The Second Annual Cold Comedy Concoction
See My, What A Busy Week, pg 19. Stark Raving at the Coho Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 232-7072, Opens Dec 16, runs Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, $10-20


A new local musical theater company, Stumptown Stages, presents a production of the fairly entertaining Broadway hit, Urinetown. Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N. Interstate, 381-8686, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, $25

Dog Opera
Dog Opera is not, unfortunately, about singing dogs. The title must be a metaphor, since this offering from 2Boards tells the story of two New Yorkers trying to find love in the Big Apple., THEATER! THEATRE!, 3430 SE Belmont, 232-5375, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Dec 18, $10

I Am A Superhero
Superhero centers on the relationship between brothers Jacob (Rollin Carlson) and Matthew (Mark Modern). Matthew has just sold the story of their lives for 50 dollars, incensing Jacob, who feels the story wasn't his to sell. For the next hour and a half, the brothers argue the significance of this sale, exploring what is meant by their "story," proposing alternate stories, and even re-enacting games from their childhood. Both performers are funny and charismatic (particularly Carlson as the neurotic and twitchy Jacob), and slideshows, video, and puppetry are used to exquisite effect. But ultimately, even two punked-out puppets can't alleviate the boredom of the disjointed monologues and tedious back-and-forths that characterize the piece. AH Goldsmith Building, 10 NW 5th, 233-4420, Thurs-Sun 8 pm, $10-15 sliding, Thurs pay-what-you-can

Current Runs

Much like Frogz and their other repertory works, the good folks at Imago have reworked this original kid-friendly animal/illusion showcase, wisely incorporating the presence of a giant dinosaur who will be wrestled by prehistoric humans. Imago Theater, 17 SE 8th, 231-9581, Wed-Sat 7:30 pm, Sat-Sun 1:30 pm, Sun 5:30 pm, through Jan 1, $16-31

Owen Meany's Christmas Pageant
Fed up with playing the harnessed angel in the annual Christmas pageant, this year Owen refuses and, in so doing, shakes up tradition. Besides questioning the presence of no fewer than six turtledoves circling the manger, Owen also introduces a bit of metaphysics to his hometown and, of course, nothing is ever the same again. WG Artists Repertory Theatre, 1516 SW Alder, 241-1278, Tues-Thurs, Sun 7 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, EXTENDED: 7 pm Dec 21-24, 4 pm Dec 23-24, $15-40

This Wonderful Life
On paper, a one-man stage adaptation of the holiday film classic, It's A Wonderful Life, seems suspect at best. But then you factor in the addition of star Mark Setlock, whose other one-man show, the posh New York restaurant-skewering Fully Committed, absolutely killed Portland audiences last year—and things suddenly seem a bit less dire. And sure enough, though Setlock and playwright Steve Murray's This Wonderful Life has about as much depth as a wading pool, it's a hell of a lot of fun to watch, due largely to Setlock's mastery of caricatures that walk that fine line between ridicule of his source material and loving homage. His Jimmy Stewart, as Jimmy Stewarts tend to be, is cartoonish; more interesting are the subtle, side-splitting mannerisms he brings to supporting roles like Violet Bick (in Setlock's world a vamping, preening, cooing future prostitute) and the ancient real estate slumlord Mr. Potter (his relentless gumming of an imaginary pair of false teeth is a highlight). Setlock's rapid-fire transitions between these characters is a feat of impressionistic juggling unlike anything you will see this year, and more entertaining, as my date put it, than "watching a dog do acrobatics." Which is very entertaining indeed. JWS Portland Center Stage, 1111 SW Broadway, 274-6588, Tues-Wed, Sun 7 pm, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Thurs 12 pm, Sat-Sun 2 pm, through Dec 24, $15-56


A(n Improvised) Christmas Carol
The Brody offers an antidote to sappy holiday entertainment with a "Choose Your Own Adventure" style retelling of A Christmas Carol, in which the audience gets to decide the show's outcome. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th, 224-0688, Fri-Sun 8 pm, through Dec 18, $8-12

Superego: In The Name of Awesome
Fast and furious sketch comedy, written collaboratively by members of the Superego ensemble. Fez, 316 SW 11th, 221-7262, ex. 41, Fri 9 pm, $7


George Balanchine's The Nutcracker
It just ain't Christmas without The Nutcracker. And that's why we hate Christmas. Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay, 790-ARTS, Mon-Sat 7:30 pm, Sat 2 pm, Sun 1 pm, 5 pm, through Dec 24, $18-98

Cabaret Boris & Natasha
The quirky, ever-popular "non-dance" routines of the Boris and Natasha Dancers are back again—presented along with short films by Grace Carter and Holly Andres and an accordion-led holiday sing along. Performance Works NorthWest, 4625 SE 67th, 249-0989, Sat-Sun 8 pm, $9-15