Stage listings

Pub date May 21, 2013

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



The Beauty Queen of Leenane Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, Mill Valley; $36-52. Previews Thu/23-Sat/25, 8pm; Sun/26, 7pm. Opens Tue/28, 8pm. Runs Tue, Thu-Sat, 8pm (also June 1 and 15, 2pm; June 6, 1pm); Wed, 7:30pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through June 16. Marin Theatre Company performs Martin McDonagh’s award-winning black comedy about a dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship.

By & By Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; $20-30. Previews Wed/22-Thu/23 and May 29-30, 7pm; Fri/24-Sat/25, 8pm; Sun/26, 5pm. Opens May 31, 8pm. Runs Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through June 23. Shotgun Players presents a new sci-fi thriller by Lauren Gunderson.

Hanging Georgia, a play with music about Georgia O’Keefe Pear Avenue Theatre, 1220 Pear, Mtn View; $10-30. Previews Thu/23, 8pm. Opens Fri/24, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm (no show Sat/25; additional shows June 1 and 8, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through June 9. Pear Avenue Theatre marks its 75th show with Sharmon J. Hilfinger and Joan McMillen’s world premiere, a co-production with BootStrap Theater Foundation.


Arcadia ACT’s Geary Theater, 415 Geary, SF; $20-95. Opens Wed/22, 8pm. Runs Tue-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat, 2pm; May 28 show at 7pm); Sun, 2pm (additional show Sun/26, 8pm). Through June 9. American Conservatory Theater performs Tom Stoppard’s literary romance.

Birds of a Feather New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; $25-45. Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through June 29. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs the San Francisco premiere of Marc Acito’s tale inspired by two gay penguins at the Central Park Zoo.

Black Watch Drill Court, Armory Community Center, 333 14th St, SF; $100. Tue-Sat, 8pm (also Wed and Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through June 16. American Conservatory Theater presents the National Theatre of Scotland’s internationally acclaimed performance about Scottish soldiers serving in Iraq.

Boomeraging: From LSD to OMG Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $15-50. Tue/28, 8pm. Comedian Will Durst performs his brand-new solo show.

Burqavaganza Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St, SF; $20. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through June 2. Brava! For Women in the Arts and RasaNova Theatre present Shahid Nadeem’s Bollywood-style “love story in the time of jihad.”

Dirty Dancing: Live! Dark Room, 2263 Mission, SF; $20. Fri/24-Sat/25, 8pm. Watermelons will be carried, lifts will be attempted, eyes will be hungry, and nobody better put Baby in a corner.

Foodies! The Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; $30-34. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. AWAT Productions presents Morris Bobrow’s musical comedy revue all about food.

Krispy Kritters in the Scarlett Night Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor, SF; $10-50. Opens Thu/23, 7:30pm. Runs Thu, 7:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm; no shows June 8); Sun, 5pm. Through June 16. Cutting Ball Theater performs Andrew Saito’s Howl-inspired portrait of San Francisco.

The Merry Wives of Windsor Buriel Clay Theater, African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton, SF; $10-35. Sat/25, 8pm; Sun/26, 3pm. They might be two of the town’s most respectable matrons, but Mistresses Page (Safiya Fredericks) and Ford (Leontyne Mbele-Mbong), the titular Merry Wives of Windsor, at the African-American Shakespeare Company, are nobody’s fools. When the bawdy, ne’er-do-well Falstaff (a cross-dressing Beli Sullivan) tries to woo the two at the same time (as much for money as lust), they easily turn the tables on his plotting, and further dampen his ardor by having him tossed in a ditch. Their husbands, in particular the suspicious yet constantly flummoxed Master Ford (Armond Edward Dorsey), fare not much better against the wonder-twin powers of their BFF wives, and for anyone keeping score, the entire female population of Windsor generally makes out better than their slow-on-the-uptake menfolk, and they do it in style thanks to Linda Tucker’s astute, 50s-era costume design. Under Becky Kemper’s direction, the attitude skews sassy, and each character — from the befuddled town elite to the simplest servant — is a broadly-painted stroke of buffoonery, one part Desperate Housewives melodrama and one part Marx Brother’s farce. Kemper calls her rowdy take on this battle-of-the-sexes comedy “a guilty pleasure,” reminding us that however hallowed the name of Shakespeare might remain in posher circles, a good portion of his canon was written not for the austere glory of posterity, but for the base enjoyment of the general populace. (Gluckstern)

