Stage Reviews

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I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change Nothing succeeds like success, so it’s no surprise that the Delta King Theatre has brought back this popular revue, which enjoyed a long run last year. (The original off-Broadway production has been running for years.) It’s a well-crafted, crowd-pleasing, easy-to-enjoy string of songs and scenes about romance and marriage, about 20-somethings through senior citizens. It’s basically a hymn to middle-class life, with a few bedroom references. The book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro don’t reveal anything you didn’t know about men and women already, but there’s a kernel of truth in most of these vignettes that can wring a smile out of even a skeptic. And the music by Jimmy Roberts is a sure-handed pastiche of popular American styles. Eric Wheeler once again anchors the Delta King’s cast, and he’s still fun to watch. Co-stars are Michael R-J Campbell, Carol Miranda (formerly with Six Women with Brain Death) and Karli Raymond.
Delta King Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $18-$25 for the show only and $40-$52 for the show and dinner. 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464. Extended through September 21. J.H.

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John Muir’s Mountain Days John Muir is California’s environmental saint: He founded the Sierra Club and, more than any other, pushed Congress into creating Yosemite National Park. But he also made his home in Martinez during his married life and old age. This outdoor production on the breezy Martinez waterfront does a remarkable job translating Muir’s visionary writing and political advocacy into, of all things, a pleasing, historically informed musical, with a strong book and good songs. Willows Theatre Company brings together several professional actors and a huge community cast (including a horse). If you go, be sure to make time to visit the nearby John Muir National Historic Site, which preserves Muir’s home.
John Muir Amphitheater; 8 p.m. on August 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 and 31; $10-$25. Waterfront Park at Ferry Street in Martinez, (925) 798-1300, J.H.

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Merry Wives of Windsor Merry Wives is a light comedy that bypasses dramatic depth, and director Lynne Collins wastes no time looking for what isn’t there. Her production exchanges Shakespeare’s Olde England for Windsor, N.C. (post-Civil War). It works: Confederate sabers, Southern accents, gallantry and hoop skirts evolved from Elizabethan styles. Gary Wright’s young Falstaff is fat, but he does a cartwheel. Ted Barton’s a scream as Ford, the jealous husband. Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, outdoors, 7:30 p.m. or 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, alternating with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, $12-$65. Sand Harbor,
Lake Tahoe State Park, three miles south of Incline Village, Nev.; (800) 74-SHOWS; Bring a sweatshirt and a poncho; afternoon thunderstorms are common. Through August 24. J.H.

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A Midsummer Night’s Dream Director Sands Hall plays A Midsummer Night’s Dream for contrasts. The repressed human characters wear buttoned-up costumes in formal 16th-century style. But the spirits of the fairy kingdom are dressed as sensuous gypsies in more revealing, colorful garb. Hall also shifts gears; some scenes play as antic comedy, and at times, Hall slows down the pace and conjures a mysterious atmosphere that lets the script’s poetry come through. It’s a good Dream. The problem is that this festival has staged this comedy three times in the last eight years. It’s time to branch out. Alternating with Merry Wives of Windsor, 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday, $12-$65.
Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival at Sand Harbor, Lake Tahoe State Park, three miles south of Incline Village, Nev.; (800) 74-SHOWS; Through August 24. J.H.

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Nighthawks/Night Café Artist Edward Hopper’s famous 1942 painting “Nighthawks,” about an all-night diner and its patrons, has a mesmerizing quality. Simple and stark, the painting evokes big-city loneliness. Playwright Evan Guilford-Blake imagines the moment that drew those four people together—who they were and why they ended up at the counter together. This one-act succeeds because of Guilford-Blake’s script, strong stage direction by Stephen Vargo and fine acting by the quartet of talented actors. Guilford-Blake’s companion piece, Night Café, another one-act play that takes place in the same diner during the 1970s, is not nearly as strong as the first. The characters never really resonate, and this story doesn’t have the same yesteryear romance that makes the first one-act so appealing.
Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, $12. 1901 P Street, (916) 444-8209. Through August 30. P.R.

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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. In these skits, we watch as desires and fears both help and hinder a blossoming relationship between two of them. The cast members of this show, which ran last winter at the Geery Theater, 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. at California Stage, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $12.50-$14.50. 2509 R Street, (916) 451-4152. Through August 31. P.R.

Shakespeare Santa Cruz This year’s offerings include a modern-dress Hamlet that’s long on late-adolescent angst and fresh theatricality, if somewhat skimpy in the poetry department (rating: good); an antic Comedy of Errors set in present-day Santa Cruz, replete with surfboards, scooters and kooky new-age healers (rating: well done); and a noteworthy production of Noel Coward’s Private Lives, that very British comedy dealing with marriage and divorce, cocktails and razor-sharp putdowns, with the playwright’s clever songs woven into the package (rating: sublime). Now in its 22nd season, Santa Cruz essentially sets the standard that the other Northern California festivals attempt to match, or beat. On the
University of California, Santa Cruz, campus in Santa Cruz; $10-$36 for individual tickets or $75-$93 for all three shows; (831) 459-2159 or Through August 26. J.H.