Stage Listings: May 28-June 3, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Devil Boys From Beyond New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Previews Wed/28-Fri/30, 8pm. Opens Sat/31, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 28. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs Buddy Thomas and Kenneth Elliot's campy sci-fi saga.
Each and Every Thing Marsh San Francisco Main Stage, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Previews Thu/29-Fri/30, June 5-6, and 12-13, 8pm; Sat/31 and June 7, 8:30pm. Opens June 14, 8:30pm. Runs Thu-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Through July 12. Dan Hoyle presents his latest solo show, about the search for real-world connections in a tech-crazed world.
Homo File CounterPULSE, 1310 Mission, SF; www.counterpulse.org. $20-35. Opens Fri/30, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 15. Eye Zen and CounterPULSE present Seth Eisen's interdisciplinary performance about queer author and tattoo artist Sam Steward.
Macbeth Fort Point (beneath the Golden Gate Bridge), SF; www.weplayers.org. $30-75. Previews Fri/30-Sun/1, 7pm. Opens Thu/5, 7pm. Runs Thu-Sun, 7pm. Through June 29. We Players performs the Shakespeare classic at the historic fortress at Fort Point.
"Savage in Limbo" Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. $25. Previews Thu/29, 8pm. Opens Fri/30, 8pm. Runs Sat/31, Sun/1, June 3-6, 8pm (also Sun/1, 2pm); June 7, 2pm. Through June 7. Rabbit Hole Theater Company performs John Patrick Shanley's Bronx-set drama.
Triassic Parq Eureka Theater, 215 Jackson, SF; www.rayoflighttheatre.com. $25-36. Previews Thu/29, 8pm. Opens Fri/30, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm (also June 21 and 28, 2pm). Through June 28. Ray of Light Theatre presents the Bay Area premiere of Marshall Pailet's musical involving "dinosaurs, show tunes, and sex changes."
Walk Like A Man Costume Shop, 1117 Market, SF; www.therhino.org. $15-35. Previews Wed/28-Fri/30, 8pm. Opens Sat/31, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through June 15. Theatre Rhinoceros performs Laurinda D. Brown's dramedy centered around issues in the African American lesbian community.
Chasing Mehserle Z Space, 450 Florida, SF; theintersection.org/chasing-mehserle. $15-25. Thu/29-Sat/31, 8pm. Intersection for the Arts, Campo Santo, and the Living Word Project present Chinaka Hodge's performance piece about Oakland in the aftermath of the Oscar Grant killing.
The Crucible Gough Street Playhouse, 1620 Gough, SF; www.custommade.org. $10-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 15. Custom Made Theatre Co. performs Arthur Miller's drama.
Dracula Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; sfdracula.blogspot.com. $35. Thu/29-Sat/31, 8pm. Kellerson Productions presents a new adaptation of the Bram Stoker classic.
Feisty Old Jew Marsh San Francisco Main Stage, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $25-100. Sat-Sun, 5pm. Extended through July 13. 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; www.foodiesthemusical.com. $32-34. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Open-ended. AWAT Productions presents Morris Bobrow's musical comedy revue all about food.
The Homosexuals New Conservatory Theatre Center, Decker Theatre, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 28. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs Philip Dawkins' play about a young man struggling with his identity amid a new group of friends.
Lovebirds Marsh San Francisco Studio, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $20-100. Fri/30, 8pm; Sat/31, 8:30pm. Award-winning solo theater artist Marga Gomez brings her hit comedy back for a limited run before taking it to New York in June.