“PlayGround Festival of New Works” Various venues, SF and Berk; $15-40. Through Sun/26. The long-running short-play contest and development lab marks its 17th season with an evening showcasing the best of the previous year. The six plays come from six (familiar and new) playwrights out of a pool of 36 new short plays developed by PlayGround since October (and those were drawn from over 190 new original scripts created). The best of the best receives a rotating cast of strong Bay Area actors under six accomplished directors (including PlayGround founder Jim Kleinmann) but is a mixed affair, nevertheless. Katie May’s The Spherical Loneliness of Beverly Onion is a sometimes funny but generally tepid short story about a lonely mortician’s assistant (Carla Pantoja) who confronts her handlers, the natural forces of Fate (Jomar Tagatac) and Luck (Anne Darragh). Simple and Elegant, by Evelyn Jean Pine, is an ocean-side fairytale whose themes don’t sound too deeply, about the titular pair of sisters (Rebecca Pingree and Pantoja) who have a near-fatal falling out over a gold coin salvaged from the belly of a fish (Dao) who may be a handsome prince for one of them or just a nice hideaway bed. In Ruben Grijalva’s Value over Replacement, a major league player (Tagatac) confronts a career-jeopardizing accusation from a journalist-guest (Delzell) on his talk radio show in a somewhat prosaic but dramatically compact, carefully written and well-acted piece. Significant People, by Amy Sass, follows two docents (Darragh and Delzell) through the preserved home of two significant others who seem to be the same people. It’s a quirky conceit that doesn’t quite produce the necessary dramatic tension, the stakes feeling too low. In My Better Half, by Jonathan Spector, quirkiness goes full-bore as a wife (Pingree) with a justifiable complaint against her obliviously self-centered, what-me husband (Dao) looks to have him rubbed out by a reluctant hit man (Tagatac) and his couples-therapist colleague (Darragh). Finally, Symmetrical Smack-Down is William Bivins’ funny and nicely orchestrated foursome, in which the dynamic between two antagonists in the wrestling ring (Tagatac and Delzell) overlaps (literally and dramatically) with that between a long-term lesbian couple (Pingree and Pantoja) on the brink of a break-up and/or rumble. (Avila)

Sex and the City: LIVE! Rebel, 1760 Market, SF; $25. Wed, 7 and 9pm. Open-ended. It seems a no-brainer. Not just the HBO series itself — that’s definitely missing some gray matter — but putting it onstage as a drag show. Mais naturellement! Why was Sex and the City not conceived of as a drag show in the first place? Making the sordid not exactly palatable but somehow, I don’t know, friendlier (and the canned a little cannier), Velvet Rage Productions mounts two verbatim episodes from the widely adored cable show, with Trannyshack’s Heklina in a smashing portrayal of SJP’s Carrie; D’Arcy Drollinger stealing much of the show as ever-randy Samantha (already more or less a gay man trapped in a woman’s body); Lady Bear as an endearingly out-to-lunch Miranda; and ever assured, quick-witted Trixxie Carr as pent-up Charlotte. There’s also a solid and enjoyable supporting cast courtesy of Cookie Dough, Jordan Wheeler, and Leigh Crow (as Mr. Big). That’s some heavyweight talent trodding the straining boards of bar Rebel’s tiny stage. The show’s still two-dimensional, even in 3D, but noticeably bigger than your 50″ plasma flat panel. Update: new episodes began May 15. (Avila)

