… Butterfly … Sacramento writer Thomas Kelly’s introspective new play is a lyrical rooftop duet—with dance lessons—between two New Yorkers with immigrant roots. Fyvush is a 78-year-old European Jew, and Myung Sook is an 18-year-old Korean girl. Past wars have left deep scars on both. Kelly gradually reveals their memories with human sensitivity and an ironic awareness of change brought by passing time, especially in his writing for Fyvush. But despite deft direction from Maggie Upton, a monologue by Fyvush runs out of steam. Ting Sun (a good actress who recently played a middle-aged mom) is skinny but doesn’t entirely look like a teenager. Patrick Murphy, a veteran performer who recently settled here, is very good as Fyvush.
Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $22. 1901 P Street, (916) 444-8209. Through May 27. J.H.
Carnival The cast and crew of City Theatre unveil clever puppets, colorful costumes, imaginative sets, a lively seven-member band, an engaging lead and a detail-oriented director in their recreation of a run-down traveling European carnival. The large, mostly student cast gives the audience its hearts and enthusiasm with its portrayals of various carnival characters. Unfortunately, what City Theatre can’t pull out of its circus trunks is what it never had—a musical with memorable songs or a sympathetic story. The tunes are sleepy, and the story’s a little creepy.
City Theatre; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, with 2 p.m. matinees on May 13, 18 and 20; $7-$15. Art Court Theatre at Sacramento City College, 3835 Freeport Boulevard, (916) 558-2228, www.citytheatre.net. Through May 21. P.R.
The Emperor’s New Clothes Comic actor David Pierini goes on a tear in this retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, staged by the Children’s Theatre of California. Kids will enjoy Pierini’s wild costumes and goofy behavior (preening before a mirror or doodling with his hair). Adults also will get a kick out of his character’s selfish mannerisms. Local playwright Richard Hellesen wrote the adaptation, which plays off images from early Hollywood (including a homage to Harpo and Chico Marx, which probably will go over the heads of most youngsters). Director Anthony D’Juan keeps the story bopping along briskly.
B Street Theatre; 7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday; $15-$20. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org. Through May 21. J.H.
Juno and the Paycock This Sean O’Casey classic Irish play, written in 1922, has all the requisites of tragedy: poverty, politics, religion and drink. This impressive B Street production delivers O’Casey’s complex characters, lyrical language, sly wit and rumination on the politics of poverty—as well as memorable performances that resonate throughout the play and long afterward.
B Street Theatre; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $23-$28. 2711 B Street, (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org. Through May 21. P.R.
Miss Fortune and the Carnival of Fools Electric guitars, with accordion. Characters with names like Tiki Taka the Parakeet Princess and Monsieur Le Bazoo. Poetry, wild costumes, greasepaint and good-natured anarchy. We’re entering the whimsical, Dada-influenced creative zone where the groups sometimes called Draw Pinky and Hell Toupee (the current lineup is dubbed the Pink Toupee Collective) create their idiosyncratic work. Miss Fortune has one foot in the realm of community musical theater and another in the realm of psychedelic rock. This show’s a semi-staged concert experience, with several catchy songs. The plot involves a suitably unconventional love story with an absinthe-inspired hallucinatory side trip. (Every show by this group is something of a trip.) Occasionally, the lyrics are hard to make out, and the story meanders—but, then, it’s supposed to.
The Space; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; $12-$15, or $25 per couple with advance reservations. 2509 R Street, (916) 739-6105, www.drawpinky.com/missfortune. Through May 13. J.H.
Spinning Into Butter A play about racism with lots of laughs? That’s the agenda for this high-risk comedy, which posits the consequences when a black student at a private college in Vermont starts receiving threatening notes. Political correctness, administrative doublespeak, well-intended “forums” (that turn into deadly dull displays) and academic politics come in for incisive jabs as characters trying to “do the right thing” make a bad situation even worse. There’s a good performance by actress Nina Breton as a frustrated dean. Many scenes cut dangerously close to the bone because it’s easy to see yourself in the characters onstage. The show has ragged moments but hits more sensitive soft spots and rattles more skeletons than any other comedy in town.
River Stage; 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $13-$18. Cosumnes River College, 8401 Center Parkway, (916) 691-7364, www.riverstage.org. Through May 21. J.H.
The Sugar Bean Sisters These loopy Southern swamp sisters are firmly planted in Sacramento for the next few months at the Studio Theatre. The tale of the eccentric Nettles siblings is a broad comedy in every sense of the word. The lives of these eccentric “bachelor girls” living on the old family homestead are interrupted by a wayward showgirl named Videllia, a strange preacher, a reptile lady, outer-space visitors and other sundry stuff. This surreal story is a goofy romp through the Florida swamp with a winning cast, but the convoluted story ends up with more heart than substance.
The Studio Theatre; 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $20-$24. 1028 R Street, (916) 446-2668, www.thestudiotheatre.net. Through July 2. P.R.
The Wizard of Oz There’s no place like home, especially Davis Musical Theatre Company’s new home—a theater with all the trimmings, including loads of bathrooms. This version of The Wizard of Oz is the family favorite, with classic songs from the movie, including “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” The leads are solid and supported by a large, less-seasoned yet earnest cast. There are more than 15 enthusiastic youngsters as munchkins and flying monkeys, and another dozen as dancers and backgrounders. The sets are minimal, and the live orchestra needs fine-tuning, but the costumes are creative and colorful.
Hoblit Performing Arts Center; 8:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2:15 p.m. Sunday; $12-$15. 607 Pena Drive in Davis, (530) 756-3779, www.dmtc.org. Through May 14. P.R.