Cinderella Almost everyone knows the fairytale, with Prince Charming, the glass slipper and all that. But the show—back again this Christmas—really belongs to the evil, monumentally avaricious stepmother—Mrs. Baden-Rotten (tall, deep-voiced actor Mark Brey, in an escalating series of outrageous outfits), with an assist from her incredibly spoiled daughters. The show also features some winning songs by Sacramento composer Gregg Coffin, a lot of call-and-response involvement for the young ’uns, and some smart visual antics—both loosely drawn from the British panto style. Kids will have a blast, but the ambidextrous humor is layered in such a way that parents and grandparents will also find abundant reasons to smile.
Sacramento Theatre Company , 7 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; 12:30 matinee Wednesday, Thursday; 2 p.m. matinee Saturday, Sunday, $10-$32. 1419 H St., 443-6722. Through December 30. J.H.
Dimetos Athol Fugard’s symbolic parable of engineering prowess and human failing, patterned after Greek tragedy, gets a vivid presentation in this small production. Good acting (especially Tim Sapunor and Adrienne Sher), intelligent direction by Maggie Upton, and a neglected but powerful script add up to a strong evening of serious theater.
Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $13-$17. 1901 P St. 444-8209. Through December 8. J.H.
Extremities This gritty, intense little show by Crossroads Productions opens with a scene involving a brutal onstage sexual assault and then moves on to examine the ambiguities of the law, the rights (and personal feelings) of the victim and the attacker, the culpability of bystanders who don’t want to get involved, and more, ultimately portrayed in varying shades of gray rather than easy-to-identify black and white. Actress Michelle Armstrong delivers a volcanic performance and her opposite (actor Luis DeAnda) is also very good. The show relies far more on gut-grabbing impact than literary grace, and given the violent nature of the story, it’s often difficult to watch. Recommended for the strong of heart (and be prepared to hold on tight), but not for the very young, or those out on a first date.
Geery Theatre , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $12-$15. 2130 L St., 448-9019. Through December 1. J.H.
Quilters City Theatre’s latest offering—the much talked about yet rarely performed musical Quilters—is told entirely from a feminine standpoint. Unfortunately, not even top-quality performers, an experienced director and strong technical and lighting aspects are able to give Quilters the extra push it needs. While the show, performed in the round, includes a number of magical moments, it still falls flat in places, and several fine musical numbers get drowned out by a live band that spills over onto the stage.
Sacramento City College Art Court Theatre , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, $10. 3835 Freeport Blvd. 558-2228. Through December 15. M.B.C.
The Seagull Chekhov’s “comedy” about actors and writers gets a good (if not great) presentation here. Several of the scenes involving the love affairs of writer Trigorin are both hilarious and devastatingly honest, and elsewhere you get that sense of parlor games and polite conversation overlaying deeper, personal issues. The show doesn’t consistently deliver at that high level of attainment, but the better portions—and the rare opportunity to see Chekhov staged locally—make this small production worth the effort to see.
Actors Theatre, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $12-$14. 1616 Del Paso Blvd. 925-6579. Through December 9. J.H.
Six Women With Brain Death This very campy revue is Sacramento’s longest-running show, having celebrated its fifth anniversary in October. It’s a series of skits and songs about midlife women with “expiring minds,” dealing with soap operas, high-school reunions, grocery shopping and getting away from the kids. While the show clearly tickles the funnybone of its core audience (females over 40), our critic found the appeal elusive and the humor generic. But then, he’s a middle-aged guy.
Studio Theatre , 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, $14-$18. 1028 R St., 446-2668. Open-ended run. J.H.
Subject to Change (America: Revolution to Revelation) The set is little more than a huge white paint spot in the shape of the lower 48 states of the U.S., and several displays of votive candles. The production has few spoken words, no props, no fancy lighting and no music, other than a cappella vocals. Nevertheless, Doniel Soto, the director, composer and producing artistic director of Abandon Productions, brings to Sacramento something it has long been without: theater willing to take risks.
Abandon Productions at The Space , 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday, $10. 2509 R St., 737-2304. Through December 22. M.B.C.
Taming of the Shrew Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew may be out of phase with contemporary feminism, but Main Street Theatre Works of Sutter Creek makes a solid case that it’s still a very entertaining play. This elaborate community production, featuring an extensively costumed cast of 19, gets to the laughs in scene after scene, replete with would-be husbands, concealed identities and secret strategies, and above all the fireworks between Petruchio and Kate. It’s the most purely enjoyable and adeptly staged production of a straight-up Shakespeare comedy by a community group in the Sacramento area in recent years.
Sutter Creek Theater , 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, $14. 44 Main St. (Highway 49), Sutter Creek, (209) 267-1590. Through December 1. J.H.