By Jonathan Ramos
By Juan De Anda
By Mollie McWilliams
By Juan De Anda
By Mollie McWilliams
By Juan De Anda
By Jonathan Curiel
By Alexis Coe
Oh My Godmother! This is a fun-loving and high-spirited take on the well-worn Cinderella story. There are still the fairy godmother and the evil stepmother and stepsisters, and Prince, who's convinced he'll never find someone to make him happy, until he sets his sights on Cinderella and instantly falls in love. Only this time, Cinderella is a sweet young man named Albert. Director and creator Ron Lytle has more twists in store, including a delicious setup that turns the narrow-minded outrage of discovering someone is gay directly on its head. The 140-minute musical loses some of its steam in the second half, mainly because all the surprises have already been dished and we know how things will wrap up. But an all-around boisterous cast, with standout performances from John Erreca as Prince's mother and Tomas Theriot as Prince's übergay sidekick, means that no matter what your particular sexual bent, if clever musicals are your thing, this one will definitely get you smiling and clapping along. Through July 26 at Zeum Theatre, 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), S.F. Tickets are $25-$35; call 346-7805 or visit www.ohmygodmother.com. (Molly Rhodes) Reviewed July 2.
Teatro ZinZanni's Hail Caesar! Loosely based on the love affair between Cleopatra and "Chef" Caesar, the current Egyptian-themed production by San Francisco's long-running dinner theater company, Teatro ZinZanni, combines the sensual-brash cabaret singing talents of Debbie de Coudreaux (the only American other than Josephine Baker to have starred at Paris' Moulin Rouge) with the vaudevillian swagger of ZinZanni old-timer Frank Ferrante. What little plot the show has is quickly subsumed by the happy business of eating, drinking, and watching Ferrante and de Coudreaux' capable supporting cast of clowns, acrobats, and contortionists perform daredevil exploits mere feet beyond our dinner plates. Thanks to the professionalism of the performers, the gorgeousness of the "Spiegeltent" setting, the decent cuisine, and copiously flowing booze, Hail Caesar! makes for an entertaining way to spend an evening. Through Sept. 21 at the Spiegeltent, Pier 29 (at Battery), S.F. Tickets are $123-$197; call 438-2668 or visit www.zinzanni.org. (Chloe Veltman) Reviewed June 11.
Theodora, She-Bitch of Byzantium. Charles Busch's loving 1984 spoof of a similarly titled 19th-century melodrama by Victorien Sardou tells the story of a cross-dressed drag queen who fucks and finagles her way across 6th-century Greece until a Gypsy potion wreaks havoc on her plans. As a product of the "ridiculous theater" movement, a mid-20th-century offshoot of Dadaism, Surrealism, and the theaters of Cruelty and the Absurd, Theodora certainly wears silliness on its sleeve. Sardou wrote his version for the great stage actor Sarah Bernhardt. Busch, in turn, penned his adaptation to slake his own Bernhardt obsession. In homage to Bernhardt's passion for trouser roles and high drama, Busch's play features overblown characters in far-out situations. These include an emperor with a penchant for sticking peacock feathers up male servants' rectums, a princess who keeps her dead father's pancreas and large intestine in an old boot, and a heroine played by a male actor in drag who, like boy performers in Shakespeare's day, disguises "herself" as a youth to escape the confines of palace life. Director Russell Blackwood's somewhat slipshod pacing and rhythm prevents some of the scenes from achieving their full impact. But the heavily made-up actors in Thrillpeddlers' scrappy production attack their roles with such aplomb that the dementedness of Busch's narrative shines through the greasepaint anyway. Through Aug. 16 at the Hypnodrome, 575 10th St. (at Bryant), S.F. Tickets are $25-$34.50; call 377-4202 or visit www.thrillpeddlers.com.(C.V.) Reviewed July 2.
Work Eats Home.Watching a series of one-act plays about life in corporate America might seem like a crappy way to wind down after a long week in, well, corporate America. But the folks at Sleepwalkers Theatre, who specialize in producing new works by new writers, at least manage to put you in the mood: They charge only six bucks for a Friday night performance and even let you drink beer in the auditorium. Work Eats Home is a collection of five original pieces, all of which share a concern with the aggressive tedium of life in your average office. As with almost any evening of one-acts, the results are mixed, but at least the strong elements far outweigh the weak. Only one piece (Noelle Chandler's "I Am the Wrecking Ball") falls completely flat; each of the others has something to recommend it, in particular the beautifully written speech that forms the bulk of Tim Bauer's "The Magic Word." And then there's the evening's finale (Ryan Beebe's "Something Warm"), which is borderline extraordinary. That extraordinariness is due in large part to Ari Owens and Ian Riley, the actors who dominate the play. Through July 12 at the Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason (at Geary), SF. Tickets are $12 ($6 on Fridays); visit www.sleepwalkerstheatre.com. (Chris Jensen) Reviewed July 2.
American Joe: A drama by Lisa Reynal about a sniper and a writer. Continues through Aug. 15. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750.
La Bohème: Pocket Opera's production of Puccini's opera. Sun., July 13; July 17-19; Sun., July 27. $20-$37. Legion of Honor, 100 34th Ave. (near Clement), 863-3330.
A Chorus Line: Through July 27. Curran Theatre, 445 Geary (at Taylor), 551-2000.