Theater Listings: July 30 - August 5, 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.
The Habit of Art Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson, SF; www.therhino.org. $15-25. Previews Thu/31-Fri/1, 8pm; Sat/2, 3pm. Opens Sat/2, 8pm. Runs Wed-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm). Through Aug 23. Theatre Rhinoceros presents the return engagement of Alan Bennett's "very British comedy" about a meeting between Benjamin Britten, W.H. Auden, and other figures from throughout time, including their future biographer.
Noises Off! Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter, SF; www.sheltontheater.org. $38. Opens Fri/1, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Oct 25. Shelton Theater performs Michael Frayn's outrageous backstage comedy.
Show Down! Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, SF; www.thunderbirdtheatre.com. $15-25. Opens Fri/1, 8pm. Runs Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 3pm. Through Aug 16. Thunderbird Theatre performs an original comedy, set amid a war against technology at the last all-live TV station left in the United States.
Each and Every Thing Marsh San Francisco Main Stage, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $20-50. Thu-Fri, 8pm; Sat, 8:30pm. Extended through Aug 24. The latest solo show from celebrated writer-performer Dan Hoyle (Tings Dey Happen, The Real Americans) winds a more random course than usual across the country and abroad but then that's the idea — or at least Hoyle warns us, right after an opening encounter with a touchy young white supremacist, that the trip he's taking us on is a subtle one. Displaying again his exceptional gifts as a writer and protean performer, Hoyle deftly embodies a set of real-life encounters as a means of exploring the primacy and predicament of face-to-face communication in the age of Facebook. With the help of director Charlie Varon (who co-developed the piece with Hoyle and Maureen Towey), this comes across in an entertaining and swift-flowing 75-minute act that includes a witty rap about "phone zombies" and a Dylan-esque screed at a digital detox center. But the purported subject of connection, or lack there of, in our gadget-bound and atomized society is neither very original nor very deeply explored — nor is it necessarily very provocative in a theater, before an audience already primed for the live encounter. Far more interesting and central here is Hoyle's relationship with his old college buddy Pratim, an Indian American in post-9/11 America whose words are filled with laid-back wisdom and wry humor. Also intriguing is the passing glimpse of early family life in the Hoyle household with Dan's celebrated artist father, and working-class socialist, Geoff Hoyle. These relationships, rather than the sketches of strangers (albeit very graceful ones), seem the worthier subjects to mine for truth and meaning. Indeed, there's a line spoken by Pratim that could sum up the essence of Hoyle's particular art: "It's so much better," he says, "when you find yourself in other people than when you just find yourself." Hoyle's real frontier could end up being much more personal terrain, much closer to home. (Avila)
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.
God Fights the Plague Marsh San Francisco Studio Theater, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org. $15-100. Sat, 8:30pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Aug 10. The Marsh presents a solo show written by and starring 18-year-old theater phenom Dezi Gallegos.
The Guerrillas of Powell Street Bindlestiff Studio, 185 Sixth St, SF; www.bindlestiffstudio.org. $10-20. Fri/1-Sat/2, 8pm. Bindlestiff Studio presents the world premiere of the English translation of Rody Vera's play about Filipino World War II veterans in San Francisco, based on Benjamin Pimentel's novel.
Into the Woods San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post, SF; www.sfplayhouse.org. $20-120. Tue-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 3pm); Sun, 2pm. Through Sept 6. SF Playhouse performs Stephen Sondheim's fractured fairy-tale musical.
Patterns Dennis Gallagher Arts Pavilion (in the French American International High School), 66 Page, SF; www.thenewstage.com. $30. Wed-Sat, 8pm. Through Aug 16. The New Stage's premiere of company founder Amy Munz's solo work is one of the more intelligent and sophisticated debuts (by both a new company and a young artist) in recent memory. It's an ambitious and notably subtle, serious, unsentimental exploration of love, in which a dynamic Munz — on a wide bare stage bounded on three sides by her own wonderfully evocative three-channel video-scape — plays several characters, and three in particular: Amot, Abigail, and Ava, whose stories are slyly interwoven. Amot, the principal focus across two discrete acts, is a young woman raised by her widowed father in his butcher shop, who later falls in love with a young man. But her story, like that of the other young women, comes to us in a form more like the stream of consciousness, fractured and expansive in the disjuncture and interplay between Munz's ardently committed performance and the shrewd audio and visual environment surrounding the audience — a manufactured landscape of memory, desire, and role-playing in which to some extent the audience is free to find its own way and discover its own truths. Part two further integrates the voices of the other young women, Abigail and Ava, forming a mesh of narratives and associations stimulating in their intellectual, visual, and aural juxtapositions. This is a work that demands a kind of letting go, but also invites full participation of the viewer's imagination, as the rich mise-en-scène and Munz's intense, unflinching performance unfold with unexpected abundance. (Avila)
The Scion Marsh San Francisco, 1062 Valencia, SF; www.themarsh.org.$30-100. Sat, 5pm. Through Aug 23. Brian Copeland's hit solo show, "a tale of privilege, murder, and sausage," returns to the Marsh.
