Theater Listings: January 29 - February 4, 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.
Hir Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldg D, Third Flr, SF; www.magictheatre.org. $20-60. Previews Wed/29-Sat/1, 8pm; Sun/2, 2:30pm; Mon/3, 7pm. Opens Tue/4, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm (no show Feb 5; additional show Feb 19, 2:30pm); Sun, 2:30pm (also Feb 9, 7pm); Feb 11, 7pm. Through Feb 23. Magic Theatre presents the world premiere of Taylor Mac's comedic drama about a woman determined to help her two wayward children succeed, while stretching the boundaries of her own gender identity
The Scion Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-60. Previews Thu/30-Fri/31, 8pm. Opens Sat/1, 5pm. Runs Thu-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through March 1. Brian Copeland's fourth solo show takes on "privilege, murder, and sausage."
Gideon's Knot Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; www.auroratheatre.org. $32-60. Previews Fri/31-Sat/1 and Feb 5, 8pm; Sun/2, 2pm; Tue/4, 7pm. Opens Feb 6, 8pm. Runs Tue, 7pm; Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through March 2. Aurora Theatre Company performs Johnna Adams' drama set within the tense atmosphere of a parent-teacher conference.
The House That Will Not Stand Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $29-59. Previews Fri/31-Sat/1 and Tue/4, 8pm; Sun/2, 7pm. Opens Feb 5, 8pm. Runs Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, Feb 13, and March 13, 2pm; no Sat matinee Feb 15); Wed, 7pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through March 16. Berkeley Rep performs the world premiere of Marcus Gardley's tale of free women of color in 1936 New Orleans.
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.
Hemorrhage: An Ablution of Hope and Despair Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF; www.dancemission.com. $20-25. Thu-Sat, 8pm (Feb 8, shows at 4 and 7pm); Sun, 6pm. Through Feb 8. Dance Brigade presents this "dance installation at the intersection of the new San Francisco and world politics."
Jerusalem San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post, SF; www.sfplayhouse.org. $20-100. Tue-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun/2, Feb 9, and 16, 2pm. Through March 8. SF Playhouse performs the West Coast premiere of Jez Butterworth's Tony- and Olivier-wining epic.
Lovebirds Marsh San Francisco Studio, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Thu-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Through March 15. Theater artist and comedian Marga Gomez presents the world premiere of her 10th solo show, described as "a rollicking tale of incurable romantics."
Major Barbara ACT's Geary Theater, 415 Geary, SF; www.act-sf.org. $20-140. Wed/29-Sat/1, 8pm (also Wed/29, 2pm); Sun/2, 2pm. American Conservatory Theater performs a new production of George Bernard Shaw's political comedy.
Noises Off Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; www.sheltontheater.org. $38. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 8. Shelton Theater presents Michael Frayn's outrageous backstage comedy.
The Oy of Sex Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $20-100. Sat, 5pm. Extended through Feb 22. Comedian Alicia Dattner performs her solo show, based on her stories from her own life and love addiction.
Pardon My Invasion Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, SF; pardonmyinvasion.brownpapertickets.com. $15-30. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun/2, 2pm. Through Feb 8. A pulp fiction writer's characters come to life in this dark comedy by Joy Cutler.
The Paris Letter New Conservatory Theater Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. $25-45. Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 23. New Conservatory Theatre Center performs Jon Robin Baitz's tale of a Wall Street powerhouse desperately trying to keep his sexual identity a secret.
