Paying Dues in BoHo Although Rent, the touring Broadway musical about struggling New York artists, is priced beyond the reach of most of the people it's ostensibly about, a lottery will open up $20 orchestra seats 2 hours before each show. The cheap-ticket tradition began in New York in honor of the show's creator, Jonathan Larson, a former struggling artist who died of an aortic aneurysm just shy of his 36th birthday, before he ever saw his show make the leap from off-Broadway to the Great White Way. An update on Puccini's opera La Boheme, Rent snagged a Tony and a Pulitzer for its portrayal of a group of friends (a public interest lawyer, a transvestite in cha-cha heels, and so on) who discover the personal costs of carving out a living and a life. The show previews at 8 p.m. (and runs through May 9) at the Golden Gate Theater, 1 Taylor (at Market), S.F. Admission is $20-69.50; call 512-7770.
Extended Family How you see Robert Moses depends on how hard you look. You might glimpse him in the movement he sets on his dancers; and when Moses himself takes the stage, often in a series of spring-loaded jumps that touch the ground only briefly, it's very much like "now he's here and now he isn't," as fellow dance-maker Margaret Jenkins astutely describes it. Jenkins, whose own admirable modern repertory includes the metaphoric Fault, is one of four local choreographers crafting solos for Moses to perform at the Robert Moses' Kin Fourth Annual Home Season, a concert with exciting potential. Jenkins offers Full Wings and Scram, which alludes to Moses' airborne stage persona; Lines Contemporary Ballet director Alonzo King takes advantage of Moses' technical prowess; ODC's K.T. Nelson envisions her friend as a youngster in a man's body; and Contraband's Sara Shelton Mann collaborates with him to track ancestral influences. Moses sets new work on his own dancers as well, including That Sh*t A*n't Funny, which muses on the cultural influence of black American comedians. The show begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through March 14) at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida (at 17th Street), S.F. Admission is $14-20; call 621-7797.
The Unkindest Cut Personal to Jeff Stryker: So a certain local theater critic panned your show? Console yourself with Frank Rich Is Dead, Inquiline Theater's comedy about Arthur Klemschtepp, an actor who tries to get rid of his creative block (and free his fellow actors from bad reviews in the process) by killing a New York Times theater critic. The best part is, it works, at least in a roundabout way: After being incarcerated and psychoanalyzed, Arthur finds himself producing and starring in ... his very own prison musical! The show, a world premiere with music by Douglas Wood, begins at 8 p.m. (and runs through March 27) at Venue 9, 252 Ninth St. (at Folsom), S.F. Admission is $10-12; call 289-2260.
No Man Is an Island Something about Berlin, Jerusalem, and the Moon resonated with viewers when it premiered 14 years ago -- the idea of displacement and the tricky task of juggling multiple identities, perhaps. So A Traveling Jewish Theater has revived the show, which blends drama and comedy with music, movement, masks, and puppetry to underscore the similarities between Jews in pre-Nazi Germany and in modern America. Berlin weaves the stories of two real-life members of the German Jewish literati forced to flee their homeland with the existential drama of a fictional modern couple. The show previews at 8 p.m. (and runs through April 4) at A Traveling Jewish Theater, 470 Florida (at 17th Street), S.F. Admission is $20-25; call 399-1809. The Jewish diaspora guides the 14th annual Jewish Music Festival as well. Identity is all over the map, from the cabaret songs of the Polish and Lithuanian ghettos during the Holocaust to Moroccan Jewish music to the modern a cappella harmonies of Charming Hostess. The festival's first show, "Ghetto Tango," begins Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at St. John's Presbyterian Church, 2727 College, Berkeley. Admission is $15-18; call (510) 848-0237 for a complete schedule.
Between the Eyes It would seem that Kip Kinkel, a kid with a taste for firearms, explosives, and animal torture, fired the last shot in a national round of teenage killing sprees after he gunned down his parents and classmates in Springfield, Ore., last summer. The spate of gun violence scared parents and set pundits asking what should be done. Well, we haven't had a Kip in a while -- so someone must have done something, right? Playwright Kimberly Davis Basso wasn't so sure, and researched each story's trajectory and consulted a panel of teenagers to create the dark comedy Locked From the Inside: The Chris Fisher Story. Crowded Fire stages the world premiere of the show, which satirizes all the players in the national drama, and asks what must be done now. Though director Rebecca Novick says the show doesn't take sides, it does find adults partially responsible for the violence, zeroing in on the easy access to guns that Basso's panel described, and the warning signs (animal torture, obsession with weaponry) that aren't always taken seriously. Locked opens at 8 p.m. at Bindlestiff Studio, 185 Sixth St. (at Howard), S.F. Admission is $12-15; call 487-5420.