Amadeus The first half of this community production falters at times. Allen Pontes, as the jealous Salieri, is sometimes hard to hear. Bill Voorhees, a local favorite, playing Mozart, excels with his character’s naughty chatter and blurted remarks. But Mozart also needs to morph into an artist touched by God whenever he sits down at the keyboard. The sound design is problematic, also. However, everything about the show improves after intermission, as the story tilts toward its fateful conclusion, which is tragic, ironic and, in the end, moving.
Main Street Theatre Works at Sutter Creek Theatre, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $10-$14 or $5 for students under 18. 44 Main Street (Highway 49) in Sutter Creek, (209) 267-5680. Through March 22. J.H.
Art This 75-minute chamber play features three men, two of whom are alpha males. At issue: the artistic importance of an expensive painting—white stripes on a white background. The guy who bought it believes it’s a modern statement. The erstwhile friend thinks it’s trash. Cast members Greg Alexander and Hassan El-Amin puff up like male peacocks asserting dominance, which is often funny to watch, but sometimes a little cruel, as well. Matt Miller plays their mutual friend; he’s less successful in terms of career, and he’s nerve-wracked over an impending marriage. Good acting and efficient direction (Anthony DeFonte) largely compensate for this small-scale play’s inherent limitations; it’s not a big achievement, but it accomplishes what it sets out to do.
Sacramento Theatre Company, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday plus 12:30 p.m. Thursday and 2 p.m. Sunday matinees and a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, March 29. 1419 H Street. $18-$36. (916) 443-6722. Through March 30. J.H.
Fossils Playwright Claudia Allen gives us two exceptional characters in her look at a generation of frustrated women who spent years in proper roles and living lives for others. Prim retired professor Abigail and free-spirited retired teacher Carrie meet while vacationing at a cottage and converse about everything from old loves to new dreams, from regrets to remembrances, and from secrets and lies to truths and dares. The acting and directing are seamless; the characters are wonderful. So, it’s a shame the playwright disappoints us by dancing around the obvious and slapping on a completely unrealistic ending. But it’s still a wonderful visit with two great ladies.
Sacramento Theatre Company , 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with matinees at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $18-$36. 1419 H Street, (916) 766-2277. Through April 6. P.R.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change This audience-friendly musical revue features an appealing, energetic cast, including Equity actor Eric Wheeler (last year’s Gunfighter). The show is in a cozy, 115-seat theater, which creates more intimate, un-amplified dynamics than you get with touring, big-venue musicals. The topics include dating, marriage, parenthood, divorce and death. Some of the lyrics (by Joe DiPietro) and music (by Jimmy Roberts) are superficial, but they go down easy and touch on everyday experiences; the off-Broadway production of this show has been running for years.
Delta King Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; $18-$22 for the show only or $38-$49 for a meal and the show. Onboard the Delta King, 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464. Extended through April 13. J.H.
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse The new, high-standard Children’s Theatre of California skips old-style fairy tales in favor of a present-day suburban story—with a moral, ’natch. It’s all about school, including buddies and bullies, as well as getting along with busy parents and a bratty baby at home. It’s a glossy, fast-paced, 90-minute production with a cast of nine (plus a musician) and sharp production values. The show is geared primarily toward elementary school children, but adults will find aspects to enjoy, as well. The show is a superior choice to family movies in local cinemas, in no small part because live theater is an interactive experience—when a kid squeals with delight, the performers reflect the joy.
B Street Theatre, 7 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, $15 for kids and $20 for adults. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through April 6. J.H.
Major Barbara This society gal turned society savior is steadfast in her resolve to save mankind; her morals are upright and solid. But when this religious dynamo faces her cannon-making father, who wants to donate funds from what Barbara sees as ill-gotten gains, her inner moral war wages. Playwright and socialist George Bernard Shaw explores many gray areas in this 1906 comedy/drama, making the audience question moralistic rhetoric from all sides about religion, war, economics, social standings and poverty. The real surprise is how funny Major Barbara is, with a wry look at society, family fortunes, economics, fate, love and honor. Director Christine Nicholson lends a gentle guiding hand, never letting scenes plod along. The play will leave you laughing, thinking and talking. City Theatre, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays. $10-$12.
Art Court Theatre at Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Boulevard. (916) 558-2228. Through April 5. P.R.
Under Milk Wood Dylan Thomas’ 1953 radio play Under Milk Wood is basically a Welsh Lake Wobegon, with a narrator introducing us to the gossip and eccentric seaside villagers of Llareggub. The Milk Wood Players present an impressive production that gives honor to Thomas’ intent that words should be felt as well as heard. The strength of the writing is in the details and descriptions. And the strength of this production lies with both the talented actors and their imaginative director, who all clearly love and respect the work. This is for lovers of language and lyricism, though it can be quite dense at times and hard to follow.
Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $14-$18. 1901 P Street, (916) 444-8209. Through March 29. P.R.
You Can’t Take It With You In these gloomy times, the best antidote may be fast-paced, frolicking fun. So, put aside all the serious stuff and surround yourself with the old-fashioned silliness of the Sycamore family. In this story, based in 1937, each family member is an odder duck than the next. Normal daughter Alice fears introducing her fiancé and his old-fogey family to her strange but endearing relatives. You can imagine the frazzled frenzy that ensues when the two families get together—one loosey goosey, the other tighter than a bug’s butt. The enthusiastic and zany Foothill Theatre Company cast carries the comedy through rather broad comedic moments. Subtlety is in short supply, but big moments and messages aren’t the goal here; fun is. And the cast delivers.
Nevada Theatre, 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $18-$21. 401 Broad Street, (530) 265-8587. Through April 13. P.R.