at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts
TheatreWorks revives its 1992 production of David Henry Hwang's deconstruction of Puccini's Madame Butterfly--even bringing back some of its stars. Francis Jue (recently on Broadway in Thoroughly Modern Millie and Pacific Overtures) reprises his role as Song Liling, the duplicitous Chinese opera star who seduces a French diplomat, played by Mark Capri (who has appeared in Frasier). A pronoun in this blurb gives the surprise away, but come on, don’t ya'll know it by now anyway? The 1992 production picked up many awards, and the company is swooning over this revival, again helmed by founding artistic director Robert Kelley.
Playing through September 17

Salome at Aurora Theatre
If you're not a theater insider, you may not have heard about writer/director Mark Jackson. (Intrepid "Stage Fog" readers might remember the name.) After a huge hit with Shotgun Players a few years back, he took off for Berlin under a sweet fellowship and returned about a year ago, helming, appropriately, a production of Caucasian Chalk Circle with ACT's MFA students. Salome at Aurora represents his biggest directing job to date, and it's no small feat for a local director who came up through the likes of the Exit Theatre to land a job at one of the Bay Area's midsize houses. Not to put too much pressure on the guy, Salome may be his proverbial moment of truth. Oscar Wilde's infamous take on the Bibilical temptress, written in 1891, was banned during rehearsals, and the playwright didn't live to see a performance. Jackson reportedly sets the play around the early 20th-century Paris, and the production features the superb Ron Campbell as Herod, local actor Miranda Calderon as Salome and Aurora veteran Mark Anderson Phillips and Jokanaan.
Playing through October 1

Suitcase at Intersection for the Arts
It's not very often that a performance at Intersection for the Arts isn't house programming. The 21-year-old Darvag Theater Group, a company formed by members of the Iranian community, is renting the place for Farhad Ayeesh's Suitcase, in this the first English translation of the work, courtesy of Bella Warda. The importance of a company like Darvag and the work they do is pretty self-evident; indeed, this production is a partnership with Golden Thread Productions (a company focused on Middle Eastern artists and work). Tagged as "an Iranian tragicomedy with global reverberations, Suitcase is a series of stylized encounters between characters from multiple cultural backgrounds who all carry suitcases.
Playing September 2 through 24

Joan Rivers at Herbst Theatre
The queen of red carpet cattiness lands in town for a one-night-only performance of "Live and Uncensored in San Francisco." Happily, the $75 to $40 ticket price includes an opening number by the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus (security certificate issues at press time) and an introduction by KRON's hat lady Jan Wahl. (Might be worth attending just to see if Rivers goes all "what not to wear" on Wahl.)
Playing September 9

Photo of Miranda Calderon and Ron Campbell in Salome by David Allen.

For more stage options, check out the listings at the Guardian, the Express, the SF Weekly, and the calendar on Theatre Bay Area's website.

M Butterfly