Theater Listings: March 26 – April 1, 2014

Pub date March 25, 2014

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



Every Five Minutes Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; $20-60. Previews Wed/26-Sat/29 and April 2, 8pm; Sun/30, 2:30pm; Tue/1, 7pm. Opens April 3, 8pm. Runs Tue, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also April 9, 2:30pm); Sun, 2:30pm (also April 6, 7pm). Through April 20. Magic Theatre presents the world premiere of Linda McLean’s drama about a man’s homecoming after years behind bars.

The Habit of Art Z Below Theatre, 470 Florida, SF; $15-25. Previews Thu/27-Fri/28, 8pm. Opens Sat/29, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through April 13. Theatre Rhinoceros performs a “very British comedy” by History Boys author Alan Bennett.

I Never Lie: The Pinocchio Project Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, SF; $15. Previews Fri/28, 8pm. Opens Sat/29, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat and April 10, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through April 12. 99 Stock Productions performs Meredith Eden’s bold fairytale retelling.

“Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays” New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; $25-45. Previews Wed/26-Fri/28, 8pm. Opens Sat/29, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through April 27. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs short plays about marriage equality by Mo Gaffney, Neil LaBute, Wendy MacLeod, Paul Rudnick, and others.


East 14th Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; $20-50. Opens Fri/21, 8pm. Runs Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Through April 26. Don Reed’s hit autobiographical solo show returns to the Marsh Berkeley.

Johnny Guitar, the Musical Masquers Playhouse, 105 Park Place, Point Richmond; $22. Opens Fri/28, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm (no show Sun/30). Through April 26. Masquers Playhouse performs the off-Broadway hit based on the campy Joan Crawford Western.

Sleuth Center REPertory Company, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; $33-54. Previews Fri/28-Sat/29, 8pm; Sun/30, 2:30pm. Opens Tue/1, 7:30pm. Runs Wed, 7:30pm; Thu-Sat, 8pm (also April 26, 2:30pm); Sun, 2:30pm. Through April 26. Center REPertory Company performs Anthony Shaffer’s classic, Tony-winning thriller.

Vampire Lesbians of Sodom and Sleeping Beauty or Coma Live Oaks Theater, 1301 Shattuck, Berk; $28. Previews Fri/28, 8pm. Opens Sat/29, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through April 19. Virago Theatre Company performs Charles Busch’s outrageous double bill.


Bauer San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post, SF; Tue-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); April 13, 2pm. Through April 19. San Francisco Playhouse presents the world premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s drama about artist Rudolf Bauer.

Feisty Old Jew Marsh San Francisco Main Stage, 1062 Valencia, SF; $25-100. Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm (Sun/30 show at 2pm). Extended through May 4. Charlie Varon performs his latest solo show, a fictional comedy about “a 20th century man living in a 21st century city.”

Foodies! The Musical Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; $32-34. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. AWAT Productions presents Morris Bobrow’s musical comedy revue all about food.

Hundred Days Z Space, 450 Florida, SF; $10-100. Wed and Sun, 7pm; Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through April 6. Married musical duo the Bengsons (Abigail and Shaun) provide the real-life inspiration and guiding rock ‘n’ roll heart for this uneven but at times genuinely rousing indie musical drama, a self-referential meta-theater piece relating the story of a young couple in 1940s America who fall madly in love only to discover one of them is terminally ill. As an exploration of love, mortality, and the nature of time, the story of Sarah and Will (doubled by the Bengsons and, in movement sequences and more dramatically detailed scenes, by chorus members Amy Lizardo and Reggie D. White) draws force from the potent musical performances and songwriting of composer-creators Abigail and Shaun Bengson (augmented here by the appealing acting-singing chorus and backup band that also feature El Beh, Melissa Kaitlyn Carter, Geneva Harrison, Kate Kilbane, Jo Lampert, Delane Mason, Joshua Pollock). Playwright Kate E. Ryan’s book, however, proves too straightforward, implausible, and sentimental to feel like an adequate vessel for the music’s exuberant, urgent emotion and lilting, longing introspection. Other trappings of director Anne Kauffman’s elaborate production (including an inspired set design by Kris Stone that echoes the raw industrial shell of the theater; and less-than-inspired choreography by the otherwise endlessly inventive Joe Goode) can add texture at times but also prove either neutral figures or distracting minuses in conveying what truth and heft there is in the material. Ultimately, this still evolving world premiere has a strong musical beat at its core, which has a palpable force of its own, even if it’s yet to settle into the right combination of story and staging. (Avila)

Lottie’s Ghosts Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St, SF; $20. Thu-Sat, 8pm (no show Fri/28); Sun, 3pm. Through April 6. Dancer, storyteller, and Brava artist-in-residence Shakiri presents a new work based on her novel of the same name.

