At a typical Sunday dinner with an Italian-American family, you might expect the son to be saying grace and asking, "Mom, can you please pass the pasta?" It would be more unusual for him to be watching Will & Grace and saying, "Mom, can you turn up the Broadway show tunes?" In the U.S. premiere of Steve Galluccio's play Mambo Italiano, however, Angelo, a young man on the brink of falling in love with another dude, must deliver the unexpected news to his warm but traditional famiglia.
As Angelo's sultry affair with his childhood buddy, Nino, starts steaming up the windows of the neighborhood, his parents devise various schemes to derail the couple and transform Angelo into the straight son they always wanted -- and, till now, thought they had. The play, directed by George Maguire, is part of the New Conservatory Theatre Center's Pride Season Ten, and features a gaggle of Bay Area actors, a stream of hilarious confusion, whispers of acceptance, and probably a whole lot of onstage making out. The comedy previews at 8 p.m. on Friday (and continues through Feb. 20) at NCTC, 25 Van Ness (at Market), S.F. Tickets are $20-40; call 861-8972 or visit www.nctcsf.org.
-- Karen Macklin
Chappelle's cabal live
Comedian Eddie Murphy was hot in the '80s, but it's his older brother, Charlie Murphy, who retains the edge these days. Charlie's proximity to Eddie's SNLfame put him in the right place to experience the bizarre brushes with celebrity that now inform "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories," his regular segment on David Chappelle's Comedy Central hit, Chappelle's Show. From facing Prince on the basketball court to exchanging fisticuffs with Rick James -- a sketch that generated the national catch phrase "I'm Rick James, bitch!" -- Charlie's gossipy tales are thoroughly entertaining. With turns from Charlie and fellow Chappellecast members Bill Burr and Donnell Rawlings, "The I'm Rich Biatch Tour"begins at 9 p.m. on Wednesday at the Punch Line, 444 Battery (at Washington), S.F. Admission is $22-25; call 397-4337 or visit www.punchlinecomedyclub.com.
-- Tamara Palmer
New novel nutty
It's hard to tell whether to feel sorry for Carrie Fisheror not: She's had a tough life, to be sure, as chronicled in her first book, Postcards From the Edge. But on the other hand, she's smart, beautiful, and famous, and an entire generation of men drool at the mere mention of her name.
Fisher's new novel, The Best Awful, is (according to its press materials) "about the craziness of Hollywood and the realities of psychotic breakdowns," which doesn't sound fun -- but we bet reading about it is. See Fisher in the flesh at 7 p.m. at A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books, 601 Van Ness (at Golden Gate), S.F. Admission is free; call 441-6670 or visit www.bookstore.com.
-- Hiya Swanhuyser
Fractured Fairy Tale
If you loved the movie, here's one more chance to revel in its priceless quotes ("My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die"). But even if you didn't dig the original, it's hard not to get swept away by the dizzying twists of The Princess Bride: The Play, held over until Jan. 30 at the Dark Room, 2263 Mission (at 18th Street), S.F. Admission is $12.50-15; call 401-7987 or visit www.darkroomsf.com.
-- Joyce Slaton