Stage Reviews

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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.

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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 16. P.R.

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Boston Marriage Playwright David Mamet revisits the America of the late 1800s in this comedy of outrageous duplicity and cool manipulation. Boston Marriage deals with same-sex relationships and dubious moral situations that were off-limits on the stage in that era. Characters include a mistress kept by a wealthy businessman, her longtime female friend (who is bent on seducing an underage girl) and a simpleminded Scottish maid. The dialogue is very funny at times, as mistress (Amy Resnick) and friend (Jamie Jones) make—and defend—their very selfish deals. But there’s not a lot of story to support the verbal fireworks, Resnick bites off a few too many words in her numerous speeches, and the atmosphere is hampered by an inconsistency between the costumes (1800s) and the music (modern pop).
B Street Theatre; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $17.50-$21.50. 2711 B Street; (916) 443-5300. Through May 23. J.H.

Click for Legend The Boxcar Children This is a fun and very amusing adaptation of a popular children’s-book series about the adventures of four Depression-era orphans. It’s a quick trip—just two half-hour acts. This makes the plot a bit choppy, but the end result is an entertaining story about plucky, enterprising kids who just want to stay together as a family. Great period additions include 1930s songs, a movie-organ soundtrack, handsome costumes, and Laurel- and Hardy-like sidekicks.
Children’s Theatre of California; 7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday; $15-$20. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through May 30. P.R.

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Jesus Christ Superstar This family-friendly production has a lot of heart and soul. Though considered scandalous when it first came out, this musical now comes across as quaint. Compared with Mel Gibson’s graphic take, it’s the “less blood and more love” version of the Scriptures. That said, seeing Jesus Christ Superstar as dinner theater is a bit disconcerting, with a large crucifix and a suffering Jesus looming over diners.
Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre; 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (with dinner at 6 p.m.), and 2:30 p.m. Sunday (with brunch at 1 p.m.); $39 for show and meal, or $20 for show only. 12401 Folsom Boulevard in Rancho Cordova, (916) 985-6361. Through May 23. P.R.

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The Laramie Project River Stage artistic director Frank Condon has presented many important American plays in recent years. He comes through again with The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman. It’s a big, broad mosaic of a show, examining the community reaction (through many viewpoints) in the tight-knit town of Laramie, Wyo., after a gay student is brutally beaten and left to die. This is gripping, reality-based theater. Condon’s understated presentation magnifies the power of the plainspoken dialogue, drawn from interviews with hundreds of Laramie residents. Watch for actor Peter Mohrmann’s sterling monologue as the dead student’s father.
River Stage; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $13-$15. Cosumnes River College, 8401 Center Parkway; (916) 691-7364. Through May 23. J.H.

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Shades of Brown Shades of Brown gives us a listen to Oscar Brown Jr., a Chicago-born R&B and jazz composer. Twenty-one of Brown’s songs are presented by a multitalented singing trio backed by a tight trio of musicians. Brown’s songs are classy and sassy, and so is the resulting show. There is no dialogue, but most of the songs are stories in themselves. All that’s missing in this classy nightclub act are candlelit tables and cocktail service.
Chautauqua Playhouse; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on May 9; $11-$12. 5325 Engle Road in Carmichael, (916) 489-7529. May 15. P.R.

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Slider Abandon Productions applies its low-tech, high-concept style of physical theater to a linear, biographical storyline. The focus of the tale is Slider, a tough girl growing up in the 1940s (played by Dana Hudson, with a marvelous squint and scowl). Her life takes several heartbreaking turns, but she survives the setbacks, albeit with scars. The limber cast members—wearing climbers’ helmets and hard plastic kneepads and wrist guards—run, slide, climb and collide on the concrete floor, in addition to singing well-layered a cappella vocals. Director Doniel Soto conjures gorgeous visuals of childbirth, a drowning at sea and more, using only his actors’ intertwined torsos and limbs.
The Space, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $10-$13. 2509 R Street, (916) 737-2304. Through June 5. J.H.

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When It Goes Haywire In rural present-day Utah, we meet several unusual characters, including a latter-day cowboy, a kooky old veteran who’s chasing Butch Cassidy, an angry punk longing to leave town and a ragged drifter. At the center is a bold, sexually curious 16-year-old girl. Quirky happenings, physical attraction and the very real possibility that someone could get seriously hurt are wild cards in this odd but strangely memorable story. It won’t suit everyone’s taste, but it’s well worth seeing if you’re looking for something different.
Foothill Theatre Company; 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$23. Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad Street in Nevada City; (530) 265-8587. Through May 16. J.H.