The writer and actor Scott Barry got used to bright lights and big crowds early in life. He was an All-American quarterback at UC Davis then, and later an NFL draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers. The football career never quite took off, but Barry segued into a different type of performance. He turned the football experience into an acclaimed solo theater piece called "Solo Gig Squared" incorporating spoken word, poetry and live jazz. It was nominated by the San Francisco Bay Area Theater Critics Circle for solo performance of the year. Barry now has seven produced plays to his credit, a screenplay optioned to Michael Douglas and a couple of short films he's made as well. Recently relocated to Land Park from Los Angeles, he has studied acting at the American Conservatory Theater and was a member of the Actor's Studio in Los Angeles.
Barry's newest solo theater piece is called "Rise" and it will play the next three Saturday nights at the Ooley Theatre in Sacramento. Barry said the autobiographical story deals with yoga, true love and how he lost and found his mojo, if you will. "Rise" runs at 8 p.m. Saturday and June 22 and 29 at the Ooley Theatre, 2007 28th St., Sacramento.
Ovation Stage continues showing love to newly minted Tony Award winner Christopher Durang ("Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike"). Last year, the company produced a Durang festival of short plays, and this weekend it opens his hysterically funny 2009 political satire "Why Torture Is Wrong, And The People Who Love Them."
While it's clear the American fascination with guns, violence and paranoia will never go out of style, it takes a talent like Durang to make the absurdities not just palatable but entertaining.
Penny Kline directs a cast including Amber Marsh, Brandon Lancaster and Georgann Wallace. The production is recommended for mature audiences, as there will be profanity, violence, and adult situations.
"Torture" opens at 8 p.m. Saturday and continues at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through July 7. At the Three Penny Theatre, 1723 25th St., Sacramento. Tickets are $15-18. Information at www. ovationstage.com or (916) 448-0312.
It's impossible to resist giving a nod to the summer programing of the world- renowned San Francisco Opera. Besides offering us an opportunity to ditch the heat in the chill environs of the City by the Bay, there are three very different but equally compelling productions at the opera house over the next several weeks.
Jacques Offenbach's lush "The Tales of Hoffmann" (through July 6), Wolfgang Mozart's comic sexual masterpiece "Così fan tutte" (through July 1), and the world premiere of Mark Adamo's "The Gospel of Mary Magdalene" (through July 7), a bold, intimate re-imagining of the New Testament. Performance times and ticket prices vary. At San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco (415) 864-3330 or www.sfopera.com.
Call The Bee's Call The Bee's Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120. Follow him on Twitter @marcuscrowder.