The Beggers’ Strike Director Buck Busfield charts a somewhat different course for the Children’s Theatre of California. This story’s set in Africa, it features beggars, and it’s longer and a bit more abstract than previous productions. The music, dancing and costumes give the show plenty of appeal for kids (and parents), while the somewhat philosophical “giving to receive” theme comes through quite nicely—even for the younger kids. It’s also nice to see a sympathetic depiction of Islam onstage. The good, largely black cast features a combination of local and out-of-town talent.
Children’s Theatre of California; 7 p.m. Friday, and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $15-$20. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through March 13. J.H.
The Glass Menagerie The Glass Menagerie spotlights Tennessee Williams’ writing, his fragile characters and the heartbreaking conditions of the human spirit. Tom is looking for a way out of his warehouse job. He wants to write, but he is financially responsible for his abandoned mother and mentally ill sister. He’s a prisoner of major guilt, expertly fed by his domineering mother. There are some bumps along the way—slow pacing and some disconnect between the characters—but you’ll leave this production under the spell of the tenuous world of Tennessee Williams.
Actor’s Theatre of Sacramento; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 925-6579. Through March 20. P.R.
Horse Country No horses or cowboy hats here. The script by C.J. Hopkins is an absurdist, existential comedy about two guys in a bar, playing cards with a short deck and engaging in a rambling, ultimately circular conversation. Hopkins honors a clear debt to Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot and indulges in a bit of Tom Stoppard’s gamesmanship on the side, with questions like “How many surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb?” This production by Beyond the Proscenium Productions features cagey actors Ray Tatar and James C. Anderson exchanging lines like circus artists juggling torches and hatchets.
California Stage; 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, with additional shows on March 5 at 5 p.m. and on March 6 at 7 p.m.; $13-$16. 1723 25th Street, (916) 456-1600. Through March 6. J.H.
Jack and Jill Delta King Theatre deftly delivers what it’s best known for: an accessible play that examines relationships, most notably the yin and yang of men and women. This time we’re watching Jack and Jill’s relationship going up the hill and back down a couple of times. Director Peter Mohrmann keeps a tight rein on the quick scenes, sharp repartees, clever staging and smart performances by the two leads. However, even with solid performances, neither actor can make these unsympathetic characters likable. Jack and Jill’s drama becomes wearisome. By the end, you really don’t care if their relationship lasts.
Delta King Theatre; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $18-$22. 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464. Though March 6. P.R.
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 SacActors.com 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 April 17. P.R.
The Waiting Room This River Stage production looks at the lengths to which women will go to attain society’s idea of beauty. Three women from history—an 18th-century Chinese woman crippled by bound feet, a 19th-century woman with internal organs crushed by a corset, and a modern woman with breast implants—meet in a doctor’s waiting room. It’s a fascinating, disturbing, thought-provoking and humorous look at modern medicine. It’s weighed down by too many issues and would be better if it were more focused, but in the end, you can’t help but be affected by the stories.
River Stage; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $13-$15. Cosumnes River College, 8410 Center Parkway, (916) 691-7364. Through March 6. P.R.