Theater Listings: February 5 - 11, 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 email@example.com.
Feisty Old Jew Marsh San Francisco Main Stage, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $25-100. Opens Sat/8, 8pm. Runs Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm (March 2, performance at 2pm; March 9, performance will be a reading of Charlie Varon's Fish Sisters). Through March 16. Charlie Varon performs his latest solo show, a fictional comedy about "a 20th century man living in a 21st century city."
Indian Summer Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.wehavemet.org. $20-40. Opens Thu/6, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun/6, 2pm. Through March 1. Multi Ethnic Theater performs Charles Johnson's new comedy drama set in the racially-divided South, circa the 1980s.
"The Love Edition: Love Bytes" Bindlestiff Studio, 185 Sixth St, SF; facebook.com/TheLoveEdition. $10-20. Opens Thu/6, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 22. Bindlestiff performs six different tales about online dating, loneliness in the cyber age, Google stalking, and other modern-day matters of the heart.
Escanabe in da Moonlight Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck, Berk; www.theatrefirst.com. $10-30. Previews Thu/6, 8pm. Opens Fri/7, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through March 8. TheatreFIRST performs Jeff Daniels' raucous comedy.
An Ideal Husband Douglas Morrison Theatre, 22311 N. Third St, Hayward; www.dmtonline.org. $10-29. Previews Thu/6, 8pm. Opens Fri/7, 8pm. Runs Fri-Sat and Feb 27, 8pm (also Feb 22, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through March 2. Douglas Morrison Theatre performs Scott Munson's adaptation of the Oscar Wilde classic, reset in 1959 Washington, DC.
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/6-Fri/7, 8pm; Sat/8, 4 and 7pm. Dance Brigade presents this "dance installation at the intersection of the new San Francisco and world politics."
Hir Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldg D, Third Flr, SF; www.magictheatre.org. $20-60. Wed-Sat, 8pm (no show Wed/5; additional show Feb 19, 2:30pm); Sun, 2:30pm (also Sun/9, 7pm); Tue/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
Jerusalem San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post, SF; www.sfplayhouse.org. $20-100. Tue-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun/9 and Feb 16, 2pm. Through March 8. SF Playhouse presents the West Coast premiere of English playwright Jez Butterworth's West End and Broadway hit, a three-act revel led by a larger-than-life rebel, a stout boozed-up drug-dealer, habitual fabulist, and latter-day Digger of sorts named Johnny "Rooster" Byron (Brian Dykstra). The dominion of this Falstaffian giant is the English countryside outside his squalid trailer door, not far from Stonehenge, where he seems to incarnate a rather dissipated version of an ancient English independence, like one of the great mythical beings of rural lore. Aptly enough, it's Saint George's Day, the feast day of England's national saint, but it's not all a party this time around. Authorities have issued a final 24-hour eviction notice on Rooster's tin door; there are luxury apartments in the works; and there's concern in town about the underage teens who flock to Rooster like so many fledglings — one, in particular, has gone missing: Phaedra (Julia Belanoff), who we see at the very outset of the play donning a fairy costume and singing the title song, based on the Blake poem and England's unofficial national anthem. The next 24 hours will be either the breaking point or the apotheosis for all Rooster has made himself out to be. In Butterworth's big-eyed comedy, we are meant to feel a stake in this outcome whether we actually like Rooster or not — his independence, the scope of his life and vision, suggests the outer limit of possibility in an ever more disciplined and circumscribed world. Director Bill English (who also designed the impressive bucolic-trailer-park set) and his large cast (which includes a strong Ian Scott McGregor as longtime Rooster sidekick, Ginger) dive into the comedy with gusto. But somehow the drama, the larger stakes in the storyline, falls short. A certain requisite intensity and momentum are only fitfully achieved. Dykstra, as the expansive antihero, has the biggest burden here. And while he has an appealing swagger throughout, his wayward brogue and unconvincing bellicosity undercut the culmination of the play's (admittedly somewhat overwrought) mythopoeic proportions. (Avila)
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."
Noises Off Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; www.sheltontheater.org. $38. Thu/6-Sat/8, 8pm. 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/6-Sat/8, 8pm. 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)
The Scion Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-60. Thu-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through March 1. Brian Copeland's fourth solo show takes on "privilege, murder, and sausage."
"SF Sketchfest: The San Francisco Sketch Comedy Festival" Various venues, SF; www.sfsketchfest.com. Prices vary. Through Sun/9. This year's 13th Sketchfest features over 200 shows in more than 20 venues.
Shit & Champagne Rebel, 1772 Market, SF; shitandchampagne.eventbrite.com. $25. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Extended through March 1. 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 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. $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."
Ubu Roi Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor, SF; www.cuttingball.com. $10-50. 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.
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.
Gideon's Knot Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; www.auroratheatre.org. $32-60. Previews Wed/5, 8pm. Opens Thu/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 Grapes of Wrath Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 E. Hillsdale, Foster City; www.hillbartheatre.org. $23-38. Fri/7-Sat/8, 8pm; Sun/9, 2pm. Hillbarn Theatre continues its 73rd season with Frank Galati's adaptation of John Steinbeck's classic American novel.
