Mariposa, SF; www.sfiaf.org. Fri, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. $12. The company performs the play Mesujika Doe, a Japanese-American collaboration from Shirotama Hitsujiya and Trista Baldwin.