Sex and the City: Live!! Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St, SF; sexandthecitylive.eventbrite.com. $30. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 7pm. Through Aug 10. Velvet Rage Productions presents two new live episodes of the hit HBO show, with an all-star drag cast (Lady Bear, Heklina, D'Arcy Drollinger, and RuPaul's Drag Race runner-up Alaska).
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)
Sweet Maladies Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St, SF; www.brava.org. $15. Thu/31-Sat/1, 8pm; Sun/3, 3pm. Three sisters, former slaves in the household of a petulant mistress, hesitate in the uncertain wake of their formal emancipation in Zakiyyah Alexander's tightly written, potent new drama. Cecile (Britney Frazier) is the haughty rebel to older sister Polly's (Kehinde Koyejo) gentler, more cautious nature, while youngest sister Mary (Stefanée Martin) is the seeming innocent who has nevertheless absorbed the full range of slavery's debased operations — a fact made clear by Mary vis-à-vis her ragdoll in a startlingly well done soliloquy. As witty as it is ferocious, the play — rewardingly inspired by Jean Genet's The Maids — is at one level all about role-playing. Even as the sisters appropriate and swap roles with each other and their cruel yet needy and equally unmoored mistress (Lisa Ann Porter), a small minstrel stage serves the action as a point of surreal underscoring, adding another layer to the cultural morass in which they struggle for definition and agency. Furtive in its unfolding, the play nevertheless plunges with productive candor into the convoluted violence of American society and culture, its compact yet subtle excavation well served by this intimate production in Brava's upstairs studio theater, where Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe directs a uniformly strong cast in sharp and lucid performances. (Avila)
Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind Boxcar Theatre, 505 Natoma, SF; www.sfneofuturists.com. $11-16. Fri-Sat, 9pm. Ongoing. The Neo-Futurists perform Greg Allen's spontaneous, ever-changing show that crams 30 plays into 60 minutes.
As You Like It Forest Meadows Amphitheater, 890 Belle, Dominican University of California, San Rafael; www.marinshakespeare.org. Donations accepted. Runs in repertory Fri-Sun through Aug 10; visit website for specific performance dates and times. It's outdoor Shakespeare season in the Bay Area! Marin Shakespeare kicks off its 25th season with a classic production of the Bard's gender-bending comedy.
Dracula Inquest Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant, Berk; www.centralworks.org. $15-28. Thu-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Aug 17. Central Works performs Gary Graves' mystery inspired by the Bram Stoker vampire classic.
The Great Pretender Lucie Stern Theatre, 1305 Middlefield, Palo Alto; www.theatreworks.org. $19-74. Wed/30, 7:30pm; Thu/31-Sat/2, 8pm (also Sat/2, 2pm); Sun/3, 2 and 7pm. TheatreWorks performs the world premiere of David West Read's bittersweet comedy.
Monsieur Chopin Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison, Shattuck; www.berkeleyrep.org. $29-87. Tue and Thu-Sat, 8pm (also Sat, 2pm); Wed and Sun, 7pm (also Wed, 2pm). Through Aug 10. Hershey Felder stars in his musical biography of legendary composer Chopin.
Old Money Barn Theatre, 30 Sir Francis Drake, Ross; www.rossvalleyplayers.com. $10-26. Thu, 7:30pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 2pm. Through Aug 17. Ross Valley Players performs Wendy Wasserstein's New York City-set comedy.
The Ripple Effect This week: Montclair Ball Field, 6300 Moraga, Montclair; www.sfmt.org. Wed/30, 7pm. Free (donations accepted). Also Sat/2-Sun/3, 4pm, Southside Park, Bandshell, Sixth and T Sts, Sacramento. Through Sept 1 at various NorCal venues. The veteran San Francisco Mime Troupe stays current by skewering San Francisco's ever-dividing economy; think rising rents, tech-bus protests, and (natch) Glassholes.
