Primary colors

By LIZA WEISSTUCH  |  December 26, 2007

Metaphorical tempests will keep things blustery on the domestic front all winter. The Huntington will stage Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s SHINING CITY (March 7–April 6), a Broadway hit in which a Dublin therapist treats a grieving widower while his own relationship unravels. Love is also on the rocks at Merrimack Rep in A DELICATE BALANCE (March 13–April 6), Edward Albee’s Pulitzer-winning mix of arid marriage, upper-class cocktail chat, and existential terror. New Repertory Theatre takes a different tack with Molière’s THE MISANTHROPE (January 16–February 10), whose protagonist, Alceste, however much he scorns the hypocrisy around him, sees the object of his affection through rose-colored glasses.

Another corrosive installation of Albee is at Lyric Stage of Boston, where local diva Paula Plum stars in the Pulitzer-winning THREE TALL WOMEN (March 28–April 26), the playwright’s tripartite meditation on his difficult adoptive mother. And New Rep takes on Sarah Ruhl’s magical-realist THE CLEAN HOUSE, in its Boston premiere (February 27–March 23). The heroine is a Brazilian domestic who would rather contemplate the perfect joke than clean house and whose doctor employers’ own pristine edifice is coming apart in interesting ways.

In THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED, the Broadway hit making its debut here courtesy of SpeakEasy Stage Company (January 18–February 16), the main characters are a closeted actor on the verge of becoming a teen idol and his female über-agent. The satire, by As Bees in Honey Drown scribe Douglas Carter Beane, is an unflinching look at hypocrisy and power mongering in Tinseltown.

Few are those who don’t flounder through the teenage years. In THE GIBSON GIRL (March 14–April 5), by local scribe and Company One writer-in-residence Kristen Greenidge, a mother has to deal with her twin daughters’ acting up and also a missing husband. It’s at the BCA.

Winter brings a summer bounty of local playwrights’ work. Former Huntington Theatre Company Playwriting Fellow Melinda Lopez’s latest, GARY, tells of three adolescent siblings slogging through the frustrations teens suffer while their self-involved mom remains clueless. It debuts at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (February 28–March 16). Lopez’s fellow Huntington playwright, Sinan Ünel, will have his play THE CRY OF THE REED produced by the HTC at the Calderwood Pavilion (March 28–May 3). It’s the story of a detained journalist who gets to call her long-estranged mother in Turkey.

A bit farther east, in China, we find the saucy characters of ADRIFT IN MACAO, a musical send-up of film noir produced by the Lyric Stage (January 4–February 2). It’s by the perennially kooky Christopher Durang, with music by Peter Melnick, a grandson of Richard Rodgers. Think Casablanca meets Christopher Guest.

The downtown Theater District is alive with the sound of music. Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer-winning East Village rewrite of La bohème, RENT, moves into the Wang Theatre (January 8-13) before MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT clippity-clops its way into the Opera House (January 15-27). Eliza Doolittle gets her legendary elocution lessons when MY FAIR LADY comes to the Opera House the following month (February 5-17). And the crass-talking, surly-singing puppets of AVENUE Q flip the bird to polite language when the Tony-winning look at twentysomethings trying to get a toehold in New York arrives at the Colonial Theatre (March 11-23).

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