Lovebirds Marsh San Francisco Studio, 1062 Valencia, SF; $15-50. Thu-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Extended through April 12. Theater artist and comedian Marga Gomez presents the world premiere of her 10th solo show, described as “a rollicking tale of incurable romantics.”

Mommy Queerest Exit Studio, 156 Eddy, SF; $15-25. Fri/28-Sat/29, 8pm. Sex scenes in solo shows might sound a little onanistic, but in the right circumstances a door jam or a love seat can serve as a fine co-star. Stand-up comic and actor Kat Evasco demonstrates as much in this raunchy and high-spirited story of her sexual awakening as a lesbian-identifying bisexual, coming out in a household dominated by her closeted mother, a Filipina American drama queen with a long-term female companion she insists is the “gay” one. Presented by Guerrilla Rep and the Exit Theatre’s DIVAfest, and directed by Guerrilla Rep’s John Caldon (who co-wrote the play with Evasco), the story follows a familiar and predictable arc in some ways — familial hypocrisy giving way to inspirational cross-generational understanding — and the characterizations and set-ups (including a family feud on Jerry Springer) come with not always inspired choices. Moreover not all the jokes land where they should in a performance that starts as stand-up but immediately shifts into the style of a solo-play confessional. (A more thoroughgoing subversion of the stand-up format might have produced more complex, less foreseeable results.) At the same time, there’s no denying Evasco’s charm and energy, or her buoyant comedic talent, which makes it easier to forgive the play’s structural shortcomings. (Avila)

Pearls Over Shanghai Hypnodrome Theatre, 575 10th St, SF; $30-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through May 31. Thrillpeddlers present the fifth anniversary revival production of its enormously popular take on the 1971 Cockettes musical.

“Risk Is This … The Cutting Ball New Experimental Plays Festival” Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor, SF; Free ($20 donation for reserved seating). Fri/28-Sat/29, 8pm. Five new works in staged readings, including two from Cutting Ball resident playwright Andrew Saito.

The Scion Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $15-60. Thu-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through April 18. In his latest solo show, Brian Copeland (Not a Genuine Black ManThe Waiting Period) explores an infamous crime in his hometown of San Leandro: the 2000 murder of three government meat inspectors by Stuart Alexander, owner of the Santos Linguisa Factory. The story is personal history for Copeland, at least indirectly, as the successful comedian and TV host recounts growing up nearby under the common stricture that “rules are rules,” despite evidence all around that equity, fairness, and justice are in fact deeply skewed by privilege. Developed with director David Ford, the multiple-character monologue (delivered with fitful humor on a bare-bones stage with supportive sound design by David Hines) contrasts Copeland’s own youthful experiences as a target of racial profiling with the way wealthy and white neighbor Stuart Alexander, a serial bully and thug, consistently evaded punishment and even police attention along his path to becoming the “Sausage King,” a mayoral candidate, and a multiple murderer (Alexander died in 2005 at San Quentin). The story takes some meandering turns in making its points, and not all of Copeland’s characterizations are equally compelling. The subject matter is timely enough, however, though ironically it is government that seems to set itself further than ever above the law as much as wealthy individuals or the bogus “legal persons” of the corporate world. The results of such concentrated power are indeed unhealthy, and literally so — Copeland’s grandmother (one of his more persuasive characterizations) harbors a deep distrust of processed food that is nothing if not prescient — but The Scion’s tale of two San Leandrans leaves one hungry for more complexity. (Avila)

She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange Thick House, 1695 18th St, SF; $15-35. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through April 12. Crowded Fire kicks off its 2014 season with the world premiere of Amelia Roper’s dry comedy about financial disaster.

