Benched Local playwright Richard Broadhurst contributes a well-crafted script that incorporates a present-day fable of regret and redemption without getting mawkish about it, while simultaneously coming up with frank, funny lines and some interesting surprises in the plot. Veteran actors Eddie Jones and Rod Loomis are a pleasure to watch at close range on STC’s cozy Stage Two; Elisabeth Nunziato and Brian Henderson contribute solid performances in supporting roles; director Michael Butler sustains the show’s understated charm like a magician doing the Indian rope trick.
Sacramento Theatre Company , 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, $16-$35. 1419 H St., 443-6722. Through February 24.
How the Other Half Loves Three couples—the men work in the same office—and multiple suspicions of infidelity (real and imagined) fuel the domestic farce How the Other Half Loves. Noted British playwright Alan Ayckbourn wrote the clever script. The production features a “split screen” set depicting two households side-by-side, with overlapping events. Director Adrienne Sher handles the verbal and physical humor skillfully; the cast of six local actors (including Nicole Hayes, Miranda McClenahan, Dan Slauson and Ken Figeroid) alternate smoothly between innocence, intrigue, anger and guilt.
Delta King Theatre , on the riverboat at 1000 Front St. in Old Sacramento, with performances at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Show-only seats are $14-$16. Dinner/brunch and show tickets are $36-$41. 995-5464. Through March 2.
The Late, Great Henry Boyle A shy, reclusive professor of medieval literature gets the shock of his life when his novel—dashed off while drunk—becomes a runaway best seller. The script, by David MacGregor, takes some deft jabs at academia and pop culture, as well as the perils of fame. But at its heart, the play is a routine romantic comedy (just in time for Valentine’s Day). A strong, solidly professional cast, including newcomer Ken Roht and regulars Jamie Jones, Kurt Johnson and Anthony De Fonte, make the show feel more substantial than it really is.
B Street Theatre , 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $16.50-$20.50. 2711 B St., 443-5300. Through February 24.
On the Way to Love Singer/comedienne Patti Austin is both subject and star of this autobiographical show/concert. The very interesting story of Austin’s life, from a childhood appearance at the Apollo Theatre to Broadway gigs and more, peters out at intermission—a shortcoming that director Peggy Shannon may redeem as this work-in-progress, which Austin hopes to take to Broadway, continues its local run. But the music is enough to carry the day; Austin’s got a fine voice, and bandleader Greg Phillinganes is hot.
Sacramento Theatre Company , 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 12:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, $16-$35. 1419 H St., 443-6722. Through February 10. J.H.
Six Women With Brain Death This very campy revue is Sacramento’s longest-running show, having celebrated its fifth anniversary in October. It’s a series of skits and songs about midlife women with “expiring minds,” dealing with soap operas, high-school reunions, grocery shopping and getting away from the kids. While the show clearly tickles the funnybone of its core audience (females over 40), our critic found the appeal elusive and the humor generic. But then, he’s a middle-aged guy.
Studio Theatre , 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $14-$18. 1028 R St., 446-2668. Open-ended run.
Theory of the Dream Sacramento actor/playwright Anthony D’Juan has sketched a moody comedy about a young, white, 20-something single female. Elements in the mix include obsessive (even abusive) boyfriends, pregnancy, encounters with a celebrity author, and dreams that foreshadow violent future events. Actress Greta Gerwig brings the central character to life, and playwright D’Juan fashions several surprising scenes and funny exchanges. It’s a very low-budget community production, and D’Juan, who’s steadily improving as a writer, is still mastering his chops as playwright. But interesting things are going on in this locally generated show.
Actor’s Theatre , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $10-$14. 1616 Del Paso Blvd. 925-6579. Through February 10. J.H.
The Woman Warrior Maxine Hong Kingston’s literary best seller is successfully transferred to the stage in this ambitious production by Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra. The multigenerational story spans a family’s move from rural China to Stockton, with stops along the way for mythology, cultural transition and more. There are 27 actors in the cast, many of them taking multiple roles. It’s a huge, ambitious project, but director Diane Fetterly, lead actress Lisa Moon and company bring it all home in two hours of entertaining and informative drama.
Nevada Theatre , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $11-$13. 401 Broad St., Nevada City, (530) 274-1538. Through February 9. J.H.