The Pornographer's Daughter Z Below, 470 Florida, SF; www.zspace.org. $32. Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 10:30pm); Sun, 5pm. Through Feb 16. Liberty Bradford Mitchell was a good kid growing up, and a pretty innocent one — probably more than you would expect given her proximity to the family business, the veritable empire of porn founded and run by her father and uncle, San Francisco legends Artie and Jim Mitchell. Now in her 40s and a mother of her own, Mitchell proves a likeably earthy presence if a less-then-compelling actor-playwright in her new one-woman show, directed by Michael T. Weiss, a firsthand account of growing up in San Francisco's first family of raunch. Inseparable brothers Artie and Jim were the 1970s porn pioneers who founded the O'Farrell Theatre and road high in the industry, weathering court battles and substance abuse and divorce, but succumbing ultimately to their own lethal fallout — Jim Mitchell shot and killed Liberty's father Artie in 1991. The material here is rich to say the least, and together with generous and explicit excerpts from archival footage and classic porn (including the Mitchells' own era-defining Behind the Green Door, from 1972), it makes a fascinating bed for Liberty Mitchell's reminiscences. Musical accompaniment by three-person SF band the Fluffers, meanwhile, punctuates the chronology with blasts of period rock, though often just a few bars worth, and backs up Liberty on the a single, rather awkward musical number. Moreover, despite the keen interest the basic historical facts and family anecdotes can generate, Mitchell's filial narrative lens is only intermittently effective, being finally too pat, poorly drawn, and predictably sentimentalized to fully reverberate with the larger, almost archetypical or classical themes hovering nearby. (Avila)
"SF Sketchfest: The San Francisco Sketch Comedy Festival" Various venues, SF; www.sfsketchfest.com. Prices vary. Through Feb 9. This year's 13th Sketchfest features over 200 shows in more than 20 venues, featuring both big-name talents (Alan Arkin, Tenacious D, Laura Dern and the cast of Enlightened, Maya Rudolph, etc.) and up-and-comers, plus tributes to films, theatrical and musical events, improv showcases, and more. Much, much, much more.
Shit & Champagne Rebel, 1772 Market, SF; shitandchampagne.eventbrite.com. $25. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 8. D'Arcy Drollinger is Champagne White, bodacious blonde 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 sendup 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. $60-90 (add-ons: casino chips, $5; dance lessons, $10). Thu-Sat, 7:40, 7:50, and 8pm admittance times. Through March 15. Boxcar Theatre presents Nick A. Olivero's re-creation of a Prohibition-era saloon, resulting in an "immersive theatrical experience involving more than 35 actors, singers, and musicians."
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind Boxcar Playhouse, 505 Natoma, SF; www.sfneofuturists.com. $11-16. Fri/31, 9pm. Thirty plays in 60 minutes, with a show that varies each night, as performed by the Neo-Futurists.
Ubu Roi Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor, SF; www.cuttingball.com. $10-50. Opens Thu/30, 7:30pm (gala opening Fri/31, 8pm). Runs Thu, 7:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 5pm. Through Feb 23. Cutting Ball Theater performs Alfred Jarry's avant-garde parody of Shakespeare's Macbeth, presented in a new translation by Cutting Ball artistic director Rob Melrose.
The World's Funniest Bubble Show Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $8-11. Sun, 11am. Through March 9. The popular, kid-friendly show by Louis Pearl (aka "The Amazing Bubble Man") returns to the Marsh.
Can You Dig It? Back Down East 14th — the 60s and Beyond Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $20-35. Sat/1, 8:30pm; Sun/2, 7pm. Don Reed's new show offers more stories from his colorful upbringing in East Oakland in the 1960s and '70s. More hilarious and heartfelt depictions of his exceptional parents, independent siblings, and his mostly African American but ethnically mixed working-class community — punctuated with period pop, Motown, and funk classics, to which Reed shimmies and spins with effortless grace. And of course there's more too of the expert physical comedy and charm that made long-running hits of Reed's last two solo shows, East 14th and The Kipling Hotel (both launched, like this newest, at the Marsh). Can You Dig It? reaches, for the most part, into the "early" early years, Reed's grammar-school days, before the events depicted in East 14th or Kipling Hotel came to pass. But in nearly two hours of material, not all of it of equal value or impact, there's inevitably some overlap and indeed some recycling. Note: review from an earlier run of the show. (Avila)
Geezer Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; www.themarsh.org. $25-50. Thu, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through March 1. Geoff Hoyle moves his hit comedy about aging to the East Bay.
The Grapes of Wrath Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 E. Hillsdale, Foster City; www.hillbartheatre.org. $23-38. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 9. Hillbarn Theatre continues its 73rd season with Frank Galati's adaptation of John Steinbeck's classic American novel.
Man in a Case Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $45-125. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm; Wed, 7pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 16. Mikhail Baryshnikov returns to Berkeley Rep to star in a play based on a pair of Anton Chekhov's short stories, "Man in a Case" and "About Love." Obie-winning Big Dance Theater stages the high-tech adaptation.
Silent Sky TheatreWorks, Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; www.theatreworks.org. $19-73. Tue-Wed, 7:30pm; Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun 2 and 7pm. Through Feb 9. Lauren Gunderson's drama explores the life of groundbreaking early 20th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt.
