Opening This Week

Forbidden Broadway
A bunch of Broadway tunes sung Broadway style. World Trade Center Auditorium, 121 SW Salmon, 239-5919, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through April 6, $20-$25

Le Vaudeville Extravaganza
Vaudeville and transformation from three actors trained at the Dell'Arte School of Physical Theatre. Zompei Productions, at the Artichoke Backgate Stage, 3130 SE Hawthorne, 1-800-FASTIXX, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through Mar 23, $10

Mall America
The very high-quality Coho Theatre presents Peter Sagal's depiction of one woman's struggle to wake from the nightmare of random violence. CoHo Theatre, 2257 NW Raleigh, 220-2646, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through April 20, $13-15

Some Explicit Polaroids
A passionate activist struggles against a backdrop of conservative government and evolving AIDS crisis. Sowelu Theater at the Back Door, 4319 SE Hawthorne Blvd, 230-2090, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 4 pm, through April 20, $7-15

One Week Only

Dances That Go Up
Contact improvisers perform a benefit for Kagyu Chanchub Chuling's Retreat Land Development. Dream's Well Dance Studio, 2857 SE Stark, 740-0523, Sat 8 pm, Suggested Donation: $10

Portland Center Stage and PICA present this multimedia exploration of memory from the Japanese ensemble, Dumb Type. Newmark Theater, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, SW Broadway & Main, 274-6588, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, $20-23

Survival Games
Staged readings of three one-acts about people engaged in dead-serious survival games. Readers Theatre Repertory, at the Blackfish Gallery, 420 NW 9th Ave, 295-4997, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $8

Closing This Week

A Streetcar Named Desire
Come get your Tennessee Williams on. PCC Sylvania Theatre, 12000 SW 49th Ave, 977-4949, Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm, through March 16, $5-7

Angels in America: Millennium Approaches
Tony Kushner's epic on AIDS and politics during the 1980s. Fir Acres Theatre, Lewis & Clark College, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Road, 768-7495, Thurs-Sat 7:30 pm, through March 16, $5-8

The town of Kulyenchikov is cursed with stupidity, until a Zubristsky agrees to marry a Youskevitch. American Heritage Theater Project, at the Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Highway, 245-3642, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2 pm, through March 17, Suggested Donation of $10

Just For Laughs
Random scenes and one acts from actors like Kim Bogus, Kane Ahuna, and Michael Teufel. Northwest Academy, 1130 SW Main, 254-8334, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 2:30 pm, through March17, Suggested Donation of $8

A diatribe on human existence, filtered through the story of Sir Ralph and Lady Margaret, who preside over a land called Dackerdash. As if that premise weren't bizarre enough, playwright Gladden Schrock's shifty, layered dramatic structure unfolds by way of a god-like Moderator and his faceless minions, who dictate the scenes between Ralph and Margaret. Concoctions this difficult to describe in two sentences are usually either brilliant or incomprehensible. Lightbox's production does not help to clarify. The acoustics of their space are terrible, and the diction of their lead actors often garbled. Consequently, much is lost, though what remains is intriguing enough to hint at the potential of something truly fascinating. Lightbox Studio, 1306 NW Hoyt, 231-0839, Fri-Sun 8 pm, through March17, $10

The Gingerbread Lady
Neil Simon's comedy about an actress who returns from rehab to her dysfunctional friends and family. Paula Productions, at the Jack Oakes Theater, 2820 NE Sandy Blvd, 238-9692, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through March16, $12

Current Runs

Ah, Wilderness!
Eugene O'Neill's comedy about a small Connecticut town, circa 1906. Lakewood Theatre Company, 368 S State St, 635-3901, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 7 pm, through April 14, $18-20

Finding the Sun
An ambitious attempt, but then again, attempting Edward Albee is always ambitious. This late-night production could benefit from more rehearsal time. (Jennifer Long) Call in Sick Productions, at the Russell Street Theater, 116 NE Russell St, 335-3297, Fri-Sat, 10:30 pm, through April 6, $8-10

* For Reasons That Remain Unclear
The first two-thirds of Mart Crowley's play about a once-Catholic man's reunion with the priest who molested him are a seminar on careful character development and natural, yet interesting dialogue. Rarely do scripts have the confidence, and yes, originality, to unfold so quietly and subtly. Triangle Productions, at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 239-5919, Thurs 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, Sun 5 pm, through March 30, $15-19

* Rashomon
There just aren't enough plays these days set in 12th-century Japan... Theatre Vertigo at the Russell Street Theater, 116 N Russell, 306-0870, Thurs-Sat 8 pm, Sun 4 pm, through April 6, $10-14

* Shakespeare's R & J
Shakespeare lives for four catholic schoolboys whose desires crescendo in unison with their interpretationof the bard's classic. The strong male cast energetically questions sexuality, its repression and unfulfilled desires, issues relevant to both Catholicism and Romeo and Juliet. Reccommended. Triangle Productions, at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 239-5919, Thurs 7:30 pm, Fri-Sat 8 pm, through March 30, $15-19

That's Infotainment
Improv that is one-half documentary and one-half fictional scenes inspired by the documentary. Brody Theater, 1904 NW 27th Ave, 224-0688, Fri-Sat 8 pm, $10

The Portland Subway
An interactive event that is one part improv, one part game, and one part play. Circle of Fire Productions, at Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont, 287-0198, Fri-Sat 10:25 pm and 11:15 pm, through March 8, $10

Triple Espresso, A Highly Caffeinated Comedy
Magic and theater mix in this fictitious reunion of the once-promising comedy team, "Maxwell, Butternut, and Bean." Triple Espresso, at the Portland Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, 2nd Floor, 1219 SW Park, Wed-Thurs, Sun 7:30 pm, Fri 7 pm, Sat 5 & 8 pm, Sun 3 pm, through April 21, $39-45, includes dessert and coffee

* Waiting for a Train
PLEASE don't skip this because you think it's just for kids. Yes, there is no dialogue, and yes it involves various methods of vaudeville and puppetry. But no, it is not childish at all, and yes, it is entertaining. Worth seeing if only for Devon Hawks Ludlow's maniacal destruction of a bagel. (Jennifer Long) Echo Theater, 1515 SE 37th, 975-5966, Fri-Sun 7:30 pm, Sat-Sun 2 pm, through March 24, $10-12