SPRING AWAKENING | Unlike its predecessor, the over-hyped Rent, Spring Awakening the musical is the genuine item: a successful if jagged amalgam of theater and pop music built on Wedekind's sketchy tale of provincial German teens torn between the urgent whispers of their changing bodies and an insensitive adult society (represented by two actors in multiple roles) bent on keeping them biologically in the dark and obedient to the bullying, prudish moral order. Duncan Sheik's pulsing, Tony-winning songs do not so much move the story as unlock pent-up emotions either sweet and sultry or, in thrashing numbers like "The Bitch of Living" and "Totally Fucked," mad as hell and not going to take it any more. The show is further enhanced by Tony-winning director Michael Mayer's daringly raw and energetic staging and Bill T. Jones's Tony-winning choreography, less Broadway razzle-dazzle than heightened movement based on dreamy self-caress and bursts of agitated, geometric frenzy. | Colonial Theatre, 106 Boylston St, Boston | 800.982.ARTS | Through May 24 | Curtain 7:30 pm Tues-Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 2 + 8 pm Sat | 2 + 7:30 pm Sun | $42.50-$92

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN | Stoneham Theatre presents Craig Warner's stage adaption of the Patricia Highsmith novel that inspired the 1951 Alfred Hitchcock film about two men who meet on a train and hatch a mutually beneficial double-murder plot. Weylin Symes directs. | Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main St, Stoneham | 781.279.2200 | Through May 24 | Curtain 7:30 pm Thurs | 8 pm Fri | 4 + 8 pm Sat | 2 pm Sun | $40; $35 seniors; $20 students

WILLY WANKER AND THE HERSHEY HIGHWAY | Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans take on Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and it's a musical. "Chock full of nuts," the confection promises to satisfy your cravings for "adult comedy, groovy music, real pathos, titillating adventure, and, yes, SEX!" | Ramrod Center for the Performing Arts, basement of Machine, 1254 Boylston St, Boston | 617.265.6222 | Through May 24 | Curtain 8 pm Fri-Sat | 4 pm Sun | $28


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 Tues-Wed + 2 pm Wed [May 27] | 5 pm [May 14, 28] + 8 pm Thurs | 7 pm Fri | 2 + 5 + 8 pm Sat | 1 pm + 4 pm + 7 pm [May 24, 31] Sun | $48-$62; $30 student rush

SHEAR MADNESS | The dramatis personae of the audience-participation whodunit (which is now the longest-running non-musical in American theater history, having run 29 years in Boston) continue to comb Newbury Street for the murderer of a classical pianist who lived over the unisex hair salon where the show is set. | Charles Playhouse Stage II, 74 Warrenton St, Boston | 617.426.5225 | Indefinitely | Curtain 8 pm Tues-Fri | 6 + 9 pm Sat | 3 + 7 pm Sun | $42; $31.50 with AAA discount; half-price college-student rush, one ticket per college ID, at the box office, one hour prior to curtain

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Related: Play by Play: March 13, 2009, Play by Play, May 8, 2009, Play by play: May 29, 2009, More more >
  Topics: Theater , Ryan Landry, Leigh Barrett, David Mamet,  More more >
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