The Big Bang The popular summer comedy returns for a fall run. Actors Greg Alexander and Dave Pierini not only portray everyone from Adam and Eve to Napoleon and Josephine in this 23-song musical, but they also use everyday items for costumes – grabbing curtains, vases and pillows for personal props. Everyone is skewered, no race or religion is spared, the double entendres fly, and the jokes are both naughty and groan-producing. It’s not for the thin-skinned, but it is for audiences looking for madcap mayhem and zany antics.
B Street Theatre; 7 p.m. Thursday through Friday, 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday; $22-$28. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Extended through November 6. P.R.
Born Yesterday River Stage’s season opener feels like a nostalgic trip through an old classic movie, with its long dressing gowns, elegant furniture, swirling cocktail glasses, silly dialogue and old-fashioned battle of the sexes. Playwright Garson Kanin’s 1946 political satire looks at cigar-chomping deal-makers but centers on Billie Dawn, the ditsy paramour of junk dealer Harry Brock, who one-ups Washington’s politicians, power brokers and lawyers. Christine Nicholson brings a weary sass and streetwise pathos to Billie Dawn while the always-on-the-mark Loren Taylor plays her foil.
River Stage; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $15-$18. Cosumnes River College, 8410 Center Parkway, (916) 691-7364. Through November 13. P.R.
Clouds Hill Some plays are more notable for the questions they pose than the solutions they offer. Clouds Hill sets up several nagging, and very real, contemporary moral dilemmas. A young Middle Eastern man enrolls at a small private college and proves to be unnaturally interested in and adept at chemistry. Does the young man have terrorist connections? Are those suspicions groundless and based on racial profiling? Playwright Charles Evered (who will be at the November 5 performance) offers no pat answers. Feminism, cultural traditions, conservative and liberal politics, and academic freedom also come into play. Good performances by locals Mary Beth Barber (returning to the stage after a long hiatus), Sean Morneau and Chris Yoosefi.
California Stage, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $15-$19. 1723 25th Street; (916) 451-5822. Through November 20. J.H.
A Raisin in the Sun The Sacramento Theatre Company opens its new season with this rich, satisfying production of an American classic from the 1950s. It’s a drama about three generations of a black Chicago family, living in a cramped old apartment and contemplating a new house in the suburbs. The matriarch is newly widowed. Her son is frustrated with his job as a chauffer, and her daughter is the family’s first college student. The play includes a marriage proposal, a racially motivated business proposal, a drunken scene and more. If you know the 1961 film, you’re in for a treat, because this three-hour production includes scenes that were cut from the movie. The cast is strong, including a fine performance from the River City’s own Danielle Moné Thrower.
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; $22-$38. 1419 H Street, (916) 443-6722, www.sactheatre.org. Extended through November 6. J.H.
The Shape of Things Evelyn is an edgy art student. While trying to spray-paint a statue, she encounters Adam, a part-time museum guard so nerdy he’s not even geek-chic. This cute meeting of an Adam and an Eve results in an odd romantic match-up and a strangely evolving relationship, written by the unsettling contemporary playwright Neil LaBute. Director Jonathan Williams keeps the action taut with tension and suspense, resulting in a satisfying, surprising plot payoff.
Capital Stage; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $20-$24. The Delta King, 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464, www.capitalstagecompany.com. Extended through November 6. P.R.
Survivor Diary October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and California Stage is bringing the month into focus with a theater project that informs and entertains audiences about the disease, while honoring its victims and survivors. Through vignettes and overlapping dialogue, 10 actors switch from narration to action while tracing various women’s journeys with cancer. With an abundance of statistics and no strong story arc, at times the play feels like an HMO-produced guide to breast cancer. But in the end, the spirit of the play captures the amazing journey of breast-cancer patients everywhere.
California Stage, 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $14-$19. The Space, 2509 R Street; (916) 451-5822. Through November 20. P.R.