“Funny or Die’s” Robert Dassie and “Mad TV’s” Stephnie Weir appear in San Francisco Improv Festival. (Courtesy Robert Dassie)

“Funny or Die’s” Robert Dassie and “Mad TV’s” Stephnie Weir appear in San Francisco Improv Festival. (Courtesy Robert Dassie)

2015 Fall Arts Theater Preview

The Bay Area’s ultra rich theater community presents old favorites, Broadway hits, world premieres, comedies, musicals and more.

Amélie: Samantha Banks (of “Les Miserables” fame) stars in the new musical (based on the quirky Oscar-nominated film) about a woman who secretly concocts moments of joy for those around her. Through Oct. 4, $29-$97. Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley, www.berkeleyrep.org

Between Riverside and Crazy: An ex-cop and recent widower living in New York City, played by Carl Lumbly from “Let There Be Love,” battles obstacles in the Pulitzer Prize-winning dark comedy by Stephen Adly Guirgis. Through Sept. 27, $20-$100. American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary St., S.F., (415) 749-2228, www.act-sf.org

The Lion King: Elton John and Julie Taymor are the creative talent behind the hit Disney musical juggernaut. Sept. 9-Oct. 4. $33-$98. San Jose Center for the Performing Arts, 255 Almaden Blvd., San Jose, www.ticketmaster.com

ReOrient Festival: Golden Thread, the first American theater troupe focusing on the Middle East, stages eight short plays in two repertory series, including award–winning Iraqi-British playwright Hassan Abdulrazzak’s U.S. debut, new works by Middle East America winners Yussef El Guindi and Mona Mansour, and premieres by emerging voices. Sept. 10-Oct. 4, $22-$30. Z Below, 470 Florida St., S.F., www.goldenthread.org

San Francisco Improv Fest: The two-week event hosts dozens of national performers partaking in nightly improvisation acts, with headliners WeirDass (Stephnie Weir (“MadTV,” “Raising Hope”) and Robert Dassie (“Eleven Year Itch,” “Funny or Die.”). Sept. 10-19, $20-$30. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., S.F., www.sfimprovfestival.com

The Oldest Boy: Pulitzer Prize-nominee Sarah Ruhl’s play about an American mother and her Tibetan husband whose son may be a reincarnated lama gets its West Coast premiere. Sept. 10-Oct. 4, $25-$55. Marin Theatre Co., 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, www.marintheatre.org

San Francisco Fringe Festival: Now in its 24th year, the fest showcases theater af all varieties to open-minded audiences of all persuasions in some 150 performances by 34 independent companies. Sept. 11-26, $13-$15. EXIT Theatreplex, 156 Eddy St., S.F., www.sffringe.org

Inappropriate in All the Right Ways: Ann Randolph, creator of the funny and touching solo show “Loveland,” has a new show, which is followed by a transformative interactive workshop” after each performance. Sept. 13-Nov. 1, $25-$100. Marsh, 1062 Valencia St., S.F., www.themarsh.org

Moments of Truth: 3Girls Theatre Company debuts an original musical comedy about marriage, scandal and a lie detector test used in the name of truth. Sept. 16-Oct. 18, $20-$35. Royce Gallery, 2901 Mariposa St., S.F., www.3girlstheatre.org

Monstress: American Conservatory Theater stages the world premiere, a series of one-act plays about love, longing and the American Dream, based on acclaimed short stories by Bay Area-based writer Lysley Tenorio. Sept. 16-Nov. 22, $20-$100. Strand, 1127 Market St., S.F., www.act-sf.org

Dogfight: The new musical is based on the 1991 movie with River Phoenix and Lili Taylor about a marine who makes a bet and meets a girl who is someone to be reckoned with. Sept. 22-Nov. 7, $30-$120. San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St., S.F., www.sfplayhouse.org

Truck Stop: Crowded Fire Theater stages the American premiere of Australian playwright Lachlan Philpott’s dark tale based on the real-life experiences of two girls who were forced into prostitution at highway truck stops. Oct. 1-24, $15-$35. Thick House, 1695 18th St., S.F., www.crowdedfire.org

The Unheard of World: The eccentric fantasy by Fabrice Melquiot, which charts a journey underground to a city situated among the roots of trees, gets its North American premiere in a foolsFURY production. Oct. 2-31, $20-$50. EXIT Theatre, 156 Eddy St., S.F., www.foolsfury.org

Bay Area Cabaret: The 12th season opens with a gala featuring mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe in “We’ll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith.” 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4, $50-$75. Venetian Room, Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason St., S.F., www.bayareacabaret.org

Ira Gershwin & Me: Grammy-winner Michael Feinstein plays piano and tells personal stories about his friends and colleagues Ira Gershwin and Jean and Michael Strunsky. Oct. 7-11, $80-$95. Feinstein’s At The Nikko, 222 Mason St., S.F., www.ticketweb.com

Proof: TheatreWorks stages David Auburn’s Pulitzer- and Tony Award-winning drama about a bright young woman who must defend her position in a male-dominated world of high-level science, while also facing family turmoil and a blossoming romance. Oct. 7-Nov. 1, $25-$54. Center for Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View, www.theatreworks.org

The Rover: Shotgun Players tackle Aphra Behn’s scandalous 1677 comic romp that explores three traditional roles for women: nun, wife and prostitute. Oct. 15-Nov.15, $28-$30. Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, www.shotgunplayers.org

The Odd Couple: Neil Simon’s classic comedy describes what happens when a recent divorcee takes refuge in his best friend’s home. Oct. 17-Nov. 1, $40. Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City, www.hillbarntheatre.org

Arctic Requiem: The Story of Luke Cole and Kivalina: The unconventional play with music tells a true story about climate change refugees in the United States and San Francisco lawyer Luke Cole’s response to their life-threatening situation. Oct. 23-Nov. 15, $25-$45. Z Below Theater, 450 Florida St., S.F., www.zspace.org

Once: The Tony-winning show (based on the hit film) is the tale of a Dublin street busker who befriends (and makes amazing music with) a Czech woman. Oct. 27-Nov. 1, $45-$212. Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market St., S.F., www.shnsf.com

Sail Away: 42nd Street Moon presents the lost musical by Noel Coward — which debuted on Broadway in 1961 but never has been staged in California — about a cheeky American ex-actress working out of her element on a cruise ship. Oct. 28-Nov. 15, $22-$75. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., S.F., www.42ndStMoon.org

Riverdance: The 20th anniversary production of the beloved Irish extravaganza comes back by popular demand. Nov 4-8, $40-$212. Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St., S.F., www.shnsf.com

Kiss Me Kate: Broadway By the Bay, the Peninsula’s top musical theater troupe, stages Cole Porter’s classic based on Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” Nov. 6-Nov. 22, $47-$69. Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City, www.broadwaybythebay.org

Stop Hitting Yourself: The genre-defying Texas-based group Rude Mechanicals makes its Cal Performances debut with the hit show promoters call “a playful meditation on modern decadence and human nature.” Nov. 19-22, $38-$76. Zellerbach Playhouse, UC Berkeley campus, www.calperformances.org

2015 Fall Arts Theater Preview

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