Pearls Over Shanghai Hypnodrome Theatre, 575 10th St, SF; www.thrillpeddlers.com. $30-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Extended through June 28. Five years ago, Thrillpeddlers breathed new life into a glitter-dusted piece of Sixties flotsam, beautifully reimagining the Cockettes' raunchy mock-operetta Pearls Over Shanghai (in collaboration with several surviving members of San Francisco's storied acid-drag troupe) and running it for a whopping 22 months. Written by Cockette Link Martin as a carefree interpretation of a 1926 Broadway play, the baldly stereotyped Shanghai Gesture, it was the perfectly lurid vehicle for irreverence in all directions. It's back in this revival, once again helmed by artistic director Russell Blackwood with musical direction by Cockette and local favorite Scrumbly Koldewyn. But despite the frisson of featuring some original-original cast members — including "Sweet Pam" Tent (who with Koldewyn also contributes some new dialogue) and Rumi Missabu (regally reprising the role of Madam Gin Sling) — there's less fire the second time around as the production straddles the line between carefully slick and appropriately sloppy. Nevertheless, there are some fine musical numbers and moments throughout. Among these, Zelda Koznofsky, Birdie-Bob Watt, and Jesse Cortez consistently hit high notes as the singing Andrews Sisters-like trio of Americans thrown into white slavery; Bonni Suval's Lottie Wu is a fierce vixen; and Noah Haydon (as the sultry Petrushka) is a class act. Koldewyn's musical direction and piano accompaniment, meanwhile, provide strong and sure momentum as well as exquisite atmosphere. (Avila)
Seminar San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post, Second Flr, SF; www.sfplayhouse.org. $20-100. Tue-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun/1 and June 8, 2pm. Through June 14. San Francisco Playhouse performs Theresa Rebeck's biting comedy.
Shit & Champagne Rebel, 1772 Market, SF; shitandchampagne.eventbrite.com. $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; www.thespeakeasysf.com. $65-100 (gambling chips, $7-10 extra; after-hours admission, $10). Wed-Sat, 7:30, 7:40, 7:50, 8pm, and 9pm admittance times. Extended through June 21. 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)
36 Stories by Sam Shepard Z Below, 470 Florida, SF; www.36stories.org. $35-55. Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through June 22. Word for Word performs director Amy Kossow's original adaptation of Shepard's poetry and fiction.
Candida Town Hall Theatre, 3535 School, Lafayette; www.townhalltheatre.com. $20-32. Fri-Sat and June 12, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 14. Town Hall Theatre performs the Shaw classic.
The Color Purple Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 East Hillsdale, Foster City; www.hillbarntheatre.org. $23-38. Thu/29-Sat/31, 8pm; Sun/1, 2pm. Hillbarn Theatre closes its 73rd season with the musical adaptation of Alice Walker's classic novel.
The Crazed Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; www.centralworks.org. $15-28. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through June 23. Central Works performs Sally Dawidoff's play, based on Ha Jin's novel about coming of age in Communist China.
Daylighting: The Berkeley Stories Project Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; www.shotgunplayers.org. $20-35. Previews Wed/28-Thu/29, 7pm. Opens Fri/30, 8pm. Runs Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm (June 22, show at 2pm). Through June 22. Shotgun Players present Dan Wolf's new play inspired by real-life tales from Berkeley residents past and present.
"Fringe of Marin" Angelico Concert Hall, Dominican University, 20 Olive, San Rafael; www.fringeofmarin.com. $10-20. Schedule varies. Through Sun/1. Fringe of Marin celebrates its 33rd season with 11 original one-act plays presented in two programs.
The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $14.50-89. Tue, Thu-Sat, 7:30pm (also Thu/29, June 26, and all Saturdays in June, 2pm); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through June 29. Berkeley Rep performs the West Coast premiere of Tony Kushner's latest play.
