Stage Reviews

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Pageant The Studio Theatre pays homage to cheesy, tacky beauty pageants. Watch “giddy girls” compete to be Miss Glamouresse in this over-the-top pageant complete with bathing-suit, evening-gown and talent competitions. The twist is that all the contestants are men portraying women, which makes it fun. The cast embraces the concept with endless enthusiasm and energy. However, the musical never really lives up to its potential, with mild, safe and silly humor.
Studio Theatre; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $16-$21. 1028 R Street, (916) 446-2668. Extended through February 27. P.R.

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A Single Woman California Stage and the Nevada Shakespeare Company offer a slightly revised version of last February’s remarkable two-actor show, which SN&R awarded “Best theatrical surprise of 2004” in the Best of Sacramento issue. The play profiles the long, eventful life of Jeannette Rankin. She was born on the Western frontier in 1880 and was the first woman elected to the House of Representatives, in 1916, representing Montana before women got the vote in most states. She challenged presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Richard Nixon. Rankin’s story is told through playwright and actress Jeanmarie Simpson’s wonderful performance. She chats as she prepares bread and lemonade onstage, providing an earthy, humanizing counterweight to the character’s relentless dedication to so many causes. Rankin’s life—as a dogged pacifist, early feminist, friend of the labor and civil-rights movements, and stubbornly independent thinker—provides many dramatic moments. If you missed it last year, catch it this time.
California Stage; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $15-$19. 1725 25th Street, (916) 451-5822. Through January 30. J.H.

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The Vagina Monologues This play with the gutsy title takes a taboo subject matter—a basic body part of every woman—and makes it acceptable to talk about. For this production by, three talented actresses trade off monologues in front of deep-red velvet panels. The performances examine not only the word, but also the body part, and all the shame, power, fear and beauty that vagina owners carry with them. The play is great fodder for after-show conversations.
Geery Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12.50-$14.50. 2130 L Street, (916) 451-4152. Extended through February 27. P.R.