Shit & Champagne Rebel, 1772 Market, SF; $25. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. D’Arcy Drollinger is Champagne White, bodacious blond innocent with a wicked left hook in this cross-dressing ’70s-style white-sploitation flick, played out live on Rebel’s intimate but action-packed barroom stage. Written by Drollinger and co-directed with Laurie Bushman (with high-flying choreography by John Paolillo, Drollinger, and Matthew Martin), this high-octane camp send-up of a favored formula comes dependably stocked with stock characters and delightfully protracted by a convoluted plot (involving, among other things, a certain street drug that’s triggered an epidemic of poopy pants) — all of it played to the hilt by an excellent cast that includes Martin as Dixie Stampede, an evil corporate dominatrix at the head of some sinister front for world domination called Mal*Wart; Alex Brown as Detective Jack Hammer, rough-hewn cop on the case and ambivalent love interest; Rotimi Agbabiaka as Sergio, gay Puerto Rican impresario and confidante; Steven Lemay as Brandy, high-end calf model and Champagne’s (much) beloved roommate; and Nancy French as Rod, Champagne’s doomed fiancé. Sprawling often literally across two buxom acts, the show maintains admirable consistency: The energy never flags and the brow stays decidedly low. (Avila)

The Speakeasy Undisclosed location (ticket buyers receive a text with directions), SF; $70 (gambling chips, $5-10 extra; after-hours admission, $10). Thu-Sat, 7:40, 7:50, and 8pm admittance times. Extended through May 24. Boxcar Theater’s most ambitious project to date is also one of the more involved and impressively orchestrated theatrical experiences on any Bay Area stage just now. An immersive time-tripping environmental work, The Speakeasy takes place in an “undisclosed location” (in fact, a wonderfully redesigned version of the company’s Hyde Street theater complex) amid a period-specific cocktail lounge, cabaret, and gambling den inhabited by dozens of Prohibition-era characters and scenarios that unfold around an audience ultimately invited to wander around at will. At one level, this is an invitation to pure dress-up social entertainment. But there are artistic aims here too. Intentionally designed (by co-director and creator Nick A. Olivero with co-director Peter Ruocco) as a fractured super-narrative — in which audiences perceive snatches of overheard stories rather than complete arcs, and can follow those of their own choosing — there’s a way the piece becomes specifically and ever more subtly about time itself. This is most pointedly demonstrated in the opening vignettes in the cocktail lounge, where even the ticking of Joe’s Clock Shop (the “cover” storefront for the illicit 1920s den inside) can be heard underscoring conversations (deeply ironic in historical hindsight) about war, loss, and regained hope for the future. For a San Francisco currently gripped by a kind of historical double-recurrence of the roaring Twenties and dire Thirties at once, The Speakeasy is not a bad place to sit and ponder the simulacra of our elusive moment. (Avila)

Tipped & Tipsy Marsh Studio Theater, 1062 Valencia, SF; $15-50. Sat, 5pm; Sun, 7pm. Through April 6. Last fall’s San Francisco Fringe Festival began on a high note with Jill Vice’s witty and deft solo, Tipped & Tipsy, and the Best of Fringe winner is now enjoying another round at solo theater outpost the Marsh. Without set or costume changes, Vice (who developed the piece with Dave Dennison and David Ford) brings the querulous regulars of a skid-row bar to life both vividly and with real quasi–Depression-Era charm. She’s a protean physical performer, seamlessly inhabiting the series of oddball outcasts lined up each day at Happy’s before bartender Candy — two names as loaded as the clientele. After some hilarious expert summarizing of the do’s and don’ts of bar culture, a story unfolds around a battered former boxer and his avuncular relationship with Candy, who tries to cut him off in light of his clearly deteriorating health. Her stance causes much consternation, and even fear, in his barfly associates, while provoking a dangerous showdown with the bar’s self-aggrandizing sleaze-ball owner, Rico. With a love of the underdog and strong writing and acting at its core, Tipsy breezes by, leaving a superlative buzz. (Avila)

Twisted Fairy Tales Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; $15-25. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through April 5. Left Coast Theatre Co. performs the world premiere of seven one-act LGBT-themed plays based on classic children’s stories.

The Two Chairs Bindlestiff Studios, 185 Sixth St, SF; $10-30. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through April 13. Performers Under Stress performs Charles Pike’s new play, described as “No Exit as a love story set in Napa on the Silverado Trail.”

Venus in Fur Geary Theater, 415 Geary, SF; $20-120. Opens Wed/26, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat and Tue, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm; Tue/1, show at 7pm); Sun, 7pm. Through April 13. American Conservatory Theater performs a new production of David Ives’ 2012 Tony-nominated play.

