At its outset Jeff Talbott’s 2011 “The Submission” sounds like it falls somewhere between David Mamet’s “Race” and any number of Neil LaBute plays you might care to name.
Mamet uses the title subject to create a light meditation on lies, guilt and shame, while LaBute mainly exploits hot-button topics that always sound provocative and seem like they’d make interesting plays.
In Talbott’s play, Danny (Benjamin T. Ismail), an unsuccessful young white gay playwright, has written a story about a black family who live in the projects. To give his play its best chance of survival Danny also creates a black playwright alter ego, Shaleeha G’ntamobi, and hires black actress Emilie (Imani Mitchell) to play her. Twists, turns and hurtful words ensue as the play gets some notice and eventually a full production.
Director Jouni Kirjola’s strong cast also includes Joshua Glenn Robertson and Eason Donner.
8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through July 5, at Big Idea Theatre, 1616 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento. Tickets: $10-$20. Information: (916) 960-3036 or www.bigideatheatre.com
War Is Hell
In commemoration of World War I, sometimes referred to as “the war to end all wars,” California Stage presents R.C. Sherriff’s 1928 British in-the-trenches wartime drama “Journey’s End.” Set in the days before the brutal Battle of Saint-Quentin near the end of World War I, Sherriff’s enduring look at men experiencing the trauma of war has been powerful theater since a 21-year-old Laurence Oliver starred in the first reading and production of the piece.
Mark Heckman directs the California Stage production of disparate British Army officers in the four days leading up to a massive operation directed at their position by advancing German forces. With Brent Randolph as the disillusioned Capt. Stanhope and Daniel Dorofeyev as the still naive Lt. Raleigh.
8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays through July 6. No performance Saturday, June 14. At the Wilkerson Theatre in R25 Arts Complex, 1725 25th St., Sacramento. Tickets: $12-$20. Information: (916) 451-5822 or www.calstage.org
One Night of Broadway
Todd Ellison is an acclaimed Broadway musical director and conductor, and also a fine pianist. He gets to indulge all his chops in the one-night show “Todd Ellison & Friends: The Romance of Broadway,” which comes to the Harris Center on Friday.
Ellis’ friends are a quartet of Broadway familiar vocalists: Klea Blackhurst, Ross Lekites, Keith Spencer and Sacramento’s own Teal Wicks. Wicks, so well known for her portrayal of Elphaba in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Broadway productions of “Wicked,” has most recently been seen in the Broadway revival and National Tour of “Jekyll and Hyde.” For this show Ellison chose romantic songs from Broadway classics including “West Side Story,” “My Fair Lady,” “Hello Dolly,” “South Pacific” and “Man of La Mancha.”
7:30 p.m. Friday at the Harris Center for the Arts at Folsom Lake College, 10 College Parkway. Tickets: $12-$45. Information: (916) 608-6888 or