GREY GARDENS | Artistic director Spiro Veloudos is at the helm of the Lyric Stage Company of Boston's New England premiere of the hit Broadway musical about Jackie O's eccentric relatives, Big and Little Edie Beale, who lived in symbiotic squalor in the filthy remains of a once-grand Long Island manse. They've been the subject of a famed documentary and an HBO movie; come hear them sing. Musical direction is by Jonathan Goldberg; Leigh Barrett plays one of the Edies. | Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon St, Boston | 617.585.5678 | Through June 6 | Curtain 2 pm [June 3] + 7:30 pm Wed | 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $25-$44

JERRY SPRINGER: THE OPERA | Artistic director Paul Daigneault is at the helm of this SpeakEasy Stage Company area premiere of the 2004 Olivier Award–winning London sensation. So how do you exaggerate The Jerry Springer Show? First you give TV's long-running combative confessional such a pottymouth that, subject to the FCC, it would be bleeped from here to eternity. Then you take it to eternity, by means of a second act that finds Springer moderating a Blakean smackdown in Hell. Most important, you plug the lowlife losers, cheaters, and perverts that are the show's 15-minutes-of-fame-seeking fodder and turn their profane, pathetic extrusions into the high art of opera, with influences ranging from Bach and Handel to Gershwin (not to mention jazz, funk, and Busby Berkeley). There has never been anything quite like this wild ride on the back of Jerry Springer from composer Richard Thomas and stand-up comic Stewart Lee. And if SpeakEasy Stage Company doesn't clear every hurdle, it stays in the saddle with an extravagant, large-cast production that includes swirling projections, a hand-held video cam, tap-dancing Ku Klux Klansmen, and something perilously close to an auto-da-fé. | Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St, Boston | 617.933.8600 | Through May 30 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues [May 26] | 7:30 pm Wed-Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 3 pm Sun | $51-$54; $46-$49 students, seniors; $30 gallery seats; $14 student rush

THE LIFE OF GALILEO | David Wheeler directs British playwright David Hare's translation of Bertolt Brecht's 1938 play in a production by Catalyst Collaborative @ MIT, in conjunction with Underground Railway Theater. There's an element of bare-bones pageantry in Brecht's play — which, the dramatist being a Marxist, has as much to say about knowledge and the marketplace as it does about the father of modern science's impassioned head butt to the opiate of the people. Capitalizing on URT's strengths, Wheeler translates this into masked, commedia-style clowning that includes a cleverly rhymed introduction and an Italian carnival (the purpose of which is to show a rowdy rank-and-file loosening its ties to Church doctrine) that boasts a sun-like Galileo's-head puppet supplied with drapery arms and a giant pencil with which to scribble across the Scriptures. Hare's sharply eloquent translation pinpoints but is not weighed down by Brecht's didacticism. And Richard McElvain, though his light is too long hidden under the bushel of a bad blond wig, renders an energetic, multi-faceted, even mischievous and epicurean Galileo. | Central Square Theater, 450 Mass Ave, Cambridge | 866.811.4111 | Through May 17 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri-Sat | 3 pm Sun | $32; $22 seniors; $18 students with ID; $12 student rush day of show

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