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.
I Remember Mama The whole family will enjoy this quaint look at a warm Norwegian immigrant household in turn-of-the-century San Francisco. Mama is a firm but affectionate mother who rules with a tight wallet and numerous hugs. Daughter Katrin is the observer of the family, writing down various relatives’ ensuing dramas and family secrets. There are no major tragedies, just small mishaps and misunderstandings. The story is a sweet one, about the spirit and struggle of immigrants embracing a new country, though it becomes cloying at times, like a Little House on the Prairie episode with an added spoonful of sugar. However, the cast elevates the material and makes the family one you want to spend time with.
City Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, with additional 2 p.m. matinees on December 3 and 10; $7-$15. At Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 558-2228, www.citytheatre.net. Through December 11. P.R.
Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol Capital Stage revives last year’s holiday production, which was one of that season’s pleasant surprises. The show reinterprets the Charles Dickens standard from the point of view of Marley (actually, his ghost). He’s reluctantly accepted a mission impossible: reforming his former business partner, Scrooge. The play combines familiar Dickensian dialogue with original material, including several new scenes offering dark verbal glimpses into hell. But it’s done with an attractively lyrical, impish wit. Director Stephanie Gularte gets a lot from her cast, including perky Jamie Jones and versatile Lucinda Hitchcock Cone. But it’s Harry Harris (using his malleable voice as Marley) who carries the show. Miles Miniaci completes the cast as the guy who says, “Bah, humbug.”
Capital Stage; 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday; $46-$49 for show and meal, or $22-$25 for show only. Aboard the Delta King riverboat, 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464. Through December 24. J.H.
Queen of the Remote Control Seventeen-year-old Shilpa feels, like, totally misunderstood by her ever-present parents—both highly successful doctors from India. Though hers is an Indian household, Shilpa takes on the petulant attitude of an overindulged American teen by sulking, sighing and “whatever”-ing at every turn. But because she’s smart and funny, and has a creative way of looking at life through the lens of a TV addict, Shilpa’s self-involvement is more entertaining than exasperating. Her maturity begins with the revelation of family secrets. There are impressive performances by young actress Roshni Shukla as Shilpa and Saffron Henke as her mother.
Sacramento Theatre Company’s Stage Two; 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $22-$32. 1419 H Street, (916) 443-6722. Through January 8. P.R.
The Secret Garden There’s nothing drastically wrong with the Children’s Theatre of California’s new adaptation of the classic 1880s novel for young people by Frances Hodgson Burnett. But it’s less dynamic than other stage adaptations (Foothill Theatre Company’s 2001 production comes to mind), and it doesn’t possess the degree of crossover appeal for adults that marks the Children’s Theatre’s better shows. Playwright and director Jerry Montoya is largely faithful to the spirit of the piece, but the dark creepiness of the old English manor, the mirroring of mental anguish and physical ills, and the mystical and restorative power of nature aren’t as fleshed out as they might be. The cast would benefit from the presence of an older man or woman.
B Street Theatre; 7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, with holiday shows at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. December 27 through 30; $15 for children and $20 for adults. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Through January 1. J.H.