The Letters Harry's UpStage, Aurora Theatre Company, 2081 Addison, Berk; www.auroratheatre.org. $28-32. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Extended through June 8. American playwright John W. Lowell's The Letters harkens back to Stalinist days and some unspecified ministry, where a dutiful staff goes about censoring the personal and openly homoerotic correspondence of an iconic Russian composer (Tchaikovsky). Directed by Mark Jackson for Aurora Theater's new upstairs black box, the two-hander unfolds in the small but tidy and dignified office belonging to the ministry's director (an imposing Michael Ray Wisely). He has summoned one of his employees, a widow named Anna (a taut Beth Wilmurt), for reasons not immediately clear to her or us. A careful dance around a minefield of protocol, sexual innuendo, and hidden agendas ensues, as a dangerous and deadly scandal surrounding the aforementioned letters makes itself felt. Given the Ukraine crisis, the ramping up of Cold War II, and Russia's increasing authoritarianism — including its new law against homosexual "propagandizing" in the cultural realm, and a Ministry of Culture vowing to withhold funding from art lacking in "spiritual or moral content" — it's all a remarkably timely little time warp. And Lowell's story is cleverly crafted for the most part. Unfortunately, the production's two capable actors have a hard time conveying a lifelike (if however strained) relationship or the perspiration-inducing tension the drama purports to carry. At the same time, the drama's dialogue, at least as played here, can stretch the bounds of verisimilitude by veering from flinty, cagey ducks and jabs to outright insubordination, sarcasm, and ineffectual blustering — the latter outbursts seeming to leave the pressure pot of the Great Terror far behind. It's still a long way from Tom and Jerry, but as a cat and mouse game the stakes, and the arc of the story, feel more fantastical then pressingly contemporary. (Avila)
Mutt: Let's All Talk About Race La Val's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; www.impacttheatre.com. $10-20. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through June 8. Impact Theatre and Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company present the world premiere of Christopher Chen's political satire.
Nantucket Marsh Berkeley MainStage, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $25-100 (all tickets include a picnic dinner). Thu and Sat, 7pm. Through June 14. Acclaimed solo performer Mark Kenward presents his "haunting yet hilarious" autobiographical show about growing up on Nantucket.
Not a Genuine Black Man Osher Studio, 2055 Center, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $30-45. Thu/29-Sat/31, 8pm. Brian Copeland brings his acclaimed, long-running solo show to Berkeley Rep for a 10th anniversary limited run.
Other Desert Cities Barn Theatre, 30 Sir Francis Drake, Ross; www.rossvalleyplayers.com. $10-26. Thu, 7:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through June 15. Ross Valley Players perform Jon Robin Baitz's Pultizer-nominated drama about a tense family holiday.
South Pacific Cushing Memorial Amphitheater, 801 Panoramic Hwy, Mill Valley; www.mountainplay.org. $20-60. Sun and June 7, 2pm (arrive one hour prior to showtime). Through June 15. Mountain Play Association performs the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; www.centerrep.org. $37-65. Wed, 7:30pm; Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Saturdays in June, 2:30pm); Sun, 2:30pm. Through June 21. Center REP performs the Tony-winning musical by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin.
"Alaska is a Drag" Intersection for the Arts, 925 Mission, SF; www.theintersection.org. Wed/28, 7pm. $5-15. The Big Table Read hosts this staged reading of Shaz Bennett's screenplay.
"The Amazing Acro-Cats" Fort Mason Center, Southside Theater, Marina at Laguna, SF; www.circuscats.com. Thu/29-Sat/31, 8:30pm; Sun/1, 2 and 5pm. $24. Samantha Martin and her performing cat troupe, including "the only cat band in existence" (with a chicken on tambourine), take the stage. As its press release insists, "Yes, this is real!"
"Auto(SOMA)tic: Creative Responses to the SOMA" Arc Studio and Gallery, 1246 Folsom, SF; www.kearnystreet.org. Sat/31, 10am and 2pm. $30. Kearny Street Workshop and Shaping San Francisco present Allan S. Manalo's interactive performance bus tour.
Caroline Lugo and Carolé Acuña's Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; www.carolinalugo.com. June 17, 22, 29, July 12, 19, and 27, 6:15pm. $15-19. Flamenco performance by the mother-daughter dance company, featuring live musicians.
"Dash: Improv in a Flash" Un-Scripted Theater Company, 533 Sutter, Second Flr, SF; www.un-scripted.com. Sat, 10pm. $15. Ongoing through Aug 30. A late-night, free-form improv show with Un-Scripted Theater Company.
"Dogeaters" ACT's Costume Shop, 1119 Market, SF; www.magictheatre.org. Mon/2, 7pm. Free. Magic Theatre's 2014 Martha Heasley Cox Virgin Play Series presents this staged reading of Jessica Hagedorn's satirical soap opera.