The House That Will Not Stand Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; www.berkeleyrep.org. $29-59. Opens Wed/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.
The Laramie Project Masquers Playhouse, 105 Park Place, Point Richmond; www.masquers.org. $22. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 22. Masquers Playhouse performs the theatrical collage about the real-life hate-crime murder of Matthew Shepard.
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. It's a desultory country evening among friends — Belikov (Mikhail Baryshnikov), Barbara (Tymberly Canale), Ivan (Chris Giarmo), Burkin (Paul Lazar), and Kovalenko (Aaron Mattocks) — who chatter and quibble among themselves, just dying for a good story. Two tales eventually unfold, becoming the basis for an effervescent and emotive theatrical outing in this canny, elegant adaptation of Anton Chekhov's "Man in a Case" and "About Love" by co-directors Paul Lazar and Annie-B Parson of Big Dance Theater. In a style that revels in what it reveals, the action centers around a long table to the left of the stage, at the far end of which sound designer Tei Blow manages sound effects and Jeff Larson triggers video projections from his laptop. (Peter Ksander's attractive, non-naturalist scenic design comes animated throughout by a discerning array of choice foley work and atmospheric video projections.) With each humorous and wistful story, the stage expands in unexpected ways, thanks to Parson's vibrant choreography, the shape-shifting mise-en-scene, golden-throated musical director Giarmo's exquisite score (much of it delivered live), and the superbly unaffected acting and supple movement of the cast. Acting the leads in both stories, Baryshnikov etches his respective characters with a masterful hand and a light step, making for a vivid presence at every turn. Opposite him each time, Canale's luminous vitality proves a perfect match. But this is truly an ensemble effort, and the fine result produces a poignant, moody combination of the earthy and sublime. (Avila)
Quality of Life Pear Avenue Theatre, 1220 Pear, Mtn View; www.thepear.org. $10-35. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 23. Pear Avenue Theatre performs Jane Anderson's play about two couples coming to grips with losses in their lives.
Silent Sky TheatreWorks, Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View; www.theatreworks.org. $19-73. Wed/5, 7:30pm; Thu/6-Sat/8, 8pm (also Sat/8, 2pm); Sun/9, 2 and 7pm. Lauren Gunderson's drama explores the life of groundbreaking early 20th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt.
"All Aunt Hagar's Children" JCC of San Francisco, 3200 California, SF; www.zspace.org. Mon/10, 7pm. $15. Word for Word presents this "Off the Page" staged reading of a story by Pulitzer winner Edward P. Jones.
"ASKEW Film and Performance Festival" Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; www.ybca.org. Thu/6-Sat/8, 7pm. $8-10. Femina Potens Art Gallery presents this festival of performance and activism via film and performance.
Aszure Barton and Artists Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Lam Research Theater, 700 Howard, SF; www.sfperformances.org. Fri/7-Sat/8, 7:30pm. $35-50. The Bay Area debut of this Canadian choreographer includes the celebrated work Awáa.
"The Big Buttery Sketch Show" Exit Theater, 156 Eddy, SF; www.pianofight.com. Fri/7-Sat/8 and Feb 14-15, 8pm. $20-30. PianoFight Productions' female-driven sketch comedy group Chardonnay (formerly ForePlays) performs.
"Bill and Lenny" and "Swimming to Romulous" ACT's Costume Shop, 1117 Market, SF; www.strangerx.com. Fri/7-Sat/8, 8pm. $10. Tim Green and Chris Plflueger star in Strange Prescription's West Coast premiere of Bill and Lenny; companion play is a Star Trek-themed Spalding Grey homage by Richard Ciccarone.
Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now This week: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF; www.bcfhereandnow.com. Sun/9, 11am-5pm. 50 cents. The festival kicks off its 10th anniversary with "50 Cent Tabernacle," featuring Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Robert Moses, and Nora Chipaumire. Performances continue through March 8.
"The Buddy Club Chilren's Shows" Randall Museum Theater, 199 Museum Wy, SF; www.thebuddyclub.com. Sun/9, 11am-noon. $8. Cowgirl tricks with Karen Quest. Also Sun/9, 11am-noon, $8, JCC of the East Bay, 1414 Walnut, Berk. The Brian Waite Band performs "Tour to the Center of the Earth!" Also Sun/9, 11:30am-12:30pm, $8, Kanbar Center for the Performing Arts, 200 N San Pedro, San Rafael. Family comedy improv with Kenn Adams' Adventure Theater.
"Carbon Song Cycle" Joe Goode Performance Annex, 401 Alabama, SF; carbonsongcycle.brownpapertickets.com. Fri/7-Sat/8, 8pm. $12-25. Composer Pamela Z and artist Christina McPhee present the SF premiere of their work for chamber ensemble and expanded cinema.
Caroline Lugo and Carolé Acuña's Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; www.carolinalugo.com. Sat/8, Feb 14, 16, 22, March 1, 8, 16, 22, and 30, 6:15pm. $15-19. Flamenco performance by the mother-daughter dance company, featuring live musicians.
