Fortune This warm ’n’ fuzzy romantic comedy about a sassy fortuneteller and an awkward, lovelorn accountant won’t take you to places you haven’t been before. But cast members Jason Kuykendall and Elisabeth Nunziato turn in winning performances that turn this rather predictable play into an enjoyable little excursion. He displays an attractive mix of self-doubt, vulnerability and eagerness. She has a field day dressing up as three different redheaded romantic alternatives, hoping to catch his eye.
B Street Theatre; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $20-$25. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through April 17. 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.
A Lesson Before Dying This very interesting play, based on a novel by noted black writer Ernest J. Gaines, doesn’t live up to all of its potential in this particular production. The story, set in Louisiana in 1948, involves a young black convict awaiting execution for a crime he didn’t commit. What’s at issue is not his innocence; it’s a question of how he’s going to handle himself as he goes to the electric chair and whether he’ll accept the counsel of his friends. Racism, education, religion and whether it’s better to move to California or to stay in the rural South and help your people are among the issues raised. This production is hampered by occasionally choppy direction and a few glitches in the acting, but it still has a lot to say.
Chautauqua Playhouse; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. on March 20 and 27; $11-$12. 5325 Engle Road in Carmichael, (916) 489-7529. Through April 2. J.H.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom Playwright August Wilson looks at the “race records” business of the 1920s, when blues music was being recorded for the first time. There isn’t a wrong note in the casting. Not only is every single performance on the mark, but also the actors’ interaction with each other is seamless—making you feel like a lucky fly on the wall at a historical jam session. We get to witness musicians and singers joshing and jiving, illustrating tight friendships and revealing individual stories.
City Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, with additional performances on March 17 and 19; $10-$12. Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 558-2228. Through March 20. 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.