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.
A Doll’s House Even though they debuted as a couple more than 125 years ago, Nora and Torvald Helmer would have felt right at home on Wisteria Lane. This just-promoted banker and his adorable, adoring wife are the picture of suburban contentment, if there had been suburbs when Henrik Ibsen created this couple for his 1879 play. And, just like those housewives on the hit television show, behind Nora’s perfect facade is a desperate housewife embroiled in secrets, lies and blackmail. What Director Ed Claudio wisely does in this production is to humanize the Torvald character, making the husband less brutish and more, well, desperate himself. And Nora’s layers are exposed slowly, painfully and realistically, so the quick disintegration of the marriage is more sad than empowering.
Actor’s Theatre of Sacramento; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays; $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 925-6579. Through July 3.
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. Thursday 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; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $20-$25. B Street Theatre, 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through June 5, with an extension on June 10-12. Call theater for times. J.H.
Much Ado About Nothing This pocket-sized production of the classic Shakespeare comedy features 11 actors in 17 roles, with their numerous comings and goings squeezed onto one of the smaller stages in town. Perhaps director Christine Nicholson should consider a second career as an air-traffic controller. It’s a very funny, light and nimble production, with local professionals Jamie Jones and Eric Wheeler verbally sparring as the headstrong, reluctant lovers Beatrice and Benedick. Also in the cast are veterans of River Stage and City Theatre productions. Professional productions of Shakespeare are all too rare in Sacramento; this tasty, fun-oriented, heads-up example, using hometown Actors Equity talent and high-end community players, hopefully will serve as a model for future efforts.
Delta King Theatre; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $8-$20 for show only, and $42-$49 for meal and show. 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464. Through June 26. J.H.