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Fall 2016 Theater Preview

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Megan Wicks and August Browning appear in “The Speakeasy,” an interactive show set during Prohibition. (Courtesy Peter Liu)

The season serves up musicals, dramas, revivals, comedies and a classic or two.

Elect to Laugh: Just in time for election season, political satirist Will Durst’s show blends monologue, standup and the occasional rant. Tuesdays through Nov. 8, $20-$35. Marsh, 1062 Valencia St., S.F., www.themarsh.org

The Life of the Party: TheatreWorks opens its season with the American premiere of the David Babani-Andrew Lippa musical revue. Through Sept. 18, $19-$80. Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View; www.theatreworks.org

Legally Blonde The Musical: Harvard’s best-known blonde returns in the Lawrence O’Keefe-Nell Benjamin musical. Through Sept. 18, $28-$48. Hillbarn Theatre. 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City, www.hillbarntheatre.org

The Speakeasy: The interactive theater experience re-creates a Prohibition-era speakeasy. Through Oct. 6, $60-$85; S.F. location revealed with purchase of ticket, www.thespeakeasysf.com

Mincing Words: The City’s own Tom Ammiano traces his journey to the California State Assembly in the one-man show. Through Oct. 15, $20-$35. Marsh, 1062 Valencia, S.F., www.themarsh.org

Dear Master: Aurora Theatre Company opens its 25th season with a revival of the first play it ever produced, Dorothy Bryant’s “dialogue in letters” between 19th century French novelists George Sand and Gustave Flaubert. Sept. 2-Oct. 2, $32-$56. Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison St., Berkeley. www.auroratheatre.org

Caught: Playwright Christopher Chen walks the line between truth and fiction in the story of Chinese dissident Lin Bo, who was jailed over a single work of art. Sept. 7-Oct. 2, $25-$35. Shotgun Players, 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, www.shotgunplayers.org

The Wholehearted: The one-woman play tells the story of Dee Crosby, a fictitious world champion boxer hell bent on redemption after being taken down in her prime by her abusive husband. Sept 7-10, $30. Z Space, 450 Florida St., S.F., www.zspace.org

August: Osage County: Marin Theatre Co. opens the season with Tracy Letts’ caustic dark comedy about family, directed by Jasson Minadakis. Sept. 8-Oct. 2, $22-$60. 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, www.marintheatre.org

SF Fringe Festival: This year’s Fringe marks the festival’s 25th anniversary with dozens of experimental, off-the-wall shows and performers. Sept. 9-24, $12 at door; $45 for five-show pass. Exit Theatreplex, 156 Eddy St., and PianoFight, 144 Taylor St. S.F., www.sffringe.org

Odysseo: The equestrian extravaganza makes its South Bay debut in the largest touring tent on Earth. Opens Sept. 14, $29.50-$289.50. White Big Top, Highway 87 at Julian Street exit, San Jose, www.cavalia.net

Othello: Eric Ting, Cal Shakes’ new artistic director, helms Shakespeare’s tragedy, with Aldo Billingslea in the title role. Sept. 14-Oct. 4, $20-$82. Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda, www.calshakes.org

King Charles III: American Conservatory Theater presents Mike Bartlett’s contemporary play, which imagines what might happen when Prince Charles becomes King of England. Sept. 14-Oct. 9, $20-$105. Geary Theater, 415 Geary St., S.F., www.act-sf.org

The Phantom of the Opera: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s perennial hit comes to the South Bay in a new production by Cameron Mackintosh. Sept. 15-Oct. 2, $38 and up. Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Blvd., San Jose, www.ticketmaster.com.

The Shipment: Crowded Fire presents Young Jean Lee’s acerbic comedy, which skewers African-American stereotypes in media and culture. Sept. 22-Oct. 15, $10-$35. Thick House, 1695 18th St., S.F., www.crowdedfire.org

Kelli O’Hara: Bay Area Cabaret presents the Tony Award-winning actress in her Bay Area debut, headlining the opening night gala of the popular series. 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23, $85-$125. Venetian Room, Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason St., S.F., www.bayareacabaret.org

It Can’t Happen Here: The new adaptation of the Sinclair Lewis novel follows the rise of a demagogue who becomes president of the United States. Sept. 23-Nov. 6, $29-$97. Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2015 Addison St., Berkeley, www.berkeleyrep.org

The Brothers Size: Theatre Rhinoceros stages the acclaimed drama by Tarell Alvin McCraney about what happens after two siblings reunite in the bayous of Louisiana and try to start afresh. Sept. 24-Oct. 15, $15-$40. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., S.F., www.therhino.org

Seared: Theresa Rebeck’s newest play pits a celebrity chef against the moneybags investor who wants to shutter his restaurant. Sept. 27-Oct. 12, $20-$125. San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St., S.F., www.sfplayhouse.org

Salute to Judy Garland: Michael Feinstein and Lorna Luft pay tribute to the legendary singer-actress. Sept. 28-Oct. 1, $80-$100. Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 222 Mason St., S.F., www.feinsteinsatthenikko.com.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Darren Criss stars in the latest revival of the hit genre-bending, fourth-wall-smashing musical. Oct. 2-30, $45-$212. Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St., S.F., www.shnsf.com

AvantGardARAMA!: Cutting Ball Theater launches its 18th season with an all-in-one festival of short plays. Oct. 5-23, $15-$60; Exit on Taylor, 277 Taylor St., S.F., www.cuttingball.com

Outside Mullingar
: TheatreWorks presents John Patrick Shanley’s romantic comedy set in rural Ireland, making its regional premiere after an acclaimed Broadway run. Oct. 5-30, $19-$80. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View, www.theatreworks.org

The Red Demon: Theatre of Yugen stages the American premiere of the drama by Japanese playwright Noda Hideki, which begins when a strange creature washes up on the shore of a small beach town. Oct. 6-16, $20-$25. Noh Space, 2840 Mariposa St., S.F., www.theatreofyugen.org

Victory for the Recycled Virgin: Houston Robertson chronicles life from a virgin bride of the 1950s to independent woman. Sundays, Oct. 9-Nov. 6, $20-$35. Marsh, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley, www.themarsh.org

The Hard Problem: Carey Perloff directs Tom Stoppard’s latest play, which takes on genetics, academia and the very nature of the soul. Oct. 19-Nov. 13, $10-$105. American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary St., S.F. www.act-sf.org

Our Enemies-Lively Scenes of Love and Combat: The production by Golden Thread is about a struggling writer who must deal with the way his fellow Arab-Americans represent their culture in the American media machine. Oct. 28-Nov. 20, $15-$34. Thick House, 18th St., S.F., goldenthread.org

John Cleese and Eric Idle
: The Monty Python guys return to The City for a night of inspired comedy. Nov. 2-4, $77.50-$117.50. Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St., S.F.;, www.shnsf.com

The King and I: Bartlett Sher directs the Lincoln Center Theater’s production of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic. Nov. 15-Dec. 11, tickets (not yet priced) on sale Sept. 23; Golden Gate Theatre, S.F.. www.shnsf.com

All Aunt Hagar’s Children: San Francisco’s own Word for Word stages Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward P. Jones’ short story about a black Korean War veteran who turns amateur detective to solve a murder. Nov. 16-Dec. 11, $20-$58. Z Space, 450 Florida St., S.F., www.zspace.org

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