Charlotte Second Chance Ever wish you could revisit a stressful situation, say something different to your significant other and salvage a good love that went bad? That’s the premise behind Beyond the Proscenium Productions’ Charlotte Second Chance, a “magical realism” play by Dennis Escobedo of Los Angeles. The script features several bright comic touches, but the deep current beneath the surface is the gradually deteriorating relationship between Charlotte (California State University, Sacramento-trained Kim Brauer, in a strong performance) and Finn (Michael Cortez Temple). A mystic named Harmony (Christa Bella) provides a few celestial interventions. It’s a bittersweet love story, and director Ann Tracy wisely keeps the story from fermenting on the lees too long.
California Stage; 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with a 2 p.m. show on Sunday, October 2; $12-$15. California Stage, 1725 25th Street, (916) 456-1600. Through October 2. J.H.
Hate Mail Preston, not happy with his snow-globe purchase, writes a brusque letter to the store manager for a refund. She’s just as curt writing back. Thus starts a war of the words and the beginning of a perverse relationship. Hate Mail is a glib alternative to the theater classic Love Letters, with a similar dramatic premise: a dialogue between two characters exchanged through letters. But this is a twisted version, with two rather unsympathetic characters battling it out through letters, notes and e-mails. The play is a bit superficial, but the repartees are clever and wicked.
B Street Theatre; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $20-$28. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Extended through October 2. P.R.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch This campy cult classic originated as a one-man off-Broadway musical; was subsequently made into a movie; and has spawned hordes of loyal, rabid Hed-heads. The fans know by heart the bitter story of Hedwig’s journey from an East Berlin childhood to his botched sex-change operation, his double-crossing young lover Tommy and his eventual re-emergence as the blond-wigged chanteuse. The show is presented as cabaret with an attitude—songs interspersed with stories. Local actor Kevin Leonard portrays Hedwig with sadness, sass and sensitivity. His Hedwig is angry, bitter, campy and wickedly funny—a sweet, sad survivor on her own road to empowerment.
Lambda Players Theatre, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (with some Thursday and Sunday productions), $10-$15. 2427 17th Street, (916) 444-8229. Through October 15. P.R.
The 2nd Annual Sacramento 2Page Play Festival This likeable, lighthearted program showcases seven of director Evan Nossoff’s SacActors.com students in 20 very short plays, which run the gamut from hilarious to forgettable. The show begins with a bang: Cell Phone Reminder, in which six actors commit battery on an “audience member” who hasn’t switched off his you-know-what. The show ends on a high note with Christophos Reeks, about a dad and a barfing, carsick infant, hilariously recast in the style of Greek tragedy. But many of the intervening playlets are one-note novelties, and the actors (while appealing and energetic) are variable in their ever-changing roles. In other words, this is a fun show if you’re in the neighborhood or have a friend in the cast, but it’s not the sort of major achievement that merits a long drive to see.
Geery Theater; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12.50-$14.50. 2130 L Street, (916) 452-4152. Through October 30. J.H.