A … My Name Will Always Be Alice Studio Theatre’s Jackie Schultz loves her audiences. And Schultz’s audiences love her productions. This mutual admiration has resulted in a successful seven-year run of Studio Theatre’s musical revue Six Women With Brain Death. Banking on her success, Schultz has come out with a similar all-women revue that touches on the angst of womanhood, both tragic and comic, as sung to basic piano tunes and acted out in funny skits. This new show tones down the bitterness of Six Women and ups the triumphs while including more women on the fringe—singles, single moms, divorcées and widows.
Studio Theatre , 2 p.m. Sunday, $15-$17. 1028 R Street, (916) 446-2668. Through May 18. P.R.
Ain’t Misbehavin’ Cats are jump jivin’ in Rancho Cordova, singing and swinging to the beats of Fats Waller. This musical montage honors the musician and composer that helped define African-American jazz and swing music during the Harlem Renaissance. The theater is transposed into a 1930s nightclub while the jazzy singers, the jamming band and the audience all get caught up in the show’s riffs and rhythms.
Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre ; 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday (dinner seating at 6 p.m.) and 2:30 p.m. Sunday (brunch seating at 1 p.m.); $34-$39 for the show and a meal or $20 for the show only. 12401 Folsom Boulevard in Rancho Cordova, (916) 985-6361. Through May 18. P.R.
Bad Axe Set on the American frontier in 1832, this dark, witty, invigorating drama deals with the conclusion of the Black Hawk Indian War. There’s much talk of raids, retaliation and vengeance and of victims on both sides who get scalped. The central character is a woman who kills her deranged, scalp-collecting husband under bizarre circumstances on the battlefield—was she forced to do it, or did she want to? The subject matter of this Foothill Theatre Company production is too grim for children but is a gripping experience for adults, well worth the drive.
Nevada Theatre ; 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; $5-$21. 401 Broad Street in Nevada City, (530) 265-8587. Through May 25. J.H.
The Birds Director David Harris updates this highly irreverent comedy by Aristophanes (circa 414 B.C.) with numerous modern references, including Bob Marley, a spiky punker and a box of stolen ballots fresh from Florida. This is a wild, delightfully chaotic, decidedly audacious, heads-up effort. Some of the cast members are young or inexperienced, and a few scenes miss, but the ones that work are so outrageous that the show is well worth seeing, just because it’s so crazy and ambitious.
Art Court Theatre ; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with a 2 p.m. show Thursday, May 22; $7-$12. Sacramento City College campus, 3835 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 558-2228. Through May 24. J.H.
Circus Minimus This 75-minute show displays several hallmarks of Doniel Soto’s previous “movement theater” shows: few spoken words; lots of bending and stretching and visual pictures created with intertwined human forms; minimal props; and chanting and a cappella singing. Soto’s focus this time is a tongue-in-cheek takedown of the once ultra-hip but now mainstream Cirque du Soleil. The show opens as farce: The performers execute entirely ordinary “feats” and then strike heroic poses, inviting applause. But gradually, Circus Minimus opens into several lovely tricks, which simultaneously resemble and satirize the whole cirque genre. Good fun from Abandon Productions.
The Space , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $10-$13. 2509 R Street, (916) 737-2304. Extended through May 17. J.H.
The Legend of Noon The level of execution in this show, though sincere, is rudimentary. But it’s a rare opportunity to see two works written by Japanese absurdist Minoru Betsuyaku. Legend is a Beckett-like riff on an everyday Japanese conundrum—the tension between saying and doing what’s polite and expected and the inward desire to express what you really feel. The twist is that the story’s set in the miserable aftermath of World War II, with wounded soldiers singing an imperial anthem as the comedy of manners plays out. The other play, The Cherry in Bloom, is a dark portrait of a dysfunctional family in a rigid society. If you’ve got a taste for the absurd, this is quite a valuable (if barebones) production. But casual, impatient viewers may have trouble locating the appeal.
InterACT , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $12-$14. 4010 El Camino Avenue, (916) 452-6174. Through June 1. J.H.
The Nerd Willium Cubbert’s life has stalled. Enter Rick Steadman, a Vietnam vet who saved Willium’s life on the battlefield but hasn’t been heard from since. Rick’s problem? He’s a nerd, a social misfit, a fashion don’t, an over-insistent irritant. Willium’s problem? He wants to get rid of Rick but made a battlefield vow to be there when Rick needed him, so he’s stuck. Though the play suffers from implausible plot lines and misplaced sentiments, it does give us goofy guffaws, funny setups and a strange yet endearing portrayal of a nerd who’s nebbish but never malicious.
Delta King Theatre , 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $12-$18. 1000 Front Street, (916) 995-5464, Through June 14. P.R.
The Queen of Bingo Sisterhood really is powerful, and it’s pretty funny, too, in this winning little comedy. But the two middle-aged women in this show are anything but self-empowered—they’re playing bingo in a church hall, relating tales of junk-food excess and getting giddy when they get a winning card. Sue Madden and Trish DeBaun bring energy and insight to what easily could have been less-dimensional characters.
California Stage ; 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m and 8 p.m. Sunday, with extra performances 7 p.m. Thursday, May 22 and 29; $10. 1723 25th Street, (916) 451-2455. Through May 31. J.H.
Seven Ages of Man How do you make Shakespeare’s language fresh, fun and accessible to a wide audience? Sacramento Theatre Company simply re-packaged the guy’s best-known works in a sort of greatest-hits compilation, a selection of scenes, sonnets and soliloquies served up as snippets, snappy repartees, silly scenes and solemn moments. A trio of actors flip-flops from comedy to serious stuff, with the funny scenes working the best. You can steal a funny moment out of context, but serious moments need the support of plot and characterization. In the end, it’s light fare, an appetizer without the full meal, that leaves you hungry for more.
Sacramento Theatre Company ; 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with matinees at 12:30 p.m. Thursday and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $12-$29.50. 1419 H Street, (916) 443-6722, www.sactheatre.org. Through May 18. P.R.