Trigger Warning: Read Rebecca Jacobson's review of Offending the Audience
Dark Horse Onstage: Read Enid Spitz's review of Usagi Yojimbo
Sex Changes You: Read Hilary Saunders' review of Orlando
OPENINGS & PREVIEWS
Enchanted Sleeping Beauty
There once was a borough full of kings, queens and princes sitting pretty in their palaces. Sleepy Hillsboro plays host to this Journey theater retelling of the classic tale, where evil Evilina puts a curse on baby Briar Rose and the entire land of Never Nod nods off until Prince Alexander avenges the witch and downs the Dark Knight. Venetian Theatre, 253 E Main St., Hillsboro, 693-3953. 7 pm Friday, 3 pm Saturday and 2 pm Sunday, Nov. 13-15. $15-$18.
Local director Steve Coker, known for his over-exaggerated renditions of forgotten cult favorites, is bringing back his Flash Gordon parody. With a mostly new cast and two new songs, it still looks like a disco explosion of the 1980s classic, with some Queen tunes thrown in for good measure. The hammy original hardly needs embellishment—the New York Jets football hero Flash Gordon must best the evil Ming the Merciless and save Earth from the planet Mongo's invasion. Set in a rocket ship and featuring live accompaniment from Coker's rounded-up School of Rock musicians, the kitschy show fills Portland's weirdness quota, and then some. The Hostess, 538 SE Ash St., 888-5141. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday and 2 pm Saturday. Through Nov. 21. $15-$18.
A trio of ballsy Marines go out for a raucous last hurrah before deploying to Southeast Asia in 1963. But this is a good old-fashioned love story, not the format-buster about a female drone pilot that CoHo itself staged with Grounded last season. Staged!—an Artists Repertory resident company—is putting on this off-Broadway play based on Peter Duchan's book and the Warner Brothers film, where Corporal Eddie Birdlace discovers the naive waitress Rose on the eve of deployment. No performance Thanksgiving Day. CoHo Theater, 2257 NW Raleigh St., 220-2646. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday and Monday, Nov. 23, 2 pm Sunday, Nov. 12-29. $15-$29.
Poof, Flies and Everything
Opera made interesting is Artists Rep's mission with this trio of "serio-comic" operettas. They're a collaboration between Oregon Book Award finalist and playwright Sandra Stone, Artist Rep's past Artistic Director Allen Nause and the Portland-based renegade chamber music ensemble FearNoMusic. Absurdist and unconventional, Poof!, An Imperfect Place to Dispose of Flies and What Everything Is promise a very different theatrical evening than your Carmen or La Boheme. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St., 241-1278. 7:30 pm Monday-Tuesday, Nov. 16-17. $25-$30.
Masters of the Musical Universe
The 1980s children's cartoon gets the musical treatment from local producer John-Ryan Griggs (Showgirls the Musical). He-Man and his twin sister She-Ra partner up to defend their planet, Eternia, from the villainous Skeletor in this nostalgic show featuring Portlandia's Jaime Langton. Headwaters Theatre, 55 NE Farragut St., No. 9, 404-2350. 7:30 pm Friday-Saturday and 2 pm Sunday, Nov. 13-15. $12.
Superheroes Ten-Minute Play Festival
Superheroes and supervillains are the theme for this 14th iteration of Monkey With a Hat On's short play festival. Ten, 10-minute plays from 10 different local playwrights feature unique casts, making this one of the largest productions on any Portland stage, if not the largest budget one. Last time the theme was circus, and the festival feels a bit like that every time—it's weird, subversive and likely to reek of popcorn. Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St., 238-5588. 7 pm Friday-Sunday, Nov. 13-15. $5.
Women Of Troy
This adaptation of the classic Greek play by Euripides is the inaugural production (thanks to Indiegogo) from local company Play on Words. The morning after Trojans wiped out Troy, the city's women and children emerge to a brand new world. Gone are the men and the war that plagued them for the past 10 years. Writer-director Jeffrey Puukka's contemporary adaptation looks through a modern lens at soldiers and their sanity after the fighting stops. PSU's Lincoln Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave. 7 pm Thursday-Saturday, 2 pm Sunday. Through Nov. 21. $15-$20. 16+.
