A…My Name Will Always Be Alice Studio Theatre revives last year’s production of this all-women revue that touches on the angst of womanhood—both tragic and comic angst—as sung to basic piano tunes and acted out in funny skits. This show tones down the bitterness of the Studio Theatre’s long-running Six Women with Brain Death (now in its eighth year) and ups the triumphs. It also includes more “women on the fringe”—singles, single moms, divorcées and widows. That said, there is little diversity explored. If you don’t fall into the white, middle-class, over-30, heterosexual range, you might not find much with which to align yourself. But even if you can’t relate, you’ll be entertained.
Studio Theatre; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $15-$19. 1028 R Street, (916) 446-2668. Through May 16. P.R.
Arranged Marriage Arranged Marriage is lovely. It’s also joyful, funny, exquisite, sad and thought-provoking. This world-premiere play looks at the arranged marriage of a young woman from India and her eventual immigration to the United States. Lead actress Shahnaz Shroff delivers a heartfelt, moving performance as young Sumita. This intimate piece presented by two main actresses and a four-person dance ensemble shares Indian ceremonies, customs, costumes, myths, music and dance. There is an abruptness in the second half that stops the flow of the story, but it’s forgivable considering the overall winning nature of the production.
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; $16-$32. 1419 H Street, (916) 443-6722. Extended through May 9. P.R.
In Bed with Chuck and Lois This play, presented by Beyond the Proscenium Productions, is a comedy about the very married for the very married. Though the title sounds salacious, the play is actually a mild-mannered glimpse at a well-established couple’s dance of communication. Local playwright Joni Hilton looks at the 20-year marriage of a committed couple and adds an ingenious twist by having two additional actors act out the real thoughts behind the couple’s careful comments. Unfortunately, though the play is filled with sharp dialogue, clever repartees and some nice performances, it too often feels dated and clichéd. It shows us a good old-fashioned marriage but not overly compelling theater.
California Stage, 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, $12-$15. 1723 25th Street, (916) 922-9774. Extended through April 17. P.R.
Jar the Floor Celebration Arts revives last spring’s production of this African-American comedy. Four generations of women—and a visiting Jewish girlfriend—gather for the matriarch’s 90th birthday. They discuss their dreams and goals, sexual satisfaction and men (do women really need them?). They also debate who’s been selfish and who’s made sacrifices as mother or daughter. Each woman represents a different era and attitudes, sometimes in obvious ways, but the cast and director (Linda Goodrich) make a strong case for Cheryl West’s script.
Celebration Arts; 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $10-$12 ($6 on Thursday). 4469 D Street, (916) 455-2787. Through May 2. J.H.
The Memory of Water There’s nothing like death to bring a family together, but togetherness is not always pretty. Such is the gathering of three sisters, who come home to bury their mom and drag all their baggage with them. What follows are the snips, slings and stings of sisters who are swimming and drowning in a sea of memories and secrets. What makes this production so fun is the obvious affection the cast members have for one another. The script is clever, funny and insightful, though sometimes uneven in its approach to comedy and drama.
Delta King Theatre; 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $8-$22. Dinner-and-show packages available. 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464. Through April 18. P.R.
Ragtime The Woodland Opera House, built in 1895, hosts this panoramic American musical set between 1904 and 1912. The lives of wealthy whites, poor Harlem blacks and struggling European Jewish immigrants (none of whom would know each other under ordinary circumstances) are woven together by fate. Director Jeff Kean mobilizes a huge cast to create some beautiful visuals, including the funeral scene at the end of the first half. And you’ll get goose bumps as you realize that 100 years ago, people very much like the characters on stage were sitting in this historic theater’s aisles. Alas, the singing in this community show doesn’t always get the lyrics across to the audience—and the lyrics are critical in this story-driven musical. Even so, this is a big show with a lot to say.
Woodland Opera House; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $10-$18. 340 Second Street in Woodland, (530) 666-9617. Through May 2. J.H.
Tea and Sex and Shakespeare It’s time again for Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre’s annual Irish Festival. This year it’s a contemporary theme, with Irish playwright Thomas Kilroy’s exploration of the psyche of a writer—or, in this case, the psychosis of a writer. The play centers on Brien, a struggling playwright who spends hours alone. It’s just him, his typewriter, his writer’s block, his neurosis and myriad real and imagined characters. It’s not an easy play; it can be a bit confusing and challenging for both the audience and the actors. But the dialogue is pure Irish in its poetic prose, and if you stick with it, the payoff is fun.
Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; $18-$22. 1901 P Street, (916) 444-8209. Extended through April 17. P.R.
Titus Andronicus Titus Andronicus is the nasty underbelly of Shakespeare’s tragedies. It’s lurid, cruel and violently vengeful, with rape, murder, amputation and cannibalism. Titus contains attitudes toward women, blacks and non-Christians that are, by today’s standards, politically incorrect at best. Why stage it now, in low-budget mode, with semi-modern dress? Well, it’s still a disturbing play, and that it was apparently popular in Shakespeare’s time tells us something. (And don’t forget, similar atrocities were committed recently during the Liberian civil war.) The title role is a ghoulish vehicle for the older leading man who’s willing to try to shoot the moon, as veteran actor Ed Claudio does. Alexandra Ralph is devastating in her mute mutilation scene.
Actor’s Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 925-6579. Through April 18. J.H.