Coming right up

The family-oriented holiday shows have disappeared, and local theaters are entering the new year with a mix of established classics and campy comedies. All told, this month’s stage offerings will be a bit more savvy, sexy and worldly.

Lambda Players plan to open a musical called Carhops in Bondage on Friday. An Elly-winning production by Lambda in 1992, Carhops is an outer space rock ’n’ roll fantasy set in the future ’50s. More information is available at or by calling (916) 444-8229.

City Theater also opens a show on Friday. Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor has been moved from Elizabethan England to the California wine country—specifically, Windsor, Calif., circa 1950. Several members of the Sacramento City College faculty are in the cast. Find out more at or (916) 558-2228.

The B Street Theatre joins the retro craze with a sexy, sometimes hallucinatory British farce from the 1960s. Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw originally was staged in London in 1969, but Orton didn’t see it. He was bludgeoned to death two years earlier by a male lover. Considered daring at the time of its premiere, What the Butler Saw still ignites outrage as well as laughs. The show is in previews, and officially opens January 14. Tickets are available at or by calling (916) 443-5300.

Three serious shows—each a classic of its kind—open in mid-January. Veteran performer Ed Claudio and Connie Mockenhaupt star in the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Gin Game at the Actors Theatre of Folsom. The show opens January 18 in the Stage Nine Entertainment Store and Theatre. Visit or call (916) 353-1001 for details.

Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra opens Velina Hasu Houston’s Tea at the Nevada Theatre in Nevada City on January 18. CATS stages one big show a year, and it’s always an event. Tea revolves around several Japanese war brides living in a Great Plains state after World War II, who gather to talk about their lives, their husbands, and more. The playwright is no stranger to the region—the Sacramento Theatre Company just staged her new play The Peculiar and Sudden Nearness of the Moon. Visit for information.

Celebration Arts continues its tradition of presenting plays by South African writer Athol Fugard. This year’s installment is Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act, opening on January 19. For more than 10 years, the Fugard series at Celebration Arts has sustained a very high standard for artistic achievement and social consciousness. Find out more at or by calling (916) 455-2787.

The Broadway Series hosts the touring Elvis-based musical, All Shook Up, opening January 24. Tickets are available at or by calling (916) 264-5181.

Lastly, the Sacramento Theatre Company stages Noel Coward’s Private Lives, with previews starting January 24. This smart, sophisticated comedy from 1930 (famously written in only four days while Coward was in the midst of a trip around the world) features two couples with an intriguing and complicated past, and lots of witty repartee. Director Gina Kaufmann was also responsible for STC’s popular production of Tartuffe a few years back. More information is available at or (916) 443-6722.