Romeo and Juliet Forest Meadows Amphitheater, 890 Belle, Dominican University of California, San Rafael; www.marinshakespeare.org. $12-35. Runs in repertory Fri-Sun through Sept 28; visit website for specific performance dates and times. Marin Shakespeare continues its 25th season with the Bard's timeless tragedy.
Shrek the Musical Julia Morgan Theatre, 2640 College, Berk; www.berkeleyplayhouse.org. $17-60. Wed/30-Thu/31, 7pm; Sat/2, 1 and 6pm; Sun/3, noon and 5pm. Berkeley Playhouse performs the musical based on the DreamWorks fairy tale film.
"Splathouse Double Feature" La Val's Subterranean, 1834 Euclid, Berk; http://impacttheatre.com. $10-25. Thu-Sat, 8pm. Through Aug 9. Impact Theatre performs The Sadist and Eegah!, film and live performance blends inspired by the classic exploitation movies.
The Taming of the Shrew This week: Memorial Park Amphitheater, Stevens Creek at Mary, Cupertino; www.sfshakes.org. Free. Fri/1-Sun/3, 7:30pm. Continues through Sept 21 at various Bay Area venues. Free Shakespeare in the Park presents this take on the Bard's barb-filled romance.
12th Night Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby, Berk; www.shotgunplayers.org. $20-35. Wed-Thu, 7pm; Fri-Sat, 8pm; Sun, 5pm. Through Aug 17. Shotgun Players take a fresh approach to the Shakespeare classic, using folk music and other twists.
"BATS Summer Improv Festival" Bayfront Theater, B350 Fort Mason, SF; www.improv.org. Fri-Sat, 8pm. Through Sept 20. $20. This week: "Improvised Downton Abbey," Fri/1-Sat/2.
Caroline Lugo and Carolé Acuña's Ballet Flamenco Peña Pachamama, 1630 Powell, SF; www.carolinalugo.com. Sat/2, Aug 9, 24, 30, Sept 6, 13, 21, 28, Oct 4, 11, 18, 26, 6:30pm. $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.
Feinstein's at the Nikko 222 Mason, SF; www.feinsteinssf.com. This week: "Operation Opera," Thu-Fri, 8pm; Sat-Sun, 7pm, $35-50. Through Aug 10.
"The Glass Menagerie" Beverly Hills Playhouse of SF, 414 Mason, Fifth Flr, SF; www.overcasttheatre.com. Fri/1-Sat/2 and Aug 8-9, 8pm; Sun/3 and Aug 10, 5pm. $14-16. Overcast Theatre performs the Tennessee Williams drama.
Ben Gleib Punch Line Comedy Club, 444 Battery, SF; www.punchlinecomedyclub.com. Tue/5, 8pm. $15. The stand-up comedian performs.
"The Greatest Monkey Show on Earth" Circus Center of San Francisco, 755 Frederick, SF; http://rosstravis.com/antic-in-a-drain/the-greatest-monkey-show-on-earth. Sat/2-Sun/3, 8pm. Free. The Circus Center and Antic in a Drain present Ross Travis' primate-inspired performance piece.
"Katya On a Hot Tin Roof" New Conservatory Theatre Center, 25 Van Ness, SF; www.nctcsf.org. Fri/1-Sat/2, 8pm. $35-85. Cabaret star Katya Smirnoff-Skyy performs an all-new show to benefit NCTC.
"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.
"Max and Nicky 3: A Music and Comedy Variety Blowout" Phoenix Theater, 414 Mason #601, SF; www.brownpapertickets.com/event/779959. Sat/2, 7:30pm. $10. The twins return with a new variety show.
"Mex I Am: live it to believe it" Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard, SF; www.ybca.org/mex-i-am. Thu/31, 7pm; Fri/1, 5 and 8pm; Sat/2, 2 and 8pm; Sun/3, 5pm. Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission, SF; www.thecjm.org. Mon/4, 7:30pm. $15-25. Multidisciplinary festival showcasing performing arts, culture, and ideas from Mexico.
"Music Moves Festival" ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; www.odctheater.org. July 31-Aug 24, most performances at 8pm. $25-45. Diverse performances celebrating the relationship between music and dance, with Bandelion, Kate Weare Company, San Jose Taiko, and more.
"Out of Line Improv" Stage Werx, 446 Valencia, SF; outoflineimprov.brownpapertickets.com. Sat, 10:30pm. $12. Ongoing. A new, completely improvised show every week.
