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 Diary of Anne Frank Chautauqua Playhouse’s production captures the claustrophobia and pent-up conflicts of two Jewish families (plus a dentist) hiding in a loft in Nazi-occupied Holland. The story—familiar to many—yields few surprises, but it’s effectively told, and the message of tolerance and understanding still needs to be heard (especially in the light of several recent hate crimes). The cast of community actors is good, though some of the transitions between scenes are a little awkward. Chautauqua Playhouse, 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday. $11-$12. La Sierra Community Center, 5325 Engle Road, Carmichael. 489-7529. Through May 26. J.H.
A Texas Romance Directed by Miranda McClenaghan, Ellsworth Schave’s A Texas Romance could easily come off as just another stuffy high school-level play, Stephanie Gularte (Bite Me Cleopatra, Oleanna)—arguably one of the strongest young actresses in Sacramento theater—along with cast members Teresa Vuinovic (Romeo and Juliet, Gunfighter) and Sean Manwaring, a longtime musical-theater performer, breathe a fury of life into the production, making it a delight for audiences who want an evening of romantic entertainment. Delta King Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. 1000 Front St., Old Sacramento. $14-$32. 995-5464. Through June 9. M.B.C.
Swingtime Canteen While this World War II-themed production is little more than a series of songs from the golden age of swing music strung together with cheesy dialogue and jokes, it’s the lack of enthusiasm and uninspired performances that make the show lack the real spark it begs for. With incredible set design, a topnotch band and a talented crew, it’s a shame Swingtime Canteen just doesn’t seem to work. Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre, 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday; 11:30 a.m. Sunday. $15-$32. 12401 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova. 985-6361. Through June 24. M.B.C.
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.