Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day The Children’s Theatre of California (CTC) has gone “back to the book” again, with another show based on a slim volume many parents have read aloud to their kids. It’s about a kid named Alexander, who’s having a day when everything goes wrong. Director Buck Busfield taps his reliable stable of actors (Rick Kleber, et al), musical arranger Noah Agruss and costumer Nancy Pipkin. Visiting actor Paul Wyatt is lots of fun in the title role, but the episodic story doesn’t really have a climax. And the songs, though pleasant, don’t stay with you. It’s a nice show—especially for younger kids—but it’s not quite as marvelous for adults as, say, CTC’s earlier A Year with Frog and Toad.
Children’s Theatre of California; 7 p.m. Friday, and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; $15-$20. B Street Theatre, 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through June 5. J.H.
House of Blue Leaves City Theatre’s opening night was plagued by gremlins in the lighting system, causing lights to flicker every couple of minutes until the house lights were raised. It’s hard to determine how much influence the technical difficulties had on the uneven rhythms and performances. Adding to the production problems, the cast was saddled with a convoluted script filled with quirky characters and goofy situations that never really land anywhere. However, there were a couple of admirable performances, a wonderfully creative set and handsome costumes. Hopefully, the pace and performances of this production will even out once the gremlins are shaken out.
City Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, with additional performances on May 7, 12 and 14; $7-$12. Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 558-2228. Through May 15. P.R.
Love and Taxes Monologue artist Josh Kornbluth—a fixture in the Bay Area and New York—delivers an outstanding example of his idiosyncratic art form in this delightful, rambling 90-minute show. He talks about the words in the title; his upbringing by his radical, leftist, Jewish parents; dedicated elementary-school teachers who get no respect; and the health hazards of playing the oboe. It’s a beautifully written, brilliantly performed one-man show. Given the semi-tsunami of educated Bay Area émigrés that has washed over Sacramento in the last 10 years, you’d think Kornbluth would have landed on a local stage before now. Better late than never; this show’s a treat!
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, plus 2 p.m. matinees on May 11, 18 and 25; $20-$25. B Street Theatre, 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through June 5. J.H.
Mrs. California River Stage returns to its beginnings with this 10th-anniversary production of the company’s first show. It’s a comedy with social implications, set in the 1950s, but, unlike most ’50s comedies, this one doesn’t have a teenager in sight. It’s about four married women—some of whom had real jobs during World War II and enjoyed working—who are now competing in a mindless pageant that rates them on their ability to make meatloaf and iron their husbands’ dress shirts. It’s the sort of show we’ve come to expect from River Stage: It’s smart and entertaining, and it gets you thinking about who we were and who we are now. Good comic performances by the ensemble cast are well-managed by guest director Vada Russell.
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 8. J.H.
A Single Woman Actress and playwright Jeanmarie Simpson is flying back from New York, where she’s directing a soon-to-open off-Broadway production of A Single Woman, for a one-shot Mother’s Day performance of the play in Davis. If you missed this show when it appeared at California Stage in 2004 and 2005, take advantage of this chance. A Single Woman is a meaty, theatrically satisfying, thoughtful look into the eventful life of Jeanette Rankin. The first woman elected to Congress (from Montana in 1916), Rankin helped secure the right to vote for American women, opposed America’s entry into two world wars, worked for civil rights and civil liberties, and protested the Vietnam War. Simpson speaks (in character) while baking up a storm and mixing lemonade—apt metaphors for the life of the character Simpson portrays. SN&R awarded this show “Best theatrical surprise” in the 2004 Best of Sacramento issue, and we’re delighted that it’s headed for a run in the Big Apple! One performance only on Sunday, May 8, at 7 p.m.; $8-$15. Unitarian Universalist Church; 27074 Patwin Road in Davis; (530) 753-2581, ext. 100. J.H.
Southern Baptist Sissies These “sissies” are Baptist boys from Texas. They’re attracted to other boys and realize they’re at risk of rejection from family and church. The play opens in comic mode with dialogue that makes fun of fundamentalism counterbalanced by giddy gay-bar scenes. But things get serious as the boys reach adulthood and are torn between being who they really are or the people they’re expected to be. The production has ungainly moments (in addition to provocative scenes that may offend religious conservatives). But it comes into its own in the final hour and is quite impressive as it crosses the finish line. The music by Roy Semerdjian is a fine addition.
Lambda Players Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with specials shows on May 22 at 2 p.m. and April 28 and May 12 at 8 p.m. Lambda Players Theatre, 2427 17th Street, (916) 444-8229. Through May 22. J.H.
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; $14.50-$17.50. 2130 L Street, (916) 451-4152. Extended through May 22. P.R.
Waiting for Godot You’ve doubtless heard of the famously famous play Waiting for Godot, but have you ever seen it? If not, consider this production by the Actor’s Theatre of Sacramento, which features seasoned local veterans Ed Claudio and Dan Harlan as sad, hopeless Vladimir and Estragon. The two stand by a dead tree in a landscape that looks like the end of time and wait for … (check the title of the play, eh?). The cast also features Michael Claudio as the hapless quasi-slave, Lucky, and Mark Heckman as the overbearing Pozzo. This production is all about the acting—otherwise, it’s low-tech and modestly produced. But if you’ve never taken the time to experience Samuel Beckett’s great tragicomedy, this small-scale staging makes a good introduction.
Actor’s Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 925-6579. Extended through May 15. J.H.