Opening This Week

Life in pre-World War II Berlin is observed by an aspiring British writer in this musical based on Christopher Isherwood's novel. BEST OF BROADWAY, AT KELLER CIVIC AUDITORIUM, SW Third and Clay, 241-1407, Thur-Sat, 7:30 pm, Sat 2 pm, ends Aug 20, $15-50

Portland's new-sculptresses present an avant-garde, multi-media dance extravaganza. DARK PORCH PRODUCTIONS AT THE ECHO THEATER, 1515 SE 37th Ave, Fri-Sun, 8pm, ends Aug 13, $10

Death and the Fool
Sam Wallin directs Hugo von Hofmannsthal's play. 23 PRODUCTIONS AT THE BACK DOOR THEATER, 4319 SE Hawthorne, Fri-Sat, 10:30 pm, through Aug 19, $7

Jungle Book
Kids play based on Kipling's tales of a boy raised by wolves. BROADWAY ROSE THEATRE COMPANY AT THE DEB FENNEL AUDITORIUM, 9000 SW Durham Rd, 620-5262, Wed-Sat 11 am, Sun 2 pm, through Aug 12, $6

Closing This Week

A Piece of Cake
Raymond Barry's play concerns life in America after a viral apocalypse. STARK RAVING THEATER AT THEATER! THEATRE!, 3430 SE Belmont St, 232-7072, Fri-Sat, 10 pm, through Aug 12, $9.50

Grimm Silence
A corps of Portland actors do their take on the Brothers Grimm in a set of skits written by Sarah Grace McCandless and Rita Parrish. TODD CITY, AT STARK RAVING THEATER, 3430 SE Belmont St, 736-1027, Thur-Sat, 8 pm, through Aug 11, $10-12

* Hellcab
A day and night in the life of a Chicago cabbie (Keith Cable) on Christmas Eve is examined in this popular play by Will Kern, which has been running nonstop in the Windy City since the mid-'90s. The cabbie witnesses drug deals, helps a rape victim, tries to intervene in a misguided romance, and drives a birthing mother to the hospital. Though some of the characters who get into the back of the cab are mere caricatures, the ensemble cast, playing multiple parts, give a variety of good performances. THEATRE VERTIGO AT THE RUSSELL STREET THEATER, 116 N Russell, 306-0870, Fri-Sat, 10:30 pm, through Aug 12 , $8

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Parisian bell-ringer falls for and saves the woman he loves from afar in this production written, directed by, and enacted by teenagers. HILLSBORO ACTORS REPERTORY THEATER, 230 East Main St, 693-7815, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through Aug 13, $6

Current Runs

The Comedy of Errors
The Shakespeare in the Parks program continues its park -by-park rotation with this early play about mistaken identities in ancient Rome. PORTLAND ACTORS ENSEMBLE, SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARKS, South Park Blocks, 321-0710, Sat-Sun, 3 pm, Free

* Harold and Game Piece
The Brody Theater improv group carries on with two shows generated by audience suggestions. On Aug 11 and 12, the Brody will play host to Kevin Dorff of Chicago's Second City comedy theater, and Mary Pat Farrell, of Toronto's Second City troupe. BRODY THEATER, 1904 NW 27 Ave, 224-0688, Fri-Sat, 9 pm, through Sept 2, $8

Kissing Booth (Kaboom!)
A woman struggles to survive in a traveling carnival that suffers internal tensions in this play by Robert Quillen Camp. CONSTANT THEATER AT THE BACK DOOR THEATER, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 233-9933, Thur-Sat, 8 pm, through Aug 19, $8-15

Late Nite Catechism
A nun conducts an adult education class in the catechism, calls on "students" (the audience) to answer questions. It's a cute, mildly entertaining, interactive, one-person play. CLOUD 9 PRODUCTIONS AT THE MAIN STREET THEATER, 904 SW Main St, 790-2787, Thur-Fri 8 pm, Sat 2 and 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Sept 30, $24.50-$29.50

Matthew Zrebski's sci-fi play imagines a future world in which people are raised with cloned doubles to serve for organ transplants. The story concerns a man and his double (Todd E. Andes) each bothered by the existence of the other. PAULA PRODUCTIONS, AT THE JACK OAKES THEATER, 2820 NE Sandy Blvd, 238-6928, Thur-Sat, 8 pm through Aug 24, $10

The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine
Ernest (Chris Herman) and Ernestine (Laura Faye Smith) are newlyweds. They love each other, they hate each other, they love each other...and so it goes, for two long hours. This latest production from Theatre Vertigo is uncharacteristically mediocre: the text is schizophrenic at best. (Russell Meyer). THEATRE VERTIGO AT THE RUSSELL STREET THEATER, 116 N Russell, 306-0870, Thurs, Fri, Sat 8 pm, Through Aug 12, $10

The Rock Star
The career of a '50s songwriter who has the chance to impress Elvis is chronicled in this original musical conceived by Greg Tamblyn and others. LAKEWOOD THEATER COMPANY AT LAKEWOOD THEATER FOR THE ARTS, 368 S State St, 635-3901, Thur-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through August 31, $20

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
The comic strip character and his pals face some of life's little challenges in this production from the dinner theater company. SYLVIA'S CLASS ACT DINNER THEATER, 5115 NE Sandy Blvd, 288-6828, Thu-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through Sept 2, $21.95-31.95

Love's Labour Lost
Shakespeare's court comedy about four aristocrats who swear off romance for intellectual pursuits until some alluring women enter their lives is given a free airing in the Portland parks. NORTHWEST CLASSICAL THEATER COMPANY AT THE TERRY SCHRUNK FEDERAL PARK, SW Third and Salmon, 788-3412, Free