Amadeus Sacramento Theatre Company celebrates Mozart’s 250th birthday with a production of Peter Shaffer’s Tony Award-winning play. Amadeus is less a biography than a creative take on jealousy, obsession, talent, fame and fortune. The plot is mired in mystery more than in music, and it focuses more on court composer Antonio Salieri than on Mozart, but it’s still a fascinating plotline. This production forms a memorable partnership with cast regular Matt K. Miller as the dark, conniving Salieri and Derek Manson as the buffoonish yet brilliant Mozart. It’s a handsome production, from the beautifully detailed costumes to the minimalist staging. However, the play lags at times under the density of the dialogue and the minimizing of the music.
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; $12-$32. 1419 H Street, (916) 443-6722, www.sactheatre.org. Through March 5. P.R.
Golf with Alan Shepard Spend an evening with a foursome on the back nine. These elderly golfers each have a distinct personality, though all share a certain crusty view of life and impatience with the aches and pains of senioritis. The talented actors breathe life into the play’s characters—a challenge with the playwright’s frustrating script. But following a group of gabby golfers is a clever device, and we do grow to care as these golf buddies slowly reveal their lives, their losses and their loneliness.
Chautauqua Playhouse, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday with 2 p.m. matinees on February 26 and March 5, $13-$15. 5325 Engle Road in Carmichael, (916) 489-7528, www.cplayhouse.com. Through March 11. P.R.
The Island Each year, Celebration Arts stages a play about race and discrimination by South African writer Athol Fugard. This tradition has become the longest-running and most notable theatrical series in town. This year’s installment, The Island, is about two black men imprisoned for political crimes. They’re forced to do meaningless, backbreaking, physical labor (actors Romann D. Hodge and Rob Anthony get hot and sweaty in the long first scene). The two long to be released, and in the meantime, they’re planning a skit for a prison show—of all things, a portion of the ancient Greek tragedy Antigone. Greek tragedy always contains a message, and messages have consequences. This sparely staged show with only two characters, running barely 80 minutes, nonetheless has plenty to say.
Celebration Arts, 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, $8-$15. 4469 D Street, (916) 455-2787, www.celebrationarts.net. Through February 25. J.H.
The Madwoman of Chaillot This satire, written by a Frenchman after World War II, involves a local character who’s “mad” but loved and nurtured by her neighborhood. Against all odds, she decides to halt a hunt for oil beneath the city of Paris and the greedy pursuit of corporate wartime contracts. It’s a play whose time has come again (think Enron; think Iraq). This elaborate community production features good work by a savvy director (Sands Hall), costumer (Diane Fetterly) and lead actress (Jacklyn Maddux). The story, like the title character, is prone to occasional idiosyncratic detours and nonlinear illuminations—just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Center for the Arts; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $12-$18. 314 West Main Street in Grass Valley, (530) 274-8384, www.thecenterforthearts.org. Through February 26. J.H.
Relatively Speaking This British comedy, set in the 1960s, features two couples. One is young and contemplating matrimony; the other is middle-aged and a tad bored. But these four people have something in common. They don’t entirely trust their significant others, and they have a bit of difficulty telling all the truth, all the time. Director Peter Mohrmann deftly leads a seasoned cast through an escalating series of “harmless” white lies, with increasingly funny results. The script is also an early example of playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s talent for comic dialogue.
Capital Stage; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $20-$24 for show only, and $44-$51 for dinner and show. Delta King, 1000 Front Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 995-5464, www.capitalstagecompany.com. Through March 5. J.H.
Safe at Home: The Jackie Robinson Story Jackie Robinson is the perfect subject matter for a thought-provoking yet entertaining children’s-theater offering. The story of the first black major-league baseball player speaks to history, to perseverance and to a singular passion. The basic story is interesting and conveys a love of baseball, and the lead performer gives a talented portrayal of Robinson. But the production is muddied with songs and perky dancing that distract from the plot, rather than propel it.
Children’s Theatre of California; 7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday; $15 for children and $20 for adults. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org. Through March 12. P.R.
What He Left There are plenty of jokes and funny stories in Jack Gallagher’s new one-man show, but it’s really a memory play, and a very personal one at that. Gallagher reflects on growing up and on watching his parents grow old, his dad in particular. His father’s voice, recorded before his passing, figures into the show, and you can feel his presence in the theater. The show is directed with sensitivity and understated style by Buck Busfield, but it’s very much Gallagher’s project. He uses both his skills as a stand-up comedian and a degree of revealing sincerity you don’t always sense in performers.
B Street Theatre; 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, with some 2 p.m. Wednesday matinees; $20-$28. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300. Extended through March 19. J.H.