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.
Five-Course Love Sacramento composer Gregg Coffin’s second full-length musical is like a progressive dinner, with each scene offering a funny take on romance in a different restaurant (with the musical style changing to match the food). The Texas barbecue joint features country-western, the German restaurant has decadent Berlin cabaret numbers, etc. Coffin writes witty, suggestive lyrics to go with his melodic humor; the show adds to the frivolity with over-the-top costumes and quick choreography. It’s a varied goody bag of ear candy and funny situations: fast, frothy and flirtatious. To paraphrase the old Cyndi Lauper tune, Gregg just wants to have fun.
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. Extended through May 28. J.H.
The Lion King Sacramento ticket holders, who’ve virtually sold out the limited six-week run of this innovative musical, are going to feel mighty lucky they bought ahead. It’s simply spectacular—a perfect blend of entertainment, art and theater. It fills up the Community Center Theater with classy and highly imaginative sets, costumes, masks, dancers, puppeteers and special effects. The story is taken from Disney’s very successful animated movie in which a mischievous lion cub, Simba, must avenge his father’s death. However, in an inspired move, instead of using cute Disney mascots, the company hired theatrical magicians to transform the simple story into a truly unique theater experience.
The Broadway Series; 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, with matinee and early-evening performances at various times throughout the run; $20-$75. Community Center Theater, 1301 L Street, (916) 557-1999. Through June 5. P.R.
Long Shadow A decorated World War II vet is shot in the back on a hunting trip, and suspicion soon falls on “Wild Bill” Ebaugh, a longhaired, bearded mountain man. Did he do it? We’ll never know for sure, because Ebaugh was shot by a bounty hunter before he could answer any questions. This new play, based on a 1944 incident in Nevada County, delves into the community’s climate of fear, the political pressure on the sheriff to “solve” the case, and the willingness of many to accept that Ebaugh (whom they’d never liked) probably did it—even though the evidence against him was slender. There are a few aspects of the show that feel unfinished. But there are strong performances by Philip Charles Sneed, Gary Wright, Carolyn Howarth, John Sousa and others.
Foothill Theatre Company; 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $19-$23. Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad Street in Nevada City, (888) 730-8587. Through June 5. J.H.
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 a 2 p.m. matinee on May 25; $20-$25. B Street Theatre, 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through June 5. J.H.
The Pirates of Penzance This production of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s classic is a rollicking funhouse presented by a cast and crew whose main goal is entertainment. As with most Runaway Stage productions, the sheer eagerness of the thrilled-to-be-onstage young cast (supporting seasoned veterans) makes up for the show’s limited production values. The story of a band of do-good pirates who meet up with a general and his bevy of beautiful daughters is told with a contagious comedic spirit. So, although it may not be a polished pirate production, the audience can’t help but be swept up with can-do spirit and fun of this Penzance.
Runaway Stage Productions; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$17. 24th Street Theatre, 2791 24th Street, (916) 207-1226. Through May 29. P.R.
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 and being 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 special shows on May 12 at 8 p.m. and May 22 at 2 p.m. 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.
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.