Around the World in 80 Day s With a bet on the table, Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg sets out to prove he can make a trip around the world in 80 days, using all available forms of transportation. Playwright Mark Brown uses all forms of entertainment to make his adaptation of 80 Days one of the most innovative comedies around. The dialogue is fast and fun, the actors have colorful roles and multiple personalities, and the staging is inventive and clever.
Foothill Theatre Company; 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $5-$23. 401 Broad Street in Nevada City, (530) 265-8587. Through April 17. P.R.
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.
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.
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; $11-$12. 5325 Engle Road in Carmichael, (916) 489-7529. Through April 2. J.H.
Love in the Title This Irish play has a time-travel premise, bringing together three generations of women from the same family, who don’t entirely get along. The oldest (chronologically) is represented onstage as a playful, very Catholic girl of 20, while her daughter appears as a dour 30-something housewife. The granddaughter is a single academic going on 40. Playwright Hugh Leonard uses this situation to illustrate the vast changes in Irish society over the last 80 years, as well as to rattle some skeletons in the family closet. The Irish accents are variable, but the better scenes in this thoughtful play leave a lasting impression.
Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; $20, including dessert. 1901 P Street, (916) 444-8209. Reservations required. Through April 16. J.H.
The Syringa Tree Playwright Pamela Gien, who grew up in South Africa under apartheid, has managed to blend many of her country’s stories in this remarkable one-woman play. The central character is a white 6-year-old child whose physician father travels into the worlds of both the blacks and the whites, separated under apartheid rule. It incorporates 24 characters—white and black, men and women, and adults and children—using at least 10 different African dialects and accents. Actress Saffron Henke portrays all the characters, seamlessly blending people and moments to create memorable stories. It’s a remarkable performance.
Sacramento Theatre Company; 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, 12:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $20-$36. 1419 H Street, (916) 443-6722. Through April 10. 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.
Waiting for Godot The Actor’s Theatre revives its production of Samuel Beckett’s existentialist classic, widely considered one of the great 20th-century plays. Savvy old pros Ed Claudio (fresh from Tartuffe at the Sacramento Theatre Company) and Dan Harlan return in the leading roles, with changes elsewhere in the cast. Reviewing the play in 2003, Patti Roberts praised Claudio and Harlan and said, “The lush language and philosophical ramblings take the audience along on the two main characters’ trip to nowhere, while providing just the right touch of humor.”
Actor’s Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 925-6579. Through May 1. P.R.
Yeomen of the Guard The light operas of William S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan don’t have quite the mass following they enjoyed 50 or 60 years ago, but they’re still performed by dedicated community groups. Light Opera Theatre of Sacramento assembled a large cast, a lot of colorful costumes and a 16-piece orchestra for this production. Yeomen’s intricate plot involves an innocent man sentenced to death. He marries just before his appointment with the headsman and then escapes (from the headsman, that is). The artistry lies in the witty words and music that spring from this improbable plot. If you’ve never tried Gilbert and Sullivan, this friendly production is a reasonably good place to start.
24th Street Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $13-$16. Sierra 2 Center, 2791 24th Street, (916) 978-5800. Through April 10. J.H.