Play by Play: April 24, 2009

By CAROLYN CLAY  |  April 22, 2009

NOISES OFF | Malcolm Morrison is at the helm of this Hartford Stage production of British writer Michael Frayn's hilarious and precise backstage farce, which follows a touring production of a clichéd British sex farce as it unravels on the road. | Hartford Stage, 50 Church St, Hartford, Connecticut | 860.527.5151 | Through May 17 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues-Thurs + 2 pm Wed [no April 29] | 8 pm Fri | 2 pm [May 2, 16] + 8 pm Sat | 2 pm + 7:30 pm [no evening May 17] Sun | $23-$66; limited number $10 "Ten Spot" tickets; half-price "What a Rush!" tickets, at the box office two hours before curtain; $10 discount students, children

PICASSO AT THE LAPIN AGILE | Daniel Gidron directs this New Repertory Theatre staging of Steve Martin's droll 1993 rumination on creativity. The year is 1904, and a young Albert Einstein, on the brink of his Theory of Relativity, and a young Pablo Picasso, a few years from the leap of Les demoiselles d'Avignon, share drinks and ideas at the Paris boîte of the title. Neil A. Casey, Scott Sweatt, and Marianna Bassham head the cast. | Arsenal Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St, Watertown | 617.923.8487 | Through May 10 | Curtain 7:30 pm Wed [May 6] | 2 pm [April 30] + 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 3:30 + 8 pm Sat | 2 + 7:30 pm [no evening May 10] Sun | $35-$55; $7 discount seniors; $13 student rush

THE QUAD | Jordan Reddout directs this Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club production of Zoe Sarnak's "original rock musical," which in two acts follows a group of characters through their freshman and senior years of college. Sarnak is musical director. | Loeb Drama Center Experimental Theatre, 64 Brattle St, Cambridge | quad.musical@gmail.com | Through April 25 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs-Fri | 2:30 + 7:30 pm Sat | Free

SPEECH & DEBATE | Jeremy Johnson helms the raucous Boston premiere of Stephen Karam's 2007 Off Broadway hit — a fresh, tech-savvy treatment of age-old adolescent themes. Set in the chalkboard crucible of high school as well as in the pioneer tangles of the cyber universe, the comedy brings together a trio of disparate, initially distrustful misfits variously shanghai'd into the activity of the title — a high-school staple since 1925. They eventually bond, but with a minimum amount of saccharin spilled and every step of their mutually antagonistic journey played out as a National Forensics League–sanctioned competition category, from "Lincoln-Douglas Debate" to "Duo Interpretation" — this last featuring a time-travel encounter between a singing, jiving Mary Warren from The Crucible and a gay, teenage Abraham Lincoln. Don't ask. But trust us, it's hilarious. | Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon St, Boston | 617.585.5678 | Through April 25 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | $25-$50

SPRING AWAKENING | Before the arrival of the Tony-winning musical, Zeitgeist Stage Company presents us with German playwright Frank Wedekind's actual 1891 play in a new translation by Reinhold A. Mahler adapted by Zeitgeist's artistic director, David J. Miller, who also directs. Focusing on the lives of teens in rural Germany at the end of the 19th century, Wedekind's groundbreaking play about adolescent sexuality was a hot potato long before it was a musical: it didn't get produced as written for 75 years. In the Zeitgeist production, the roles of the kids will be played by actual teens. | Boston Center for the Arts Plaza, 539 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through May 9 | Curtain 8 pm Thurs-Fri | 3 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $35; $25 students, seniors

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