Fall arts 2014: Theater 

The Bay Area theater scene goes into high gear this month: On the calendar are Broadway musicals, new plays, hotly anticipated revivals and special appearances by some of our favorite artists.

Buyer and Cellar: “Ugly Betty’s” Michael Urie stars in this comedy about an unemployed actor who goes to work in Barbra Streisand’s Malibu basement. Through Aug. 31, $50-$100. Curran Theatre, 445 Geary St., S.F., (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com

Water by the Spoonful: TheatreWorks presents the regional premiere of Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about an online chat room for troubled souls. Through Sept. 14, $19-$74. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View, (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org

Do I Hear A Waltz? 42nd Street Moon presents Broadway actress Emily Skinner in the 1960s-set musical about a lonely American tourist in Venice that inspired the Katharine Hepburn movie “Summertime.” Oct. 1-19, $25-$75. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., S.F., (415) 255-8207, www.42ndStMoon.org

Pippin: Stephen Schwartz’s early hit musical arrives in its latest Broadway revival. Sept. 23-Oct. 19, $40-$210. Golden Gate Theatre, 1 Taylor St., S.F., (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com

Fetch Clay, Make Man: Boxer Muhammad Ali and actor Stepin Fetchit meet in this West Coast premiere by San Francisco’s own Will Power. Through Sept. 7, $37-$58. Marin Theatre Co., 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, (415) 388-5208, www.marintheatre.org

Motown The Musical: Groove to Motown’s greatest hits as this bio-musical charts the career of superproducer Berry Gordy. Through Sept. 28, $40-$210. Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market St., S.F., (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com

Water by the Spoonful: Theatreworks presents the regional premiere of Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about an online chat room for troubled souls. Through Sept. 14, $19-$74. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View, (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org

Wicked: The hit musical’s national touring production makes its South Bay premiere. Aug. 27-Sept. 14, $44-$109.30. San Jose Center for Performing Arts, 255 S. Almaden Blvd., San Jose, (800) 745-3000, www.broadwaysanjose.com, www.ticketmaster.com

Rapture, Blister, Burn: The Aurora Theatre Company opens its season with Gina Gionfriddo’s Pulitzer-nominated comedy that looks at modern gender politics. Aug. 29-Sept. 28, $32-$60. Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison St., Berkeley, (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Director Shana Cooper puts her distinctive spin on Shakespeare’s delectable comedy. Sept. 3-28, $20-$72. Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda, (510) 548-9666, www.calshakes.org

The New Electric Ballroom: Barbara Damashek directs Enda Walsh’s dark fantasy, a disturbing tale of sisters determined to live in the past. Sept. 30-Oct. 5, $20-$30. Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, (510) 841-6500, www.shotgunplayers.org

An Audience with Meow Meow: Fabulousness should abound when the international comedy and singing sensation brings her one-woman show to Berkeley. Emma Rice directs. Sept. 5-Oct. 19, $29-$89. Roda Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2015 Addison St., Berkeley, (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org

Bad Jews: The Magic Theatre opens its season with the Bay Area premiere of Joshua Harmon’s comedy about cousins who square off in a battle over a family heirloom. Sept. 9-Oct. 6, $30-$60. Magic Theatre, Building D, Fort Mason, Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street, S.F., (415) 441-8822, www.magictheatre.org

Party People: The hot theater ensemble UNIVERSES tells the history of the Black Panthers and the Young Lords in poetry, hip-hop, jazz and rock. Oct. 17-Nov. 16, $29-$79. Thrust Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison St., Berkeley, (510) 647-2949, www.berkeleyrep.org

Old Hats: Expect big laughs when comic masters Bill Irwin and David Shiner reunite in this Signature Theatre production to kick off the American Conservatory Theater’s fall season. Sept. 10-Oct. 5, $20-$120. ACT, 415 Geary St., S.F., (415) 749-2228, www.act-sf.org