The World of Paradox Garage, 715 Bryant, SF; $12-15. Mon, 8pm. Through April 7. Footloose presents David Facer in his solo show, a mix of magic and theater.

The World’s Funniest Bubble Show Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; $8-11. Sun, 11am. Extended through May 25. The popular, kid-friendly show by Louis Pearl (aka “The Amazing Bubble Man”) returns to the Marsh.

Wrestling Jerusalem Intersection for the Arts, 925 Mission, SF; $20-30. Thu-Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 2pm. Through April 6. Intersection for the Arts presents Aaron Davidman in his multicharacter solo performance piece about Israel and Palestine.


Accidental Death of an Anarchist Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; $29-99. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (no show April 18; also Sat and April 17, 2pm); Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through April 20. Berkeley Rep presents comic actor Steven Epp in Dario Fo’s explosive political farce, directed by Christopher Bayes,

Arms and the Man Barn Theatre, 30 Sir Francis Drake, Ross; $13-26. Thu, 7:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through April 13. Ross Valley Players perform George Bernard Shaw’s romantic comedy.

Bread and Circuses La Val’s Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; $20-25. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through April 6. Impact Theatre performs “a cavalcade of brutal and bloody new short plays” by various contemporary playwrights.

The Coast of Utopia Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; $20-35 (three-show marathon days, $100-125). Previews Wed/26-Fri/28. Opens Sat/29. Part Three: Salvage runs through April 27; Part One: Voyage runs March 26-April 17; Part Two: Shipwreck runs March 27-April 19. Three-play marathon, April 5 and 26. Through April 27. Check website for showtime info. Shotgun Players performs Tom Stoppard’s epic The Coast of Utopia trilogy, with all three plays performed in repertory.

Fool For Love Pear Avenue Theatre, 1220 Pear, Mtn View; $10-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through April 6. Pear Avenue Theatre performs Sam Shepard’s iconic play, about a pair of former lovers who reunite at a lonely desert motel.

Geezer Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; $25-50. Thu, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through April 26. Geoff Hoyle moves his hit comedy about aging to the East Bay.

The Lion and the Fox Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; $15-28. Thu/27-Sat/29, 8pm; Sun/30, 5pm. Central Works performs a prequel to its 2009 hit, Machiavelli’s The Prince, which depicts a face-off between Niccolo Machiavelli and Cesare Borgia.

Once On This Island Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto; $19-73. Wed/26, 7:30pm; Thu/27-Sat/29, 8pm (also Sat/29, 2pm); Sun/30, 2 and 7pm. TheatreWorks performs the Tony-nominated musical about a star-crossed love affair in the tropics, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid.


Caroline Lugo and Carolé Acuña’s Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; Sat/29-Sun/30, April 6, 12, 19, and 30, 6:15pm. $15-19. Flamenco performance by the mother-daughter dance company, featuring live musicians.

“Dance Anywhere” Various locations; Fri/28, noon. Free. Add yourself to this international public-art happening — or catch performances by local pros, busting loose at public venues like the Yerba Buena Gardens (Lizz Roman and Dancers) and the Embarcadero in Oakland (Pink Puppy Project). Check the website for a complete list.

Dandelion Dancetheater with Ysaye M. Barnwell ODC Theater, 351 Shotwell, SF; Wed/26, 7:30pm. $7-12. One-night-only collaboration between the dance company and the Sweet Honey and the Rock vocalist, performing Tongues/Gather.

“Drag Queens of Comedy” Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, SF; Sat/29, 7 and 10pm. $35-100. With Coco Peru, Sasha Soprano, Lady Bunny, Shangela, Pandora Boxx, Bianca Del Rio, and DWV, plus hosts Heklina and Peaches Christ.

“Dream Queens Revue” Aunt Charlie’s Lounge, 133 Turk, SF; Wed/26, 9:30pm. Free. Drag with Collette LeGrande, Ruby Slippers, Sophilya Leggz, Bobby Ashton, and more.

Daisy Eagan Society Cabaret, Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter, SF; Fri/28-Sat/29, 8pm. $25-45. The Tony winner performs her new solo show, One For My Baby.

“Honest to God” Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF; Fri/28-Sat/29, 8pm; Sun/30, 7pm. $20. Dance company Number9 performs its latest evening-length work.

