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 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.
Glengarry Glen Ross David Mamet’s gritty, realistic drama about real-estate salesmen is long overdue for a local production—especially considering the frantic, desperate nature of the real-estate market in Sacramento over the last few years. The play brims with dubious dealings, deception and the dangerous downside of nonstop pressure to get a client to sign a contract. It’s all about men (there’s not a woman in the show), spinning, manipulating and scurrying after the almighty dollar. This isn’t a show for the faint of heart—the F-word crops up in every third line—but the playwright’s famous knack for strangely beautiful, tough-edged dialogue is shown to maximum advantage in this well-acted, no-frills production. Good performances by Dan Harlan (as an aging salesman), Anthony Sava and others.
The Actor’s Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Boulevard, (916) 925-6579. Through December 11. J.H.
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.