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. For further information on how to submit items for the listings, see Picks.
Blue/Orange Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 450 Post, SF; (415) 474-8800, www.lhtsf.org. $43-53. Previews Wed/8-Fri/10, 8pm. Opens Sat/11, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm). Through March 18. Lorraine Hansberry Theatre performs Joe Penhall's comedic drama about a hospital patient who claims to be the son of an African dictator.
52 Man Pick Up Brava Theater, 2781 24th St, SF; (415) 647-2822, www.brava.org. $10-25. Opens Tues/14, 8pm. Runs Thurs-Sat, Feb 15, and Feb 27, 8pm. Through March 3. Desiree Butch performs her solo show about a deck of cards' worth of sexual encounters.
Geezer Marsh San Francisco, MainStage, 1062 Valencia, SF; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org. $25-100. Opens Thurs/9, 8pm. Runs Thurs and Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through March 18. Geoff Hoyle's hit solo show returns.
A Doctor in Spire of Himself Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Roda Theatre, 2015 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $14.50-73. Previews Fri/10-Sat/11 and Tues/14, 8pm; Sun/12, 7pm. Opens Feb 15, 8pm. Runs Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Thurs and Sat, 2pm; no matinees Feb 16, Feb 25, March 1, 8, and 15; no show March 23); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through March 25. Berkeley Rep performs a contemporary update of the Molière comedy.
Cabaret Young Performers Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Bldc C, Room 300, Marina at Laguna, SF; (415) 381-1638, cabaretsf.wordpress.com. $25-45. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Feb 19. Shakespeare at Stinson and Independent Cabaret Productions perform the Kander and Ebb classic in an intimate setting.
Glengarry Glen Ross Actors Theatre of San Francisco, 855 Bush, SF; (415) 345-1287, www.brownpapertickets.com. $26-40. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through March 24. David Mamet's cutthroat comedy, courtesy of the Actors Theatre of San Francisco.
Higher Theater at Children's Creativity Museum, 221 Howard, SF; (415) 749-2228, www.act-sf.org. $10-65. Tues-Sat, 8pm (also Wed, Sat-Sun, 2pm; no matinee Wed/8). Through Feb 19. American Conservatory Theatre presents Carey Perloff's smart and sexy world premiere.
Jesus in India Magic Theatre, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; www.magictheatre.org. $20-55. Tues, 7pm; Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Feb 18, 2:30pm); Sun, 2:30pm. Through Feb 19. Lloyd Suh's American Hwangap is still one of Magic's strongest premieres in recent years, an intriguingly funny and affecting cross-cultural tale of an absent Korean father's return to the family he abandoned in West Texas 15 years earlier. Suh's latest makes a disappointing contrast. There's again an absent father (or two) and a sense of dislocation, but Suh's "Jesus in India" does little or nothing with them. Director Daniella Topol assembles a bright cast headed by musically adept charmer Damon Daunno — on Michael Locher's colorful, all-encompassing street mosaic set (comprised of floor-to-wall stickers, spray-paint, and mandalas around a central thicket of abandoned bicycle wheels) — but it all serves an insipid chronicle of the deity's wayward teen years, which are spent getting high and playing in a punk band in India. Pure irreverence might have been worthwhile, but the "dude, fuckin' &ldots; dude" humor here — one-note and rarely that funny — comes yoked to a fourth-quarter theme (basically a Henry IV thing, the sowing of wild oats ahead of the taking on of a "king's" responsibilities) that proves even sketchier, not to mention out-of-step with these deliberately leaderless times. (Avila)
*Little Brother Gough Street Playhouse, 1620 Gough, SF; www.custommade.org. $25-32. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Feb 25. Custom Made Theatre Co. performs Josh Costello's adaptation of Cory Doctorow's San Francisco-set thriller.
Not Getting Any Younger Marsh San Francisco, Studio Theater, 1062 Valencia, SF; (415) 826-5750, www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5 and 8:30pm. Extended through Feb 25. Marga Gomez is back at the Marsh, a couple of too-brief decades after inaugurating the theater's new stage with her first solo show — an apt setting, in other words, for the writer-performer's latest monologue, a reflection on the inevitable process of aging for a Latina lesbian comedian and artist who still hangs at Starbucks and can't be trusted with the details of her own Wikipedia entry. If the thought of someone as perennially irreverent, insouciant, and appealingly immature as Gomez makes you depressed, the show is, strangely enough, the best antidote. (Avila)
Olivia's Kitchen Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.generationtheatre.com. $20-40. Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Feb 19. GenerationTheatre offers this "remix" of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
Private Parts SF Playhouse, Stage 2, 533 Sutter, SF; www.sfplayhouse.org. $20. Thurs, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 25. Graham Gremore performs his autobiographical solo comedy.