"People in Plazas" Various locations, SF; www.peopleinplazas.org. Through Oct 3. Free. Lunchtime concerts in various downtown locations showcasing jazz, world, funk, and other styles of music.
Jeff Ross Cobb's Comedy Club, 915 Columbus, SF; www.cobbscomedyclub.com. Sat/2, 7:30pm. $25. Comedy Central's "Roastmaster General" performs.
"Rotunda Dance Series" San Francisco City Hall, 1 Carlton B. Goodlett Pl, SF; www.dancersgroup.org. Fri/1, noon. Free. Sound artist and performer Dohee Lee presents ARA Gut (Ritual of Ocean).
"San Francisco Comedy College" Purple Onion at Kells, 530 Jackson, SF; www.purpleonionatkells.com. $5-15. "New Talent Show," Wed-Thu, 7; "Purple Onion All-Stars," Wed-Thu, 8:15; "The Later Show," Wed-Thu, 10. Ongoing; check website for Fri-Sat shows and schedule updates.
"San Francisco Conservatory of Dance Summer Dance Series" SFCD, 301 Eighth St, #270, SF; www.sfconservatoryofdance.org. Wed/30, 2pm. $5-10. The SFCD presents Sonorous Figures, co-directed by choreographer Christian Burns and pianist Donald White.
"Shit Creek: Vacation Edition" Cinecave, Lost Weekend Video, 1034 Valencia, SF; shitcreekvacation.eventbrite.com. Wed/30, 8pm. $10. Flash back to summer camp with this comedy show featuring Mary Van Note, DJ Real, and Jesse Fernandez, plus guests Tim Svenonius, Kathleen Auterio, and Johan Miranda.
"Snap Judgment!" Nourse Theater, 275 Hayes, SF; www.cityboxoffice.com. Fri/1-Sat/2, $25-45. Live version of the NPR show, under the theme "Saved: Amazing stories of real people snatching victory from the jaws of calamity."
"Summer Sampler 2014" ODC Theater, 3153 17th St, SF; www.odcdance.org. Thu/31-Sat/2, 8pm. $30-150. ODC/Dance hosts its annual summer event, featuring performances of Breathing Underwater and Lifesaving Maneuvers.
"Terminator Too: Judgment Play" and "Point Break LIVE!" DNA Lounge, 375 11th St, SF; www.dnalounge.com. Fri/1, Sept 5, Oct 3, Nov 7, and Dec 5, Terminator at 7:30pm; Break at 11pm. $20-50. The raucous, interactive staged recreations of two of 1991's greatest action films return to the DNA Lounge.
"Tough" Z Below, 470 Florida, SF; www.zspace.org. Thu/31-Sat/2, Aug 7-9, 8pm. $20-25. Choreographer Chris Black performs a solo work inspired by the life of boxer John L. Sullivan.
"Venus and Adonis" Second Act, 1727 Haight, SF; http://bpt.me/764583. Mon/4-Tue/5, 7pm. $5. East West Connection Theatre Company presents staged readings of Shakespeare's sonnets and poetry.
"Yerba Buena Gardens Festival" Yerba Buena Gardens, 760 Howard, SF; www.ybgfestival.org. Free. Through Oct 26. This week: Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble, Thu/31, 12:30pm; Chelle! and friends, Fri/1, 11am; "AfroSolo in the Gardens" with Anthony Brown in "A Tribute to Paul Robeson," Sat/2, 1pm; Uncommon Time, Sun/3, 1pm.
"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.
"National Poetry Slam" Various venues, Oakl; www.nationalpoetryslam.com. $15-125. Aug 5-9. The National Poetry Slam celebrates its 25th anniversary with a full schedule of events, with 500 poets representing 72 slam teams from across the US and Canada (and including seven from the Bay Area).
"The Pirates of Penzance" Lesher Center for the Arts, 1601 Civic, Walnut Creek; www.lamplighters.org. Fri/1-Sat/2, 8pm (also Sat/2, 2pm); Sun/3, 2pm. $20-59. Also Aug 9-10, 2pm (also Aug 9, 8pm), Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro, Mtn View. Also Aug 14-16, 8pm (also Aug 16, 2pm); Aug 17, 2pm. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard, SF. Also Aug 23-24, 2pm (also Aug 23, 8pm), Bankhead Theatre, 2400 First St, Livermore. Lamplighters Music Theatre performs the Gilbert & Sullivan classic. *