"Dream Queens Revue" Aunt Charlie's Lounge, 133 Turk, SF; www.dreamqueensrevue.com. Wed/28, 9:30pm. Free. Drag with Collette LeGrande, Ruby Slippers, Sophilya Leggz, Bobby Ashton, and more.
Feinstein's at the Nikko 222 Mason, SF; www.feinsteinssf.com. This week: "Michael Feinstein with Paula West, in Celebration of Feinstein's at the Nikko's One-Year Anniversary," Sun/1, 7pm, $80.
"Gender Assimilation: A Rebuttal" Stage Werx, 446 Valencia, SF; www.theygobythey.com. Thu/29, 7:30pm. $10. Jaq Victor performs a cheeky coming-out tale as part of the United States of Asian America Festival.
"Hysteria" Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF; www.dancemission.org. Fri/30-Sat/31, 8pm; Sun/1, 7pm. $20. BodiGram takes on Dissociative Identity Disorder in this satirical performance work.
"Magic at the Rex" Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter, SF; www.magicattherex.com. Sat, 8pm. Ongoing. $25. Magic and mystery with Adam Sachs and mentalist Sebastian Boswell III.
"Mais Oui" 2946 Third St, SF; www.sanfranciscobicycleballet.org. Sat/41, 6:45-10m. $8. The San Francisco Bicycle Ballet performs.
"Out of Line Improv" Stage Werx, 446 Valencia, SF; outoflineimprov.brownpapertickets.com. Sat, 10:30pm. $12. Ongoing. A new, completely improvised show every week.
"San Francisco Comedy College" Purple Onion at Kells, 530 Jackson, SF; www.purpleonionatkells.com. $5-10. "New Talent Show," Wed-Thu, 7. Ongoing. "The Cellar Dwellers," stand-up comedy, Wed-Thu, 8:15pm and Fri-Sat, 7:30pm. Ongoing.
"Spring: Water Ritual" Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Grand Lobby, 701 Mission, SF; www.ybca.org. Sat/31, 1-2:30pm. Free. Artist Dohee Lee performs a celebration of "the regenerative power of the ocean."
"Threepenny Opera" Phoenix Annex Theater, 414 Mason, Ste 406, SF; www.waffleopera.com. Sat/31, 7:30pm; Sun/1, 2pm. $15-25. Waffle Opera performs the Weill and Brecht classic.
"Walking Distance Dance Festival — SF" ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; www.odcdance.org. Fri/30-Sat/31, 7:30pm (also Sat/31, 3, 4, 6, and 9:30pm). $25 (festival pass, $65). ODC Theater's fringe-style fest presents samplings of contemporary dance from around the world.
"Yerba Buena Gardens Festival" Yerba Buena Gardens, 760 Howard, SF; www.ybgfestival.org. Free. Through Oct 26. This week: Will Magid Trio, Wed/29, 12:30-1:30pm; Ensemble Mik Nawooj, Sat/31, 1-2:30pm.
"After Juliet" Flight Deck, 1540 Broadway, Oakl; www.grittycityrep.org. Thu/29-Sat/31, 8pm; Sun/1, 2pm; June 8, 2 and 8pm. $5-25. Gritty City Repertory Youth Theatre performs Sharman Macdonald's drama.
"MarshJam Improv Comedy Show" Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. Fri, 8pm. Ongoing. $10. Improv comedy with local legends and drop-in guests.
"The Expulsion of Malcolm X" Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakl; www.brownpapertickets.com. Thu/29-Sat/31, 7:30pm (also Sat/31, 2:30pm). $30-40. A play exploring the rocky relationship between Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad.
Risa Jaroslow and Dancers, Peiling Kao Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, 2704 Alcatraz, Berk; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri/30-Sat/31, 8pm; Sun/1, 4pm. $15-18. The choreographers present What's the Upshot and Ludic Numerologies.
"34th Annual Planetary Dance" Santos Meadow, Mt. Tamalpais State Park, Mill Valley; www.planetarydance.org. Sun/1, 11am. Free. This year's theme of Anna Halprin's annual participatory performance is "Remember the Children." *