Caroline Lugo and Carolé Acuña's Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; www.carolinalugo.com. Sat/1, Feb 8, 14, 16, 22, 6:15pm. $15-19. Flamenco performance by the mother-daughter dance company, featuring live musicians.
"Dance and Diaspora" ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; www.odcdance.org. Sat/1-Sun/2, 8pm. $25-35. Works by Persian artists Farima Berenji and Shahrzad Khorsandi.
"Does This Joke Make Me Look Fat?" Mutiny Radio, 2781 21st St, SF; www.mutinyradio.org. Fri/31, 8pm. $10. Also Sat/1, 5pm, $10, Purple Onion at Kells, 530 Jackson, SF; www.purpleonionatkells.com. Pam Benjamin performs her solo comedy show at two different venues. Aaron Barrett and Christopher Conatser open.
Feinstein's at the Nikko Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; www.feinsteinssf.com. This week: Anita Gillette in "After All," Thu/30, 8pm, $30-40; Leslie Jordan in "Fruit Fly," Fri/31, 8pm, $25-35; Terry White, Sat/1, 7pm, $25-30.
"Gang Bang Comedy Show" Playland, 1351 Polk, SF; www.playlandbar.com. Wed/29, 8pm. $10. Hella gay Comedy presents queer and queer-friendly stand-up with Charlie Ballard, Carrie Avritt, Jesus Fuentes, Yuri Kagen, and Sampson McCormick.
Jess Curtis/Gravity Joe Goode Annex, 401 Alabama, SF; www.joegoode.org. Thu/30-Sat/1, 8pm. $15-20. The company performs Performance Research Experiment #2.2.
"Live Yiddish Radio Show" Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission, SF; www.thecjm.org. Sun/2, 1-3pm. $20 (includes museum admission). Musicians, comedians, and actors combine their talents to re-create a Yiddish radio show as it might have sounded in the 1930s.
"Magic at the Rex" Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter, SF; www.magicattherex.com. Sat, 8pm. Ongoing. $30. Magic and mystery with Adam Sachs and mentalist Sebastian Boswell III.
"Point Break Live!" DNA Lounge, 373 11th St, SF; www.dnalounge.com. Feb 7, March 7, and 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)
"The Romane Event Comedy Show" Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St, SF; www.pacoromane.com. Wed/29, 8pm. $10. With Paco Romane, Jules Posner, Matt Gubser, Rajeev Dhar, Cameron Vaninni, Joey Devine, and host Nicole Calasich.
"This Boy is Just So Strange" Eric Quezada Center, 518 Valencia, SF; www.518valencia.org. Sat/1, 8pm; Sun/2, 3pm. Free. Original songs and monologues with Tommi Avicolli Mecca, Joel Mark, and Diana Hartman.
"Untitled Feminist Show" Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Lam Research Theater, 700 Howard, SF; www.ybca.org. Thu/30-Sat/1, 8pm. $30-35. Playwright and director Young Jean Lee's latest work "shakes up gender norms through movement and music."
Company C Contemporary Ballet Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; www.companycballet.org. Thu/30-Sat/1, 8pm (also Sat/1, 3pm). Also Feb 13-14, 8pm; Feb 15, 6pm (benefit gala); Feb 16, 3pm. $25-48. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Lam Research Theater, 701 Mission, SF; www.companycballet.org. The company's winter program includes premieres by Susan Jaffe and Charles Anderson.
Diablo Ballet Shadelands Arts Center, 111 N. Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek; www.diabloballet.org. Fri/31-Sat/1, 8pm (also Sat/1, 2pm). $29-34. The company's 20th anniversary season continues with its Emotions Into Movement program.
"Die Fledermaus" Napa Valley Performing Arts Center, Yountville; www.lincolntheater.com. Sat/1, 8pm; Sun/2, 2pm. $15-59. Lamplighters Music Theatre (noted for its Gilbert and Sullivan productions) performs Johann Strauss' "bubbly tale of revenge and temptation." Continues at Bay Area theaters through Feb 23; visit www.lamplighters.org for future dates.
"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.
Martha Graham Dance Company Zellerbach Hall, Bancroft at Telegraph, UC Berkeley, Berk; www.calperformances.org. Fri/31-Sat/1, 8pm. $30-92. Performing Appalachian Spring (1944), Cave of the Heart (1946), and Maple Leaf Rag (1990). *