1 ROBERT CRAY: Hall of Fame bluesman Robert Cray is best known for his distinctive, pristine guitar style and wonderfully soulful singing voice. But he's also an observant, powerful storyteller, especially when it comes to the delirious highs and crushing lows that accompany affairs of the heart. That theme is front and center in Cray's latest album, "Nothin But Love." He likely will showcase the August release when he takes the stage Nov. 9 at Livermore's Bankhead Theater.

Details: 8 p.m.; $14-$70; 925-373-6800, www.mylvpac.com

2 "SUPERIOR DONUTS": Tracy Letts' most famous work, "August: Osage County," was a sprawling epic of familial dysfunction and self-destruction. This later comedy, now in production at San Francisco's Custom Made Theatre Company, is a lighter look at a grizzled doughnut shop owner and the young, idealistic man he hires for help.

Details: Through Dec. 2; Gough Playhouse, San Francisco; $25-$30; www.custommade.org.

3 CHRIS SMITHER: The blues revivalist who emerged from the Boston coffee house circuit in the late 1960s is a terrific finger-style acoustic guitarist with a song catalog that traverses New Orleans and Appalachia with equal dexterity. He's touring in support of his latest album, "Hundred Dollar Valentine" and has two stops at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage. Both shows could easily sell out. Another guitar wizard, Willie Porter, is the opener.


Advertisement

Details: 8 p.m. Nov. 9-10; $26.50 advance/$28.50 door; 510-644-2020, www.thefreight.org.

4 "LITTLE WOMEN": Louisa May Alcott's 19th-century novel about four plucky sisters has for so long been a staple of growing-up literature that it's easy to forget the stage adaptation is not yet a decade old. Masquers Playhouse in Point Richmond is the latest Bay Area company to present the musical.

Details: Through Dec. 8; $20; 510-232-4031; www.masquers.org.

Blues guitarist and singer Robert Cray performs at the Louisiana Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Saturday, April 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Gerald
Blues guitarist and singer Robert Cray performs at the Louisiana Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, Saturday, April 30, 2011. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) ( Gerald Herbert )

5 ADAM LEVY: The musician might be best known for contributing his nimble guitar licks to several Norah Jones albums and concert tours. He's also played for Tracy Chapman. But on Nov. 9, the full range of his talents as a singer, songwriter and guitarist will be front and center, as he headlines the latest chapter of the Point Richmond Acoustic concert series. Mark Lemaire and Cindy Van Empel open the show.

Details: 8 p.m.; First Methodist Church of Point Richmond; $15 (at the door); www.pointacoustic.org.

6 CONTRA COSTA CHAMBER ORCHESTRA: The outfit is back for its second program of the fall and two weekend concerts, featuring Karl Husa's Divertimento for Brass and Percussion; Charles Gounod's "Petite Symphonie," Mendelssohn's String Symphony No. 1 in C major; and Benjamin Britten's "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra," Op. 34.

Details: 7 p.m. Nov. 10 at Los Medanos College Recital Hall, Pittsburg; $5-$10 at the door; 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 at Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek; $10-$30; 925-943-7469, www.lesherartscenter.org; www.cccorch.org.

7 KILLING MY LOBSTER: It's the end of the world as we know it, and Killing My Lobster, the San Francisco comedy troupe, apparently feels fine. Its latest jaunt plays off doomsday scenarios (including the Mayan calendar) and is titled "Killing My Lobster Does Not Fear the End." If we die, it will probably be from laughing.

Details: Through Nov. 18; Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco; $22-$25; www.killingmylobster.com.

CUSTOM MADE THEATRETracy Letts’ comedy "Superior Donuts" plays at Gough Street Playhouse through Dec. 2.
CUSTOM MADE THEATRE Tracy Letts' comedy "Superior Donuts" plays at Gough Street Playhouse through Dec. 2. (cmt)

8 AJA VU: Even during its most productive years in the 1970s, Steely Dan didn't tour much, concerned that its genre-bending, carefully compiled studio rock wouldn't translate to the stage. So we Bay Area fans are lucky that we have Aja Vu, a San Francisco band that deftly delivers Steely Dan classics in a live setting. The band's latest stop is Nov. 10 at Antioch's El Campanil Theatre.

Details: 8 p.m.; $15-$27; 925-757-9500, www.elcampaniltheatre.com.

9 FRAN LEBOWITZ: The sharp-witted and outspoken New York author and essayist, often described as a contemporary Dorothy Parker (high praise, indeed), makes a rare Northern California appearance with a stop Nov. 15 at UC Berkeley's Zellerbach Hall.

Details: Presented by Cal Performances; 8 p.m.; $20-$52; 510-642-9988, www.calperformances.org.

10 JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION: The title of this noisy '90s alt-rock band is ironic, or maybe metaphorical. Nothing that Spencer and his trio play is rooted in the blues. But like the blues, the songs can be sloppy, angry, confrontational, maybe a little dangerous. After an extended hiatus (its second), the band is back with a new album, "Meat + Bone," and a show Nov. 10 at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall.

Details: 9 p.m.; $21-$23; www.slimspresents.com.

Contact Randy McMullen at rmcmullen@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him on Twitter.com/randymac57.