Witches have a bad rap—eating children, cursing livestock and seducing morally upstanding men. But Vana O'Brien's character at Artists Rep isn't necessarily a witch—she's just…misunderstood. Performed with transformative genius by the Artists Rep founding member, this old woman welcomes us into her cottage deep in the Southern woods. We're an acquaintance who's been gone long and now she's happy to regale us with a lifetime of stories. Playwright John Biguenet deftly employs iambic pentameter and rhyming couplets to give the old woman's tales a singsong quality. O'Brien gleefully embodies the complex character, who is in turn repulsive, sympathetic and awe-inspiring. As with listening to any elderly person tell a never-ending story, interest ebbs. But O'Brien fully realizes a woman living with a lifetime of pain. When she recounts the loss of her young love at sea—and how her grief was so tremendous that it became a tempest and sunk more ships—all subsequent actions seem justified. Its a lesson in humanity: people may or may not have been baked into casseroles, but wait until you hear her side of the story. PENELOPE BASS. Artists Repertory Theatre, 1515 SW Morrison St., 241-1278. 7:30 pm Wednesday-Sunday, 11 am Wednesday, Nov. 11, and 2 pm Sunday. Through Nov. 22. $48.
Raunchy, swinging piano battles and hedonistic Cotton Club acts inspired by the life of jazz piano legend Fats Waller make this Tony Award-winning musical a nostalgic trip from the Harlem Renaissance through to World War II. Portland Center Stage got permission to amp up the play from what it was on Broadway and in the West End, augmenting the cast with Third Rail, Artists Repertory and Portland Playhouse veterans, plus a few London, New Orleans and New York talents like Andre Ward—who did Rock of Ages on Broadway—and David Jennings—who starred in the Broadway version with American Idol's Ruben Studdard. Gerding Theater at the Armory, 128 NW 11th Ave., 445-3700. 7:30 Tuesday-Friday, noon Thursday, 2 pm and 7:30 pm Saturday-Sunday. Through Nov. 29. $30-$75. 12+.
Blood on the Books, or The Powell's Play
It was only a matter of time before some bibliophile screenwriter decided to mourn the drawn out death of printed books with a play. Pairing this elegy for print with one of YA's favorite villains—the vampire—Portlander Nick Zagone finally fills that theatrical void. When Kindles, iPads and e-books take over, the Powell's employees devolve into vampiric librarians, trolling the aisles and leaving blood on the books in this Northwest Theatre Project undertaking, directed by Christopher Petit. Shaking the Tree, 823 SE Grant St., 235-0635. 7:30pm Thursday-Sunday.Through Nov. 22. $20-$25.
To launch its 16th season of groundbreaking dramatic works, Defunkt Theatre and veteran director Jon Kretzu present the Portland premiere of Mark Bartlett's acclaimed relationship portrait Cock. The searing examination of conflicted sexuality breathes fresh life to the age-old romantic triangle through the story of a gay man unexpectedly fallen into heterosexual love yet unwilling to leave his boyfriend. JAY HORTON. Defunkt Theatre, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 481-2960. 7:30 pm Thursday-Sunday, Nov. 12-15. $10-$25.
The Drunken City
Wyndham Brandon is bored (and more than a little unhinged) when he convinces his friend to help him commit a murder. They strangle their fellow undergraduate and stash his body in a chest. Then they host a dinner party and serve a meal to the father of the boy they killed off the box containing his son's body. If that sounds twisted, it is, and delightfully so. What follows is a parade of characters so exaggerated that drama becomes farce. Are we rooting for the murderers to be punished or to get away with it? The biggest surprise might be your own reaction to the ending. PENELOPE BASS. Bag and Baggage, 253 E Main St., Hillsboro, 345-9590. 7:30 pm Thursday-Saturday, 2 pm Sunday. Through Nov. 21. $25-$30.
Manic and stunning, Equus follows the true English case of 17-year-old Alan Strang (Phillip Berns) blinding six horses with a metal spike, Peter Shaffer's notorious play imagines the boy's therapy with children's psychiatrist Martin Dysart (Todd Van Voris) and unpacks his crime in a series of nightmarish flashbacks. Post5 power couple and Ty and Cassandra Boice co-direct, and here their penchant for showmanship is at its best. Post5 Theatre, 1666 SE Lambert St., 971-258-8584. 7:30 pm Thursday-Sunday, Nov. 12-15. $15-20.
Macbeth, A Dark Retelling
"Trigger warning for domestic abuse" warns the top of the playbill for this modern reinterpretation of Shakespeare's shortest play. Lady Macbeth steals the spotlight in the feminist-tinged production, where she's played as the unfortunate victim of domestic violence and the patriarchal society that supports it. Turning to violence out of desperation, she inspires her husband (Macbeth with a gas mask and a police baton) to commit treason and eventually causes a national bloodbath. Lightbox Kulturhaus, 2027 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 750-3811. 8 pm Thursday-Saturday and 2 pm Saturday, Nov. 12-14. $15-$20.
