David Auburn's Proof, a clever little anecdote on the fine line between sanity and its counterpart, has been done twice locally since it won the Best Play Tony and the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 2001. The play centers on Catherine, a math whiz who on the eve of her 25th birthday discovers a mysterious notebook that reflects the extent of the genius, or madness, she inherited from her late mathematician dad. It's brisk and heavy stuff, not normally associated with community theater groups—but Vanguard Theatre, the city's oldest community troupe to have staged plays at a single venue (Westminster Presbyterian Church in Point Loma, since 1965), wants to take its own crack at it nonetheless. No kidding: This group has actually done some very nice work for a nonprofessional enterprise—witness its absolutely charming The Music Man from a few seasons ago and its galling choice to once stage The Royal Hunt of the Sun, loony with thick references to separation of church and state. Don't let the “community” moniker fool you. This Proof might just hold a few welcome surprises, solid script and all. The show runs Feb. 29 through March 16 at Westminster Presbyterian, 3598 Talbot St. $10-$15. 619-224-6263.
—Martin Jones Westlin
* CityBeat picks
The American Plan: An eccentric young woman fights her German-Jewish refugee mother's control as a mysterious man enters their lives. The show is in previews and opens Feb. 28 at The Old Globe Theatre's Cassius Carter Centre Stage, 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park. 619-23-GLOBE or www.oldglobe.org. $54.
A Shayna Maidel: A Holocaust survivor has tales of grief and hope for her younger sister when the two are reunited in America after 20 years. Through March 23 at North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987-D Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach. 858-481-1055 or northcoastrep.org. $32-$35.
Anton in Show Business: A stuffy television actress, a bustin'-out-all-over ingenue and a jaded New Yorker collaborate on an ill-fated San Antonio production of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters. Through March 2 at 6th@Penn Theatre, 3704 Sixth Ave. in Hillcrest. 619-688-9210 or www.sixthatpenn.com. $20-$23.
* Fences: Troy Maxson is fencing in his family amid his abandonment of personal responsibility. Through March 2 at Cygnet Theatre, 6663 El Cajon Blvd. in the College Area. 619-337-1525 or www.cygnettheatre.com. $22-$31.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Randall McMurphy, a patient in a 1960s American mental ward, empowers his fellow inmates and earns the disdain of the staff. Presented by The Theatre, Inc., the show runs through March 30 at The Ark Theatre, 899 C St. downtown. 619-216-3016 or www.thetheatreinc.com. $22-$25.
Permanent Collection: A clash on race, legacy and the media erupts amid a conflict over eight pieces of important African art. Presented by Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company, the show runs through March 16 at Tenth Avenue Theatre, 930 10th Ave. downtown. 619-342-7395 or www.moolelo.net. $25.
Rhubarb, or How to Play with a Roller Girl: An artist finally finds her muse with the help of two oracles and a roller girl. The show, presented by MOXIE Theatre, runs through March 9 at The Lyceum space, 79 Horton Plaza downtown. 619-544-1000 or www.moxietheater.com. $15-$20.
The Clean House: A maid's quest for the perfect joke leads to the transformation of a household swept away by big surprises and affairs of the heart. The show, presented by San Diego Repertory Theatre, runs through March 22 at The Lyceum Theatre, 79 Horton Plaza downtown. 619-544-1000 or www.sandiegorep.com. $29-$48.
* The Seven: A brutal struggle for the throne of Thebes pits Oedipus' cursed sons against one another and transforms a peaceful countryside into a hostile battlefield. Through March 16 at La Jolla Playhouse's Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre, 2910 La Jolla Village Drive in La Jolla. 858-550-1010 or www.lajollaplayhouse.org. $34-$60.
* tick, tick... BOOM!: Jonathan is still trying to write the great American musical before time—and, unpredictably for him, life—pass him by. Presented by Stone Soup Theatre, the show runs through March 30 at The Lab, Academy of Performing Arts, 4580-B Alvarado Canyon Road in Mission Valley. 619-287-3065 or www.stonesouptheatre.net. $25, student rush $20 an hour before the show.
Tony and Cleo: The love story of Antony and Cleopatra is told, this one based on historical and primary sources and not on Shakespeare. Through Feb 27 at 6th@Penn Theatre, 3704 Sixth Ave. in Hillcrest. 619-688-9210 or www.6thatpenn.com. $12-$15.
Dinner theaterChalk It Up to Murder: HIT Productions features a cavalcade of new clues for a terrible crime. Fireside Steakhouse, 439 W. Washington Blvd.in Escondido, 619-561-8673. $16-$29.50. Joey & Maria's Comedy Italian Wedding: The fortunes and foibles at the heart of an Italian wedding are laid on the table. Holiday Inn on the Bay, 1355 N. Harbor Drive, 800-944-5639. $49.50. Where There's a Will... There's a Wake: Gangland figure Sonny Shoehorn is heir ot the family fortune unless his siblings have their way. Presented by Mystery Café Dinner Theater at Imperial House Restaurant, 505 Kalmia St. Downtown, 619-544-1600. $54.50-$59.50.