"Chinese Whispers: Heritage of Hope" Aboard the Balclutha, Hyde St Pier, SF; nps.gov/safr. Sat/8, 2-4pm. Free with $5 boarding pass (free for accompanied children under 16). Storytelling, presentations, and interactive activites about Chinese immigrant heritage highlight this Lunar New Year celebration aboard the historic ship.
"Comedy Bottle" Purple Onion at Kells, 530 Jackson, SF; www.purpleonionatkells.com. Fri/7-Sat/8, 7pm. $10. With headliner Lyall Behrens.
"Curves N Cupcakes Comedy Tour" Punch Line San Francisco, 444 Battery, SF; www.punchlinecomedyclub.com. Tue/11, 8pm. $15. All-female lineup of comedians with host Queenie TT.
"Factory Parts II" NOH Space, 2840 Mariposa, SF; www.foolsfury.org. Fri/7-Sat/8, 8pm (also Sat/8, 5pm). $15. FoolsFURY presents the latest in its series of work-in-progress performances by cutting-edge companies, including Los Altos' ACME Performance Project, SF's Affinity Project, and Palo Alto's Arc: hive.
Feinstein's at the Nikko Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason, SF; www.feinsteinssf.com. This week: Lady Rizo in "Violet," Thu/6-Fri/7, 8pm, $25-35; John Bucchino in "The Music of John Bucchino," Sat/8, 7pm, $25-35.
"How I Lost My Virginity at 29 and Other Embarrassing Tales" Stage Werx, 446 Valencia, SF; www.stagewerx.org. Sun/9-Mon/10, 7pm. $15. Brian Schiller performs his coming-of-age comedy.
"Love Bites: Down the Hatch!" Martuni's, 4 Valencia, SF; lgcsf.org/whats-new. Sun/9, 4pm; Mon/10, 7:30pm. $10. The Lesbian Gay Chorus of San Francisco performs solo, duet, and small-group numbers.
"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.
"ODC/Dance Unplugged" ODC Dance Commons Studio B, 351 Shotwell, SF; www.odctheater.org. Fri/7, 7pm. $25. Work-in-progress performance of the Andy Goldsworthy-inspired boulders and bones, set to premiere this spring.
"Point Break Live!" DNA Lounge, 373 11th St, SF; www.dnalounge.com. Fri/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)
"Pop! A Night of Pop Cabaret" Martuni's, 4 Valencia, SF; (415) 241-0205. Sun/9, 7pm. $7. Cabaret with Essie Hyun, Jesse Cortez, Alexander Concas, Gilbert Beltran, and pianist Katy Stephan.
"Shotz: Winter Games" Tides Theatre, 533 Sutter, SF; www.amiosnyc.com. Tue/11, 8pm. $10. Seven plays, five minutes each, created in less than a month, and united under the theme "Winter Games." Also required: a plot twist in which "someone must fail at something" and the line "This is the absolute best!" must be used.
"Writers with Drinks" Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St, SF; www.makeoutroom.com. Sat/8, 7:30pm. $5-10. With Jeff VanderMeer, Lucy Corin, Marian Szczepanski, and Lisa Evans.
"Boomeraging: From LSD to OMG!" Angelica's Bell 2 Dining Room, 863 Main, Redwood City; www.angelicasllc.com. Wed/5, 8pm. $10-15. Will Durst performs his Boomer-centric comedy show.
Company C Contemporary Ballet Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Lam Research Theater, 701 Mission, SF; www.companycballet.org. Feb 13-14, 8pm; Feb 15, 6pm (benefit gala); Feb 16, 3pm. $25-48. The company's winter program includes premieres by Susan Jaffe and Charles Anderson.
"Cosmic Variety Show" Open Secret, 923 C St, San Rafael; bit.ly/CosmicVarietyShow. Sat/8, 8pm. $12-15. Magic, belly dance, storytelling, and more.
"Die Fledermaus" Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St, Livermore; www.bankheadtheater.org. Sat/8, 8pm; Sun/9, 2pm. $22.50-47. 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.
"Ebb + Flow 2014" Lisser Theater, Mills College, 5000 MacArthur, Oakl; www.mills.edu. Fri/7, 8pm. $10. The Mills College Dance Alumni Group presents its third annual showcase of choreographers who hail from the Mills community, including Jalila Bell, Rebekah Brown, Garth Grimball, and others.
"In Search of My Father ... Walkin' Talkin' Bill Hawkins" Performing Arts Bldg Studio Theatre, College of Marin, Sir Francis Drake at Laurel, Kentfield; www.marin.edu. Thu/6-Sat/8, 8pm; Sun/9, 2pm. $10-25. W. Allen Taylor performs his acclaimed solo show.
"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.
"Q.U.E.E.N. From Throne to Altar" Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakl; www.mixdingrdnts.com. Fri/7-Sat/8, 8pm (also Sat/8, 2pm). $25. Mix'd Ingrdnts Dance Company performs its second full-length show, which takes a look at "how society views women and how we are creating or saying what a queen is to us." *