*True West Boxcar Studios, 125A Hyde, SF; (415) 967-2227, www.boxcartheatre.org. $25. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through April 7. The first installment of Boxcar Theatre's four-play Sam Shepard repertory project, True West ushers in the ambitious run with a bang. This tale of two brothers who gradually assume the role of the other is one of Shepard's most enduring plays, rich with humorous interludes, veering sharply into dangerous terrain at the drop of a toaster. In time-honored, True West tradition, the lead roles of Austin, the unassuming younger brother, and Lee, his violent older sibling, are being alternated between Nick A. Olivero and Brian Trybom, and in a new twist, the role of the mother is being played by two different actresses as well (Adrienne Krug and Katya Rivera). The evening I saw it, Olivero was playing Austin, a writer banging away at his first screenplay, and Trybom was Lee, a troubled, alcoholic drifter who usurps his brother's Hollywood shot, and trashes their mother's home while trying to honor his as yet unwritten "contract". The chemistry between the two actors was a perfect blend of menace and fraternity, and the extreme wreckage they make of both the set (designed by both actors), and their ever-tenuous relationship, was truly inspired. (Gluckstern)
*Vice Palace: The Last Cockettes Musical Thrillpeddlers' Hypnodrome, 575 10th St, SF; (415) 377-4202, www.thrillpeddlers.com. $30-35. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through March 3. Hot on the high heels of a 22-month run of Pearls Over Shanghai, the Thrillpeddlers are continuing their Theatre of the Ridiculous revival with a tits-up, balls-out production of the Cockettes' last musical, Vice Palace. Loosely based on the terrifyingly grim "Masque of the Red Death" by Edgar Allan Poe, part of the thrill of Palace is the way that it weds the campy drag-glamour of Pearls Over Shanghai with the Thrillpeddlers' signature Grand Guignol aesthetic. From an opening number set on a plague-stricken street ("There's Blood on Your Face") to a charming little cabaret about Caligula, staged with live assassinations, an undercurrent of darkness runs like blood beneath the shameless slapstick of the thinly-plotted revue. As plague-obsessed hostess Divina (Leigh Crow) and her right-hand "gal" Bella (Eric Tyson Wertz) try to distract a group of stir-crazy socialites from the dangers outside the villa walls, the entertainments range from silly to salacious: a suggestively-sung song about camel's humps, the wistful ballad "Just a Lonely Little Turd," a truly unexpected Rite of Spring-style dance number entitled "Flesh Ballet." Sumptuously costumed by Kara Emry, cleverly lit by Nicholas Torre, accompanied by songwriter/lyricist (and original Cockette) Scrumbly Koldewyn, and anchored by a core of Thrillpeddler regulars, Palace is one nice vice. (Gluckstern)
*Vigilance Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason, SF; (415) 335-6087, secondwind.8m.com. $20-25. Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Feb 25. Ian Walker (The Tender King) directs a sharp revival of his own lucid, involving 2000 domestic drama about three households brought to the brink by the arrival of a menacing working-class loner. Seamlessly staged in a single pair of rooms (designed by Fred Sharkey) representing all three suburban middle-class homes — as well as downstage on the street where dream-home lottery winner Duncan (an imposing Steven Westdahl) throws his beer cans and leers at the wives and children — Vigilance begins with three friends meeting under the pretext of a poker game. Host Virgil (played with gruff charm by a commanding Mike Newman) is a 30-something husband, father, and guy's guy whose Montana-grown libertarian machismo compensates for the agro of a stormy marriage and rocky finances. He talks the suggestible, nebbishy Bert (a slyly humorous Ben Ortega) and the equally nerdy but independent-minded Dick (a nicely layered Stephen Muterspaugh) into forming a "committee" to deal with the troublesome Duncan. Walker's well-honed dialogue brings out the false notes in the supposed pre-Duncan harmony right away, especially in the volatile arguments between Virgil and wife Marla (a sure Natalie Palan Walker) and the passive but more troubled confrontations between Dick and his distant, frustrated wife Cathy (a subtly fraught Kim Stephenson). While the insular, repressed lives of the moderately well off come across well, Duncan's final monologue is a compressed, if dramatically necessary, attempt at voicing the other side. Vigilance strikes best at the buried politics of marriage and friendship, the latter further invoked in the concerned intervention of cop and childhood friend Frank (a sympathetic Leon Goertzen). (Avila)