The Late Wedding: Crowded Fire stages this world premiere by Christopher Chen, which was inspired by and is an homage to Italian novelist Italo Calvino. Sept. 18-Oct. 11, $18-$35. Thick House, 1695 18th St., S.F., (415) 746-9238, www.crowdedfire.org

Ideation: Aaron Loeb’s dark comedy-thriller explores corporate ethics. Sept. 23-Nov. 8, $20-$120. San Francisco Playhouse, 450 Post St., S.F., (415) 677-9596, www.sfplayhouse.org

Bay Area Cabaret: “Saturday Night Live’s” Ana Gasteyer is among the artists in the opening-night gala celebrating Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz, who will be in attendance. 8 p.m. Sept. 27, $60-$75. Venetian Room, Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason St., S.F., (415) 392-4400, www.bayareacabaret.org

The Great Tragedies: Mike Daisey Takes on Shakespeare: A master monologist deconstructs “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hamlet,” “Macbeth” and “King Lear” on successive nights. Oct. 2-12, $40-$45 (single nights), $120-$135 (four shows). Bruns Amphitheater, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda, (510) 548-9666, www.calshakes.org

Sweeney Todd: Stephen Sondheim’s gruesome and popular Tony Award-winning musical gets another Bay Area presentation via TheatreWorks. Oct. 8-Nov. 2, $19-$73. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View, (650) 463-1960, www.theatreworks.org

The 39 Steps: Hillbarn Theatre stages the riotous, wildly inventive Tony Award-winning comedy about a spy who’s murdered. Oct. 16-Nov. 2, $23. Hillbarn Theatre, 1285 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City, (650) 349-6411, ext. 2, www.hillbarntheatre.org

The Boy Friend: The 1920s-set farce about flappers who frolic on the French Riviera comes to life in a show by 42nd Street Moon, which specializes in lost musicals. Oct. 29-Nov. 16, $25-$75. Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., S.F., (415) 255-8207, www.42ndStMoon.org

Testament: Carey Perloff directs Colm Toibin’s Tony Award-nominated drama, which recounts Mary’s personal narrative of the last days in the life of her son, Jesus. Oct. 29-Nov. 23, $20-$120, American Conservatory Theater, 415 Geary St., S.F., (415) 749-2228, www.act-sf.org

And I and Silence: Magic Theatre artistic director Loretta Greco helms Naomi Wallace’s play set in the segregated 1950s. Oct. 29-Nov. 23, $30-$60. Magic Theatre, Building D, Fort Mason, Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street, S.F., (415) 441-8822, www.magictheatre.org

Anything Goes: Broadway by the Bay, the Peninsula’s primary musical troupe, presents Cole Porter’s classic shipboard show with the hits “It’s De-Lovely” and “I Get a Kick out of You.” Nov. 7-23, $43-$64. Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway, Redwood City, (650) 369-7770, www.broadwaybythebay.org

Chicago: Kander and Ebb’s award-winning jazz musical arrives in a red-hot Broadway revival. Nov. 7-16, $40-$160. Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market St., S.F., (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com

Breakfast with Mugabe: Inspired by news reports about the president of Zimbabwe, Fraser Grace’s play is set against the aftermath of revolution. Nov. 7-Dec. 7, $32-$60. Aurora Theatre, 2081 Addison St., Berkeley, (510) 843-4822, www.auroratheatre.org

Six Characters in Search of an Author: France’s Theatre de la Ville returns to the Bay Area in a rare performance of Pirandello’s absurdist drama. 8 p.m. Nov. 7-8. $30-$90. Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley campus, (510) 642-9988, www.calperformances.org

I Love Lucy Live On Stage: Ricky and Lucy, Fred and Ethel. Need we say more? Nov. 11-23, $55-$135. Curran Theatre, 445 Geary St., S.F., (888) 746-1799, www.shnsf.com

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Georgia Rowe

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