Steve Seabrook: Better Than You Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $15-50. Thu, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Extended through June 29. Self-awareness, self-actualization, self-aggrandizement — for these things we turn to the professionals: the self-empowerment coaches, the self-help authors and motivational speakers. What’s the good of having a “self” unless someone shows you how to use it? Writer-performer Kurt Bodden’s Steve Seabrook wants to sell you on a better you, but his “Better Than You” weekend seminar (and tie-in book series, assorted CDs, and other paraphernalia) belies a certain divided loyalty in its own self-flattering title. The bitter fruit of the personal growth industry may sound overly ripe for the picking, but Bodden’s deftly executed “seminar” and its behind-the-scenes reveals, directed by Mark Kenward, explore the terrain with panache, cool wit, and shrewd characterization. As both writer and performer, Bodden keeps his Steve Seabrook just this side of overly sensational or maudlin, a believable figure, finally, whose all-too-ordinary life ends up something of a modest model of its own. (Avila)

Talk Radio Actors Theatre of San Francisco, 855 Bush, SF; $26-38. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through June 15. Actors Theatre of San Francisco performs Eric Bogosian’s breakthrough 1987 drama.

Tinsel Tarts in a Hot Coma: The Next Cockettes Musical Hypnodrome, 575 10th St, SF; $30-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Extended through June 29. Thrillpeddlers and director Russell Blackwood continue their Theatre of the Ridiculous series with this 1971 musical from San Francisco’s famed glitter-bearded acid queens, the Cockettes, revamped with a slew of new musical material by original member Scrumbly Koldewyn, and a freshly re-minted book co-written by Koldewyn and “Sweet Pam” Tent — both of whom join the large rotating cast of Thrillpeddler favorites alongside a third original Cockette, Rumi Missabu (playing diner waitress Brenda Breakfast like a deliciously unhinged scramble of Lucille Ball and Bette Davis). This is Thrillpeddlers’ third Cockettes revival, a winning streak that started with Pearls Over Shanghai. While not quite as frisky or imaginative as the production of Pearls, it easily charms with its fine songs, nifty routines, exquisite costumes, steady flashes of wit, less consistent flashes of flesh, and de rigueur irreverence. The plot may not be very easy to follow, but then, except perhaps for the bubbly accounting of the notorious New York flop of the same show 42 years ago by Tent (as poisoned-pen gossip columnist Vedda Viper), it hardly matters. (Avila)

Vital Signs: The Pulse of an American Nurse Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $15-50. Sun, 7pm. Through June 16. Registered nurse Alison Whittaker returns to the Marsh with her behind-the-scenes show about working in a hospital.

The World’s Funniest Bubble Show Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $8-50. Sun, 11am. Through July 21. Louis “The Amazing Bubble Man” Pearl returns after a month-long hiatus with his popular, kid-friendly bubble show.


The Medea Hypothesis Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; $15-28. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Central Works performs Marian Berges’ reconfiguration of the Euripides classic.

Pericles, Prince of Tyre Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison, Berk; $29-77. Wed/22 and Sun/26, 7pm (also Sun/26, 2pm); Thu/23 and Sat/25, 2 and 8pm. Mark Wing-Davey directs Berkeley Rep’s take on the Bard.


“Acting Out — For the Health of It” Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St, SF; Wed/22, 7pm. $35-75. Breast Cancer Action benefits from this evening of comedy, author readings, bluegrass tunes, and more.

“Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program Spring Showcase” ODC Dance, 351 Shotwell, SF; Fri/24-Sat/25, 7pm; Sun/26, 2pm. $20. Dancers in training (ages 17-24) perform works by Kara Davis, Gregory Dawson, and others.

“Dionysian Festival” Mary Sano School of Duncan Dancing, 245 Fifth St, Studio 314, SF; Sat/25, 8pm; Sun/26, 5pm. $20. Celebrating the 136th anniversary of Isadora Duncan’s birth with works by the pioneering choreographer.

“Dream Queens Revue” Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, 133 Turk, SF; Wed/22, 9:30pm. free. Drag with Collette LeGrande, Diva LaFever, Sophilya Leggz, and more.

“Improvised Murder Mystery” Bayfront Theater, B350 Fort Mason Center, SF; Sat/25, 8pm. $20. BATS Improv performs one of its most popular shows.

“Kunst-Stoff Arts Fest 2013” Kunst-Stoff Arts, One Grove, SF; Through June 7. Most events $10-15. Morning classes, afternoon workshops, and evening performances are the focus of this festival of dance, film, music, and more.

