Here’s a sneak peek of eight must-see productions this spring, with excerpts chosen by writers and directors.
Photo Credit: Liza Voll
James Darrah directs Boston Lyric Opera’s production of The Threepenny Opera, running March 16-25 at the Huntington Avenue Theatre. The satire is set in the slums of Victorian London and explores the corruption of capitalism after an infamous criminal nicknamed “Mack the Knife” secretly marries Polly Peachum, the daughter of the leader of London’s beggars.
Polly: “But one night you’ll hear ’em all yellin’ down by the harbor. And you’ll ask, ‘Do they have to yell that way?’ And you’ll see me smile and rinse another glass out and you’ll ask, ‘What’s made her smile today?’ And a 50-gun galleon with its eight sails a-waving slips into the bay.”
Director Scott Edmiston helms the production of Anna Christie, a drama about a daughter who reunites with her coal barge captain father and then falls for a shipwrecked sailor. The Eugene O’Neill classic drops anchor at the Lyric Stage Company on April 6-May 6.
Anna: “You can go to hell, both of you! You’re just like all the rest of them. God, you’d think I was a piece of furniture. Sit down and let me talk for a minute. You might as well get cured this way as any other. First thing is, I want to tell you both something. You was going on as if one of you had got to own me. But nobody owns me—excepting myself.”
Artwork: Sandra Cohen
Actors’ Shakespeare Project tackles romance and marriage in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Christopher V. Edwards. Playing April 11-May 6 at the Multicultural Arts Center, the comedy stars sworn bachelor Benedick and the witty Beatrice who are tricked into smoothing over their rocky romantic past.
Benedick: “That a woman conceived me, I thank her; that she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks; but that I will have a recheat winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon me. Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine is, for the which I may go the finer, I will live a bachelor.”
In collaboration with MIT, the Nora Theatre Company presents the world premiere of The Women Who Mapped the Stars by Boston playwright Joyce Van Dyke. Directed by Jessica Ernst, the play transports audiences to Harvard in the late 1800s, when five women ushered in major advances in astronomy but were paid half as much as their male co-workers. Get star-struck when the show runs April 19-May 20 at the Central Square Theater.
Antonia: “What if someone is being born right now, in the new century—a girl is born—and these things are not a dream for her—this will simply be life! Life as she lives it!”
Annie: “Growing up to become an astronomer—because she wants it…”
Tackling the unexpected humor in sperm donation and the challenges of being the husband of a gestational surrogate, 2 Sharp Quills presents Boston playwright Judith Strang-Waldau’s Rockabye at the Mosesian Center for the Arts on May 18-19. The dramatic comedy examines both sides of the surrogacy process and explores the yearning of LGBTQ couples to become parents.
Karim: “My community turned its back on me when I finally told them I’m gay. For years I felt totally alone in the world. But Annie, I no longer have to hide. Luis and I fell in love. He was my first love and he will be my last. We want to share what we have with a child.”
After snagging a Tony Award nomination in 2017 for her work directing Eclipsed on Broadway (which featured Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o among the stellar cast), Liesl Tommy returns to the Huntington Theatre Company to direct Top Girls on April 20-May 20 at Huntington Avenue Theatre. Set in 1980s London during a dinner party with famous historical women as guests, the play explores what it takes for women to rise to the top of a male-dominated world.
Marlene: “Oh Joan, thank God, we can order. Do you know everyone? We were just talking about learning Latin and being clever girls. Joan way by way of an infant prodigy. Of course you were. What excited you when you were 10?”
Joan: “Because angels are without matter they are not individuals. Every angel is a species.”
Marlene: “There you are.”
Take it to the runway when Company One presents the drag-tacular Wig Out! at Oberon on April 27-May 13. Penned by Tarell Alvin McCraney, who co-wrote the 2016 Oscar winner Moonlight, this play whisks the audience to the early 2000s to experience the vibrant black drag ball culture in a catwalk showdown between two rivaling drag houses.
Rey-Rey: “You tell Serena, mother of the house of Di’abolique, that we understand the terms of a Cinderella soirée and we will be there ready to walk and win all that is ours. I hope your mucked up melancholy face beams previews of our presence ’cause bitch after we come thru gone be some blind and dazzled punks left in the wake. So says the mother of the house of Light. Now run tell that!”
120,000 Japanese Americans who were forcibly relocated to internment camps throughout the country after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Allegiance, a musical based on the experience of actor George Takei, explores a family’s experience in a bleak camp in rural Wyoming. SpeakEasy Stage mounts performances on May 4-June 2 at the BCA’s Calderwood Pavilion.
THE IMPROPER’S 2018 SPRING ARTS PREVIEW: DANCE | MOVIES | COMEDY | MUSIC | PODCASTS | VISUAL ART