By Joseph Geha
By Jonathan Kiefer
By Katie Tandy
By Mollie McWilliams
By Jennifer Baires
By Jonathan Curiel
By Sherilyn Connelly
Safe House. Conceived as a low-cost showcase for developing new work, the new Sandbox series at SF Playhouse is a sort of midway point between staged readings and full-blown productions. It's an ideal venue to bring out local playwright Geetha Reddy's 90-minute one-act, for which this stripped-down production seems less like a deficit than a means of greater immediacy and thematic resonance. Feeling drenched by the flood of recent historical high-water marks — Oklahoma City, Y2K, Columbine, and 9/11 — one reluctant stay-at-home mom (Amy Resnick) holes up, hides out, and starts taking her kids' safety just a wee bit too seriously. It becomes clear through Reddy's sweeping but adroitly nonlinear narrative arc just how mom's increasingly frenzied survivalism has left her daughter (Marissa Keltie) and developmentally disabled son (Cole Alexander Smith) all the more absurdly estranged from their timid investment-banker dad (Brian Herndon), let alone the rest of the world. This big-hearted black comedy could come off as lame so easily, but Reddy sets a graceful example of restraint that is taken up by Nancy Carlin's unobtrusive direction and by the actors — particularly the shrewd, perceptive, irresistible Resnick. Through March 6 at SF Playhouse Stage 2, 533 Sutter (at Powell), S.F. $20-$40; 677-9596 or www.sfplayhouse.org. (Jonathan Kiefer) Reviewed Feb. 24.
Ninth Annual Bay One Acts Festival: Work by local playwrights including Crish Barth, Tim Bauer, William Bivins, Stuart Bousel, and more. Through March 13. Boxcar Theatre, 505 Natoma (at Sixth St.), 776-1747, www.boxcartheatre.org.
A Cheshire Catastrophe: There's No Place Like Home: Musical comedy by the Mask & Wig Club. Fri., March 5, 8 p.m., $15-$40, www.maskandwig.com. Fort Mason, Cowell Theater, in Herbst Pavilion, Marina & Buchanan, 345-7553, www.fortmason.org.
Beauty of the Father: Presented by the Off Broadway West Theatre Company. Thursdays-Saturdays. Continues through March 13. The Phoenix Theatre, 414 Mason (at Post), 989-0023, www.phoenixtheatresf.org.
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.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Presented by Young Performers Theatre. Starting March 6, Saturdays, Sundays. Continues through March 28. Young Performers Theater, 204 Bay St., Fort Mason (Marina & Buchanan), 346-5550, www.ypt.org.
Dancing with the Clown of Love: Directed by Rhodessa Jones. Starting March 4, Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through March 14. African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton (at Webster), 922-2049, www.aaacc.org.
Golden Boy: Tuesdays-Thursdays. Continues through March 25. Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter (at Powell), 882-9100, www.sheltontheater.com.
Hearts on Fire: Thelma Houston, El Vez, and Christine Deaver perform in Teatro ZinZanni's new show. Wednesdays-Saturdays, 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 11:30 a.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Continues through May 16, $117-$145. Pier 29, Embarcadero (at Battery), 273-1620.
The Life Game: BATS Improv. Fri., March 5, 8 p.m.; Sat., March 6, 8 p.m. Bayfront Theater, 16 Marina (at Laguna), 474-6776, www.improv.org/shows/bayfront.htm.
Mahalia: A Gospel Musical: The story of the world's greatest gospel singer, portrayed by Jeanie Tracy. Through March 7, $18-$40. Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, 450 Post (at Powell), 415 474-8800, www.lhtsf.org.
Mirrors in Every Corner: Through March 21, 8 p.m., $15-$25. Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia (at 15th St.), 626-2787, www.theintersection.org.
Monday Night Marsh: On select Mondays a different lineup of musicians, actors, performance artists, and others takes the stage at this regular event that's hosted local celebs like Josh Kornbluth and Marga Gomez in the past; see www.themarsh.org for a lineup of future shows. Mondays, $7. The Marsh, 1062 Valencia (at 22nd St.), 826-5750, www.themarsh.org.
Now and at the Hour: Christian Cagigal's popular magic-themed show. Fridays, Saturdays. Continues through March 27. Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy (at Taylor), 673-3847, www.sffringe.org.
O Lovely Glowworm, or Scenes of Great Beauty: Presented by the American Conservatory Theater Master of Fine Arts Program. Starting March 4, Wednesdays-Sundays. Continues through March 20. Zeum, 221 Fourth St. (at Howard), 820-3320, www.zeum.org.
Point Break Live!: The boys are back in town again. Fridays, Saturdays, 9 p.m. Continues through May 1, www.pointbreaklivesf.com. Metreon, 101 Fourth St. (at Mission), 369-6030, www.westfield.com/metreon.
Richard III: Presented by the City College of San Francisco Theatre Arts Dept. Starting March 5, Fridays-Sundays. Continues through March 14. Diego Rivera Theater/CCSF, 50 Phelan (at Judson), 239-3100, www.ccsf.edu/Info/Map/theatre.shtml#8.