Almost Jerusalem/Breakthrough Beyond the Proscenium Productions, after several high-IQ efforts, brings out the whoopee cushion with this pair of frothy one-act comedies. Breakthrough is a raunchy, beer-sloshing, fist-pounding, high decibel escapade involving a frustrated actor living next to the neighbor from hell (A.M. Lai, in a wonderful off-stage vocal performance). Almost Jerusalem is a kooky treatment based on the unlikely premise that computerized decoding of religious texts indicates that the Holy Land is in Colorado, not Israel. Again, the humor’s on the (very) broad side, with delusional Coloradans dressed up as Bible characters rampaging across the stage. Some grainy, amateur-looking video scenes slow things down, as do the numerous set changes. Overall, it ain’t an evening of high art, but there’s an air of spontaneity that compensates somewhat. California Stage, 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $12. 1721 25th St. 922-9774. Through May 26. J.H.
The Importance of Being Earnest City Theater’s current production of the Oscar Wilde gem, directed by Luther Hanson (Bite Me Cleopatra, Blood Brothers), is filled with a rich, clever humor seldom experienced in many productions of classic works. While the cast delivers a fun evening and an above-par performance, the production sometimes feels rushed. The real joy in this presentation comes from its peripheral characters, which in places all but steal the thunder from the leads. Visually, each scene takes on a fresh new look with a genuine period feel. While some may argue that classical theater is overdone in Sacramento, this production certainly proves the contrary. Sacramento City College Art Court Theatre, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $10. 3835 Freeport Blvd., 558-2228. Through May 19. M.B.C.
Song of a Nisei Fisherman A thoughtful and effective studio production of San Francisco playwright Philip Kan Gotanda’s autobiographical family drama. A man, born in rural Hawaii to uneducated parents who long to return to Japan, goes to college against their wishes and becomes a doctor, eventually settling in California’s Central Valley, marrying, and raising kids (who bear little resemblance to their immigrant grandparents). The family dynamics—reflected through three generations—are finely drawn and reflect the changes that ripple through lives as the link to the old country grows distant, and the personal work ethic and family model shifts to an American standard. The quality of acting is variable, and (as ever with InterACT productions) the technical details could be better. But several scenes are quite magical, like the one in which Sonny Alforque sings about sake or Jeffrey Ogata courts his future wife at a Stockton Buddhist Temple social function. And the music (by a trio including koto and shakuhachi) is a nice touch. Broadway Playhouse, 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. $10-$12. 4010 El Camino Ave. 452-6174. Through May 27. J.H.
Women Who Steal The B Street Busfields do it again with their newest offering from playwright Carter W. Lewis. Peggy, experiencing a midlife crisis, confronts the vixen who had an affair with her husband, then ends up on a nightlong quasi-Thelma and Louise-style adventure complete with guns, booze and a kidnapped man in the trunk of her Mercedes. This laugh-a-minute, black romantic-angst comedy continues a recent local trend—plays that give voice to the issues and lives of women and allow audiences to experience strong, well-written leading roles for female performers. Director John P. Lamb has assembled a stellar cast that breathes life into a play that could easily miss its mark. B Street Theatre, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday; 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday; 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $16.50-$20.50. 2711 B St. 443-5300. Through June 10. M.B.C.