The Realistic Joneses
These aren't the Joneses to keep up with. They don't have perfect bodies, jobs, marriages or kids, and they don't drive BMWs. These are The Realistic Joneses, and in Will Eno's affecting one-act play, two couples who both happen to be named Jones get to know one another in unexpectedly poignant ways. As the couples socialize, Bob and Pony become attracted to one another, as do John and Jennifer. Mercifully, this doesn't degenerate into some tawdry tableau of geriatric swinging. Read the full review. RICHARD SPEER. Third Rail Repertory Theatre, 17 SE 8th Ave., 235-1101. 7:30 pm Wednesday-Saturday and 2 pm Sunday, Nov. 11-15. $42.50.
Sex With Strangers
It's hard to imagine two characters more different than Olivia and Ethan. She's a neurotic intellectual who's always cleaning; he talks with his mouth full and pees with the bathroom door open. But it doesn't take long for these polar personalities to wind up doing the nasty in Sex With Strangers, playwright Laura Eason's ode to romance in the age of Wi-Fi. Gender stereotypes abound. Olivia is uptight, commitment-seeking and worried about aging; Ethan is a crass stud-muffin who just wants to get laid. In the end, monogamy prevails. Read the full review. RICHARD SPEER. Portland Center Stage, 128 NW 11th Ave., 445-3700. 7:30 pm Tuesday-Sunday, noon Thursday, 2 pm Saturday-Sunday. Through Nov. 22. $25-$50.
COMEDY & VARIETY
One of the best known funny people in the world, David Wayne Spade became a household name alongside Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live in the early '90s. Finding success on both the big and small screens, Just Shoot Me and Joe Dirt being excellent examples, Spade has always been a well-regarded standup. Spade comes to Portland for a two-night, three- show special engagement. Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th Ave., 888-643-8669. 7:15 pm Monday, 7 pm and 9:15 pm Tuesday, Nov. 16-17. $40-$50. 21+.
Eugene Mirman: I'm Sorry (You're Welcome) Tour
From playing a character named Gene in Bob's Burgers to one named Eugene in Flight of the Conchords to another named Eugene in Home Movies, Brooklyn-based comedian Eugene Mirman is as versatile as he is hilarious. Coming to Newmark Theatre to promote his new album of poignant yet practical yet erotic sounds entitled I'm Sorry (You're Welcome), Mirman's comedy is one of a kind. Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6551. 8 pm Friday, Nov. 13. $24.
Friends With Benedicts
It's never too early for comedy. Local standup standouts Amy Miller and Bri Pruett host a brand new comedy show for the brunch-time crowd. The laughs are free, and for $10, the mimosas are bottomless. Enjoy some brunch specials, and laugh at the jokes being told by Gabe Dinger, Ronn Vigh, Laura Anne Whitley, Ed Black and Julia Ramos. It will definitely be more fun than spending an hour in line at Gravy. The Lamp, 3023 SE Milwaukie Ave., 234-7000. 1 pm Saturday, Nov. 14. Free.
Garbage People: Garbage Family Values
Brodie Kelly's popular storytelling show returns, this time with a twist. Set up as a comedy game show challenge, eight of the funniest comics around will compete in teams to see who can tell the most fucked-up (and true) stories they can think of. Vying for the Family Values championship will be the Red Team of Brendan Kelley, Brandon Lyons, Brodie Kelly and Ash Casteman, and the Blue Team of Patrick Higgins, Patrick Thomas Perkins, Patrick Quinn and Riley Michael Parker. The Waypost, 3120 N Williams Ave., 367-3182. 8:45 pm Saturday, Nov. 14. $6.66-$10. 21+.
Keep It Like a Secret
The 15th installment of Keep It Like A Secret features reigning Willamette Week Funniest Five comedian Sean Jordan and Portland's Funniest Person runner-up Adam Pasi. Royale Brewing will be on hand to provide delicious microbrews, and Jackpot Recording will have fancy boxed wine for all to enjoy. Jackpot Recording Studio, 2420 SE 50th Ave., 239-5389. 7:30 pm Monday, Nov. 16. $11. 21+.
Actor/comedian Steve Rannazzisi might be best known for playing Kevin the commissioner on the hit FX comedyThe League, comedy fans might also know him from his recently released stand-up special on Comedy Central called Manchild. With four shows in three nights, Rannazzisi might just have a thing or two to say about where he was on one memorable September morning fourteen years ago. Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th Ave., 888-643-8669. 8 pm Thursday, 7:30 and 10 pm Friday-Saturday, Nov. 12-14. $20-$34. 21+.
(True) Tall Tales With Don Frost
Some of Portland's favorite funny people reach into their respective closets and come up with skeletons. Sharing their true tall tales will be Curtis Cook, JoAnn Schinderle, David Mascorro, Grace Sadie Cejas and Anthony Lopez. Helium Comedy Club, 1510 SE 9th Ave., 888-643-8669. 8 pm Wednesday, Nov. 11. $8-$16. 21+.