Waiting for Godot Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa, SF; (415) 336-3522, www.tidestheatre.org. $20-38. Thurs-Sat, 8pm. Through Feb 18. The fuchsia papier-mâché tree and swirling grey-on-white floor pattern (courtesy of scenic designer Richard Colman) lend a psychedelic accent to the famously barren landscape inhabited by Vladimir (Keith Burkland) and Estragon (Jack Halton) in this production of the Samuel Beckett play by newcomers Tides Theatre. Director (and Tides' producing artistic director) Jennifer Welch layers the avant-garde classic with some audio accents as well (although Jon Bernson's minimalist industrial soundscape is a bit low in the mix to be very effective). More compelling is the gentle, sad humor and couched intelligence captured expertly by Halton in the circular but deliberate rhythms of his hapless tramp. Burkland as pal Vladimir exudes a palpable presence as well, though lacks the same focus. Timing is all in vaudeville — the parallel universe from whence these tangible modernist archetypes hail — as well as in a play whose plot goes intentionally nowhere, or rather loops back on itself in an implied dance with eternity. The halting aspect to Tides' staging gets compounded with the arrival of brash whip-cracker Pozzo (a suitably stentorian but inconsistent Duane Lawrence) and his pitiful slave Lucky (a haunted, generally sharp Renzo Ampuero, made up to look like a goth doll à la some Tim Burton movie). That said, the best moments here broadcast the brooding beauty of the play, with its purposely vague but readily familiar world of viciousness, servility, trauma, want, fear, grudging compassion, and the daring, fragile humor that can look it all squarely in the eye. (Avila)
The Waiting Period MainStage, Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org. $15-50. Fri, 8pm; Sat, 5pm. Through March 24. Brian Copeland returns with a new solo show about his struggles with depression.
Arms and the Man Lesher Center for the Arts, Margaret Lesher Theater, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; (925) 943-7469, www.centerrep.org. $38-43. Wed, 7:30pm; Thurs-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2:30pm. Through Feb 25. Center REPertory Company presents George Bernard Shaw's classic romantic comedy.
Body Awareness Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison, Berk; (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org. $34-55. Tues, 7pm; Wed-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through March 4. Aurora Theatre performs Annie Baker's comedy.
Counter Attack! Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; (510) 444-4755, ext. 114, www.stagebridge.org. $18-25. Wed-Thurs, 7:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Sun, 2pm. Through March 4. Stagebridge presents the world premiere of Joan Holden's waitress-centric play.
Ghost Light Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Thrust Stage, 2025 Addison, Berk; (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org. $14.50-73. Tues, Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat and Feb 16, 2pm); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Sun, 2pm). Through Feb 19. Berkeley Rep performs Tony Taccone's world-premiere play about George Moscone's assassination, directed by the late San Francisco mayor's son, Jonathan Moscone.
*The Kipling Hotel: True Misadventures of the Electric Pink '80s New venue: Marsh Berkeley, 2120 Allston, Berk; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Extended through March 25. This new autobiographical solo show by Don Reed, writer-performer of the fine and long-running East 14th, is another slice of the artist's journey from 1970s Oakland ghetto to comedy-circuit respectability — here via a partial debate-scholarship to UCLA. The titular Los Angeles residency hotel was where Reed lived and worked for a time in the 1980s while attending university. It's also a rich mine of memory and material for this physically protean and charismatic comic actor, who sails through two acts of often hilarious, sometimes touching vignettes loosely structured around his time on the hotel's young wait staff, which catered to the needs of elderly patrons who might need conversation as much as breakfast. On opening night, the episodic narrative seemed to pass through several endings before settling on one whose tidy moral was delivered with too heavy a hand, but if the piece runs a little long, it's only the last 20 minutes that noticeably meanders. And even with some awkward bumps along the way, it's never a dull thing watching Reed work. (Avila)
The Pitman Painters TheatreWorks at Mountain View Center for the Arts, 500 Castro, SF; (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org. $19-69. Wed/8, 7:30pm; Thurs/9-Sat/11, 8pm (also Sat/11, 2pm); Sun/12, 2 and 7pm. TheatreWorks performs a new comedy from the author of Billy Elliot about a group of British miners who become art world sensations.