Lady Rizo Z Space, 450 Florida, SF; Sat/25, 8pm. $20. The NYC cabaret star performs.

Lily Cai Chinese Dance Company Lily Cai Dance Studio, 301 8th St, SF; Fri/24-Sat/25, 8pm; Sun/26, 3:30pm. $15. The company’s 2013 studio concert includes three works, including 2013’s Xing.

“Love and Taxes” Z Space, 450 Florida, SF; Wed/22-Thu/23, 8pm. $25-70. Josh Kornbluth performs his hit stage show as a benefit for Z Space.

“Mariko Passion’s Whorrific Popcorn Theatre Bus and Cabaret” Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission, SF; Fri/24, 7pm (cabaret); 9:30pm (bus tour). $15-30. Performance followed by a bus tour “visiting the haunts and landmarks or SF whoredom.” Part of the SF Sex Worker Fest.

“Mission Position Live” Cinecave, 1034 Valencia, SF; Thu, 8pm. Ongoing. $10. Stand-up comedy with rotating performers.

“Performance Research Experiment #2: Paradox of the Heart (Phase 1)” CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; Fri/24-Sun/26, 8pm. $15-20. Jess Curtis/Gravity presents a “performance/science experiment” in collaboration with French-German dance and circus artist Jörg Müller.

Red Hots Burlesque El Rio, 3158 Mission, SF; Wed, 7:30-9pm. Ongoing. $5-10. Come for the burlesque show, stay for OMG! Karaoke starting at 8pm (no cover for karaoke).

“San Francisco Magic Parlor” Chancellor Hotel Union Square, 433 Powell, SF; Thu-Sat, 8pm. Ongoing. $40. Magic vignettes with conjurer and storyteller Walt Anthony.

Shaping Sound Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon, SF; Wed/22, 8pm. $30-85. This touring company includes dancers featured on reality competitions All the Right Moves and So You Think You Can Dance.

“Tickled Pink!” Café Royale, 800 Post, SF; (415) 441-4099. Thu/23, 8pm. Free. Comedy showcase with Mike Cappazola, Nina G., Greg Asdourian, and more; this month’s theme is “Grown Up.”

“Union Square Live” Union Square, between Post, Geary, Powell, and Stockton, SF; Through Oct 9. Free. Music, dance, circus arts, film, and more; dates and times vary, so check website for the latest.

Wasatch Collective Dancers Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF; Fri/24-Sat/25, 8pm; Sun/26, 7pm. $12. The Utah company makes its Bay Area debut with “Aggregate,” an evening of original and commissioned work.

“When You’re In Love, The Whole World is Jewish” Marines’ Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter, SF; Fri/24-Sat/25, 8pm (also Sat/25, 2pm); Sun/26, 2pm. $45-66. Seinfeld‘s Jason Alexander directs this musical comedy revue.

“You Killed Hamlet, or Guilty Creatures Sitting at a Play” Main Street Theatre, 915 Cayuga, SF; Fri/24, 8pm. $15-25. Naked Empire Bouffon Company and the International Home Theatre Festival present an even more outrageous version of their Best of the Fringe-winning show.


Big Moves Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakl; Sat/25, 8pm; Sun/26, 2pm. $17. The company performs En Masse, a new music and dance spectacular featuring resident dance company emFATic DANCE.

“City Ballet School Spring Showcase” Showcase Theater Marin Civic Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael; Sat/25, 1-5pm. $25. Student dancers ages 6-19 perform.

“Jewish Chronicles” Cabaret at the Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Shattuck; Wed/22, 8pm. $15-50. Songwriter and storyteller David Canier performs.

Smuin Ballet Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; Wed/22-Sat/25, 8pm (also Sat/25, 2pm); Sun/26, 2pm. $52-68. Also May 31-June 1, 8pm (also June 1, 2pm). $54-70. Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek. The company presents the West Coast premiere of Helen Pickett’s Petal and Darrell Grand Moultrie’s JAZZIN’, among other works.

“Swearing in English: Tall Tales at Shotgun” Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; June 3 and 17, 8pm. $15. Shotgun Cabaret presents John Mercer in a series of three stranger-than-fiction dramatic readings.