Reviews are by Donald Munro; NR = not reviewed.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead: Woodward Shakespeare Festival opens Tom Stoppard’s absurdist comedy about two minor characters from “Hamlet.” (Opens Thursday, Aug. 11)
Arsenic and Old Lace: The Visalia Players open the classic play at the Ice House Theatre. Through Aug. 21. (NR)
Heathers: The Musical: Selma Arts Center presents the central San Joaquin Valley premiere of the musical based on the cult-classic film. Through Aug. 20.
I Hate Hamlet: Good Company Players presents Paul Rudnick’s comedy-drama about a TV star scared to play Hamlet on stage. This fresh summer hit at the 2nd Space Theatre is a witty and well-written romp, and director Elizabeth Fiester strikes a fine balance between insider Shakespeare jokes and general silliness. CJ Dion is a standout as the ghost of John Barrymore, who nurses TV actor Andrew Rally (an amusing Chase Stubblefield) through the angst of playing one of theater’s most challenging roles. The small ensemble cast is uniformly top-notch. Closes Sunday, Aug. 14.
My Fair Lady: Director Dan Pessano, in the finest tradition of Good Company Players, offers a sweet, fresh spin on the well-known story of a Cockney flower girl who takes London society by storm. A trio of strong performances (Chris Mangels as Henry Higgins, Breanne Gallagher as Eliza and Teddy Maldonado as Alfred) deliver the classic songs and sparkling humor this oldie-but-goodie title needs. David Pierce’s handsome set design adds to the appeal in the intimate Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theater space. Through Sept. 11.
Shrek the Musical: Children’s Musical Theaterworks presents the musical based on the popular Disney film at the Fresno Memorial Auditorium. Closes Sunday, Aug. 14. (NR)
NEXT WEEK’S OPENINGS
Beauty and the Beast: Visalia’s Theatre Arts Alliance opens at the L.J. Williams Theatre the family musical about a prince transformed into a hideous beast. (Opens Thursday, Aug. 18)
Witness for the Prosecution: Good Company Players opens the Agathe Christie tale of a gripping murder trial at the 2nd Space Theatre. (Opens Thursday, Aug. 18)