A Steady Rain Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller, SF; (415) 388-5208, www.marintheatre.org. $34-55. Tues and Thurs-Sat, 8pm (also Sat/11 and Feb 25, 2pm; Feb 16, 1pm); Wed, 7:30pm; Sun, 2 and 7pm. Through Feb 26. Marin Theatre Company performs Keith Huff's neo-noir drama.
The World's Funniest Bubble Show Marsh Berkeley, TheaterStage, 2120 Allston, Berk; (415) 826-5750, www.themarsh.org. $8-50. Extended run: Sun/12, Feb 19, 26, March 11, and 18, 11am. Louis "The Amazing Bubble Man" Pearl returns with this kid-friendly, bubble-tastic comedy.
"Elect to Laugh" Studio Theater, Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; (415) 282-3055, www.themarsh.org. Tues, 8pm. Ongoing through Nov 6. $15-50. Will Durst and friends perform in this weekly political humor show that focuses on the upcoming presidential election.
"Epic Romance" Bayfront Theater, B350 Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; (415) 474-6776, www.improv.org. Tues/14, 8pm. $25. BATS Improv taps its collective quick-wit talents to conjure a romantic play on the spot.
"The Eric Show" Milk Bar, 1840 Haight, SF; www.milksf.com. Tues, 8pm (ongoing). $5. Local comedians perform with host Eric Barry.
"How We First Met" Marines' Memorial Theatre, 609 Sutter, SF; www.howwefirstmet.com. Tues/14, 8pm. $40-75. Jill Bourque's long-running holiday tradition is inspired by audience members' real-life tales of romance.
"The I Hate Valentine's Day Show" Dark Room, 2263 Mission, SF; www.crackpotcrones.com. Tues/14, 8pm; Feb 19, 5pm. $20. "Sketch comedy and improv as a public service for the romantically challenged" with Crackpot Crones Terry Baum and Carolyn Myers.
"It's Got to Be Love" Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, SF; (415) 392-4400, www.cityboxoffice.com. Mon/13-Tues/14, 8pm. $20. Craig Jessup sings Rodgers, Hart, Gershwin, and Sondheim to benefit the San Francisco Arts Education Project.
"Love Bites — and So Did the '80s" Mission Cultural Center, 2868 Mission, SF; www.lgcsf.org. Fri/10-Sat/11, 8pm. $15-30. The Lesbian/Gay Chorus of San Francisco celebrates the neon decade with this cabaret and musical extravaganza.
"Mortified! Doomed Valentine's Show" DNA Lounge, 375 11th St, SF; www.getmortified.com. Fri/10, 7:30pm. $21. Also Sat/11, 8pm, $20, Shattuck Down Low, 2184 Shattuck, Berk. The awkward storytelling series returns with a romance-gone-awry theme.
"Our Feet Speak the Rhythms of Our Hearts" Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF; (415) 345-7575, www.fortmason.org. Sat/11, 8pm; Sun/12, 3pm. $15-25. Tango and More Argentine Dance and World Arts West present this event featuring six ethnic dance companies, including La Tania, Ensembles Ballet Folklórico de San Francisco, Valverde Dance, Barbary Coast Cloggers, and Ballet Pampa Argentina.
"Through the Night" Brava Theatre, 2781 24th St, SF; www.communityworkswest.org. Sat/11, 7pm. $40-100. Daniel Beaty performs at this evening honoring author Nell Bernstein and activist Sujatha Baliga; proceeds benefit Community Works' programs for Bay Area children, families, and communities impacted by incarceration.
"The Weight Game" NOHspace Theater, 2840 Mariposa, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com. Fri/10-Sat/11 and Feb 17-18, 8pm. $15. Sarah Abbey performs her semi-autobiographical solo show about diets and self-esteem.
"Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now 2012" Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakl; www.bcfhereandnow.com. Fri/10-Sat/11, 8pm; Sun/12, 4pm. Also Feb 17-18 and Feb 24-25, 8pm; Feb 19, 4pm; Feb 26, 7pm, Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF. $10-25. Celebrate African and African American dance and culture at this multi-part festival, with works by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Kendra Kimbrough Barnes, and more.
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