Jim Jeffries Warfield, 982 Market, SF; Fri/28, 8pm. $37.50. The actor-comedian (Legit) performs his new live show, Day Streaming.

Sean Keane Purple Onion at Kells, 530 Jackson, SF; Fri/28-Sat/29, 7:30pm. $10. The SF comedian performs.

“A Killer Story” Mechanics’ Institution, 57 Post, SF; Wed/26-Thu/27, 7pm. $15-25. Staged dramatic reading of Dan Harder’s noir play.

“Luster: An American Songbook” Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness, SF; Wed/26, 8pm. $25-75. San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus performs works by Gershwin, Porter, Ellington, and Berlin, as well as the world premiere of a tribute to Tyler Clementi.

“Magic at the Rex” Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter, SF; Sat, 8pm. Ongoing. $25. Magic and mystery with Adam Sachs and mentalist Sebastian Boswell III.

Mona Khan Company Garage, 715 Bryant, SF; Sun/30, 5:30 and 7:30pm. $20. The Indian contemporary dance company presents Soch, a night of vignettes.

“The Naked Stage” Bayfront Theater, B350 Fort Mason Center, SF; Sat/29, 8pm. $20. BATS Improv performs a completely improvised play.

“ODC/Dance Downtown” Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard, SF; Wed/26-Thu/27, 7:30pm; Fri/28-Sat/29, 8pm; Sun/30, 4pm. $20-75. The acclaimed contemporary dance company marks its 43rd season with world premiere boulders and bones, inspired by the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy, among other works.

“Pilot 64 — Sound Bodies: New Dance and Live Music” ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; Fri/28-Sat/29, 8pm. $15. Choreographers work in close collaboration with composers and musicians.

“Point Break Live!” DNA Lounge, 373 11th St, SF; April 4, 7:30 and 11pm. $25-50. Dude, Point Break Live! is like dropping into a monster wave, or holding up a bank, like, just a pure adrenaline rush, man. Ahem. Sorry, but I really can’t help but channel Keanu Reeves and his Johnny Utah character when thinking about the awesomely bad 1991 movie Point Break or its equally yummily cheesy stage adaptation. And if you do an even better Keanu impression than me — the trick is in the vacant stare and stoner drawl — then you can play his starring role amid a cast of solid actors, reading from cue cards from a hilarious production assistant in order to more closely approximate Keanu’s acting ability. This play is just so much fun, even better now at DNA Lounge than it was a couple years ago at CELLspace. But definitely buy the poncho pack and wear it, because the blood, spit, and surf spray really do make this a fully immersive experience. (Steven T. Jones)

Push Dance Company Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission, SF; Sat/29-Sun/30, 1 and 3pm. $10-25. The company presents the premiere of a dance installation, Point Shipyard Project, inspired by the community living near the toxic Hunters Point Naval Shipyard.

Right Now Improv Trio Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; Fri/28-Sat/29, 8pm. $20. The all-female comedy improv troupe performs, plus special guest Huge, an improv musical comedy duo.

“The Romane Event Comedy Show: Grand Hiatus Show” Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St, SF; Wed/26, 8pm. $10. Comedian Paco Romane hosts his ninth-anniversary show, the last regular entry in his “Romane Event” series, with an all-star lineup that includes Marga Gomez, Joe Tobin, Kaseem Bentley, Sean Keane, David Gborie, and others.

“Women on the Move” Brava Theater, 2781 24th St, SF; Fri/28, 8pm. $15-30. Singers Holly Near and Gina Breedlove, plus Dance Brigade and Grrrl Brigade, perform at this Grrrl Brigade benefit. Come early (7pm) for the silent auction and raffle.

“Work MORE! #6” SOMArts Gallery, 934 Brannan, SF; Fri/28, 7pm. Free. Mica Sigourney (a 2014 SOMArts Commons Curatorial Residency recipient) presents the opening-night party and interactive drag show to celebrate a new exhibit of drag performer and artist collaborations.


“MarshJam Improv Comedy Show” Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; Fri, 8pm. Ongoing. $10. Improv comedy with local legends and drop-in guests.

“Placas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo” Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakl; Wed/26-Sat/29, 8pm. $12-40. Ric Salinas of Culture Clash stars in Paul S. Flores’ acclaimed play about one man’s struggle to keep his family together amid street violence in the Mission. *