Sunday: Actor Debra Ehrhardt (pictured), Jamaica's answer to Halle Berry, is much more than a beautiful actor. She also is a writer. When Ehrhardt decamped for a career in Hollywood years ago, she found that her syncopated accent was a block to getting high-profile roles. Ehrhardt decided to explore her family and heritage, and has written three plays. Director Joel Zwick ("My Big Fat Greek Wedding"), staged "Jamaica Farewell," Ehrhardt's one-person one-act about her dramatic escape from her home country during the 1970s political crisis. The play has been optioned by Tom Hanks' production company. "This story, with my alcoholic father, my religious mother, is something that nearly everyone can relate to," she said. "I draw from my life, but it's a story about our shared humanity." (4 p.m. Sun., Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, $35, 952-979-1100 or hopkinsartscenter.com.)


Opens Friday: The festival kicks off Friday with Alaskan transgender performing artist Scott Turner Schofield's "Becoming a Man in 127 Easy Steps." Schofield lets the audience choose the stories that will be told. (7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Ritz Theater, 345 13th Av. NE., Mpls.) The festival also includes poet and essayist Ryka Aoki de la Cruz's self-created "In Search of Geishaghost." (7:30 p.m. Sun., Pangea World Theater Studio, 711 W. Lake St., Mpls.), plus three shows at Intermedia Arts: Tamil/Sri Lankan-American activist and provocateur D'Lo's "D'FUNQT"; "Shaking Our Shells: Stories From On the Wings of Wadaduga," a history-based show about "Cherokee ... GLBTQ memories" written and performed by Qwo-Li Driskill; and "Outside the Circle," a play about seduction written and performed by Andrea Assaf and Samuel Valdez. ("D'FUNQT" is at 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Thu., "Outside the Circle," 7:30 p.m. next Fri.-Sat., "Shaking Our Shells," 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 & 19, Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. Tickets: $15 per show or $75 for the whole festival. www.brownpapertickets.com.)



Opens Friday: Playwright Rhiana Yazzie's New Native Theatre has teamed up with Bedlam Theatre for what is being described as "the first all-Native American musical" in Minnesota. The show is a Mayan calendar-inspired, end-of-world comedy set at a New Year's Eve powwow on Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. It is co-directed by Maren Ward and Yazzie, a Navajo. "We're celebrating that little-known secret, that Native people are very funny," said Yazzie. (7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and Wed.-Thu. Ends Nov. 18. Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, 1500 E. Lake St., Mpls., $15, 612-721-2535 or www.brownpapertickets.com.)



Friday-Saturday: Justin Leaf is a longtime member of Minnesota Dance Theatre who pines for the cabaret stage, which led him to a 2007 Sage award for "Broadway Bound ... and Gagged." With his Junkyard Theater, Leaf has given the world the divine Mistress Ginger. This weekend Leaf plans a new direction in his show "Don't Rain on My Panda Bear!" He'll be singing tunes from Kurt Weill, Bob Dylan, Tracy Chapman, Blossom Dearie and more, accompanied by ace jazz pianist George Maurer and, yes, a dancing panda. Expect Ginger to crash the show. (10 p.m. Fri. & Sat. $10-$15. Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St., Mpls. 612-825-8949, www.bryantlakebowl.com.)