Play by play: February 20, 2009

Plays A to Z
By CAROLYN CLAY  |  February 17, 2009

BAD DATES | Lenox-based Shakespeare & Company kicks off its first winter season with theater and television writer Theresa Rebeck's engaging one-woman comedy. Adrianne Krstansky directs Elizabeth Aspenlieder in the show, whose focus is a Manhattan single mom with a job managing a restaurant and a serious shoe habit; she takes us into her confidence while preparing for and rehashing the dubious social engagements of the title. | Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, 70 Kemble St, Lenox | 413.637.3353 | Through March 8 | Curtain 7 pm Fri-Sat | 2 pm Sun | $28.80

BAD JAZZ | Zeitgeist Stage Company presents the New England premiere of Brit writer Robert Farquhar's cheeky 2007 satire of the sordid side of theater bleeding into the sordid side of life. Revolving around the doings of some gritty thespians, the play begins with a discussion of whether an on-stage sex act should or should not be simulated and moves from there to dildos, dead dogs, disembowelment, and anal sex to the tune of "Any Dream Will Do" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. David J. Miller fields a capable cast, but the aggressively tasteless, sometimes quite funny show outstays its welcome. | Boston Center for the Arts Plaza, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through February 21 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | $35; $25 students, seniors

THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS | Turtle Lane Playhouse revives the 1978 Broadway musical by Larry L. King and Peter Masterson, with music and lyrics by Carol Hall, set at Miss Mona's Chicken Ranch, a Texas bordello in operation since 1850. James Tallach directs. | Turtle Lane Playhouse, 283 Melrose St, Auburndale | 617.244.0169 | Through March 15 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Sat | 2 pm Sun | $25-$27.50

BLACKBIRD | David Harrower's play won the 2007 Olivier Award for Best New Play; SpeakEasy Stage Company presents its area premiere. Elliot Norton Award winner David R. Gammons directs the show, which "tells the story of a meeting between two people, Ray and Una, who 15 years ago had a passionate affair. Emotions run high as the pair recall their scandalous relationship and attempt to come to terms with the shattering truth of their abandoned love." Marianna Bassham and Bates Wilder make up the cast. | Roberts Studio Theatre, Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St, Boston | February 20–March 21 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues [March 17] | 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $47-$50; $42-$45 students, seniors; $30 gallery seats; $14 student rush, with ID, one hour before curtain, subject to availability

BLUE MAN GROUP | The Drama Desk Award–winning trio of cobalt-painted bald pates begin their delightful and deafening evening of anti–performance art beating drums that are also deep buckets of paint, so that sprays of color jump from the instruments like breaking surf, and end by engulfing the spectators in tangles of toilet paper. | Charles Playhouse, 74 Warrenton St, Boston | 617.931.ARTS | Indefinitely | Curtain 8 pm Wed-Thurs | 7 pm Fri | 2 + 5 + 8 pm Sat | 1 + 4 pm Sun | $58; $48 limited view; $25 student rush

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