Also Playing: Act a Lady, Evil Hamlet, Thom Pain

Our critics weigh in on local theater

Beach Blanket Babylon: A North Beach perennial featuring crazy hats, media personality caricatures, a splash of romance, and little substance. Now with Rod Blagojevich! Wednesdays, Thursdays, 8 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 6:30 & 9:30 p.m.; Sundays, 2 & 5 p.m., $25-$80, www.beachblanketbabylon.com. Club Fugazi, 678 Green (at Powell), 421-4222.

Big City Improv: Actors take audience suggestions and create comedy from nothing. Fridays, 10 p.m., $15-$20, www.bigcityimprov.com. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 882-9100, www.sheltontheater.com.

Bitter Sweet: Lamplighters Music Theatre's production of Noel Coward's work. Thu., April 16, www.lamplighters.org. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness (at Grove), 392-4400, www.sfwmpac.org.

Confessions of a Refrigerator Mother: Carolyn Doyle's play about a day in the life of her autistic son. Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through April 25. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750, www.themarsh.org.

Conversation with Jose Rivera: Talking with Carey Perloff. Sat., April 18, 10 a.m., free. American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary (at Mason), 749-2228, www.act-sfbay.org.

Divafest: Women-centered theater festival. Through April 25, $10-$20. Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 931-1094, www.theexit.org.

Eccentrics of San Francisco's Barbary Coast ... A Magical Escapade: Historical magic show with Walt Anthony, David Miller, Brian Scott, and Ruth Fraser. Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 27, $30, www.sanfranciscomagicparlor.com. Chancellor Hotel, 433 Powell (at Post), 362-2004, www.chancellorhotel.com.

E.O. 9066: Lunatique Fantastique's puppetry. Saturdays, 1 p.m. Continues through April 25, $15-$50. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750, www.themarsh.org.

Evil Hamlet: Written by William Shakespeare, edited by Jim Strope. Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through April 25. Stage Werx, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 730-3433, www.stagewerx.org.

The Floating Lightbulb: Woody Allen's story about a Jewish family in Brooklyn. Starting April 16, Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through May 24. Traveling Jewish Theatre, 470 Florida (at Mariposa), 292-1233, www.atjt.com.

Fresh Voices IX Festival of New and Used Operas: Goat Hall Productions' operas about the Roman Emperor Diocletian. Starting April 17, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through April 26. Noh Space, 2840 Mariposa (at Florida), 621-7978, www.theatreofyugen.org.

Grease: With American Idol winner Taylor Hicks. Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through April 19. Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor (at Market), 551-2000.

Haunted Manor: Pocket Opera's production of Stanislaw Moniuszko's opera. Starting April 19, Sundays. Continues through April 26. Florence Gould Theater at the Legion of Honor, 100 34th Ave. (at El Camino del Mar), 863-3330, www.famsf.org/legion/index.asp.

Helen: Staged reading of Euripides' work. Tue., April 21, 7 p.m., free. Exit Theatre on Taylor, 277 Taylor (at Ellis), 931-1094, www.sffringe.org.

Illuminate the Night: Annual gala benefiting A.C.T., featuring Judy Kaye and Anika Noni Rose. Sun., April 19, 5 p.m., www.act-sf.org. Four Seasons Hotel, 757 Market (at O'Farrell), 633-3000, www.fourseasons.com/sanfrancisco.

An Inspector Calls: A police inspector pays a visit to a party in 1912 in J.B. Priestley's drama, produced by San Francisco StageWorks. Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through April 25. Boxcar Theatre, 505 Natoma (at Sixth St.), 776-1747, www.boxcartheatre.org.

License to Kiss: Sabine Hettlich stars in the espionage thriller, with a side of dinner. Wednesdays-Sundays, $116-$190, 438-2668. Teatro ZinZanni, Piers 27 and 29 (Embarcadero & Battery), www.zinzanni.org.

Monday Night Marsh: On select Mondays a different lineup of musicians, actors, performance artists, and others takes the stage at this regular event. Mondays, $7. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750, www.themarsh.org.

A Necessary Evil: A workshop performance of John Fisher's new play. Thu., April 16, 8 p.m.; Sun., April 19, 3 & 7 p.m. Theatre Rhinoceros, 2926 16th St. (at South Van Ness), 861-5079, www.therhino.org.

Not a Genuine Black Man: Brian Copeland returns for another go-around. Through May 2. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750, www.themarsh.org.

Over the Mountain: Brian Thorstenson's drama about an artist and her propaganda. April 15-25. Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th St. (at York), 641-7657, www.brava.org.

Point Break Live!: Bank-robbing surfers make audiences happy. Fridays, 9 p.m., $25, www.myspace.com/pointbreaklive. CELLspace, 2050 Bryant (at 18th St.), 648-7562, www.cellspace.org.

Rhino Beer Bust Fund-Raiser: Jordan L'Moore as Carol Channing hosts this benefit, featuring the five finalists of the GayPocket SF Cover Model Contest. Sun., April 19, 2 p.m. Truck, 1900 Folsom (at 15th St.), 252-0306, www.trucksf.com.

Road to Playland and Back: A musical and art exhibit about S.F.'s Playland at the Beach. April 17-May 2, www.wehavemet.org. Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa (at Harrison), 558-1749, www.roycegallery.com.

Shadow Circus Vaudeville Theatre, Theremina, Hernan Cortez, Angela Mae Thompson, Jill Parker, Victoria & the Vaudevillians: Wed., April 15, 8 p.m., $10-$15, all ages. Climate Theater, 285 Ninth St. (at Folsom), 263-0830, www.climatetheater.com.

Shadows of Pompeii: 42nd Street Moon's musical about a woman expressing herself in AD 79. Starting April 16, Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through April 26. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson (at Front), 788-7469, www.eurekatheatre.org.

The Shape of Things: Playwright Neil LaBute retells the story of Adam and Eve. Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through April 24. SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 677-9596, www.sfplayhouse.org.

Shopping! The Musical: Songs and sketches about shopping. Daily, $23-$29, www.shoppingthemusical.com. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 882-9100, www.sheltontheater.com.

ShortLived 2.0: Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Continues through June 27, $15-$20, www.pianofight.com. Off-Market Theater, 965 Mission (at Fifth St.), 820-1656, www.cafearts.com.

The Story: A reporter fabricates a story, by Tracey Scott Wilson. Through April 25. SF Playhouse, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 677-9596, www.sfplayhouse.org.

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