Baby Killer Marie Bain’s one-woman show draws on her singular and very strange experience of volunteering as an escort in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic and losing her job teaching drama at a local Catholic high school after a parent (also an anti-abortion protester) makes the connection. Bain’s show is funny (with a streak of bitterness), partisan, and unabashedly agenda-driven—but hey, she’s got a right to tell her side of the story.
YWCA; 8 p.m. Saturday; $20. 1122 17th Street; (916) 930-1003. J.H.
… 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. 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 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.
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. 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. 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; 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.
Sly Fox There’s a pleasant surprise at the Woodland Opera House: an adaptation of Ben Jonson’s Volpone, a dark comedy from 1606 about greed featuring con men, tightwads and whores, all chasing someone else’s gold. Thirty years ago, writer/actor Larry Gelbart revised Jonson’s classic as Sly Fox, updating the language and relocating the story to San Francisco in the late 1800s—around the time the historic (and glorious) Woodland Opera House was built. This community revival is well-scrubbed and not nearly as wicked as it might be considering the seamy characters, cold betrayals and general lack of ethics. But there are still plenty of laughs, and a fine performance from old Micail Buse (hobbling around as a superannuated skinflint).
Woodland Opera House; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $10-$15. 340 Second Street in Woodland, (530) 666-9617. Through June 4. 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.
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.
Strange Sightings in the Great Southwest This lyrical, sometimes-poetic play is by and about women. It’s driven by the interpersonal conflicts and growing pains felt by two sisters (one prim, the other a sexpot, both hitting middle age) and a nearly adult daughter with a physical disability. They’re trying to work out the way they relate to each other, and to men. Each of these women also has an internal issue to overcome and, by the time you reach the play’s cathartic ending, all three manage to do so.
Foothill Theatre Company; 7 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday; $11-$26. Nevada Theatre, 401 Broad Street in Nevada City, (530) 265-8587, www.foothilltheatre.org. Through June 4. J.H.
The Sugar Bean Sisters 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.