John Patrick Shanley's shadowy "Doubt" wraps a clever mystery into a historical context with a current urgency.
Set in a Catholic school in the Bronx, 1964, the 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner is smart enough to keep you guessing until the end. A priest may have molested a boy. The priest denies it, of course, but a stern nun isn't so sure.
The quality cast features Martha Kight as the severe Sister Aloysius, Dean Shellenberger as her nemesis Father Flynn, Elizabeth Holzman as naive Sister James and Gloria Jones as the concerned Mrs. Muller.
"Doubt: A Parable" opens at 8 tonight and runs at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays through Feb 19. At the Wilkerson Theatre, 1723 25th St., Sacramento. Tickets are $12 to $15. Call (916) 838-0618 or go to www.resurrectiontheatre.com for other information.
Loosen up naturally
If you founded a legendary San Francisco band from any era, you did something extraordinary, and if that was era was the '60s, please take a deep bow.
Vocalist, guitarist and song writer Bill Champlin started his genre- defying Sons of Champlin in 1965 with other blues-based, jazz-trained musicians who loved to groove.
The band played the Fillmore and Avalon with everyone else of the time, and their shows are still remarked on by musicians and fans alike. Champlin was eventually employed by the big time, horn-based rock band Chicago and wrote such pop hits as "After the Love Is Gone" (Earth, Wind, & Fire) and "Turn Your Love Around" (George Benson), along with many songs for Chicago.
The engaging Champlin occasionally performs solo shows, and this Saturday he comes to Harlow's, 2708 J St. in Sacramento, for a special acoustic concert playing music from throughout his career. Show time is 7 p.m., and tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.
The new normal
The dramatic musical "Next to Normal" opens for a short run at Roseville's Tower Theatre this weekend and next with shows at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays.
More a rock musical than a traditional Broadway-based show, the book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey and music by Tom Kitt won 2009 Tony Awards for best original score and best orchestration. It also won a slightly controversial Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2010, just the eighth musical in history to gain that distinction.
At the Tower Theatre, 417 Vernon St., Roseville. Tickets are $10-$20, available at http://brownpapertickets.com, or call (916) 837-7469 for more information.
Not just for kids
Laura Baker directs the new B Street Family Series offering, "The Giver."
The futuristic fable, suitable for kids and adults, is based on an award-winning novel by Lois Lowry about a boy growing up in a society that feels no emotions.
With Grant Jordan, Gary Martinez, Elisabeth Nunziato, Jason Kuykendall, Brandon McCall, Erika Lecaj and Brittni Barger. Performances are at 1 and 4 p.m. Saturdays and 1 and 4 p.m. Sundays, through Feb. 19, on the B Street Theatre B3 Stage, 2727 B St., Sacramento. Tickets are $13-$22. Information: (916) 443-5300, www.bstreettheatre.org.