Baby, It’s Cold Outside Though billed as a holiday show, there’s not much of a Christmas connection here—just cocktails, thinly drawn characters and a pistol that seems to reappear whenever the plot runs out of gas. An energetic, funny cast—including the always reliable Elisabeth Nunziato and Greg Alexander, plus appealing newcomer Lowrey Raines—makes every effort to bring the thing to life. But the actors are harnessed to a hastily written, half-conceived script by director Buck Busfield. With revisions, this play might amount to more. But, for now, it’s half a loaf.
B Street Theatre , at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Special 2 p.m. Wednesday matinees are on December 11 and 18 and January 5, and 2 p.m. Tuesday matinees are on December 24 and 31. Additional 7 p.m. Sunday performances are on December 29 and January 5. No performances on Christmas or New Year’s Day, $16.50-$20.50. 2727 B Street, 443-5300. Through January 5. J.H
A Christmas Story Ralphie is a kid on a mission—a Christmas mission. All he wants on the big day is “an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle.” Ralphie’s determination is thwarted by clueless adults who warn, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” As fans of the best Christmas movie ever made know, The Christmas Story is that ideal holiday blend—sentimental without being maudlin, sweet without being saccharine, nostalgic without being melancholy. The Foothill Theatre Company’s stage version follows the movie script word for word, scene by scene, absurdity by every blessed absurdity. No need to worry—every delicious moment is here. The Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring, the “fra-gi-le” leg lamp, the triple-dog-dare frozen tongue, the mother of all swear words, the “deranged Easter bunny” and the Chinese Christmas dinner.
Nevada Theatre , 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Special performances December 23, 24, 30 and 31, $17 - $21. 401 Broad Street, Nevada City, (530) 265-8587. Through December 31. P.R
Cinderella There are a few changes in this year’s model of the Sacramento Theatre Company’s popular holiday musical. Mark Brey—for the past two years, the undisputed star as the wicked stepmother Mrs. Baden-Rotten—has moved on. New arrival Jay Rogers has gamely taken over the role, but he doesn’t display the same incendiary edge or dominate the show the way Brey did. At the same time, several roles taken by teens in past productions are filled this year by more experienced community players. Overall, it makes for a more even-keeled production, but, if you’ve seen the show before, there aren’t many surprises in store. Sidelight: Quite a few girls in the audience are coming decked out in little tiaras and pretty dresses. Think of them as Cinderellas in training.
Sacramento Theatre Company ; 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, plus matinees at 12:30 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $21-$36. 1419 H Street, 446-6722. Through January 5. J.H.
Copenhagen At long last, a local production of Michael Frayn’s physically compact, intellectually vast script. The occasion is a mysterious meeting in Nazi-occupied Denmark in 1941. German physicist Werner Heisenberg, on the Nazi payroll, makes a difficult re-acquaintance with his former mentor Niels Bohr, who is part Jewish and who will escape to the West soon. Director Ken Kelleher and actors Julian López-Morillas, Jessica Powell and Alex Moggridge do a bit of magic with an enormously potent piece of writing.
B Street Theatre ; 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Additional Wednesday matinees are November 27; December 4, 11 and 18; and January 8. $16.50-$20.50. 2727 B Street, 443-5300. Through January 12. J.H.
Fully Committed Our tour guide into the culinary confusion and demanding upscale clientele of a four-star New York restaurant is Sam, an out-of-work actor and restaurant employee in charge of the reservation list. This one-man theatrical tour de force is presented by Matt K. Miller, who masterfully portrays more than 40 different characters—changing personalities and accents within nanoseconds. Miller plays Sam as well as the pushy patrons, the chaotic kitchen staff and the cantankerous chef.
Sacramento Theatre Company ; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, 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; $18-$36. 1419 H Street, 443-6722. Through January 5. P.R.
The Queen of Bingo This light comedy about the bingo subculture showcases two sisters who play the game side by side at St. Joseph’s church hall, where they contemplate life and dish dirt on fellow bingo players. It’s a funny, simple, slice-of-life play—small on plot and character development, but big in heart. The two actresses who play the roles, Jane Williams and Bonnie Bane, showcase a real feel for the sisterly duo. Too bad the plot and pacing too often ruin the twosome’s rhythms. As an added bonus, audience members receive a bingo card when they enter, so they can participate in their own bingo game at intermission. The prize is a frozen turkey.
Celebration Arts at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and at 2 p.m. Sunday; $6-$12. 4469 D Street, 455-2787. Through January 4.
Random Acts It’s the time of year for holiday cheer. Everywhere except at the Thistle Dew Theatre, that is. For some inexplicable reason, it’s delivering three dreary, depressing dramas in December. Under the umbrella title of Random Acts, the three one-act shorts examine dysfunctional families, depression, drinking, disease, suicide, sexual molestation, gay bashing, Army vet breakdowns and major weight issues. Merry Christmas! But what these three plays lack the most, besides good seasonal timing, are real emotional tugs. We see scenarios, some touching moments, but are left with no lasting residue.
Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $14-$18. 1901 P Street, 444-8209. Through January 11. P.R.
Sexual Perversity in Chicago David Mamet’s comedic look at the 1970s dating and mating scene is about sex. It’s also about Chicago, with four characters in 33 short scenes throughout the city, and a bit of perversity. But, although the language is raw and the sexual portrayals explicit, the content is hardly shocking. It’s more like a little titillating. In the skits, we watch as desires and fears both help and hinder a blossoming relationship between two of them. The cast members manage to add pathos and vulnerability to their scenes while making us care about four singles awash in a sea of sexual misadventures and emotional near misses. An impressive debut for new theater company SacActors.com.
Geery Theatre , 8 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, $12.50-$14.50. 2130 L Street, 451-4152. Through January 12. P.R.
The World Goes Round This pleasant little dinner-theater revue features Broadway songs by John Kander and Fred Ebb (think Cabaret and New York, New York), each of which tells a little story by itself. The numbers are arranged thematically, so they feel like a sequence, even though there is no formal plot. Director Barbara Valente works in lots of pleasing visual surprises. The singing’s not bad, though folks who wear hearing aides may have a little trouble making out the lyrics during some of the solo numbers.
Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre , 6 p.m. dinner and 8 p.m. show Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. brunch and 12:30 p.m. show Sunday, $29-$34. Special New Year’s Eve performance with dancing after show, $69. 12401 Folsom Boulevard, Rancho Cordova, 985-6361. Through January 5. J.H.